Wednesday, September 22, 2021

21 things that are still true in 2021

1. God is still God. He is still on His throne, unshaken by what happens. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing is out of His control.

2. Right and wrong aren't subjective.

3. No matter how dark it is, the darkness can never drive away the light. In fact, a tiny flame can more easily be seen when it is shining in the dark than in the light of day.

4. God still uses refining fires. It's the hard times that expose and burn off all the things we need to get rid of so we can better reflect God.

5. Lies don't have to be silenced because they will always be exposed. What people fight to silence is the inconvenient truth.

6. Eventually, God's patience ends. He is love and bears with us longer than we deserve, but there always comes a time of judgment.

7. "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for all wisdom and power belong to Him. He sets in motion the times and the ages; He deposes kings and installs others; He gives wisdom to the wise and grants knowledge to those with understanding. He reveals deep truths and hidden secrets; He knows what lies veiled in the darkness; pure light radiates from within Him." (Daniel 2:20-22)

8. Yelling louder than the other person doesn't mean you win the argument.

9. I know my God is able to deliver me, but even if He doesn't I still will not bow.

10. The wisdom of man is foolishness before God.

11. Truth isn't decided by popular vote.

12. Even when my faith falters, He doesn't.

13. Our purpose on earth hasn't changed. We are to serve God, not man.

14. "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him." (Proverbs 26:4)

15. "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." (Proverbs 26:5)

16. Following Christ is simple, but it is seldom easy.

17. Though we can't always see how, God is always at work.

18. Freedom is the ability to say no.

19. God will always save His remnant.

20. Even when it isn't popular, our job is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

21. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5-6)




Bonus quote from my Grandpa: "It takes a good man to overcome too much education."

Thursday, September 9, 2021

war

 War is raging all around us, and for far too long many of us have been too blind to see. Sure, we know the verses that talk about how our war isn't against flesh and blood... but when our flesh is comfortable it is so easy to think those verses apply to another time or another place.

What we don't realize, though, is that comfort often leads to complacency, and complacency is a tactic of the enemy. If we're complacent, we aren't on guard. We aren't the watchmen we're called to be, working with one hand and carrying a sword in the other. When we are complacent, we start thinking that this physical world is the only thing that matters--we focus on making sure our flesh is comfortable and content and push down the urging of our spirit to stand up, to fight back, to do something.

 



 We aren't called to comfort. We aren't called to a life of ease and quiet. In fact, Jesus warned multiple times that a life following Him would be a life of trials.

'16 Listen: I am sending you out to be sheep among wolves. You must be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. 17 You must be careful. You must be discerning. You must be on your guard. There will be men who try to hand you over to their town councils and have you flogged in their synagogues. 18 Because of Me, naysayers and doubters will try to make an example out of you by trying you before rulers and kings. 19 When this happens—when you are arrested, dragged to court—don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. The words you should speak will be given to you. For at that moment, 20 it will not be you speaking; it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 Your task will be fraught with betrayal: brother will betray brother, even to the point of death; fathers will betray their children, and children will rebel against their fathers, even to the point of death. 22-23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next town. This is the truth: you will not be able to witness to every town in Israel before the Son of Man comes. Everyone will hate you because of Me. But remember: the one who stays on the narrow path until the end will be saved.

24 A student is no greater than his teacher, and a servant is never greater than his master. 25 It is sufficient if the student is like his teacher and the servant like his master. If people call the head of a house “Beelzebul,” which means “devil,” just imagine what they’re calling the members of his household.

26 Do not be afraid of those who may taunt or persecute you. Everything they do—even if they think they are hiding behind closed doors—will come to light. All their secrets will eventually be made known. 27 And you should proclaim in the bright light of day everything that I have whispered to you in the dark. Whatever whispers you hear—shout them from the rooftops of houses.

28 Don’t fear those who aim to kill just the body but are unable to touch the soul. The One to fear is He who can destroy you, soul and body, in the fires of hell. 29 Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. 30-31 You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.'
Matthew 10:16-31

We need to stop being so afraid of what the world thinks of us and start purposefully following Christ. It's so easy to just sit back and be quiet, to stay just under the radar and convince ourselves that we aren't supposed to cause a stir. The problem is, that's not the truth. We are supposed to be lights in the darkness, showing Christ when the world around us is trying to hide Him.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Justice, Mercy, & Grace

 Adrian Rogers once gave the following set of definitions in a sermon:

Justice--getting what you deserve
Mercy--not getting what you deserve
Grace--getting what you don't deserve

It presents a very clear picture of our relationship with God and how it changes.

Right now, there's a huge focus on the idea of "justice" in society. People are demanding it at every turn, though when I listen to what they say they want, it sure doesn't sound like justice. When you look back into the Old Testament, the law was God's way of offering justice to His people. As a righteous Judge, God must deal in justice. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, justice essentially boils down to dealing with truth and fact with impartiality. Justice means that each person is dealt with exactly how they should be. I get what I deserve--no more, no less. If God's people lived faithfully under the Law, they got what they deserved.

So justice isn't such a bad thing, right? I mean, I've upheld the 10 commandments, right?

I haven't ever murdered anyone. But then there's that pesky verse where Jesus said that anyone who is angry with their brother without reason is just as guilty. According to His words, I'm deserving of judgment.

What about adultery? I'm good there, right? Under the letter of the law, yes. But it's another place where Jesus says that the letter of the law isn't what matters. If you look at someone other than your spouse with lust, that's adultery in your heart.

Uh oh--this whole "justice" thing isn't looking so good. But what about the one about idols? I haven't put up any carved idols in my house that I pray to or offer sacrifices to... but I have trusted money above God's providence. I've relied on my own judgment instead of following God's direction. I've put the good above the best time and time again. Oh wait. Now I think we're running over into the first commandment not to put anything above God.

And that's just with the biggies--the ones that should be "easy" to follow.

Thankfully, we're reminded time and time again that God understands us. In Psalm 103 we're told, "For He knows what we are made of; He knows our frame is frail, and He remembers we came from dust." He knew we couldn't stand under the weight of the justice of the law, so that's where mercy comes in.

Justice requires payment, and the payment sin requires is death. In order to spare us from paying that cost, Jesus stepped down into creation and paid the price for us with His death. His sacrifice meant that we don't have to pay the price for our sins--we don't have to get what we deserve.

That on its own would have been enough. The sacrifice would have been enough to save us from the penalty of our sins (not the consequences of our actions... but that's a topic for another day). That in itself--that mercy, the Son sent to pay the penalty for our sins--would have been so much better than we deserve.

But God.

As is so often the case, God didn't leave things at mercy. Instead, He chose to show us grace. He didn't just leave us at a place where our sins were paid for--He chose to give us gifts better than anything we could ever imagine. He chose to reward us as His children, heirs to His kingdom.

I'm so incredibly thankful that God chooses grace over justice.



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

13

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20

Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, 31

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20

Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23

Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25

Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20

Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22

 

Never forget.




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