Sunday, January 30, 2011

...Nothing for Me...

"This world has nothing for me.  I will follow you."

Up until today I thought, "Yeah! I'm good.  The world has nothing for me.  Everything is great."  And I would sing it with all my heart and not give it another thought.  Until today.  And I realized that while the "big" sins of the world (like drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage, etc.) hold no appeal over me, it's the little things of the world that I have to fight against.  Things like watching shows or movies with inappropriate content, wasting hours on facebook but spending minimal time in God's Word, or complaining about things that don't go my way eat away at my relationship with God.
[Side note: music would also be included in the tv/movies category, but I do not listen to secular music if I can help it.  And by inappropriate I mean sinful.  Anything containing sexual content, cursing, disrespecting parents or other authority, or other sinful activities ought to be considered inappropriate for God's people.  Shows that portray sin as fun, acceptable, having no real consequences, or as not being wrong at all should not be entertaining to someone who is living to please the Lord.  If God does not want you to participate in sin, He certainly doesn't want you to be entertained by someone else who is.  I challenge you to hold your entertainment choices up to the standards set forth in the Bible.  If they don't make the grade, turn it OFF.] 
These are all things of the world.  I don't know what your struggles are, or if you've even thought about the the sin you've allowed into your life.  But we all need to, because even a little sin is a big deal.
The second part of the line in the song says, "I will follow you."  You can't follow Christ and still go your own way.  Either you're following Him, or you're not.  Think about it like this: if a friend asks you for a dollar, and you agree to give the dollar, but only give 75 cents, is that good enough?  What about if you give 99 cents?  It's really close, but it's still not a dollar.  When you agree to give God your life, you have to give all of it.  That may mean giving up some things you previously consumed.  That may mean separating yourself from situations or making radical changes in your daily routine.  Whatever it means for you, do it.  Give everything.  You'll never miss what you should never have in the first place.  Let God fill your life and you won't even want the things of the world.  And then you can truly say, "This world has NOTHING for me.  I will follow YOU."
Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.35 For whoever wants to save their lifet will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Fathert is not in them.16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.t7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.t6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow is like...

I often write in my head.  When I am cleaning or cooking, or shoveling the driveway, my mind just "writes."  Most of those contemplations never make it onto paper or computer.  But this is one of those contemplations that I created mentally almost a year ago, and I think it's time to put it out there. 
Now, if you love snow, maybe this post isn't for you.  But if you're mostly a hater like me, then you will relate.  Last year around this time our pastor was preaching a series on sin.  Not a popular topic, but a necessary one.  Also around this time last year we received ridiculous amounts of snowfall.  Also not always a popular topic, but in Pittsburgh in winter it is an unavoidable one.  And one day as I was taking my turn shoveling our half concrete, half rock driveway, it came to me that snow, in many ways, is like sin.  (I warned you, snow-lovers!)  Let me explain.  First, snow is like sin because just a little bit can do a great deal of damage.  A light coating on the road might not seem so dangerous at first glance, but go to fast or brake too hard, and you'll quickly find out the truth.  A little bit of snow can quickly turn into a little bit of ice.  And if you've ever totaled a car (as I have!) you know that a little bit of ice is all you need.  In the same way, just a little bit of sin can quickly and easily snowball (pardon the pun!) into a giant disaster. 

Second, snow is first.  That freshly fallen snow on the grass and trees with no footprints or dog donations or other disturbances can be enchanting.  Right now I am watching the snow fall gently out my window and it is lovely.  However, it doesn't stay lovely.  Today when we got out of the car in a parking lot my son asked, "Mom, what's all that nasty brown stuff?"  My reply? "It's slush, son.  Dirty snow."  Walk outside and it's not hard to find where the beatiful white stuff has turned a disgusting brown, mixed with dirt and rocks.  Shovel your driveway and it doesn't take long to uncover the mess beneath the beauty.  And then you've got to put that sludge somewhere, so where does it go?  Onto the clean snow in your yard, or your neighbor's yard, or the street.  Now the muck is affecting other people, too.  Sin does the same things!  It looks great on the outside - fun and pleasing to the sinful nature.  I mean, if it wasn't appealing, no one would do it, right?  But again, it doesn't take long to uncover the mess beneath the so-called beauty.  Sin may be fun for a season; but eventually consequences arise, guilt sets in, and our lives are marred by slush and sludge.  Which brings me nicely to number three: you can't get rid of snow on your own.  Sure, you can shovel and scrape all day, but you will never get a completely clean sidewalk or driveway.  Don't believe me?  Go out and try it.  I just did.  You can get it clean enough to not track snow all through your house or car, but it won't be perfect.  You can even throw salt down, which I just did too.  But that's only an outside fix.  The only thing that REALLY gets rid of the snow is the heat of the sun.  And the only thing that REALLY gets rid of our sin is the blood of the SON.  Oh, we can try our best to be good, to do better.  We can work really hard on controlling our temper and our tongue, but we will always fail.  Not to mention that doing so is exhausting!  Shoveling the driveway is backbreaking work; trying to be good enough on our own is too.  And even worse, when snow goes unshoveled for too long, that messy underneath turns to solid ice, making removal nearly impossible without a pickax!  When we let sin hang out in our life for any length of time, our hearts also become hard and require serious correction from the Lord.  Hacking away at ice on the driveway is zero fun; letting Christ hack away at the hardness of our sin is also zero fun, but well worth the pain in the end.  Jesus is the only solution for our sin problem, just like spring is the only solution for our snow problem.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh the irony!

So almost everyday  I have some thoughts on something that I think, "Oh, I really should make a blog so I can share this with people!"  And then, once I finally sit down and create a blog, my brain decides to take a vacation.  No divine inspirations, no hilarious situations, no creative motivations. Nothing.  Just some bland days with slightly sick children.  See, that's what too much children's television will do to you!!! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

At last!

After much procrastinating and mental debate, here is my very own blog.  I hope that what you read will either challenge, inspire, or amuse you.  But I make no promises!  Above all, I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to the Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer!!