Wednesday, March 24, 2010


And then he added, "It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you."
—Mark 7:20-23

Three enemies that we contend with as Christians are the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world with its allure is the external foe. The flesh with its evil desires is the internal foe. And the devil with his enticements is the infernal foe. These are what we deal with on a daily basis.
The problem is that we become frenemies with the world. A frenemy is someone whom you normally don't get along with, but if it serves both of your purposes, you temporarily become friends. Or, it might be a love-hate relationship: You are on. You are off. You are on. You are off. Then again, it might be a description of a relationship that is poisonous, and whenever you are around that person, it drags you down spiritually. Thus, he or she becomes a frenemy.
Some of us have become frenemies with the world. When the Bible speaks of the world, it doesn't mean the planet Earth. It is speaking of a pervasive philosophy that infects everything, everywhere. We are told in 1 John 2:16, "For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world."
The world is enticing. But for its pull to work, we must desire what it is offering. Jesus said, "It is what comes from inside that defiles you" (Mark 7:20). Why do we do the stupid stuff that we do? It is just our nature—our human, sinful nature. We have to be aware of the combustible, evil, sinful nature that is inside every one of us. The answer is not within; the problem is within. So when we give in to temptation, we have ourselves to thank.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Talk to me

Everywhere we go people are telling us something. From trying to sell us things, to informing us – even transforming us. It seems everyone has a message that they want us to hear. I turn on the TV and see advertisements telling me how cool their product is (they normally seduce viewers with sex and lust and with a message totally unrelated to the product). I walk down the street and I’m told I need new windows and then listen about how great their windows are and how much I’m going to miss out. I go on the internet and see messages flying around everywhere. I listen to my ipod and am told hundreds of different messages and opinions by the writer. I read books and blogs and read opinions and different ideologies and theologies. And my head is spinning… The Bible is very clear when it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 ‘take captive every thought.’ I love that word ‘captive.’ For me it implies that I take hostage thoughts before letting them in. The dictionary definitions bring up words like prisoner, kept in confinement or restraint. So when a thought comes, we sort of, mentally put a gun to its head and assess it before we let it in to our lives. With the many messages and opinions flying around, it is so easy to see why there is a plethora of confused people out there. Take captive every thought. Technology changes, innovation is always sought after, there is always a new thing. People want things so that they can be in the know. A lot of churches are duplicating one another and all of a sudden they’re ‘trendy.’ I have recently been reading various blogs about contemporary Church leadership, innovation and strategists opinions – and now I have a head ache. Christians have this thing in complicating things. After reading some of these articles I found myself pondering about how we could apply some of their methods to our Church and took them for face value. I didn’t at all feel peaceful, so I got before God and told him my thoughts, insecurities and surrendered to him. We can be so concerned about the messages people want to tell us – and totally miss what God is saying. I realised this recently, so I cancelled an evenings plans, and I drove to a stretch of really secluded countryside, maybe 10 miles away from home. It was just me. No one else, no blackberry, no notepad, no pen, no watch. Just me and God. I walked across beautiful farmland with no other person in site, for miles and miles.

