Are You Different?

One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us.  Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted. 

Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. … Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.

  • Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
  • Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
  • 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
  • Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.

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Which World Are You Living In?

Image result for Solar SystemMost of us inhabit at least two worlds. For example, we live in one world of home and family and another of work. We have other “worlds” too, like the burger joint where we grab a quick lunch before we move on to our next world.

Even in the first century, the apostle Peter understood this concept. He makes frequent references to “this world” and “the eternal,” explaining that the way we respond to events in this life produces lasting effects in the eternal world so that what happens here influences us there.

This shouldn’t be surprising. We know, for example, that a nutritious breakfast in the morning affects the way we approach the rest of our day. And we understand that despite our efforts to keep the worries of work from following us home, our family members can usually sense when we are preoccupied with our jobs. So it shouldn’t seem strange that the way we live in the physical world affects our experience of the spiritual world.

Does that eternal, spiritual world seem distant to you? Or does Scripture’s portrayal of this profound reality motivate you to endure what otherwise might be too difficult for you to bear?

If you’ve been discouraged lately by opposition or setbacks in this life, give thought to the inheritance waiting for you.

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.

The Gap

Most Christ-followers would like to have a better prayer life. Try this with me. Think about where your prayer, physical, financial, or family life is. Now, think about where you want it to be.  What is in between? If you are normal, there’s the infamous gap! [Not the store!] It’s the same gap that occurs when the exterior doesn’t match the interior. The gap between knowing the truth and implementing the change.  It’s the gap between discipline and regret.

Proverbs 25:28 NLT says A person without self-control (discipline) is like a city with broken-down walls.  No matter the area you need to change, you must make a choice and this choice calls for discipline. Where are the gaps in your life? What discipline is the Holy Spirit leading you to commit to in order to make the change?

You must choose between discipline and regret.

Married Like a Monk

Have you noticed that many marital arguments result from a disappointment with our spouses? We expect them to be something or do something and there aren’t or they don’t. We expect them to just know when we’ve had a hard day. We ask them, “What’s wrong?” and they say, “It’s no big deal!” but you know it is.

What if we sought a “monk’s marriage”? What if we decided that we would depend on God alone, expecting nothing from our spouse but entirely on God for all my needs, including emotional and relational need?

Then instead of resenting what my spouse fails to do or be, we will be overjoyed by every little thing they do. We would be filled with gratitude instead of resentment.

That’s why I want a “monk’s marriage,” the benefits of a being married to a godly woman, but with a monk’s attitude, expecting nothing, depending on God and being genuinely grateful for whatever my spouse chooses to bless me with.

I’m In

I have always been interested in the study words and phrases and their origin. We often use phrases in our conversations but have no idea when or how it was used originally used. For example. we tell someone to “sleep tight” but what does that mean? http://bit.ly/2lhEerY

There is a new (?) phrase I heard that I like; “Are you in?” This phrase doesn’t refer to an amusement park worker asking someone if they are secure in their roller coaster seat. The phrase basically means you are totally committed to a certain plan of action. It means you have my complete support; you can count on me,

When Jesus Christ called His disciples He said, “Follow me!” If Jesus were here today. He might use the phrase, “Are You In?” Being a Christ-follower means you are sold out, totally committed, fully devoted Passionate about Jesus.

Are You In?

Redeeming the time

When I was a child my mother collected S&H green stamps when she bought groceries. She put those stamps into a book and when she had enough books, she would redeem them for the item she was saving for.

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:16

clock.jpeg

Every living person has the same number of hours to use every day. The clock plays no favorites. The difference is how we redeem (use) our time. To waste time is to spend it on that which has little or no value. The late coach Vince Lombardi said, “I never lost a game. I just ran out of time.” The team that is most productive in the allotted time is the team that wins.

In sports, a coach can temporarily halt time but in real life, there are no timeouts. So we need to ask God to reveal ways we can redeem time on things of little or no value.