Thursday, December 31, 2009

His Thoughts or His Mind?

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;"
Philippians 2:5

"For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8

If his thoughts are above our thoughts, then how can the mind of Christ be in us?

It is not the understanding thoughts of the Almighty's ways that we are to have in us, but rather the mind of willingness to do God's will and humility that the Saviour possessed while on earth. It is not the ability to know all things as God does in Isaiah 55:8 that we are commanded to have, but the ability to obey without understanding, like Christ did in Philippians 2:5.

Too often we desire the opposite: to understand the ways of God Almighty and his perfect design, and yet we refuse to have the submitted, self-sacrificial mind that our Lord displayed in his life on earth, though we be commanded to "follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21) The path of Phillipians 2:5-8 goes unaccomplished in most Christians as they seek to know "why" God does things, reaching beyond human comprehension into the knowledge of an infinite God, which we will never understand.

Our Lord would rather us have a Christ-like submission to his authority, crucifying ourselves with Christ. In this way, it is not our will, but his being done. This is the mind of Christ.

Therefore, not understanding God Almighty's thoughts and ways, let us have the mind of Christ.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

True Victory; True Defeat

Victory is a coveted thing. A measure of heavenly immortality on mortal earth. Victory is when you truly get triumph in the face of a struggle.

And defeat. Defeat is not a "knocked down but never knocked out" attitude. Defeat is when you lose. In effect, the battle is over. No one takes defeat well.

I've felt victory before. True victory that was so longed-for and coveted that it almost hurt me for the exitement that I felt. It was a swelling of joy and longing in my heart that almost burst my spirit. And I've felt defeat. I've felt completely crushed, as if victory was not at all possible.

In fighting my flesh, victory and defeat are real things. In spiritual warfare, both of these can be felt. Sometimes just a whiff of victory can be very encouraging at a point in life where the campaign seems marked by defeat.

Most of the time, victory cannot be acheived because our battle efforts are not passionate enough. We lack the energy and will to do what is necessary in certain battles to gain victory. Then we get knocked down. We suffer losses. We take steps backward.

A lot of times, a defeat can aggravate me to the point that I will go all out, sparing no expense, and doing drastic things physically and spiritually to gain that victory. I'm a winner, and losing is not something I do well. And if anything good can come from losing, it is the determination that pushes me over the top to gain the victory, because I've made the effort necessary to win.

And that's where you need to get if you seem to never gain the victory. Get in a mode of win-or-die syndrome. And give it all you've got! You cannot go too far in putting forth an effort to gain a victory for God. Do the drastic things that seem overboard if that's what it takes. Fast for long periods of time. Pray at crazy hours of the morning and night. Get close to God in ways that you need to in order to get the upper hand on the flesh. You have to make the flesh weary and wasted before the spiritual man can get a solid foothold. Make the old flesh weary and tired. Then get a hold of God, and beg him for his strength. Victory is possible. Especially after defeat. God wants Christians to be victorious, and with his help and a sincere will-power, it can be acheived.

This is the purpose of the altar in the Bible--for flesh to be sacrificed. Burn the flesh. When the stink of burning flesh begins to rise out of your life towards God and for God, he says it will be a "sweet smelling savor." What stinks to you in the flesh will smell good to our Savior. Lay yourself on the altar, and kill the wicked flesh, sacrificing it to the Lord.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galations 2:20

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Ladies Meeting Setup

I have been sick for the last two days, and finding myself without much to do, I thought I would put up a few pictures. Although ladies meetings have nothing to do with me, I usually have a lot to do with the setup, cleanup, and eating up of the leftovers. So, I thought since I had a lot of investment in it, I’d put up a few pictures of that.

photo photo 3

Somehow food tastes better when you eat it in a nice setting.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 4

Somehow my mom couldn’t bear not to have a Christmas tree, so we settled for this little 3 footer. The way I see it, I have enough work to do without making extra work for myself. Makes sense, right?

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These were the able waiters at the party. Many times I have been in those outfits, getting picked on, poked at cause I was at a ladies meeting, getting my cheeks pinched, and being told I was handsome all night (though it may be true). :) I don’t envy you boys… hope you had a blast! :D After setup, I left and went with Russell over to his trailer for a few hours. I’m sure the ladies had a good time, as always.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Double Decision

Fork in the Road

It is always easy to say things. It’s not always so easy to do them.

Words spoken in time of ease many times are hard to swallow in times of testing. And due to the excess of words, we find ourselves questioning things that we once have said, and now are expected to act upon.

It’s not that what was once said was wrong. It doesn’t even mean that we no longer believe it now that the testing is upon us. But our flesh gets into situations where our desire is so overwhelming that the things we once stood for are now being second-guessed and even being tossed to and fro in our minds.

As a Christian who takes a stand for many things, this is especially important. You must take that stand, but taking that stand will require you to live a very specific way.

“LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?…[he] In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” Psalm 15:1,4

Swearing to your own hurt, and changing not. These are powerful words spoken by the psalmist, realizing some things he knew personally.

David said he would not touch God’s anointed. When Saul began throwing spears, David ran. He honored his word. But it did not end there. After more than 5 years of running from Saul, the opportunity to kill him was well within David’s grasp. Yet he apologized and repented for simply cutting the cloth of Saul’s garment. Swearing to your own hurt… and CHANGING NOT!

Stability is probably the most lacked character trait in this generation. People don’t even know what to stand for, and then those that do know what to stand for don’t stand.

There’s no such thing as making a decision for God only one time. If you make a decision for the Lord, the devil is sure to test it. Try it. If you made the decision once, you will need to make the same decision again.

I made the decision a long time ago to do whatever the Lord told me to do. A semester into college, I’ve made that decision at least 100 more times. :)

I made the decision not to use certain language. I make that same decision every time I go to work and deal with certain people that do their best to bring out the worst in me.

I made the decision to keep myself pure, saving my heart and body for the precious young lady I marry. I made that same decision again today.

The point is, if you made the decision for the Lord, expect to make it again, and again, and again. A world of sin is against everything you promise the Lord.

Have you made the decision to do whatever God wants? If you have, then never let financial circumstances, geographic locations, or self-will deter you.

Have you vowed to keep yourself pure? If the answer is yes, then never, ever give your heart, emotions, or feelings to anyone whom God has not expressly told you is the man or woman you will marry, and only then after you have the go-ahead from God’s authority in your life. In fact, I ask every unmarried young adult with Christian parents reading this to make a vow to the Lord: Vow to never pursue a relationship that leads to marriage until both of your parents approve. If one of them sees a problem, then there’s something wrong. But I promise you, if both of them agree that it is good, you can be sure the Lord is in it. (That advice was unplanned so that was free of charge) :D

And that will be another decision that your flesh will be sure to test you on. Just remember, even if it hurts, CHANGE NOT! What was right when you made the decision is still right today. Do not change based on the situation. The circumstances do not warrant exceptions, the circumstances show what you really believed all along. Stick with those decisions… especially when it hurts. God loves to see his children make decisions, and then make the same decision again when the going gets tough and it isn’t easy, because it honors him.

Double decisions will be the greatest tool of public testimony you can have. And to top it off, God will be pleased. And when he smiles, the frowns of the world won’t mean a thing. I love to make God smile, and he put it on my heart to write this post. God is pleased with double decisions!