Archive for August, 2009

Flee Youthful Passions

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. -2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV)

As Christain young people we are called to a very specail mission. To grow up. I don’t mean physically, that happens naturally, I mean mentally. When I say we are called to grow up I mean we are called to do what people mean when they say, “oh, just grow up.” When we grow up mentally, we put the things of childhood behind us. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV) When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.When we are children, we tend to believe that everything revolves around us, that we should get our own way etc. As we grow up and mature however, we begin to see that this is not true. Hence, we give up childish reasoning. In today’s culture, teenagers and some young adults have trouble giving up childish ways. The world says that we should always get what we want. This is childish reasoning. God says that wea are to flee youthful passions and prusue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Timothy 2:22a, ESV).  Notice what it say to pursue instead of youthful passions, righteousness, faith, love and peace. Wow. What amazing things to pursue and long for. Of course, now you may be thinking, “okay, so the Bible says not to do anything childish. I’m going to be the only one in my school doing this.” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The last half of 2 Timothy 2:22 says along with those who call on the Lordfrom a pure heart. When you put away childish things and flee youthful passions, you stand next to other believers that have done the same thing. Isn’t that amazing? We will never stand alone. There will always be someone else who is going through the same thing. Even if you do fell all alone, remember that Jesus says, And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.(Matthew 28:20, ESV)

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Do Hard Things

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12

Tomorrow my family, along with several others will attend the Rebelution’s Do Hard Things tour. So today, I’d like to share with you some things along the lines of the Rebelution and Do Hard Things.

The Rebelution is defined as “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” As teenagers we are expected to do certain things and act certain ways. The world expects all of us to be stubborn, rebelious and disobidient. We really shouldn’t have a good relationship with our parents and our friends should be the main focus of our lives. By now, at almost 16, I should have had at least one boyfriend. (Which I haven’t by the way.) We aren’t really expected to make the right descions and whatnot. But tell me, if we don”t start learning to get along, do what we’re told, and make the right desicions now, when will we? But set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12b, ESV) This verse tells us to do the exact oppisite of what the world expects. Instead of rebelling against our parents we are supposed to set an example for believers. Wow. So, instead of being disrespectful, we should be looking for ways to help people. This can be hard in our society today. In a way, we are being rebellious. We’re rebelling against the low expectations of the world.

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The Meditation of My Heart

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in you sight, O LORD my rock and my redeemer. –Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

It’s easy to let ouward appearances seem acceptable to God. If we just say the right things, do the right things and act the right way, then we’re good, right? Wrong. Psalm 19:14a says, Let the words of my mouth AND the meditation of my heart be acceptable, (ESV, emphasis mine) It’s not enough just to let outward appearances look right. Our hearts have to be right. For the LORD sees not as man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7b, ESV) God doesn’t want us to just look the right way or say the right things., He wants our hearts to be right and acceptable before Him.

How do we make the meditations of our hearts acceptable in God’s eyes? We can’t. We are sinful and wretched human beings. We need help to make our hearts right. Jesus is there to help us. I am reminded of a story my drama class did a few years ago. It was about the different rooms in a house. Jesus was living in this house, which represented the heart of a believer. The story went through each room talking about Jesus changed it to strengthen the believers walk with HIm. One of the rooms was the library. In the library were all sorts of secullar books and magazines. These represented the thoughtss of the believer. They weren’t the things the believer was supposed to be meditating on so Jesus offered a solution. He threw away all the secular books and magazines and gave the believer a lare picture of Himself to hang in a prominent place on the wall of the library. That way the believer’s thoughts would be focused on Him. If we keep our thoughts focused on Jesus, there is no longer any room for the unpure thoughts. If we keep focused on Christ, then why would we want to think things that dishonor Him?

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if anything is worthy of praise, think about these things. -Phillipians 4:8 (ESV)

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Getting What You Want

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms 37:4 (ESV)

Have you ever wanted something?  I mean really wanted something – so much that it’s all you can think about?  Maybe it was (or is) a new pet, a really cool toy, a sports car, an iPod… Maybe it’s something of a different nature like wishing that someone special would pay attention to you, or that someone annoying will go away… At some point or another we all have wanted something.  More than likely, you have wanted something every day of your life!   I’m pretty sure I have!

Have you ever prayed a prayer like this?  “God, please give me such-and-such,” or “Please let ______ happen.”  I definitely know I have.

In light of these thoughts, a verse like Psalm 37:4 brings comfort, right?  “Love the Lord and He’ll give me what I want.”  Well, not exactly.

