C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Courageous Motivation

So, I went this weekend to see the movie Courageous with some people from our church. I thought the movie was pretty good, possibly even better than Fireproof. Of course you can’t really compare the two completely, as they focus on different aspects of the home. Fireproof speaks to the husband, as Courageous speaks to the father.

Courageous was filled with an emotional roller coaster, holding different principles that most likely every father in the theater could easily grasp hold of as something presently in their lives. Shifting from laughter to sorrow, self examination and the reality of what others may be going through, it helps expose the many different things we may actually not even take notice of though they are going on in our very own lives around us every day.

As I walked out of the theater I couldn’t help but feel motivated to be a better father. But, then I thought, if that is all there was, then surely it would be short lived. I mean, what am I going to do – wait till the movie hits DVD and watch it again? Then in a couple of months watch it again? And so on…

As much as I enjoyed the movie, I realize that if we really want to become better fathers, we need to do more than merely watch a movie about being better fathers. We’ve got to actually do what ‘Adam’ did in the movie. I’m not talking about signing the ‘Resolution’ from the movie – I’m talking about the actual seeking God and studying the Scriptures he was doing to arrive at the Resolution.

We can’t simply ride the coattails of someone else’s convictions. We have got to purpose in our own hearts and in our own lives to be better (1) Christians and then we can become better (2) husbands and (3) fathers. Sometimes – well, a lot of times – it seems we fall very short in our potential of being better. Not because the Holy Spirit is not moving us to do so, but because we simply have a ‘fleshly’ motivated time period (whether a movie, song, sermon, etc.) and merely fizzle out when it comes time to actually put our ‘motivation’ into action.

So, what am I saying? I’m saying that Courageous and movies like it can be great motivators that hit home in our hearts, maybe even at times we wouldn’t listen to the message they present any other way – BUT – if that motivation stops at the credits, then what good has it done us? If we fail to actually make a change in our lives – and not merely acknowledge or think about changing – we are no better off than before we saw it.

It all goes back to the Bible and fellowship with God through Christ. Like me, if you saw Courageous – or a movie, program, sermon, etc. – and felt the emotion, wisdom, and Spirit of God exposing parts of your lives that need repentance and growth, then pray, read, study, and mediate on Scripture to allow it to change your life (as a husband, a father, a Christian) forever – and not merely 120 minutes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So, Whose Fault Is It?

In reading an article today, apparently about six scientists are being put on trial for suggested manslaughter for “failing to predict an earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009 despite signs of increased seismic activity in the area,” I found something very peculiar. One of the lawyers (Alfredo Biondi) declared, “You cannot put science on trial.”

I find it interesting, because we often hear the claim from unbelievers (yet believers of science):

“If God is real, then why does He not stop bad things from happening?”

Could we not also ask, “If science is real, then why does it not stop bad things from happening?”

Would anyone doubt the existence of science simply because we do not completely understand it, sometimes incorrectly devise ideas about it, become confounded in its complexity, get lost in our formulation of the yet unseen, or its outcome is not what is expected and less than what we hoped for, while other times it is surprising and overwhelming interesting, even though we are limited in our ability to grasp its fullness?

My purpose is not to merely compare God to science or science to God, but rather the mindset of man. We find no error in putting God on trial by declaring He is either non-existent or at fault for not stopping or warning against disasters, yet we have science which has been created to warn us but declare “You cannot put science on trial” when it fails to do that which we believe it should.

But, perhaps they are right. Maybe it is neither God nor science which can be put on trial; for maybe both have indeed given the warning, and it is us (mankind) who have chosen to disregard it. Would not that then make us individually responsible for ourselves and each other? So, then, as a Christian (or a scientist in this case), it would not be God or science at fault but us who know the warning signs and refuse to warn others about it.

Dear Christians, we have the Word of God, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ. Are we sharing the warning of spending eternity in hell if one does not repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or will we be accused as these scientists before God: "No one expected to be told the exact time of the quake. We just wanted to be warned that we were sitting on a bomb." (Vincenzo Vittorini)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Are We Bringing Others To Christ?

We find in Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5 a story of a man sick of the palsy, which had persons who were determined to bring him to Jesus for healing.

