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Taking Our Thoughts Captive

Christians are those who, in spite of denomination or church affiliation, have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.  But this does not mean that the followers of Christ somehow become immune to the struggles and sorrows of this world.  We live in the same world as unbelievers; we still get sick; we still face temptations; we still sin; we still have fleshly desires; we still experience sadness; we still have days that are anything but joyful.  These things, and others like them, are common to all men and women.

Consider also issues such as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, marriage, evolutionary theory, creation, raising children, heaven, hell and the list goes on.  I mention these items because our culture has many thoughts and theories concerning them. We, as Christians, are very much a part of the discussion on these things on the social level as well as the spiritual. Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts concerning these issues are affected by the world around us.  Whether it’s listening to the talk shows on TV or the radio, reading magazines, watching Sitcoms or movies, reading blogs, reading books, or reading what everyone is thinking and doing on Facebook; the result, potentially, is a slow compromise with the world.

I say “potentially” because if we are not evaluating everything through the lens of Scripture, then our thinking gets out of line.  We begin to see the world through the lens of the unregenerate.  If we are not allowing God to speak to us through His Word on a regular basis, then we will not be able to deal correctly with the trials, tribulations and issues of life. It is very possible that we will end up thinking, acting and reacting just like the world, instead of followers of Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are even to take our thoughts captive to obey Christ. In other words, we must even evaluate our own thoughts based on what God says because as sinners we can deceive ourselves into believing that we are thinking rightly, when just the opposite may be true.

God’s Word, the Bible, is the only thing in this world that does not change – everything else does, even our thoughts. So we must rely exclusively on God’s Word to lead us through this evil and dangerous world.

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What if?

The great “what ifs”, there are so many of them. “What if” is used to inspire writers. “What if” is often used to get us to think. There are websites and blogs that are dedicated to just looking as the “what ifs” of the world. Some of them are very interesting.

What if money grew on trees? If that were true, there would be a lot of us climbing trees. And what would we tell our children when they come asking for money, since we couldn’t give them the old, “Do think money grows on trees?”

Another one I like a lot is, “What if the world was flat?” Well if that were true our friend Christopher Columbus in 1492, would have been looking for a reverse in that boat of his when he reached the edge.

And my favorite is what if we could change the world? (We’ll come back to this one later).

What if, can make us think, and despite what my wife may say, I do think, well at least sometimes I do.

Recently I was reading in the Book of John the 20th chapter…

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.

Did you notice that last sentence? “Then they went home.” What if they would have stayed at home? What if they had never told others about Jesus, his teachings, his sacrifice, his resurrection? If they had stayed home, we wouldn’t have the New Testament, because no one would have known about Jesus.

But they didn’t stay home, later in that same chapter we read that Mary told the other disciples. And then they told others. They told the world about Jesus and his teachings, they told the world that Jesus died on a cross for everyone, and that he arose and lives. Then it was written down for everyone in what we call the “Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Now the “what if” we need to think about is, what if we stay home and don’t tell anyone? Just like Mary, Peter, and John many of us know about Jesus, his teachings, the crucifixion, the resurrection. But are we taking what we know and staying at home?

There are a lot of hurting people in our world, there are a lot of people that need to know Jesus, and they need to know that he lives. What if we told them? What if we convinced them of the truth, that Jesus loves them and wants a relationship with them?

What if we did that? Remember that question that I said we would come back to, “What if we could change the world?”

If we would tell the world about Jesus, we wouldn’t have to ask the question, “what if we could change the world?”

We would change the world.

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Where is your hope

Hope can be defined as: to expect with confidence a feeling that what one desires will happen. The question today is what or whom do you place your hope or confidence in? Is it the stock market, job security, government or variety of others things that we think will save us or give us a sense of security. Everyday it seems we are inundated with news from around the world and in our own country of pending doom, chaos and unrest that could rock us to our core. Many are losing jobs and the cost of living is increasing at an alarming rate giving us a sense of hopelessness.

The Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; He never changes! He is a rock you can stand on, the one who can calm you in the storm, and can still your heart when fears, doubt, and uncertainty overwhelm you. What a comfort in these troublesome times! But I’m here to tell you, my friend, that there is no one else whom you can place your complete faith, hope and trust in.