“Delight yourself in the Lord…”  Delight means “To have or take great pleasure…”  Do we truly take pleasure in the Lord?  Do we love Him – really love Him – for Who he is?  Or do we just say we love Him because we hope He’ll give us what we want and make us happy?  As I mentioned in the study on having a Beautiful Tongue, we can’t “fake it” to God.  He knows if we really love Him or not, and He will reward us accordingly. 

“…and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Only when we are learning to be truly satisfied, taking pleasure in Him alone, will he give us the desires of our hearts.  But that’s not the coolest part about it!  As we are learning to find joy in Him, our desires will begin to change, and His desires will eventually become our desires also!  As we get to know Him, and all He wants for us, those earthly things we used to want start to seem really silly and pointless. 

So my challenge to you today is this:  If there’s something you want that God’s not giving you, check your motives.  Why do I want this?  Is this for God’s glory or my glory?  God doesn’t hate you – in fact He loves you so much, and He wants to give you all things to enjoy if you will trust completely in Him.  (1 Timothy 6:17)  Psalm 84:11 says: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  As Mrs. Erwin says, is it a good thing that you are asking Him for?  If so, are you walking uprightly?

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Jesus Was There

Today is the last of my posts on Creation, but I think it is also my favorite. Today I want to share with you one of my favorite truths about the Creation, Jesus Christ was there.

John 1:1-5 (ESV) says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Think about that for a minute. Not only were we created by a holy and righteous God, but the our perfect and blameless Savior was there. Not only was he there but “all things were made through Him.” My Savior, Jesus Christ who died on a cross for MY sins, also created me. To me that is breathtaking. It is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, or Niagara Falls, or the Smoky Mountains or any other gorgeous landmark you can think of. The fact that my Savior, created the world that I live in and the sights that take my breath away is awe-inspiring. To think that perfect and pure Son of God created me, a wretch makes me long to fall down and worship him forever and eternity.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

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Nothing in Creation is Simple

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”  So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”  And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.  And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1:20-25 (ESV)

If you have ever studied biology, you will be aware that there are organisms tat are refered to as simple organisms. This is actully a misconseption. The reason the organisms are called simple is that they are made up of only one cell. Cells, however are some of the most complex things in creation. That brings us to the subject of today’s post, nothing in creation is simple.

Everything God created is complex in its own way. Even the simplest organism is complex. Ler’s take a look at the atom. The atom is the smalles buidling block in creation. It is made up of three parts, the nucleus is comprised of protons and neutrons and the electrons cirlce the nucleus. Sounds pretty simple, right? Actually it not, first there are three differnt types of shells the electrons can belong to, second the number of electrons and protons effects what element the atom is and the neutrons farther effect the element itself.Then you can get into the whole trading electrons deal,  and that gets even more complex. You starting to get the picture?

Now let’s look at humans specifically. We are by no means simple. First, our bodies are extremely complex. Second, our brains are even more so. We comprehend and know things that no other creature on earth can. Why? Look at Genesis 1:26-27 with me:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. We are made in the image of the Creator! How can anything that is made in the image of God be simple? Again, how can anything that is made by God be simple?

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And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. – Genesis 1:9-19 (ESV)

Take a walk outside. Look at the flowers and leaves. What do you see? Most likely you will notice that plants of the same species look nearly identical to the human eye. You may also notice that the most common numbers of petals for a flower to have are five and six. No matter the number of petals, a flower will still have a line of symmetry as will every leaf, blade of grass and almost everything else found in nature. These observations show the patterns that are found in nature. Pattern is an important part of nature. There is a pattern or symmetry to almost everything. We have an ingrained sense of symmetry, something doesn’t look quite right if it doesn’t have at least some symmetry to it.

Order is another important aspect of nature. Look at the stars in the night sky. Each one has its place and some of them form the pictures we call constellations. Also order is found in the marking of time. The sun rises and sets in an orderly fashion and the seasons change year after year. Time is set, it has order and it can’t be changed. We also have a sense of order. We have certain things we do each day, and when we don’t do them it throws everything off.

Despite pattern and order, science wants to tell us that we came from chaos and primordial goo. Answer me this, how did nature become so ordered and saturated in patterns and symmetry if it came from chaos? How did we become so orderly if we emerged from primordial goo? There is only one answer, God created the earth and all that is in it. Nature has a design, in order for there to be a design there must by a designer.

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In this last installment of the series, I would like to share with you the beauty of having a simple tongue.

• A simple tongue uses a “Yes,” or “No.” Matthew 2:34-37 – “But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” God loves simple answers.