1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

I would just like to make a few points here I think we could all do to remember sometimes in our busy lives:

1. Christ was preaching the Word.
2. There was a sick man unable on his own to come unto Jesus.
3. There were persons who were interested enough in the wellbeing of the sick man to take time out of their day to help him come to Jesus.
4. There was faith in Jesus that he could heal the man.
5. Luke says “there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by”, but the religious crowd did not stop them from coming to Jesus.
6. The place was apparently so full of people no one else could enter, but the mass of people and crowded building did not stop them from coming to Jesus.
7. By removing the roof to lower the sick man to Jesus, those who bore him went above and beyond normal expectations to ensure he came to Jesus.
8. When Jesus saw their faith the man was healed.

Had there been no faith, no help from others willing to care for another, or fear of the religious and crowd, how would the sick man ever have met Jesus and been made whole?

The Word is being preached. What are we doing to ensure we ourselves come to Christ, and those around us are brought to Him for the cleansing of sin also?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Do Your Social Network Friends Really Matter?

According to an article on FoxNews.com, a lady died from apparent suicide sometime after posting her actions – Christmas Day – on her Facebook status.

The article declares: Simone Back, 42, had 1,048 Facebook “friends,” none of whom came to her rescue or alerted authorities of her suicidal post that read, "Took all my pills be dead soon bye bye everyone."

It also states: [she] received responses calling her a “liar,” “she OD’s all the time and she lies” and saying the fatal overdose was “her choice,” The Telegraph reports.

And adds: Some out-of-town friends did respond wanting to help, requesting her address and telephone number to no avail. Not one of Back’s friends checked in on her.

This is a very sad story. Any suicide or death of an individual should never be seen as a light thing, because that individual has crossed over into eternity. At this point, their relationship in Jesus Christ matters the most, even though they have surely likewise left weary hearts inside family and friends.

But, this brings up questions regarding Facebook, along with other social networks, and how we allow them to take part in our daily lives. How much is too much? Are we spending more of our lives gossiping over the internet with cyber friends, in place of actually spending time with persons face-to-face?

Take for instance, the “friends” list on Facebook. I personally have 300+ “friends” made up of family, friends I grew up with, church members, coworkers, persons I know and have known, along with others I have merely met online through numerous blogs, forums, etc. Within this list, I most likely only converse with a small number of them regularly in person or on Facebook, and do not even attempt to read the 300+ statuses, updates, etc. which happen daily – or even hourly. I just don’t have that much time, or the desire to do so. Sorry Facebook friends!

With that said, along with the numerous TMI and OMG (ha!) postings on just my Facebook Wall, I can somewhat understand how a status could go unnoticed (even a plea for help) by on-line “friends” (regardless how many) or even Facebook personnel. It is also practical to realize that many times we easily dismiss things, because the person is “known” to “cry wolf” or crave attention. This may not totally remove responsibility from us to seek help for those who may need it, but at the same time it does not place the blame on us and remove all the responsibility from the individual doing so either.

I mean, if we can dismiss the soul hurting we may see each day at work, in our homes, at church, or driving along our way, what makes us think we will pay more attention to our cyber relationships? How easy is it to click “Like” or write a quick comment “Praying for you” – but do we really mean it? Are social networks even used as a means to help one another emotionally and spiritually, to truly build better friendships and communication with those we care about? Or, do they merely make us focus more attention on ourselves, and the curiosity of knowing everybody else’s business – with a stand-off type of responsibility, leaving us with no commitment to intervene with hurting hearts and the needs of others?

Is it better to have 1,048 social network friends, or 1 who really cares? And, if we claim to be someone’s friend, what are we doing to make the relationship so? Are we simple appeasing our conscience, yet searing it at the same time?

Proverbs 17:17a, A friend loveth at all times…

Proverbs 18:24, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

So, I haven't forgotten my Resolutions for 2011, but have simply added another short-term goal; at least for the month of January.

Here is an opportunity for anyone to submit an unpublished or self-published novel between 50,000 and 150,000 words (of their own writing) in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, for a chance to win one of two $15,000 publishing contracts with Penguin USA and distribution of their novel on Amazon.com.

How to Enter:
The submission period begins January 24, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and ends February 6, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The young adult fiction category and the general fiction category are each limited to 5,000 Entries, and we will stop accepting Entries for a category after we have received 5,000 Entries in that category.

Sadly, there isn't enough time for me to finish and submit my latest work, entitled Kristietiba, as I am currently only about midway through writing it. But, I have been slowly reediting and putting together the trilogy of Ekleipsis, Daegsteorra, and Andeis into one book entitle Land of Erde. Perhaps I will be able to complete and submit this work. I at least hope to.

Do you have a novel you have been working on? Give it a go! You've got a month to prepare and submit it. What have you lost?

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.