Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't Send Sin an Invitation

Thanks to the recent absence from writing in this blog, and everything I have been learning, I have decided to shift gears from previous posts, and will now start with lessons I am learning almost from the beginning of the Bible. Today I will begin with Cain and Abel.
This is a story that is so popular that even people who haven’t read the Bible have heard of it. Out of all the stories in the Bible, this one is the most over analyzed, and by that I have seen books written on the psychology of Cain, why he did what he did, and why his sacrifice wasn’t accepted.
While this may be fine for those who believe the simple answer is never right, but for me, the story can be summed up in one verse; and that verse is Genesis 4:7. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
The first part of this verse isn’t just doing the right thing; it’s also talking about doing it for the right reasons. Both Cain and Abel made sacrifices of something they worked to produce. Abel’s offering was described as “fat portions from the first born of his flock.” Cain’s offering was described as “some of the fruit.” There was no mention of the quality of produce. Abel wanted the finest, and the first, out of respect and love for God, but Cain was sacrificing out of duty; not because he wanted to show respect.
The second part of this verse is a warning to Cain to “adjust your attitude.” Sin is a part of everyone, and there is no exception, (For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23) and God has given us a choice. Sin can’t control us without our invitation. It waits patiently for us, and it won’t go away. We can’t kill it, run away from it, or send it away. The only thing left for us to do is control it. We do this by following God’s calling, with a grateful spirit for all God has given us.
At this point I feel it’s important to point out that whatever we focus on we allow into our lives. If we want to keep sin in its proper place, we can’t focus on getting rid of sin; if we do that we are still focusing on the sin, and opening the door. Instead, when you focus, focus only on doing what God called you for, and on having a positive attitude, and reinforce the door with gratitude for the strength God has given you.
In the end, Cain allowed his anger, and jealousy of Abel’s success to rule him, and he killed Abel for it. For those who think of God, in the Old Testament, as a merciless God, who struck sinners down with lightning, this might prove interesting. God did not execute Cain. Instead, he banished him from his land, so he could wander, living with the guilt of killing an innocent man.
If you have enjoyed this, or know of someone who might learn from this, please share it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Christianity, and the Law of Attraction

After almost two years, and much soul searching, I have decided to come back to writing on this site. While I was "away" I was reading a lot of books, and doing research in a lot of areas. I can honestly say I am no expert in these areas, but I have learned some valuable lessons, that I feel compelled to share.

In June of 2013 I saw a movie, titled "The Secret", which talks about a process called the law of attraction. The law of attraction talks about the nature of energy, and the power of the mind to attract the life you desire. For some, this is thought of as a joke. For others, this has become the starting place of their journey to success. For even more people, they feel this is taking God out of our lives. This is what I wanted to talk about with today's blog.

I know that the premise of the law of attraction sounds a little too much like eastern religion, or in Star Wars the force, but the truth is, that the law of attraction transcends anything religious. Like gravity, the law of attraction is just a law of nature. There is no turning it off, or on. It is always there, whether you believe in it or not, and it's always working. It is a perfect system that allows us to create our lives.

So if this is not taking God out of the equation, how does it fit into the Christian life style? The Bible verse I have come to adopt as a mantra for life is Mark 11:24. It says, "Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe you have received it, and it shall be yours." This is the essence of creating your life, and the law of attraction. Does this take God out of the picture? Of course not!

Here is one of the conclusions I came up with during my research. God created the law of attraction to help us live life to our fullest potential. As I described it, the law of attraction is a PERFECT SYSTEM. It is to perfect to have happened by chance; there is obviously an intelligence behind it. Very few people have taken full advantage of this system, but they have learned to use it for success, and so can we.

So why is it important for us, as Christians, to learn such a system? It has to do with working with the full potential God has created in us to be examples for the world of what God can do for everyone. At the end of the first chapter, of the book The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles says, "You can render to God and humanity no greater service than to make the most of yourself." If we don't strive to reach our full potential, we might as well tell God, "Sorry, but you made a mistake."

There is no way I could use this blog to give you everything about reaching your full potential, and how the law of attraction could help you to do so, but I would be honored if you would use this as a starting point in your search, just as I used The Secret as mine. I would also recommend you get a copy of the book "The Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace Wattles to help with learning. It's worth it.


