Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bow Down to Loki or Die

ThorLoki

We are all worshippers, whether you now it or not or even believe it, we are all made to worship. The question is, what do you worship? It may not be a deity you worship, it may be money, comfort, drugs, your self, exercise, food, alcohol, your spouse, or someone you wish were your spouse, and the list could go on and on, but I am sure you get the point. When you close your eyes and think of that thing that you want the most, the thing that takes up most of your thoughts, your time, your resources. This is the thing in which you worship. A lot of times we don’t think about what we worship or take the time to make a conscious effort on what or who we want to worship. This could lead us to worship the wrong God, person or thing.

In the movie “The Avengers” the antagonist, Loki, decides he wants to destroy the earth, but along the way he wants power and there is a scene where he is in the middle of the street and exploiting his power he forces everyone on the street to bow down to him or face a certain demise. So of course this caught everyone off guard and filled with fear they all bowed. That is except one man, he decided at that moment he was not going to bow to any man even though this would certainly lead to his death. As Loki noticed this act of rebellion he lifted up his weapon (a really cool staff) to strike him, but in the nick of time Captain America jumped in between this man and Loki and saved this man’s life.

This reminds me of a story in the Bible of a King who erected a huge golden image of himself measuring some 90 feet tall. He ordered musicians to play, and every time they did, everyone was ordered to bow down to it immediately or be put to death. Now this king didn’t have a cool staff like Loki did, but he did have a huge fiery furnace. He ordered anyone who did not bow to be thrown in. So as the musicians played, plagued with fear all bowed just like in the movie. Except in this story there were three people who did not bow. The twist here is that the making of the gold image took months upon months to build, so  these three men had time to ponder their decision. I would bet they talked it out ahead of time and all decided they would not bow. You see they all believed in the One true God. They would never bow to another even if it meant being thrown into a fire. Do you have that same conviction over what or who you worship? Now these three people did not have a Captain America to save them, but they did have something better. When discovered they would not bow the king turned the temperature up to 7 times the heat and had them thrown in for their disobedience. Let us see how this played out. We will pick up the story in the book of Daniel 3:23-28 “ And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Dan 3:25  He answered and said, “
But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Dan 3:26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.
Dan 3:27  And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.
Dan 3:28  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies
rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” These three had their own version Capt. America but instead of a movie of fictional characters, these were three people in history with a real king and a real fire facing real death.

These three men knew who they worshipped, they took time to weigh the cost of who was worthy of worship. They were not swayed by fear, emotion, or comfort. They didn’t wait until the last minute to decide what it is the believed was worthy of giving up everything for. How about you? will you bow to fear, to money, to easy living, drugs, fitness or your spouse? Will you continue to keep your head buried in the sand and not realize even what it is or who you do worship. I plead to you, put down the remote, put down that drink, put that merchandise back on the shelf,it does not save, and look to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Look to the one who gave up His life so you could live, for He is worthy of your worship.

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T.V or not T.V. That is the Question

tv-watchingI have recently been focused on living my life with greater intention, resulting in taking most of my T.V. watching out of my daily routine. It is quite easy to become a non T.V. watching snob by the way. With quick retorts of “I don’t watch that low grade form of entertainment” when someone in the lunch room asks what I thought of  “Dancing With the Stars” last night. Of course you can’t come off sounding so smug so I would usually respond with “I don’t watch that” or “I am too busy to watch T.V.”  All the while thinking to myself “what a waste of time”. Until one of my coworkers pointed something out me something I didn’t think about. She said, this takes away a lot of opportunity for you to converse with others because you have nothing to add to the conversation. So I had to ask myself, is it better to rid myself of the idiot box and continue to be a T.V. snob or do I start to watch a few programs to be a part of the conversation.

This past week, I had the perfect opportunity to delve into the world of mind numbing hours of sitting in front of the boob tube. I was on a business trip in the middle of nowhere for 5 days. So every night I would go back to my hotel room and proceed to flip through the channels. During this experiment I have discovered a couple of things.

1) The Pink Floyd song which contains the lyrics “There is 13 channels of S**t on the T.V. to choose from” needs to be increased to 120.

2) If there is a risk/reward associated with watching T.V., it is not worth the reward.

3)What on earth is wrong with us?

4)Duck Dynasty rules!! If you don’t know what that means, check it out

On more of a serious note, I believe that the media is steering our society. When we are blasted with marketing propaganda every 15 minutes of you need this product for your life to be better in addition to a great percentage of shows conforming our minds to what is to be considered normal. Shows telling us it is normal to go out and drink nightly to the point of annihilation, pick up girls and have meaningless sex with them just to start over and doing it again the next night.  I know what you’re thinking, this guy must be old. Cause that’s what I am thinking as I am typing it. But when you add this show upon show in combination with commercials filling our heads with catchy slogans to buy there product so our life will be more fulfilled. It is causing a shift in the way we perceive reality and what is meaningful in life.

