Isaiah 29:13 (ESV)
13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
God is not fooled by words, he can see right through them to your heart. When you say Grace are you simply repeating words that you were taught to say, or are you speaking to God? When you donate your money to the church is it out of habit or are you truly wanting to honor God and contribute to his kingdom? When you go to church, is it to network with friends, or to worship Christ?
I know a lot of people who claim they are Christians, but I can’t help but worry about them. They sin with no shame, they have never read more then two verses of the Bible in one sitting, and then it is only at the direction of their pastor. God seems to be in the back seat of their lives for all but two hours a week. I guess it is possible these folks are Christian, but when you love someone spending just two hours a week with them just isn’t enough. If your thirst for God is quenched for the week after two hours of church, I challenge to to really think about your commitment to Christ. If you find that your relationship with him isn’t what it should be please talk with someone who can help you learn how to recommit yourself to him.
Many preachers make it sound like as soon as you become a Christian, you will have money coming out your ears, your health will be perfect, your family will be perfect… they make Christianity sound like a genie’s lamp with unlimited wishing. While Christianity will be a lot more then we can imagine once we get to Heaven, the purpose of this life isn’t to turn us into spoiled brats. Most of could not handle having everything given to us on a silver platter yet. Jesus did not sacrifice himself to create a clique of Paris Hiltons (sorry Paris, I will say a prayer for you.) He sacrificed himself to create a group of warriors who are motivated by pure love to be a buffer between sinners and a cruel world that is diseased by sin. Just like many of the disciples had to walk away from their families to follow Christ, we will have to give up many things too. This is painful but just like soldiers are often brought to tears in boot camp, we will one day learn that every bit of pain we endured will be worthwhile.
Hat tip to Billy Graham for the title quote
I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition. – Mortimer J. Adler
via Ten Quotes on Faith and Reason.
I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements. – Buzz Aldrin
via Communion on the Moon.
In Jude we are told to contend (struggle or argue) for the faith, because already at this early point in Christianity people were trying to pervert it. Ungodly people were leading them to deny Christ. And true to prophecy it seems to be getting worse today. And like unreasoning animals many are following their false preachers to the slaughter. Many are denying Christ, calling things that God has called evil good. We are called to love God with all our minds, but instead we go around following the direction of the wind.
How are we supposed to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the Saints, if we are putting more stock in what our preacher tells us then what the Bible tells us? I hear many of you objecting that you put the Bible before your preacher, but do you really?
Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? How about the New Testament have you read it? Have you even looked up the verses that your preacher read to you on Sunday in your own Bible and read the entire chapter that the verse was taken from?
If you have not done these things, you really need to ask your self whose message are you getting on Sunday, God’s or your preacher’s.
No preacher worth his salt will mind you doing a little extra Bible reading, if he does, GET OUT NOW! For that is a sure sign that he is not of God!
Your pastor is not the way to Heaven, Christ is! While you may get personal messages from God from time to time, the only way to know for certain that it isn’t your own personal wishful thinking is if you check out what the Bible says on that subject. If the Bible says what you are thinking is wrong, it isn’t God talking to you!
I can’t tell you how many times I have set a goal for myself and failed to achieve it the first time I tried. Then I would have to start to try to do it again a week or so later. It used to make me feel bad when I failed, but not anymore. I am at least trying. In a day and age where so many people have given up trying to improve themselves at all, I am trying. My strides may be slow, but I am lapping everyone who has given up.
Don’t let yourself stagnate. Find something in your life that you can improve and do it! If you fail the first time, it’s OK. Learn something from your effort and in a few days, try again.
Yes I know from time to time things can happen in your life that can paralyze you, a death in the family, divorce, a diagnosis of cancer in my case, but achieving a long term goal can make you feel awesome! Give yourself a little rest when things like that happen, and then force yourself to live again. Take baby steps if needed, but get back out there and try again.
Remember, if Christ approves of the changes you are trying to make, he will be behind you every step of the way!