Archives For FYI

Something you learned in your devotions

The Rumours Of His Parties...

The Rumours Of His Parties… (Photo credit: Brainless Angel)

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Didn’t see that coming did you?

Let’s review, Richard Cory had everything a person could want: like-ability,health, attractiveness, attitude(swag), beauty, intelligence, money, fame, and admirers. Richard Cory illustrates how wealth cannot bring contentment. You can’t fill emptiness with more emptiness because in the end all you get is nothing. Are you hungry right now? How about a few hours from now? Hunger is temporarily satisfied and then hungry again. Materialism is the same way it’s like our metaphysical hunger and it’s insatiable.

Apart from God’s living water and bread of life we will always thirst and always hunger. Richard Cory supposedly had the whole world in his hands but instead reached for a pistol and took his own life because he could not see anyone or anything to satisfy his thirst. “The key to life is not money, power, respect or even two private jets (Lecrae) but it is the bread of life and his name is Jesus Christ.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

 
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Themes from Psalm 49

jordantmoody —  February 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

(Select verses from Psalm 49)

 

Why should I fear in times of trouble?

For he sees that even the wise die;

the fool and the stupid alike must perish

and leave their wealth to others.

Man in his pomp will not remain;

he is like the beasts that perish.

For when he dies he will carry nothing away;

his glory will not go down after him.

Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

BUT GOD…

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,

for he will receive me.

 

 

With Obama winning reelection in 2012, many Christian voters view this country differently now than they did yesterday. Have we taken a step away from conservative values and morality?  I voted for a candidate who I thought would be able to align my country more closely with my Christian worldview. When God allows us to foolishly pursue our own wisdom apart from his own, bad things happen. When we dethrone God and instead enthrone ourselves, bad things happen. (i.e. Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment, Daniel 2)

 

What scares me, is not our President, but ourselves. We are naturally anti-God because of our rebellious sin nature. But God’s favor is upon those who are humble and look to God as the guiding compass and not ourselves, government, or president.

Isaiah 66:1-3

Isa 66:1 Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?
Isa 66:2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

 

Our country is anything but that last verse. We seem to be more like verse 3 with all of our arrogance,pride, and distractions.

Isa 66:3 “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations;
Isa 66:4 I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.”

Don’t these last verses explain our country? God is calling us, but we aren’t home. God spoke to us, but we ignored him. All the while, doing all sorts of obvious evils in his sight and attempting to call them OK.

But Christian, this election should just motivate you further to take the blinders off of this country. See the light in Jesus Christ and not in politics. For God promises to always be there and in control. Listen to his promises to us.

Daniel 2:21

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Psalm 75:6-7

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,  but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. 

Ultimately, Christian it’s up to God. Trust Him. Plead with Him. Ask Him to send a revival to the hearts of America. God really can do anything.

Be motivated. Pursue God and tremble at His Word. Pray God will have favor on us and send revival. Pray he will use us to save this country and not politics.

 

Project CLVI: Week 1

thewildsofne —  September 17, 2012 — 2 Comments

September 17-September 23

LISTEN TO SERMON: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=916121719233READ:

Monday…Luke 1:1-3:38

Tuesday…Luke 4:1-7:35

Wednesday…Luke 7:36-10:37

Thursday…Luke 10:38-13:35

Friday…Luke 14:1-18:43

Saturday…Luke 19:1-22:23

Sunday…Luke 22:24-24:53

WEEK 1 MEMORY VERSE

Luke 1:4 “That you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONS:

In the Gospel of Luke, how many times does Jesus predict His death? Give verses for each prediction.

Start a diary of opportunities you had to give out the Gospel of Luke…this can be physically or digitally.

What did you take-away from this week’s study?