I poured out my heart to God and had time to just BE. No thinking, no innovating, nothing but spending time with God and receiving strength from the time I had with him in that moment. I felt so refreshed, so loved. When we read the gospels, we often read of Jesus going up the mountain, to pray, to spend time with the father. Recently I was thinking about this, he climbed this mountain, probably daily, to spend time with God. He was always with others, giving. But on the mountain, he received. A few points I’ve observed: 1) We cannot keep giving without receiving Jesus spent all of his time with people, he did amazing miracles, he spent time with the greatest sinners of the day, he preached in the synagogues and all over the place, he spent time with individuals and he endured temptation and constant persecution. In the natural, no one could do all of this GIVING and keep going. But Jesus could do all of this and keep going – because he received. We know that Jesus spent time on the mountain to pray to God & we can learn from this, that through spending time with him, alone, we can be strengthened and empowered to do the great things he has called us to do. 2) Climbing a mountain is hard work!! So, Jesus spent time on the mountain, a place secluded where he could be alone to spend time with God. I don’t think the mountain is particularly important, it is just a place Jesus went to be with God alone. The key here is ‘the spending time with God’ part. The bible says that we should go into a room and lock the door behind you when spending time with God. Again, I don’t that is the particularly important part, it is just emphasising the importance of having that time with God. Have you ever tried to climb a mountain? It is really hard work. Sometimes the last thing you feel like doing, is climbing a mountain, but we need to realise that when we reach the top of the mountain, we can see so much more, we can see things we didn’t see before; life’s challenges seem small because on the mountain you are higher. This morning, I got up early, I made a breakfast beverage, got my Bible and headed out to our backyard and spent time on the mountain and prepared myself for the challenges the day had to bring and the messages the world offered me. How can we know what God is saying to us, when we don’t spend time with him? Answers welcome, although it is a rhetorical question – we can’t. So many Christians run out of steam and make stupid decisions because they go in their own strength and not God’s. RECEIVE…… Go and find your ‘mountain,’ wherever it is.

I am looking forward to going on my annual camping trip for some mountain interested?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

While researching a verse in a debate with someone on Christianity, I came across a verse that surprised me.
It still amazes me, how you can read the Bible over and over again, and still come across stuff that is fresh and new to me.
Ezekiel 16:49 (NASB) "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy."

When it comes to Sodom and Gomorrah, it seems we always focus on the sexual aspect of it. But it looks like the true sin lies in this verse here. In an abundance and a lack of sharing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Taking out the trash

I watched part of the "Jon and Kate + 8" the other night before sleepy time. I usually will watch from time to time to see how they handle stressful moments or issues with two 1st graders and six 3 yr. olds. They had there first planned movie night with popcorn and drinks in the basement to watch something the kids would enjoy. They love animals! So they watched "Planet Earth". My opinion.....HUGE mistake! They loved the monkeys, lions and goats. Until they saw one lion devour a monkey on the screen. It reminded me that I too have to be carefull what my son should watch. It is not out of trying to raise them like Quakers or to take away there rights. It is out of protection. Shouldn't I feel he would be ready before I allow him to view questionable stuff. They should be old enough to understand when you explain what is going on. Now I have the Gosselins in my memory as they are screaming and crying over the Lion eating the monkey. Now I am still terrified that they continued to allow them to watch the Lion eat the entire monkey. Every experience we’ve had is recorded in our memory (I wish I had the delete button for some of mine). If the sum of our life experience is negative and self-gratifying, that backlog of memory can have a powerful influence over our present circumstances. It’s important that we go to work eliminating the effects of those experiences.

One way to aid this process is what we could call the principle of diluting. If a truck carrying a toxic substance has a wreck on the freeway, a specialized crew is called to clear the toxins from the scene. To completely clear the contamination they’d have to get rid of the pavement, the dirt, and everything that’s affected. Instead, they spray a liquid on the contaminated area which dilutes the toxin, rendering it harmless. In a similar way, we can cancel the poisonous effects of the past by diluting them and covering them with God’s Word. Ephesians 5:26 says Jesus sanctified the Church, "having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…" As we meditate on the Word and act on what we learn, we receive cleansing and purifying benefits.
The disciplines of Bible meditation, scripture memorization are important tools and having company that will protect you from the trash this world dishes out will not only bring cleansing, but also help us remain wholehearted on this life long journey. This life is already hard enough....why make it harder! Take out the trash!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Who am I?

A very dirty little fellow came in from playing in the yard and asked his mother, "Who am I?" Ready to play the game she said, "I don't know! Who are you?" "WOW!" cried the child. "Mrs. Johnson was right! She said I was so dirty, my own mother wouldn't recognize me!"