Monthly Archives: December 2016

Resolve to read the Bible

This is an easy resolution, especially for us Christians. But might I suggest, as I have been saying, to really resolve to do this. Don’t just make a plan, but understand the importance of this, and count the cost of reading the bible daily. Make plans for circumstances like when you go out of town. Set up reminders on your phone. Use any and all means you can to get the Bible in your spirit daily. Resolve to do just a chapter a day and to reflect three minutes on it. That should take only five minutes in total.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Maybe ten verses a day.

Should and could you be doing more? Of course. But better to start small rather than not at all or not do it because you are already not where you ought to be and so you don’t work at it in any way.

So do it. Do a chapter. Or do ten verses. But plan it out. Spend an hour this week, maybe before you go to sleep, 10 minutes each day, thinking about a reading plan, thinking about increasing in how much you read, and setting a slow pace and picking up more if possible.

A great way to start if you want to know how important it is to read the Bible is by reading Psalm 119.


Prayer as a Resolution

I commend to us all to pray regularly as a resolution. Let me tell you how I have come to pray more. Sometimes it starts with our beliefs.

I use to believe that I must pray a certain number of minutes. As thought praying a certain length of time was more godly. This isn’t true. However, deciding not to pray or ignoring prayer certainly isn’t godly. So, we must seek to pray more and pray according to God’s Word.

I have been praying daily for the past month, for probably only 10 minutes a day as I walk my son. I generally pray the same thing, petitioning to God for many things. And though prayer should not always be one thing, I am starting and working my way towards more.

I use an app called Logos Bible Software. In it there is a prayer list function in which you can create a prayer list. I use it because it organizes it easier and has a check box for each day, so I can check off what I have prayed for. But use whatever app or thing to make a list, but make one and start praying. And pray everyday.

Don’t worry about how or what yet. Pray to God and do it consistently, and resolve to learn more about prayer. How to pray, what to pray, why to pray, etc. And then, add more petitions. And then add praises. Add thanksgivings. Make those a list.

There certainly may be times where you aren’t praying out of some heartfelt passion, but Christ doesn’t say we need to feel our prayers, we just need to pray them and believe God hears us, regardless of how we feel.

Pray even about how you feel. Pray prayers of repentance. Make lists of all of it. Have a miscellaneous lists of things you’ve prayed for.

Don’t over-spiritualize prayer and don’t under-spiritualize it either. See prayer for what it is. Know what it is. And seek to honor God in all of it.

Don’t be afraid of starting small. Even if it’s a few things a day, do it. But resolve to grow in it. It’s wrong to feel like you need to pray for three hours or thirty minutes. Work up to that time, but start with thirty seconds.

Perhaps you should be more mature in your prayer “life” by now. You’ve been “walking with God” for ten years now. Well, repent of your lack of growth in this area, because you haven’t cultivated it, and begin small.


Husbands: Resolve to do Family Devotions

When we resolve to do something we are not merely tipping our hats at an idea. We are declaring the importance of our resolution and are deciding to work towards that knowing the cost.

And so I am resolving to do more family devotions in this new year because I have done a horrible job this past year, which shouldn’t be.

As a husband, I am the head of my wife and I am commanded to imitate Christ in my marriage. One of the ways I do that is by washing my wife with the water of the word. Am I doing this? Husbands, are you doing this?

And we don’t wash her by correcting her when she is wrong and using three examples from the bible, though there are times for that. Do you wash her with word in the same way that Christ washed His disciples with the word? Are you doing it in and out of season? Are you doing it when she doesn’t “need it?”

This isn’t simply a snickering matter. We must not feel smug because many other men around us don’t do it. We must not compare ourselves to ourselves. We must compare ourselves to Christ and strive to be like Him. We are told to do this. To not do it is sin. We are the heads of our houses. How is the growth of those under you?

There isn’t a one size fits all answer to how to do the devotions or when or how often, but it must be something you think about and do and plan, aiming for the growth and good of your wife, caring for her as you care for yourself. Caring for your family. Tending them like a shepherd.

May we repent of our slothfulness in this area. May we repent of our laziness in this. Let us take up the fact of our headship and be good heads, leading like the good shepherd who leads us. If she doesn’t read on her own, read with her. If she doesn’t pray on her own, pray with her. Sing with her. Love her as a sheep of Christ. Feed her as one of God’s people.

May we resolve to act like men, imitating the man of men, Christ.

 


Discipline

Discipline isn’t often a joyful thing at first. And I mean both, discipline as in the correction for doing something wrong, and discipline as in the diligence in doing what needs to be done everyday. But discipline produces joy, in much the same way discipline in planting and cultivating a garden produces fruit, or flowers, or a beautiful sight.

As I was growing up I thought that good things just happened to you and if something wasn’t easy then it wasn’t right. So instead of writing, I desired to write, but it was difficult, it took time and lots of energy and effort, and I thought that it must mean that I wasn’t good at it, a natural, or gifted. Even worse, as a believer in a god of sorts, I thought that this couldn’t be what the great cosmic god wanted me to do.

But, praise be to God that I have come to know the truth. And the truth is, good things take work, energy, time and effort. To sum that up, it takes discipline, or diligence. Which are godly characteristics.

Today, I see people praising spontaneity. If something is spontaneous, then it must be good because it must be genuine and come from the heart. If you’re going to do some act of love, it must spring up out of nothing. What happens, of course, is those “spontaneous” acts generally become the same two or three acts that are done over and over again, slowly and surely puttering out. But why is this? Because love is work, love is cultivation, and love can be awakened and put to sleep. To steal from the book of Revelation, love can be hot or cold, and even lukewarm. And the worse of the three is lukewarm.

