Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who are you?

If you are between the ages of 13 and 19, ask yourself these questions:

What are you?
What are you supposed to be?
Who are you?
Who should you be?
What is your goal in life?
What is your purpose in life?
What are you doing with your life?
What should you be doing with your life?
Did you answer the questions truthfully?
It seems that in this day and age that the world around us, the culture, the entertainment and even the way we speak is centered around the teen. So, what are you? Are you a teen? Are you a young adult? What is the difference and why does it matter?

Did you know that the word teen was not used until an author for the magazine Readers Digest wrote an article about work-ethic? The word was only used once to describe people from the ages of 12-19.
So, what are you supposed to be? Are you supposed to be a teen that is living for self, having fun, being cool? Are you supposed to be a young adult that is training to be a godly young man or young lady, to work to train for when you are married and have children and must lead your family through troubled times? Will you be ready when it is time to do the Lords will?

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs23:22 “Listen to your father who begot you , and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Who are you? Are you trying to fit in with the world around us, trying to hang out with the people that are cool? Are you trying to fit in to the mold that the world has made for us and want to push us through? Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefor brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present you bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your responsible service. And donot be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind,that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Who should you be? We should be children of God trying to serve Him as best we can, giving Him our all!
What is your goal in life? Is it to have fun and do what you want to do? Are your goals what God want of you?
What is your purpose in life? God want us to serve Him with our lives. As Christian, we must be willing to give our all for God, including our relationships, money and even our lives! 1 Cor. 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or what so ever you do, doall to the glory of God.”
What are you doing with your life? Are you submitting to God or the world. Are you doing Gods will or are you doing the will of the devil? There are only two people that youcan serve, God or Satin?

What should yoube doing with your life? You need to give your life to Christ to take and fix. Let God in to your life and NEVER let Him out!
Now ask yourself these questions again, examine your life and then go pray that God will change your life to do HIS will!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Living Loved

It all seemed so normal. My faith. Jesus. Oh yeah, someone died for something and someone came back to life to tell everybody something. Normal. It’s something I grew up with, I never truly was ASTOUNDED with the reality of how someone actually came back to life. That is, until now.
These last two years God has shown me more about my faith than I’ve learned in all my thirteen (almost fourteen!) years. It’s been horrible, it’s been wonderful. It’s been astounding, it’s been frightening. I’m not sure I can even explain any of it because I think to truly know God’s grace, He has to show it to you. Your eyes need to be opened by the Healer of the blind. I don’t claim that my own eyes have been opened all the way, but I think I’m just beginning to squint at the glory Jesus has been trying to show me for so many years. He died. He died. That’s NOT normal. He came back to life. He is alive. If that’s not abstract I don’t know what is. What’s even more odd, is how much He loves me. Why would Jesus love me? Out of all the things He could have done instead, He chose to die. Are you paying attention?
All the font sizes, cap locks, under-liners, highlighter and italicizers couldn’t shout it out loud enough.
Why did You do it Jesus? Why?
For a while I’ve been struggling with feeling loved. I kept asking Jesus to show me His love; to prove that He loved me. I gave up this question for a while, I didn’t think I’d ever get an answer. I just pointed my desire for love towards the end of time when I’ll finally see Jesus face to face. The other night I was looking up my verse for the Fifty-Two Weeks Fifty-Two Verses Challenge. My verse was John 14:13. I scanned the page for the verse when my eyes landed on John 14:15- “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jesus was speaking) This applied to a particular part of my life, so I kept reading. “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” Another Comforter. I kept reading. The whole chapter of John 14 was Jesus telling His disciples, His people, how much He loved them. (It continues into John 15) I didn’t know I needed it, but at that moment I felt utter peace. I felt love float up from the pages and wrap around my heart. I could almost audibly hear Jesus saying, “See, I love you so much.”
Seriously, that’s going to be a moment I remember for the rest of my life. I love John 14. I can’t wait to meet him (John) someday. I love Jesus. That’s a phrase that has been thrown around a lot. Proclaiming to the whole online world that you “Love Jesus” while turning singers/movies into idols and remembering Jesus only when you go to Church on Sunday. I’ve been guilty of this myself. We’re all so guilty. That’s why God’s grace is so amazing. It’s so astounding. It’s awesome. Seriously.

Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves everyone, that’s why He chose to die.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Worst Enemy

Satan is our enemy, sure, but I think we tend to over emphasize that in our mind at times. I mean, Satan can only be one place at once, and he's not all knowing, like God. He's an enemy, yes, and a formidable one at that, but he is definitely not our worst. We have an even stronger, more dangerous enemy and he greets you everyday in the mirror. We are our own worst enemy. Our soul is sealed with the Holy Spirit, but our flesh is still in world, free to struggle, free to battle, and free to sin. And we do.
The hard part for me is that we can never totally win against this enemy. And then I start to wonder why God has us fighting a loosing battle. But God has His reasons and I don't need to understand them. All I have to is know is He calls us to war, even if we can never win. I once read somewhere, "We are free to struggle, but we’re not struggling to be free".