Join me today in placing your faith in the One who can give you security and hope for the future. I placed my life my faith in Jesus many years ago and He has never failed me.

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Royalty

What is your favorite bible verse? One day I was reading my bible, when I came across this verse.

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:4-7(NIV)

This passage excites me. As an heir, I get to inherits that is of my father. So what does my father have? According to Revelations, Jesus is the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” So that makes me an heir to the king.

I often ask my youth group, “That if we are an heir to the king, then what does that make us?” Their response is, “That makes us princes and princesses.” So, if we are princes and princesses, then how should we act? We should act like the royalty that Christ has made us. After all, we were created in the image of God himself.(Genesis 1:26)

Don’t ever feel like you are worthless, that is not how God sees you. He sees royalty.

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What in the world is lent?

What in the world is lent? I was always confused when I heard about the season of lent. I would think, why are we observing “lint season”? What’s so special about that stuff in the corner of our blue jean’s front pocket? Or that stuff that gets caught in that screen on the dryer and prevents towels from ever getting dry?

Years later I found out that, “Lent” in the Christian tradition, is the 40 days leading to Easter, starting on “Ash Wednesday.” Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is to prepare the believer — through prayer, repentance, giving and self-denial — for the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many, including me, have been focused on “giving up something for lent;” I guess that would fall under self-denial. In the past I’ve given up coffee, candy, and two years ago I tried giving up talking on the cell phone while driving. I thought that I was pleasing God, but last year I asked myself, ‘Is Lent a time of self-denial? Is that what Jesus wants?’ I’m not so sure. Maybe if the things we are giving up come between us and God, but I’m not so sure that giving up coffee, candy and talking on the cell phone are on top of God’s list of priorities for us.

I think God would rather us look at the things in our lives that separate us from him and our family. Sometimes it may be something that seems harmless, but we can become consumed by it and suddenly it’s a barrier between us and God. Its something I struggle with, I can become consumed with fishing, golfing, hunting, and other things and find myself not focused on God or my family (don’t believe me, ask my friends, I’m Mr. Obsessive). I think some of these things are what we may want to look at cutting down on or giving up for lent (and who knows, maybe even longer). I’m not saying God wants us to give up fishing or golfing completely. I’m saying that if it’s coming between us and God or our family, maybe we need to re-evaluate how much we are doing it. Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other gods before me”. Things that we put before God, can become like little gods.

Last Wednesday was “Ash Wednesday”, but it’s not too late for all of us to look at our lives and pick something that we can give up or cut down on for lent. But instead of coffee or candy, we can look at something that’s keeping us from God and our families.

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A Higher Authority

We live in a time known as the postmodern era.  This has been described by David F. Wells in his book, Above All Earthly Pow’rs, as a time when many (if not most) people are living without a sense of understanding as to why this universe exists or why they are a part of it.  Each one is left to decide on his/her own the answer to these questions of cosmic significance.  When something as essential as the meaning of the universe and of life itself  is left to chance, it only follows that the concept of absolutes crumbles away.  The notion that absolute truth, for example, exists and that we can know it,  becomes seemingly ludicrous.

This mindset leads us to what can be defined as situational truth or dependent truth.  In other words, what may be true for me may not be true for you. I cannot hold you to my understanding of truth, nor can you can hold me to your understanding of truth. In today’s world truth is very fluid; it changes with people and time.

The claim of  the existence of absolute truth will not be tolerated in our world today. This intolerance has tremendous effect on our lives, not just as individuals, but also in society. Our purpose in this blog will be to discuss the effect postmodernism and its view of truth has in the spiritual realm. If there is no absolute truth, then we have no firm foundation upon which to stand.

The Bible makes it clear that there is such a thing as absolute truth, no matter what postmodern men and women might say or think. In fact, God’s Word is that Truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”  If we go back to the Old Testament we read the same thing. Psalm 119:160 says this: “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your ordinances is everlasting.”

Absolute truth is found in God’s Word, and God’s Word does not change. So in the weeks and months ahead we will be addressing a number of issues, always keeping  in mind that we have a higher authority than people’s opinion or thoughts; God’s Word is our authority in all things because His Word is Truth.

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