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.