But, in order to truly be spontaneous, one must practice diligence in cultivating true love, genuine affection and action. From that cultivation there will be times of spontaneous actions that arise from the cultivation. Otherwise, if we are hoping on the spontaneous, then often that rides on a flash in the pan, a spirt of energy that has no root, and eventually will extinguish.

I aim no longer to be spontaneous, nor to do something ‘when I feel like it.’ I pray that I will be diligent in those things the Lord calls diligence, and that I will as well be disciplined in the things that I need to be in order to provide and care for my family. True cultivation and growth doesn’t come from the seed, that starts the process. True cultivation and growth comes from the soil, the rain, and the sun which are constantly pouring down upon that little germination of a plant.


Discipline and Resolutions

There was a point in Jesus’ ministry where he challenges his followers to count the cost of following him. In that challenge, he uses the example of a builder and a king going to war both needing to count the cost in order to know if they’ll be able to do it. And then he concludes by saying that the cost of following Jesus is everything:”Therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

The cost of following Jesus, of being His disciple, is everything. We can’t be like the builder, who can have extra left over, and build another tower or add some nice doors. We can’t be like the king, who may only need half of his army. No, we are followers of Christ. We have no left overs. Nothing in reserve. We give up everything.

But what is everything? Well, Jesus defines that for us. In verses 26-27 we see Jesus say that giving up everything means being devoted to Christ alone, and he does this by saying we must hate our families and ourselves. This may be alarming to those of us who have a different definition of hate, but it’ll be sufficient to say that when you are devoted to one thing and one thing only, you truly hate everything else because it may deter you from that thing.

Without going into lengthy discussion about the use of the term hate, I will remind all that it is Jesus who tell’s us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which he is quoting the Torah. And it is Paul who commands us to love our wives as Christ loved the church. I throw those out because God cannot contradict himself. But you can wrestle with that.

So, Christ commands us to count the cost. And I want to take a principle from there, and apply it to our lives, especially as many of us prepare to make resolutions.

My charge is this: 1) Is this resolution a demonstration of devotion towards God? 2) Did you count the cost of this resolution?

I believe if we truly count the cost, which might mean not making the resolution because, at least for now, it may not be a demonstration of devotion towards God, and thus think it through and plan it out, we will be much further ahead in actually living out our resolutions. And I believe it’s because of two things: 1) Our priorities are considered and things are thus rearranged in our lives in considering what the resolution may cost (time, money, loss of time with others or doing other activities, driving further, etc), and 2) As we think about it and meditate upon the resolution, we may get more resolve and be prepared to accomplish the resolution or we may see that this truly isn’t a resolution we are willing to do.

Count the cost. And may your resolutions be done in faith, acts of devotions unto the Lord because we were made for good works.


Incarnation of Christ

As my wife and I continue to strive to be of one mind and heart, since we are one flesh, we have been talking about what our traditions are going to look like when we have our own home. Especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter. As we approach Christmas day, this season almost coming to a close, we reflect ever more upon the incarnation of Christ.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ is probably the most staggering, life altering, soul changing truth on this planet, right next to the death and resurrection of Christ. But why would that be?

The incarnation of Christ is the second person of the being of God (the second person of the trinity) becoming a man, taking on human flesh. Without Christ taking on human flesh you have no death or resurrection of Christ, no atonement of sin, no giving of the Holy Spirit, nor sanctification, justification, preservation, nor do you get an inheritance or eternal life.

Without the incarnation of Christ you don’t get Christianity.

But that’s not what’s staggering about it. To reflect upon the incarnation of Christ is to reflect upon the creator of the cosmos, the universe, and of all things in it, coming down and entering into his creation, becoming a part of it and joining into it. The incarnation demonstrates not only God’s love for His people, but also God’s love for the creation as a whole. He loved His people and His creation so much that He entered into it to restore it and make it new.

But he didn’t just enter into it. He entered into it as most men do, through a womb, through a mother. By being birthed. God didn’t merely come into the world by some mere appearing as a man. He came as a man via the same way all men come, except Christ didn’t have an earthly father or an earthly seed. The seed sown into Mary’s womb was the seed of God, not of man, and thus Christ was the God-man.

That is the reason why Christmas exists. It exists as a celebration of Christ entering into the world, of Christ coming to save His people and His creation. He loves both, and He is going to make both new. So enjoy giving gifts this seasons to one another. Feast, eat, drink, but be sober minded and enjoy the reason why we can do these things: Because God isn’t willing to destroy His creation, but that it be restored back to Himself.

What better way to demonstrate His amazing attributes than by keeping and restoring His creation rather than destroying it. Praise God for Him entering into the world as a baby, as a man, and for saving His people. May we forever dwell upon the greatness of God, the great patriarch.


What am I learning?: Russia

So over the past few weeks there has come out a lot of articles claiming that Russia has rigged the election. Some use the word rigged, others use words like influenced, meddled, and hacked.

I could point out the hypocrisy of the left and their moaning about the election when they were the ones who were upset that Trump and his followers wouldn’t accept the result. I could also make fun of and demonstrate the absolute childishness of it all. But it’s suffice to say that nearly huge percent of American’s need to grow up.

Something interesting I thought of while reading all about Russia and the leaking of the emails is this: So what if Russia meddled with the election? Doesn’t America do that all the time with nearly the rest of the world?

For a country who is all against bullying, we sure know how to bully the rest of the world. I think it’s about time America repents of it’s hypocrisy, owns up to our meddling with the rest of the world, and accepts that the world would love to influence our elections because our election actually affects the rest of the world more than most. And with great power given comes great responsibility.

I commend the Russian hacker. At least he was trying to influence the election. Most Americans don’t even vote.