Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ritual idols or idle rituals...

Do you raise your hands during worship? Do you pray out loud?

Why? Why do you do these things? Is your heart in it?

Often times the aforementioned actions are done to impress those around you. Or maybe you do those things to hide the lies of your "private" life and private sin from others. Or you do them just because you feel like it is what you are supposed to do. When this occurs these all become ritual idols. You spend so much time thinking about these things that they themselves become an idol. 

Others may be thinking that there is no need to raise your hands during worship or no need to pray out loud. Be careful, do not let these actions become idle rituals either. There is meaning behind the lifting of our hands. It shows surrender and we are designed to worship. Just send anyone to a sporting event, concert, (or whatever it is that gets someone excited. You scream, raise your hands, jump up and down, just to name a few). Praying out loud (or even just speaking confessions out loud) are necessary. The power of our words is incredible. I was unaware of this myself until just this last year. That is why it is so important to speak life in to others. Speak into their hearts intentionally to exhort and encourage them. Even speaking of yourself and your own life requires positive words and thoughts in order to nourish the fruit that you are capable of bearing!

You have to put your heart into all you do. Otherwise these outward actions simply become just that. If it comes down to the Christian life; are the outward actions not the easy part?
I say yes and I know this from experience. It is simple to show up raise your hands during worship, tell everyone how great you are doing and then go out get drunk, sleep with someone, and deal with depression alone in bed later in the week. So where was your heart in all of that? Why not do the difficult part and truly surrender your heart and let these "rituals" not only be physical actions but get the spirit involved. Even those that are not Christian believe in a spiritual realm. In fact many of them put their hearts more into what they do and believe than many Christians. 

It is time for Christians to get past the easy part and get to work. As long as you have breath you should be living deeply and surrendering that life to Him. If we all truly put our hearts in and surrendered our will we could truly change the world. 

Are you in?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Regain a clear perspective....

I feel like that is what God is wanting me to do these days. He has been doing such an amazing work in my heart over the last month.

For several months now he has been telling me to be a better steward. Not only of my finances, but of everything He has blessed me with. My job, time, friends, family, health, etc. I feel that I have been doing a great job of being a better steward in all areas...but we all know God will allow trials to enter our lives in order to stretch us as individuals and make us more mature in the physical realm as well as the spiritual.

Well, Friday July 30th my income dropped over $12,000.00 year. This is a significant amount of my net income. This happening at a time when my insurance renewal is due, vehicle maintenance is rapidly approaching, the need for new tires seem to be on the horizon, and that is just expenses related to my car! Needless to say, this is one of those trials. It was extremely discouraging initially, but I have an amazing peace about it now. This peace could only come from God being that my income is now less than my expenses. However, I know that God is my provider and I will get through this.

Two to three years ago I would have allowed this trial to become a temptation with my thoughts. I would have gotten discouraged and likely gone to a bar to try to medicate with alcohol to "make it all better". I am not talking about going on a drinking spree and finding myself passed out in a gutter somewhere or waking up in the back of a truck with a new tattoo. No, not that kind of medicating. Simply going to the bar and having a few drinks which would then likely lead to a few cigarettes and too little sleep before waking up the next morning for work. Some of you may say, "What's the harm in that?" Well, as a result of those actions I would have spent money that I should be utilizing for groceries, fuel, rent, etc. It was a vicious cycle that I still sometimes wonder how I got through. Now I realize that the way out of temptation is to endure it as a trial, never allow your thoughts to turn it into a temptation by taking every thought captive, and endure all trials with joy!

So now I ask you...do you too need to regain a clear perspective of things?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic...

So I realize it has been a while since I have written a post. So much has happened since then. There is much to rejoice about! Will you rejoice with me?

I will start with some great things about my son Andrew. I have kind of kept him out of the blog for a while, but this is worth sharing. Recently he graduated pre-K; at that time they had a math test of 100 problems of addition and subtraction. The children were then told they had five minutes to complete as many problems as they could. Well, my son Andrew completed all 100 and got them all correct! How incredibly exciting and awesome is that! WOOOHOOOOOO! I got to talk to him about it and he spoke to me longer than he ever had previously. We must have talked for a total of fifteen minutes or more. He told me about a medal he got and then he sang to me! It was incredible. Then a couple of weeks ago when we spoke he was reading with his mother when I called. So when he got on the phone he asked if I would like for him to read to me. Almost unable to contain myself I said YES! He then proceeded to read an entire book to me with hesitation on one word. God has truly blessed his mother and I with a brilliant child! Thank you LORD!