Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I will attempt to actually make this post short, I promise. :-)

I was reading Haggai, and something jumped out at me. Haggai gave this prophecy in the second year of king Darius. Now, I'm no theologian, nor a Biblical historian, but it appears to me that the Judeans had, at this point, been allowed to return home. (If I'm wrong, feel free to go ahead and correct me.) And, apparently, some of the people had been saying that "'the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.'" God responds.

"Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house." (Haggai 1:4-9, emphasis mine)

Now, you're probably not being faced with the dilemma of building a temple (although I suppose it's possible....) But the issue here is the heart. The people are more interested in their own comfort and leisure than they are in glorifying God. So, here's the question: what's your house? What is it that you put before God? For me, quite often, it's my time. I wake up and, rather than having my devotions, I loaf around until I have to start school. I don't know what your house is. Whatever it is, though, confess it, repent, and, with the Cross, not a set of morals made by men in mind, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Let's say you're a missionary in some foreign country. The natives are very hostile, and you are jailed for proclaiming the Gospel. It's quite possible that they'll even kill you, and maybe even brutally. You get the chance to write a letter to some of your Christian friends. What would you say? I know where I'd start; "Pray for me! Oh my goodness, they might kill me and I'm so scared..." But here's a quote from somebody who actually did go through this, and words about his imprisonment are far different.

"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice."

Now, this guy had his head on straight. He wasn't nuts. He was totally sincere in this letter. He is seriously rejoicing that "Christ is proclaimed." Notice that not once does he gripe about being in a cell, or his rights being tossed aside, or even moaning about the people who distort the gospel for their own purposes. He was grateful! Totally grateful that, as a result of being jailed, the gospel was going forth. He has literally cast his rights aside and is rejoicing in the glory of Christ.

Who was this guy? Who could possibly be happy about being chucked into a cell? Take a guess. If you know the passage, you already know that this was the letter from the apostle Paul to the church in Phillipi.
Does his identity make his attitude any less amazing? It's so easy to say, "Oh, sure. But that was Paul. You know, blinding light on the way to Damascus, went blind, is one of the most famous people in history? A spiritual elite. Of course he'd be grateful in any circumstances." But Paul wasn't superhuman. He was a man. No halo floating around his head, no shiny silhouettes... just a guy, saved by the grace of God. This same man, in another letter, wrote, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thess. 5:18)

So, what's the point?

Well, like Paul says, we are to give thanks in all circumstances. All. That means the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright brutal. I'm convicted when I read this passage. Here's a man who exemplifies what it means to glorify Christ in all situations. He's praising God that the Gospel goes forth, when it's possible he could be executed. And I gripe that people didn't put their plates in the dishwasher, someone moved my math book, and oh great, the dog just escaped the house again. How selfish! I'm making myself God in that moment. I think that the world revolves around one single axis: me.

So, as Paul says in Ephesians, let us put off the old self, and put on the new self. Leaning on God's strength, and not our own, let us strive to have the same sort of mindset that Paul had. No matter how bad our circumstances appear to be, God can still be glorified through them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Hi all, I'm posting with an encouragement, a warning, and a prayer request. My encouragement concerns the faith I see evident in you all. There are not many places (even in churches) where there are teens who are passionate for God. There are even less places where those teens get together and talk about God and discuss him together. It's great that we are encouraging each other to fight temptation and follow God. I am so grateful for the example you all set for me and all your peers, for those younger than you, and even to some older than you. Thank you and keep loving God. My warning concerns temptation. A year ago I was going through a serious time of doubt about my faith. I was questioning God's existence and I was NOT a happy man. God met me at the youth retreat however, and renewed my faith in him. He made me passionate for him, and I went into the school year with love and passion for God. I thought my times of doubt where over. recently, they have started to come back. I times, I start to think about death and I wonder "what if there is no God?" and "is this a waste of time?" I try and comfort myself with evidences of God in this world and in my life, but we can't rely on just things we see; we need God's strength. My warning is that if you are fighting a temptation, that you would NEVER let your guard down. Keep praying that God would protect you from it, even if you don't seem to struggle with ti at the time. My prayer request is for my faith. I'd like to ask you to pray for me hard that God would draw me closer to him and that he would calm my fears and doubts. Thanks!


Verse: "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Co 10:13)"