**Share your answers and thoughts in the comments**

I just finished reading through II Peter in my devotions. Here are some meditations I wrote down from chapter 3:

God’s character leads him to be patient. This patience leads to salvation. So, I can conclude then that God’s character leads him to provide salvation. He is a salvation-providing God. These truths give me some framework for understanding how God works in specific situations. There is a lot I may not understand in a given circumstance. But I do know something: God desires to bring salvation to people. He desires to save lost people, and he desires the continual salvation of found people. So, when I long for the new heavens and new earth and grow tired of the groanings of this life, I need to remember that in this time God is patiently waiting. And as he patiently waits he accomplishes salvation, not just for others but for me; not just for me but through me.

Come Unto Me

dannygugger —  August 2, 2012 — 3 Comments

I love taking naps. Sometimes, I get so excited about taking naps that I can’t sleep. I used to hate naps (mostly because I was forced to take them instead of playing outside). Those days have long passed. I have a fairly busy schedule, so, to me, naps are like the instant recharge and refuel that keep me going. Also…I wake up feeling amazing. Most often, naps are my relief from the weariness of work or pain. I used to think that Christ offered rest like that…like the rest he offered was some sort of spiritual nap to relieve me from all the pains and trials of everyday life. I thought it was kind of like an escape from real life. I remember seeing a painting of the following verse depicting Christ with a sleeping child on his lap and a lamb sitting at his feet.

Matt. 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

God promises an easy life and a Joel Osteen brand of heaven on earth type bliss, Right? Isn’t that what this passage is saying? Isn’t Christ offering spiritual nap-time to all the weary travelers of the world? I don’t think so. Let’s back up a couple verses and see who he’s talking to.

Matt 11:20-30 Then He proceeded to denounce the towns where most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin!  Woe to you, Bethsaida!  For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon,  they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes long ago! 22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment  than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to Hades.  For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until today. 24 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

 

Jesus has just issued the strongest warning toward people that he ever gave while on this earth. He’s talking to the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. After explaining the horrible logic they used to give themselves a reason to hate the messiah (accusing Christ of being a drunkard for eating with sinners), he begins to pronounce a warning to two cities; mostly because of the amount of revelation they received and the degree to which they rejected it. He says that even the most notoriously evil cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, will be better off on the day of judgment than these two cities (Chorazin and Bethsaida). The reason the day of Judgment will be so bad for them is that salvation was so close to them and they refused to see it. It’s that they were so arrogant that they didn’t care to notice Christ standing in front of them on earth. The feeling that they rejected something so obvious will be worse for them than Sodom and Gommorrah who never saw God in person or his miracles. Let’s continue on:

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him….

Jesus is telling them…you think you know me. And what you think you know about me…you don’t like. Just like John the Baptist (Matt. 11:1-15)…you are letting your presuppositions of what you think the Messiah should be like influence the view you have of him. You think he should fit into your little mold. So instead…you ask for another. You write the one off who’s actually the Messiah as a drunkard and a glutton. Your values are completely skewed. You think that you are wise. I thank God that he does not take your human intellect into account. (It is interesting that when Peter came to a true understanding of who Christ was, Jesus commented by saying that it wasn’t flesh or blood that revealed Christ to him…it was by “my Father”). Instead the gospel is easer for those who are not as arrogant and foolishly wise as you. They have less to be offended by (v. 6). In fact…this is how things really work. You think you know me… but nobody knows me except my Father. Nobody knows the Father except me and whomever I desire to reveal him to. Instead of being the glutton and drunkard you think I am…I’m going to turn your world upside down and reveal myself to you in the middle of your unbelief. This is who I really am. I am one who extends rest and patient learning to all who will come to me. Even you. The one’s who are rejecting me.