• A simple tongue doesn’t try to impress others. A simple tongue doesn’t purchase name-brand clothes, or try to keep up with the latest fashions in order to be “in style”. There is nothing necessarily wrong with the clothes and fashions themselves (unless they are immodest, or in some other way displeasing to God). Your motives, rather, determine the right- or wrong-ness of these things. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – “…love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…” Are you like the Pharisees, desiring the praise of men more than the praise of God? (John 12:43) Don’t worry about what other people think. Only worry about what God thinks. That’s all that matters in the end.

• A simple tongue avoids exaggeration. Once again, this is a form of trying to impress people. Exaggeration is lying, because it is not the absolute truth. Enough said.

• A simple tongue sets us free. We don’t have to act like something we are not. Be yourself, live for the glory of God, and don’t try to be like other people. (This is not to say you shouldn’t have role models. These are all well and good in their proper place, if they are demonstrating lives that are pleasing to the Lord and in accordance with His will for them.) God made you exactly as you are for a special role in His plan. (Psalm 139:14) Imagine His grief if you try to be someone else.

• A simple tongue uses simple language with God. God wants us to pray to Him the way we think and speak. He doesn’t want us to use big, impressive, sophisticated words. You can’t succeed in “faking it” to God. He knows the real you. When you talk to God, He wants you to respect Him, but most of all He wants you to share your heart with Him – not the heart of someone else. (Matthew 6:5-8)

I hope this series has shown you, as it did me, the importance of guarding your tongue carefully, and really thinking about what you say. I pray that you will commit your tongue to God. Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Ask Him to help you use your tongue to make a difference for His glory.

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Think to yourself for a minute. Out of all the places on earth that you’ve been, what place has been the most beautiful? I don’t mean a pretty house or some museum or a particular piece of architecture. What I mean is nature itself.

When you think of the most beautiful place on earth what comes to mind? Do you think of soaring mountains of sandy beaches? Do you picture rushing water and crashing falls or silent forests reaching for the sky? Is this place far away, or just down the road? When you think of this place or when you are standing there admiring its beauty, what comes to mind?

A few years ago I got to go to youth camp for the second, and so far the last, time. We were in the mountains of Georgia. Every morning I got to wake up and walk outside to see the beautiful mountains stretching out as far as I could see. Every year my family goes to the Smokies on a camping trip. We stay right next the the river and visit Cades Cove and at least on waterfall, all of which is breath taking. I just got back from Florida where I got to see the sun set while we were at the beach. That is a gorgeous sight. Now, what do all these sights have in common? In fact as wondrous as these things are they have something in common with my mother’s rose bush that’s in the front yard. What they have in common is what I think when I see them. When I look at some piece of nature, no matter how big or how small, I can’t help but smile and remember that the same God who created such a breath taking view, of such a wonderful flower, is the same God the created me. Let me tell you, the feeling that that thought gives is so wonderful it is truly indescribable.

The Native Americans used to believe that everything in nature had a spirit. In a small way, they were right. The things in nature are not inhabited by a multitude of spirits, instead they have something better. All of nature is filled with God’s presence. And creation shouts because of it.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork

-Psalm 19:1 (ESV)

Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.

-Isiah 44:23 (ESV)

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

-Psalm 150:6 (ESV)

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.”

-Psalm 66:1-4 (ESV)

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Numbers 14:27-30 – “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in…’” Wow. This is how God dealt with a complaining people.

Jude 14b-15 – “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Who are these ungodly that will be punished? “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts…” (v. 16)

Let’s take a look at an example of someone in the Bible who had plenty to complain about, and yet he did not.  He tells about some of these things in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.  He was beaten, shipwrecked, forcibly evicted, stoned, persecuted, imprisoned, and he had a thorn in the flesh (given to him by God to make him humble – 2 Corinthians 12:7). 

Even after all this, he didn’t complain!  In fact, here’s what he had to say: Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  What a positive attitude!  Paul used the words “joy” and “rejoice” 16 times in the 4 chapters of Philippians!

  • A positive tongue handles hardship with great strength. Romans 5:3-4 (again this is Paul) – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” (also Philippians 4:13)
  • A positive tongue will improve your church life.  Philippians 2:14-15a – “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish…”
  • A positive tongue will improve your home life.  (Proverbs 25:24)
  • A positive tongue doesn’t complain about things being done wrong, but instead does what can be done to correct it.  (This is a big one for me!)  Do you ever find yourself criticizing or complaining about: your church, school, friends, family, etc.?  Stop complaining!  Instead find what you can do to make things better!


* When you’re tempted to complain, don’t!  Instead, look for the positive in the situation, and thank God.

* If you think something should be done differently, instead of criticizing, see what you can do to improve it, with an attitude of love.

Verses for today: 1 Timothy 6:6 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘”I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

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