So how do we respond to this? Well, with the word of God of course. This brings to mind Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The next logical question is how do I transform my mind? The answer is the same way it is being conformed to this world. If we are inundated with programs promoting an agenda and commercials with there empty promises of gratification, fill your mind with the life giving words of the Bible. Col. 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.” Be transformed with the washing or the word and let it guide your thoughts and actions.

I am not saying not to watch T.V. cause Duck Dynasty really does rule. Rather we are to watch it in light of the reality of God’s perspective, so that we may “discern what is good and acceptable” and not the T.V. and it’s programmers. So go ahead and join the lunch room conversation, just make sure you lead it and it doesn’t lead you.

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I was thinking about writing a blog about this very topic, but this is so much better than anything I could have come up with.

Chief of the least

‘Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.’ Proverbs 26:4-5

(Note: Hebrew terms of “fool” and “foolish” describe a person who does not believe in God and is ignorant of wisdom based on God’s moral standard.)

Some modern critics assume the ancients were flat-out stupid. Case in point, after a brief glance at Proverbs 26:4-5 an objection may be raised along the lines of: “Look! An obvious contradiction in the very next verse! The Bible cannot be trusted…” And so a superficial argument has been framed.

But the ancients were not stupid.

The author of Proverbs actually intended to pair these seemingly contradictory verses together. And what these verses propose is not a logical contradiction, but a dilemma for the reader. It is a proposal of two choices. Proverbs 26:4-5 reveals two wise and…

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How Much Does It Cost?

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Have you ever made a big purchase in your life that you had to really sit down and do the numbers before buying it? For many of us it was buying a house, but it could also be a car, college tuition, a wedding, or maybe a big vacation. Before you do any one of these things the first thing you need to do is find out how much it costs. It would not be wise to go look for a home, see one you like and say “I’ll take that one” without first asking how much it is. For most of us, before buying a home you sit with a mortgage brokers or a banker who goes over your finances to see how much money you make, how much is going out in bills then what is left over to afford a house. It doesn’t end there though, once they tell you what you can afford then you begin to weigh in other factors. What if  hot water heater goes, or one of us loses a job, or medical bills, or saving for a vacation and emergency reserves. We need to consider all of these factors first, then we come up with an amount that you decide you can afford and go from there. It is the same with all large purchases, we need to make sure we know what we are getting ourselves into before we decide  buy. We need to follow through on our commitment.

How about in your decision in what God you follow? Did you consider what it costs? Did you weigh in all the factors If and when you made a decision to follow Jesus as your Lord, Jesus warns us to consider the cost. I know what your thinking, if you are on the fence on this, this may not be pushing you into accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. But these are His words, not mine. I feel so many Christians are trying to convince people to believe in Jesus, and they talk a lot about forgiveness of sins and love and the assurance of salvation, but not a lot are saying “hey, you know what, it is not going to be easy”.  Jesus on the other hand was saying this. He says in Luke 14:28  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
14:29  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
14:30  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
14:31  Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
14:32  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
14:33  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

It Will Cost You Everything

Oh so wait a minute, it will cost me everything? I don’t remember the preacher saying that in the alter call?  Hmmm, I am not sure I am willing to give up EVERYTHING. Jesus also says in Matthew 16:24  “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I know, crazy right?  What does all this mean? What on earth does take up his cross even mean? Why do I have to give up stuff in order to follow Him?

This is kind of like asking, “why do I have to stop dating other people after I get married?” You had to consider this cost when you got married. Is this the person that I love? is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with and give up all other women or all other men for. This is what Jesus is asking. He is in effect saying do you love me enough to give up others for me. Do you love me enough to give up other things for? Are you willing to take up your cross, meaning die to self, no longer living for your own desires, rather living for the will of God?  Or are you just buying fire insurance to stay out of hell?

Giving up Everything to Gain Everything

What is the result of this cost, Jesus continues by saying in Matt 16:25  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Yes it will cost us everything, we will go through hardships, Jesus even says the world hated me, they are going to hate you too. (paraphrasing) But in the end Jesus says “Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” These are tough words to understand, and even tougher to live out. Who are you living for? If you are living for yourself, for your own gain and your own wants and desires, Jesus is saying this leads to death. But if we relinquish our desires for His desires and follow Him where he leads, this leads to eternal life.

God came to earth as a man and humbled himself as a commoner, a carpenter. He lived a sinless life to give it up as a ransom for many.  Where we deserved death, he took our place on the cross. He died so that we would have eternal life. He calls us to follow him, how do you respond?  Count the cost.

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I’ve Been Nominated for the Sunshine Blog Award

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I’d like to thank His Reflections for nominating me for the Sunshine Blog Award, which is given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”I am very thankful towards Him for his recognition and would like to do the same for others. Below are 10 bloggers I feel are worthy of the same and more so.

Rules to Accept the Award:

1)  Include the award logo in a post or somewhere on your blog.