These are the people Christ is talking to when he issues the following invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

He gave that invitation to the people who hated him. He says to them, “I will give you rest.” Often, as Christians today, we get confused about this “rest” that Christ promised. Instead of spiritual nap-time Christ offers a rest that is a burden. He says, “You’re already burdened, but you have no help carrying it. I will carry your burden for you. In return I’ll give you a burden that is only seemingly a burden. It’s only a burden if you make it one. It’s called the cross. You give me the burden of your sin…I’ll give you my cross. My yoke is the cross. You are not content wrapped up in your burdens. You can’t be. So, I offer you another way. You have the yoke of your sin and it’s so hard because you make it that way. All you have is the law that constantly condemns you. Your life is hard because you’re beaten down by the law. Let me take that from you and give you my grace. Let me give you my grace.” This is the rest that we find in the Messiah.

Our burden has been exchanged for a cross. Life is not promised to be “easy.” However, if we are trusting God he shares the weight of our life. It’s no longer you who has to carry it.

Rejoice in the work of Christ this season. Explore the greatness of his offer.

Anyone who knows me knows which description best suits me. I’d have to say fat boy over Olympian. Friends like Jordan and Nick may have 1% body fat, but this guy can claim a few more than that. I think we’ve all seen or heard about Michael Phelps and his recent poor health. I confess my curiosity – I googled his images and saw a pic of his little pot belly. I don’t know what type of shape he is in now, but I image he came to London ready for some good competition. The Apostle Paul, ever the athletic fan, tells the Philippian church (chapter 3) to “press on.” He tells them twice in fact. He’s thankful for God’s grace and working, but He desires to “press on” for as long as God gives him life and strength. Paul also gives them two big imperatives: 1) don’t look back and 2) work forward. Both can be such distractions

I can tend to be so passive. This characteristic could be called “quiet-ism.” The opposite is called “pietism” (doing it all myself). We may struggle to understand God’s work and our responsibility. We must, however, understand that God calls us to PRESS ON. Look hard to him and use all the grace God gives you! Follow Paul’s example and STRAIN TOWARDS THE GOAL!

And it wouldn’t hurt to keep me physically accountable. “Fat boy” isn’t the best description for anyone!

Whatever…

jordantmoody —  July 27, 2012 — 2 Comments
Whatever

Whatever (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

“Whatever” is often a phrase heard by attitude driven teenage girls who model their lives after a devious mix of Mean Girls and Lady Gaga. When posed with a situation when one of these tweeners must make a decision that demands responsibility or effort, in order to sound more important than the question or situation, she answers with a nasal response such as, “Whaaateverrr.” However, I think this seemingly mindless word “whatever” is quite the opposite from its popular use today. “Whatever” takes on a meaning completely opposite from its current use and the contrast is striking. “Whatever” today implying “nothing matters because I am more important,” as opposed to the Biblical usage of the word “whatever” meaning “nothing matters because Christ is more important.” These definitions are my own and the way I have seen it in the scripture but I think you will see what I mean as I further explain myself.

Paul mentions this idea in Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Again in Philippians 4:11
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Paul shows his contentment with this word “whatever.” He says further on that he has been brought low and yet he knows how to abound but that in any and every situation or circumstance, he has learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger or abundance and need. (4:12)

Paul had learned how to be content. He had learned it is Christ who supplies all his needs. If God cares for the lilies of the field and provides food for the sparrows how much more will he care for Paul and you? However, Paul’s contentment did not cause him to sit around and meditate in a zen-like state humming with a bunch of bald monks. No, on the contrary, he acted using contentment as his support system for what may befall his actions.

You see, contentment supports action. Christ was the most important thing to Paul. Christ was everything to him. Therefore, all other things, however important and sentimental they may be, were by the definition of the word, second. Christ was to come first and therefore whatever difficulty or trial that may arise was “whatever” in comparison to glorifying Christ.

Paul then could write Phil. 4:13 with confidence because Christ was first and he was content serving Him in whatever situation that may be. (This also happens to be the theme verse of Dublin Christian Academy. I recently heard Sam Wulbrandt share a misconception of this verse.  This verse is commonly taken out of context and away from its meaning of contentment not necessarily empowerment to attain superhuman strength.)