I hope to do at least one to two blogs per week, and Sundays are one of them. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Proud is a 5 Letter Word

Proud is a 5 Letter Word 1 Corinthians 13:4 Pride goes before destruction, or so it says in Proverbs 16:18. This verse shows pride to be a bad thing, and yet there are other verses that show it to be a good thing. This is part of the confusion in 1Corinthians 13:4. It clearly shows that “Love is not proud.” This leaves us with the question, can a word like pride be both bad and good at the same time? My answer is yes. You can have pride in yourself, in others, and in the accomplishments of others, and that kind of pride means you have respect for yourself and others. That is a very healthy pride, and success is impossible without it, but it can be taken too far. This is where the Bible talks about pride as a bad thing. It is the type of pride that means arrogance. It says “I am so wonderful that I don’t need anyone else, because I am better than you.” It was the sin of pride that got Satan cast out of Heaven, because he believed himself to be equal to God, and he felt he could take over Heaven. This is also what Satan used to trick Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, which eventually led to the expulsion from the Garden Of Eden. He told Eve that if she ate the fruit she would be like God, and an equal. She then convinced Adam to eat as well. This is one of those points I feel it’s necessary to be clear. Many people try to blame Eve for tricking Adam, and Satan for tricking Eve, but the fact is, all three acted on their own free will, and did nothing by force. The point is, pride is very important in success, and our interpersonal relationships, for it’s just another word for respect, but when it’s taken too far, and it becomes arrogance, it is Satan’s greatest tool for making us believe we don’t need God, or others, to succeed. This leads us back to the commandment that all other commandments are centered in; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and spirit, and love your neighbor as yourself. Respectful pride puts others first, and arrogant pride puts you above others.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Love Does Not Boast

Love Does Not Boast
I Corinthians 13:4

There are several ways to say it; brag, gloat, glorify your own name, but what it boils down to is lifting yourself above others, and letting them know about it. When you boast, you are telling others, “I’m right, and you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (To borrow a line from the movie Matilda)
When we boast, we are putting ourselves above everyone else, and that there is no one better. True love is all about putting others first, but boasting says you don’t need anyone else to be great, and that includes the help of God. God made us to be interdependent with each other; not dependent, or completely independent; but when we tell others that we are great on our own, and that we don’t need them, they will turn their backs on us and we will fail. If you notice, I didn’t say “Might fail”, or “probably fail”, because, like it or not, we need each other.
When you boast, you imagine that the whole world must bow down to your greatness, when the reverse is true. People will be repulsed by your cockiness.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be happy, or excited, by your accomplishments; you should. I would even go so far to say that you should share it. Before you do, however, you should make sure your motivation is correct. If you tell others of your accomplishments to glorify yourself, or to make others love you more, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. If you are telling others of your accomplishments, to motivate them to pursue the same excitement, then you are sharing, and you should continue.
When you do share for motivation, you need to do so with respect, and you need to let the recipient know that you think of that individual as an equal, or they will never hear a word you say.
1st Corinthians 13 is all about love, and how can you love others when you are so busy selfishly building yourself up.
In the next blog, I will continue the series on love.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Purpose without Predestiny

Purpose without Predestiny
Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Predestiny is a word that has been used in some churches for a very long time. I don’t believe in it personally, and I can’t support an idea that takes away our free will. We are not robots who go through motions without the ability to think for ourselves.
For those who aren’t certain of the meaning; predestiny is the belief that we are made who we are, and how we are, for a very specific purpose, and no matter what we say, we will serve that purpose. I don’t know where this idea started, but Jeremiah 1:5 could be used by some to support the philosophy.
If predestiny, or Calvinism, were true we couldn’t be held accountable for our actions, and there could be no punishment, for we are not responsible. So does that mean we are wandering through our lives without purpose? Of course not. If you read the verse, God knew us before we were born, and he gave us each different abilities for the purpose he will call us for.
This is where the similarities end. God has a purpose for each one of us; some to be prophets, some to be advisors, some for teaching, some to work in construction; but it is up to us to choose whether or not to listen, and accept his calling. This is where it becomes our responsibility. God is not sitting up in Heaven with lightning bolts waiting to strike anyone who doesn’t agree with what he wants, there again, that would take away free will.
God didn’t just set Jeremiah apart for a purpose, he gave us all a purpose, and I find that when we still haven’t accepted his calling, every job you do, (stocking grocery shelves for me) has no real meaning, and tends to leave us with feelings of confusion, emptiness, and even depression. I know I felt the first two, and strangely enough those feelings started to disappear when I started writing. I think that’s a pretty good indication that I’m meant to write.
I’m not trying to build myself up as a great writer; I know there are writers who are much better than me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not meant to write, or be a nature photographer, it just means I am meant to do something with those.
If you haven’t found your purpose yet, don’t worry about it, just open your heart, and let God speak to you. All you have to do is trust he will give you an answer, and show you the way.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Idols Of Christianity