2) Answer 10 questions about yourself.

3) Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers.

4)  Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.

5)  Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

The 10 Questionsand Answers:

1)   What is your favorite color? I like colonial blue

2)   What is your favorite animal?  Brown bear

3)   What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?  mighty mango by Naked

4)  Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

5)   What is your passion?  teaching the word by any means and missions work in Nicaragua

6)  What is your favorite pattern?  don’t say I have one?

7) Do you prefer giving or getting presents?  giving is so much better

8) What is your favorite number? 8

9)  What is your favorite day of the week? Sunday

10) What is your favorite flower? umm, Krocus

Here are my nominees

1) Chief of the Least

2) The Ink Slinger

3) Good News

4) Revelations in Writing

5) Attempts at Honesty

6) Settled in Heaven

7) The Berean Way

8) The Purpose Class

9) This is What I Have to Say

10) Just My Faith Talking

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Life Is Not Fair

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Life is not fair! Have you ever uttered those words before?  You probably have, because I think everyone has at one point or another. Are you going through a struggle or hardship right now, and wondering why is my life so hard? Why don’t things ever work out for me? I can tell you one thing, you are not alone. In the past week I have encountered my own struggles and heard other peoples hardships that seem there is no easy answer to. So how do we overcome these monumental difficulties in life without giving up, or going into a depression or becoming hardened?

We feel life is not fair when things don’t go the way we want them to go. But how do we know that the way we want them to go is the right way or the fair way? Isn’t this when we become bitter and resentful, when we don’t get our way? Our way can seem very fair, we can pray for a family member with cancer to be healed. Or we can pray for our children to be healthy or a marriage to be reconciled only to have the family member die of cancer, children to be sick and  marriages fall apart. And we say or think, this is not fair. But what are we comparing fair to? Are we all to always be healthy and live to 100, never get into an accident, never have an argument with our spouse, never have parents with health issues? But what are we basing these assumptions on? I think it continues to fall on the fact that we don’t want these things to happen and when they do we say it is not fair based on our expected outcome.  So what do we do when things don’t go our way, how do we overcome it?

“For the Arrows of The Almighty are in Me” Job 6:4

Let’s look at the Bible and some situations people fell into that we would call unfair. Let us first look at Job. He had lost his sons and daughters in a horrific accident, he lost all of his money(livestock) by fires and thieves, and then to top it off he was inflicted with excruciating boils from his feet to his head. What did he do to deserve this you ask? Nothing, he was a very good upstanding citizen who loved God and didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body. It was during this time when his own wife told to curse God and die, nice wife right? I would say this would fall in the not fair scenario. So how does Job respond to all of this? I am not going to say he was giddy over it by any means, at one point he wished that he had never been born. But he never lost perspective of who he was and who God is. He said in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me I will hope in him” (referring to God).And in Job 19:25-26 “For I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” Even though Job was going through hell on earth he never lost sight of who God is or lost his hope in him.

Another great example of an unfair life is the life of Paul. Paul turned into a very godly man who went on to be a great missionary preaching the good news of the gospel everywhere he went. Therefore God must have blessed him beyond measure for being such a faithful servant right? I will let Paul respond to that question. 2Cor 11:23-28 “…with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from the gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst often without food, in cold and exposure. And apart from other things there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches”. Because of this Paul shouted out to God and said “this in not fair, why are you doing this to me. I am a good person doing your work, why are you punishing me like this, why are you not answering my prayers” Actually he never said that, but he probably had every right to. Isn’t that what we would say and do say when afflictions come our way? But what does Paul really say?  Written in the same letter  we find Paul saying this about his hardships, 2 Cor. 4:17 “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”. WHAT!! a light and momentary affliction? I think after the one imprisonment I would have given up and started with the why me’s. How are Job and Paul able to have these responses to such horrible calamity?

Having the Right Perspective.

I believe Job and Paul were able to overcome there difficulties because the had a right perspective on life. Both Job and Paul kept their focus on God and not themselves. Job remembered Who God is and Paul remembered what Jesus had done for him. What is more important to us will determine what rules us. What is bigger to you in your life; your problems or God? What are you focusing on more? When Paul was in prison he wrote the book of Philippians which is known as the book of joy. If I wrote that book it would be called be book of woe is me. Paul goes on to write words like everything is trash compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. We have a choice we can either be self centered or Christ centered. One leads to into a spiral of self pity and despair filled with depression. The other leads to life, joy, peace, and ultimately to our salvation. We need to keep our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith and take them off of ourselves. Life is not fair, but not in the way you are thinking. It is not fair because we deserve death for or sins and turning our back to God, but Jesus gave up his life so that we may have eternal life, Jesus took our place on the cross taking on the full wrath of God so that we never have too. I am sure Jesus easily could have said this is not fair. I never did anything wrong yet I am being punished for everyone else.  It is with this knowledge that we may say like David did in Ps 40:16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually. “Great is the Lord”.

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