Paul shows his confidence in this belief Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

How could Paul say that? Really? All things? Does this mean I can pick up a car with one hand and throw it into the ocean if I want to? No. I can do all things (or whatever) because I am content with any state Christ will put me in because He is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in my life. Therefore, whether sickness and storms, whether pain and sorrow, whether success or failure, I can do it all because Christ gives me strength to do so. I may still feel pain but the pain is bearable because I am content in His success. For as Desiring God Ministries says so often and pointedly summarizes Paul’s theme,  “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Doubt

bobbyemberley —  July 22, 2012 — 2 Comments

There is a song that has come out in the past year or so by Laura Story entitled “Blessings.” It has been a tremendous encouragement to many people I know. The lyrics are as follows:

We pray for blessings

We pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need

Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We gravitate towards this song because of its inspirational nature. It brings us face to face with the healing, protection and comfort we all lack but desperately need. Then it gives us the answer.

But what if we hear this song and wonder if it’s actually true? What if we think of our own problems and hardships as we hear this song, and it causes us to become cynical? What if raindrops are simply raindrops? What if tears are wasted? What if a thousand sleepless nights lead simply to despair?

I would like to submit that while this response certainly isn’t ideal, it has been the response of Christians throughout the Bible, and it does not necessarily signify a lack of faith.

  1. Abraham responded this way.

In Romans 4 he is set up as an example of faith. Romans 4:19-20 says, “19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”

Yet, let’s go back to the passage in Genesis that this account refers to. When it seemed impossible for Sarah to give him a son, Abraham turned to his servant Hagar in order to have a child (Gen. 16:1-6). When God told Abraham again when he was 99 years old that he was going to have a son, Abraham fell on his face and laughed (Gen. 17:17).

2.    David responded this way.

In a numbers of psalms David questions God. He struggles to trust, and he doubts God’s protection, power and provision. Frequently, David follows his discouragements with an inspiring discourse on God’s faithfulness. Yet, in other psalms David doesn’t come back to reassure himself of God’s character. He begins and ends in doubt and questioning. Perhaps he fell asleep with no assurance and awoke feeling no better. Whatever the case some psalms don’t end on the mountaintop, or even on the plain; they end in the valley.

3.    Peter responded this way.

 At one point in Jesus’ ministry when he was teaching some hard truths, many in the crowd of people who had been following him began to desert him. Jesus turned to the 12 disciples and asked them whether they were going to walk away as well. Peter responded by saying, “To whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.” His response did not indicate he knew all the answers and had everything figured out. He simply knew he couldn’t walk away.

I think any one of us would be honored to have our name included in this brief list of men. Abraham, David and Peter, all great men of the Scripture. Yet, they all responded in doubt and questioning at some points. We could even extend the list to include many others: Job in his affliction, Paul and his thorn in the flesh, the father who believed but needed help in his unbelief.

What do these responses tell us about doubt? They tell us we are safe simply being ourselves before God. Even at low points when songs and biblical truths should encourage us but fail to do so, God accepts us. He listens to us, and we remain in his care. They tell us that if the Bible sets up these men as examples of faith despite their doubt, then our doubts do not exclude us from having faith. Indeed, for some certainty and faith is most acutely forged in the fires of doubt. For some, it can be no other way.

Fellows,

Sorry its been so long, but life just happens, doesn’t it. Anyway, I’ve been in Philippians 3 and seeing that any attempt at righteousness without Christ is just a joke. If Paul lived today, he might possibly say all our “good works” are a bunch of crap. Some may not like that word, but I write it to express the power of the statement. If anyone had a good “religious resume,” it was Paul. He (follow me here) was dedicated at church, went to VBS, a Christian School, a Christian College and seminary. He excelled in EVERYTHING. Only Christ’s righteousness, however, could save his soul – never his good works.

Regenerate Christians live a different live – no doubt. The Spirit gives them help to do it, and you bear a responsibility to obey, But never for a second think “you got this.” You owe and need Jesus!

Just a quick one, but hope it may encourage you.