Holy Emotions

Your emotions travel 80,000 times faster than your thoughts travel. Isn’t that amazing? This explains why when something bad happens, we are not able to immediately remember what to do or who to call. On the other hand, when something wonderful happens and we are wrapped up in the thrill of emotional exhilaration, at that moment, we do not have the ability to decide what to do next. All reasonable and practical thinking arrives in our nerve center long after the emotion has expressed.

The tremendous speed of our emotional responses to life helps to explain why even Christians often tend to operate out of feelings rather than out of principle. If you continually respond to life on an emotional level, you will always say things to are embarrassing, act in ways that are unbecoming and never be the person God intended you to be.

There is little in life that is of more importance than securing control of heart issues. When the Bible uses the word “heart”, it refers to the center of your mind, will, and emotions. Your hearts determines how you will act in any situation. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Heart

The problem is with the heart itself: it does not want to be guarded. It desires to express itself. The Bible never says we are allowed to express everything that is in our heart – it simply says to guard it.

Seven Spiritual Truths on Wealth

We live in a world that is obsessed with money.  As a whole:   wealth
People love money
People live for money
People believe that money will solve at least most of their problems.
It would not be an over-statement that people worship money. They love to make it, have it and spend it on themselves. On the other hand, God expects His followers to understand and reflect His view of money.
Here are seven spiritual truths every Christ follower should follow:
1. God owns everything and man manages His property
The concept of God’s ownership is introduced in the very first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…

2. God is the source of all wealth
Since God owns everything, everything we see comes from the hand of God. The tendency is to think otherwise. Deut. 8:17                 

  3. You cannot serve both God and wealth God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. Luke 18:18-22                     

 4. The love of money is a root cause of many problems
The love of money will rob you of contentment.  Eccl. 5:1                                                         The love of money hurts your relationship with God 1 Timothy 6:9-10

5. God blesses the person who honors God with his wealth.
God teaches us to invest our money in His Kingdom 2 Cor. 9:6-7 

6. Earthly riches are temporal. Treasures in heaven are eternal Mt. 6:19

7. When God has your money; He has your heart. Mark 12:41-44

All Those People

This morning I am on Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida at the beginning of aImage result for manatee beach florida wonderful vacation. The sun is shining, there is a cool ocean breeze and everything is right with the world.  Well, not really.

There is a steady stream of people filling the beach: young, old, families with children, singles, surfers, sunbathers and a myriad of others. To that add the billions of people around the world.  The thought came to me that one day we will all be together again but in a different setting.

“We shall all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards or even our own, but by the standard of Christ. It is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’. It is to God alone that we have to answer for our actions.” Romans 14:12

I look at all the people playing in the surf, searching for shells, playing volleyball etc. The majority of people are not even aware that such a event is going to take place! Which leads me to my second thought: Who is going to tell them? Preachers cannot reach those who do not come to church, so it is up to all of us to share to message.

 

Suffering

Image result for christian suffering and painSuffering comes in many shapes and sizes. You can suffer from a cold or cancer; from a trial or a tragedy; from the loss of a friendship to the loss of a friend. Suffering can last for a few moments or months or years. If you are normal, you will try to avoid suffering at any cost. A large majority of television commercials are geared to the elimination or the avoidance of pain.

Let’s face it, we do not like to be uncomfortable.  The reason most of us do not exercise as we should is that it is unpleasant [suffering]. The reason we do not eat the proper foods is we do not want to deprive [suffer] ourselves from those foods we crave. But the reality is life, to some degree, is suffering is a part of life.

Sometimes suffering is the result of the trials of life or the challenges that come from following Christ. Suffering is inevitable: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12   Other times, suffering is the result of living in a fallen world. “Though our bodies are dying,…” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Suffering can be beneficial: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 The Message

Ultimately, suffering is preparation for reigning with Christ eternally.  “ If we endure, we will also rule together….”  2 Timothy 2:12

DEAD BUT STILL DEADLY

Image result for Facing Your Giants SpiritualThe epic tale of David and Goliath is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. On one side of the Valley of Elah stands the Philistine army, with their nine-foot-tall champion named Goliath. On the other side of valley stands the Israelite army, cowering in fear under the leadership of their king named Saul. For forty days Goliath has been taunting the Israelites and holding them in the grip of fear. Day after day he has been challenging them to send out one soldier to face him man to man. But so far, nobody has volunteered.

Perhaps you can relate to the plight of the Israelites. Some kind of giant is standing before you keeping you from being less than God wants you to be. The good news is that God has made a way for these giants to fall. Jesus came to set you free from the giants who rise up against you and hold you paralyzed in fear.

Jesus has already overcome the enemy. However, as we read in 1 Peter 5:8, the devil still “prowls around . . . looking for someone to devour.” In many ways, he is like a snake with its head cut off. When you kill a snake, you have to be sure to bury its head, because even after death the serpent holds a lethal dose of venom in its fangs. If you step on a dead snake’s head, you can still get poisoned. In the same way, even though Jesus broke the power of Satan at the cross, he can still inject his deadly poison into our lives. He is dead but still deadly.

If you truly want to see victory over the giants in your life, you need to understand your dependency on the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Victory is all about trusting in Christ and not about trying to succeed.

What To Do?


Yesterday, Image result for honestyI was shopping at Lowes Home Improvement store [One of my favorite stores.] I dutifully had my list of items I needed to purchase but when I came across the clearance rack, I found my favorite plant, Lantana. Clearance price?  $1.00! So, I quickly took advantage of my good fortune!  

While loading my items in my car, I discovered I had seven plants but had only paid for six. I had miscounted. [I never was good at Math.] So, I what do I do? After all, it was just a mistake; I was not attempting to steal anything and  Lowes wouldn’t go bankrupt if I didn’t return it. I started to rationalize:

  • It was a long walk back to the store and I was tired.
  • I could return it later the next time at the store.
  • It was only a dollar item! No big deal!
  • People deliberately shoplift; so Lowes expects to lose a certain amount of product.

All those reasons made sense to me but the reality was still the same. I had something in my possession that did not belong to me and my conscious wouldn’t  let me keep it. When I returned the plant and explained my the situation; the Lowes associate looked like they had just seen a green, one-eyed Martian!  

I share this story, not to post on my own piety but to show us that honesty and integrity have become as extinct as the Do-Do bird. I want to be a person of integrity and I hope this is your goal. 

Disclaimer: This story is what I felt that God required of me; you may have responded differently and I do not judge you. Allow the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15

 

We All Worship Something

Romans 1:25 is a really interesting verse. The New Living Translation says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself…”  

That’s an indication that they had worshiped God but decided to take something else [“they traded”]  to worship. The word “traded” suggests that they couldn’t have had both. {Matthew 6:24) They had to give up one for the other. We are either worshipping God or we are worshiping something else. We must trade one for the other. Because worship is how we respond to the thing we value the most. There can be nothing above that thing or equal to it.

The thing we spend we spend most of our time thinking about, doing, giving the most attention to, putting all our energy into? That’s what we worship!

What are you worshiping? What things are you putting before God?