The Idols of Christianity
1 Corinthians 8:4-6

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve been back, and I’m not going to offer up any excuses, but I am back.
If you haven’t read the passage yet, I would recommend that you do so in order to keep in mind the context. Never take my words at face value; I am but an individual with my own interpretation, and I don’t like misleading. If you disagree with something I say, tell me, I am not a closed book. With that said, let’s continue.
Today, what I wanted to discuss is worshiping idols. Let me first say how I define an idol. An idol is a person or object that has been given power and priority in your life over God’s. In verse 4 it says, “There is no God but one.” So placing an authority on a person, or an object will take away from the authority of the One God. The preceding phrase from verse 4, “an idol is nothing at all in the world,” clearly states that idols are nothing and that means they have no power, or priority over God.
Are Christians immune from this practice; definitely not. Take a look at the cross, and the Bible; now before you get bent out of shape, let me explain. The historical purpose of the cross is torture, and death, and by coming back to life the third day, Christ beat the power of death. By wearing a cross around your neck, or having one in a visible place, it is meant to symbolize the power of Christ over death, but by believing that the presence of a cross can ward of evil spirits, or even by holding it out in front of you that evil will flee, it is given a power it doesn’t have; therefore making it an idol.
As far as the Bible is concerned, it is meant to be a guide book, nothing more. It is first and foremost a book (paper and ink). I’m not saying it is useless, it is extremely useful in learning about the relationship between God and man. It is also useful in learning about life, but I have seen churches split over translations, and I’ve seen people who place every authority in the book itself. If your bible were to get destroyed in one way, or another, it can be replaced, and it can’t stop the word of God.
All I’m saying, is objects should be viewed in their proper context, and not idolized. Now the same goes for people. I’m not talking about entertainers; though it still applies. What I am talking about are saints. Making someone a saint is not necessarily making them an idol, but the act of praying to them is. When you pray to a saint you are giving them authority over your problem. That authority is strictly the property of God.
If you keep a cross, keep it only as a reminder of Christ’s power over death. If you have a bible, use it as a guide book and reference to God’s words, but don’t let the book rule your life. Just keep things in proper perspective. Verse 6 says there is one God; and one Lord; don’t give anyone else, or anything his authority. That is the essence of idol worship.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The path of responsibility!!!

One of the most ridiculous debates going on in science right now is “heredity vs. environment”. The problem with this debate is that neither side is right. There are valid points to both arguments, but there are too many exceptions to call them correct. I will try to put this into perspective.
Heredity: “My family comes from Ireland, and everyone in my family drinks, so is it any wonder I’m an alcoholic?” We’ve all heard this logic. I come from a family of alcoholics, from a country that is known for drinking, so I bear no responsibility for my actions; it’s genetic.
Environment: “My favorite band says drugs are OK, and all my friends are doing it, so I have to do it too.” In other words, I do it because that’s the way things are. I’m not responsible.
I think you see where I’m going with this. In my last blog, “The blame game”, Adam and Eve placed blame on someone else, trying to say they weren’t responsible for their own actions. God held each one responsible for their own part, and he holds us responsible for our own walk of faith. This is the message of Proverbs 4:23-27.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Our parents are responsible to warn us about evil, and teach us about the world; it is not to protect us from the world. We can’t even protect ourselves from the world, but we are responsible to protect our hearts from its influence. We are also responsible for the words that come out of our mouths.
We are also responsible to keep our eyes leading us in the right direction, not allowing evil to take our eyes from the path that will lead us to God. I’m not saying there won’t be obstructions in the path, but by avoiding the distractions on the side of the path, we can keep our eyes where we need to, and avoid the obstructions.
We are the only ones who can take responsibility for our walk with God, and no amount of blame is going to change that. Stay on the path, avoid the distractions, and we will be able to guard our hearts, otherwise we will be too busy trying to blame others for our lack of faith.