We must battle our sin until we are freed from this earth, where we can't be dragged down by own flesh. Then our soul, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, can share in the victory, rejoicing at the Heavenly throne. And you know what? I bet it will will be worth it and then some.

So for here on Earth, it's not in the winning, but in the fighting.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:14-25 NKJ

Fight, my dear brothers and sisters, and when you grow weary, think of the cross, and you will find His strength.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.....

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." According to the world's point of view, this verse is messed up. "In order to get into heaven, we need to be sad?" That is what the world would think. But is that what Jesus was saying?

This verse comes from the book of Matthew 5:3. Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount. Looking on the surface of this verse, it looks like Jesus is saying that in order to get into heaven, we need to be unhappy. That is not the case. What Jesus is saying is that in order to get into heaven, we need to recognize that God is great and perfect and we are insignificant and sinful. Our sin is an abomination to God and we need to realize that. We need to see that we cause so much pain to God and we are so unworthy of God's love and what Jesus did on the cross, that we should be full of grief, poor in spirit. Isaiah 53:6 says "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every own, his one way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

We must repent and give up our all to Christ, but we must also rejoice, because Jesus paid it it all with his blood. ".....And the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Be sorrowful for your sins, rejoice because Jesus paid the price.

Matt (Not Matthew, he is the other author)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What is the point of Easter?

What is the point of Easter? Is it to celebrate with family and friends, eating chocolate and candy, collecting little plastic eggs? No... It's about the wonderful news that our Lord and Savior is risen! :-) Jesus has risen and is with us today, everyday!

Matthew 28:1-8
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightening, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shoot for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

May you all have a wonderful day, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

God bless,
Dedicated Christians

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Lead Me"

It is no secret that families are struggling. Our culture is trying to tear away the man, and now the woman, from the home. This song is a beautiful portrayal of what a family should be.

This song has empowered husbands and wives to change their lifestyle and be more family oriented, and base their family on Christ. And you are probably saying, "this is a great song, Matthew, but with no application for us young adults." I could not disagree more.

Most of us (unless the Lord leads otherwise) will get married and have a family. Now that may seem far away, but it really isn't. This song should inspire us to start out right. As we consider future jobs and our role in our future home, focus on how these concepts will apply in your family.

A lot of us, I am sure, have starry visions of having a family one day. We think it is all going to be, "living on love" and we will not have any problems. Though some days I still believe that, through knowing different couples, I see that is not always the case. I have also seen that it is impossible for anyone to work through it without Christ as the head.

(I now I'm covering a lot of topics). The best time to start building your life on Jesus Christ is right now. Instead of thinking you can wait until you are older to dedicate your life to the Lord, do it now... Especially now. Now that you are unmarried, you can spend more time learning and growing in Christ.

I know, I covered quite a lot of topics. But I hope you will ponder them deeply and see how you will apply them to your life.


Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hunger Games - Book Review

One of the newest media trends right now is the Hunger Games. You've probably heard of it. If not, it's a series of book following a girl named Katniss. It's set in a time period of the future, after the fall of North America. Every year 2 teens, a boy and girl, from every region must fight to the death for the entertainment of the oppressive and blood thirsty government. The rest of the books tells of how Katniss and her allies defy the evil government and help ignite a long awaited revolution. While this is all going on, Katniss must decide who she loves, and who the real enemy is.

Story wise, the books are immensely entertaining, full of good vs. evil, action, gripping emotion and a bit of romance. Katniss is a self-sufficient survivor and has a deep sense of self-sacrificing loyalty to her family. Theologically, on the other hand, the books experience some problems. Throughout the stories Katniss is exposed to the depravity of mankind. The book clearly states that all men are wicked, even the "good" guys can fall prey to power mongering and greed. The books recognize the problem, but sadly, have no solution. The redemption of God's love and mercy are the perfect cure for the pain the characters suffer. They search, but they never find it. At the very end of the books, after Katniss comes back from the brink of insanity because of all the horrors of war and the loss she suffers, she finds comfort and hope in the next generation, where they won't have to face an evil government. She plays a game with herself, counting all the good things people do on a daily basis, and tries to remove her focus from the horror, and move it to the beautiful.

In the end, good prevails over evil, but the cost is high, sickeningly high.

So the ultimate question. Should we be reading these books and watching the upcoming movies? I think different Christians will have different answers. Here are some of my suggestions, if, in this point in your walk, you are vulnerable to attack in the purity department, the veiled romance in the books might cause you to stumble, so use discernment. If you're having tendencies to feel depressed, again, it might not be wise. But if you are perhaps wanting a sobering account of humanity and the cost of war, no matter how righteous, then I think the books are useful and even captivating.

Here are a couple verses from Scripture for you to make your own decision, and this by all means, not an end all list, just the ones that came to mind for me.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8