April 23, 2014

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Avoid Being Caught Short at the Judgment

We are what we think about

We are what we think about

Debauchery.

Drunkenness.

Worry.

In Luke 21, as Jesus is foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction and his return, he suddenly warns against these symptoms of lifestyle and what to do about them – Be careful of what weighs down your heart. (Luke 21:34)

At some point, our time will run out and all we will have is the stuff we are made of to offer up in the judgment. That offering will be the direct result of what we put in our heart.

God made our heart (or mind, or soul) in such a way that it returns exactly what we put in it. Fed one way, it returns the things Jesus warns about in Luke 21:34. Fed another way, we would be godly people able to avoid the “trap” of death.

In summary, we actually become what we think about.

Look at what the Proverb writer says:

Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.

Don’t use your mouth to tell lies;
don’t ever say things that are not true.

Keep your eyes focused on what is right,
and look straight ahead to what is good.

Be careful what you do,
and always do what is right.

Don’t turn off the road of goodness;
keep away from evil paths. – Proverbs 4:23-27 NCV

He is showing us that we have control over what we think about. Some may be out of practice, but we have the ability to feed our minds with good. When we do that, our decisions and conversations and attitude will begin to reflect godly things. The kind of things we want to present to Christ when he returns. (Luke 21:36)

Paul gave us a number of lifestyle directions in just about every letter he wrote. One of my favorite being Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8 KJV

If Jesus comes right now, will your heart be full of what is in the Luke 21:34 warning or the Philippians 4:8 exhortation?

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April 22, 2014

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3 Ways to a Giving Heart

The Widow's Mite - João Zeferino da Costa 1840-1916

The Widow’s Mite – João Zeferino da Costa 1840-1916

Jesus talked a lot about money. (In fact the whole Bible does throughout the Old and New Testaments)

I think it is interesting that the account of the widow’s mite is the last recorded teaching Jesus made in public. (Luke 21:1-4) The timeline from this point leads quickly to his crucifixion.

Why would the widow’s giving be Jesus’ last words on how to please God?

Because her gift told us much about the proper attitude of a Christian. I can think of at least three reasons for us to give like her:

  • It demonstrated trust in God – When we budget our giving, it needs to be at the top of the list. How can we say we trust God to provide when we pay our cable bill first and give him what is left over?
  • It was sacrificial – The kind of heart God wants us to have is one willing to sacrifice for him. Our giving is not a sacrifice unless we actually sacrifice something.
  • Presumably, it was cheerful – Since Jesus new her heart and still praised her gift, we can assume she gave in a cheerful manner. Who wants a gift that was only presented out of duty?

The kind of giving we see these days is nothing like the widow’s giving. The giving we see by philanthropists is often a spectacle. It certainly doesn’t cause any harm to the finances of the giver.

They should enjoy the praise of men while they can, because God will not give them any credit for it! (Matthew 6:2)

Those of us with more modest means have the ability to give so much more than they. It all starts with showing God a little trust.

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April 21, 2014

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Cherry Picking God’s Word

People make hearing what they want to hear an art form. How could we do a better job of teaching the Bible?

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April 15, 2014

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How to Make the Bible Easy to Understand

This is how committing some Bible verses to memory helps us connect to God’s word.

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