Robbing God

I am taking a class this Semester with only a few students in it. It has given me a chance to talk to some of them on a more personal level, which is really great. I met Ralph, a pastor at a nearby church. He said that at the end of last year he was thinking that the church was going to close the doors for good in the coming year. The budget had dwindled and they were not sure what was going to happen. Many of his congregation came to him and told him that they didn’t want to go anywhere else because he taught the word as it should be taught, with Authority. To make a long story short, he got up one Sunday and told the chruch how it was. The Statement went something like this, “If you guys don’t stop robbing God, we will close the doors on this church at the beginning of the year.” It is amazing how God can turn things around with just a simple statement. He said that the church is now serving God in so many different ways and they are not “in the red” on their bank statement anymore. Even in these tough times, it is important that we do not take what God has given us for granted. After all it is really ALL his anyway, and He only askes that we give our Church only part of it. I think sometimes we all need a “kick in the pants” to get back on track with what God has for us.

Scriptures:
Malachi 1:12-14
12 “But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Malachi 1:12-14
6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’  “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.

Abstinence is Possible

I know that I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks now, but it hasn’t been because I didn’t want to. School has been heavy and the reading extreme, but I was looking on my blog and I saw a link to this one on CNN:

 

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/17/abstinence-is-not-realistic-palins-daughter-says/

 

It is quite amazing that when someone agrees with the news that they give it high praise; while when it is contrasting to their view, it is something to attack.

 

So Palin’s daughter has stated that “abstinence is not realistic.” So I decided that I would discuss this a little from my perspective.

 

When I was a child, I accepted Christ as my Savior and wanted a pure life with my future wife. So I decided that abstinence was the way that I wanted to go. As I graduated High School I had achieved my goal and decided to go into the Military. I managed to make quite a few friends that helped me go to bars (the kind that clothes tends to disappear in) and drink and do all the things that I grew up believing to be contrary to what God had called me to do. However, I still maintained purity in sexual relationships with women that I had dated. Yes it was difficult and I lost a couple because of it. Then when I was around 25 years old I met a girl whom I loved very much and decided that she was the one for me. I thought it doesn’t really matter anymore because this is the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Besides I had waited 25 years and I was tired of waiting. Little did I know that shortly after we did “THE DEED” we broke up and my heart was broken. I had given up something that I could no longer give to my future wife. It was a few years later that I met my wife. 

When I met my wife, she told me that God had convicted her to, “Not date anyone that she had not known for at least a year.” Confusing me, especially in this day and age, but at the same time it intrigued me. We decided to be friends and to just do functions with mutual friends and eventually realized that what we were doing was courting. It became a conviction of ours that we would not even kiss until we had at least past that year mark.

Titus 2:11-15 (www.biblegateway.com)
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority Let no one disregard you.

One year after we met, we went on our first date. This was 4 months after I had asked her to marry me. It was quite a shock to people when we didn’t even kiss when I asked her to marry me. Now 4 months later we could date – according to her conviction, but we decided at this point we only had a couple more months before we would get married and decided that we wanted our first kiss to be at the alter. This is pretty extreme I know and very difficult at that. Either way we were able to go from the beginnings of our relationship to our marriage with a pure relationship. I have mistakes in my life, but I will never regret this decision and I have a true blessing in my wife.

Now we have been married for almost 7 years and I love her more today then yesterday. I did not think it possible, but it is. My point is that purity can be a choice but the road will be hard and it is also possible. Is it realistic, “Yes” and yes I messed up before my wife, but our relationship this time encouraged many people that it is possible! The question is then, “If it is possible, would it then be realistic?” Well that is something that you will have to decide, but either way “know that it is possible!”

Romans 13:11-14
11Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Heart Breaking News!

Recently I read a couple of blogs online that seem not only to reject the God that created them, but also to chide those who embrace him. I know that persecution is not that strong in the United States, but it is in other countries (See Voice of the Martyrs), but it still doesn’t take away the fact that these people are rejecting God. It is heartbreaking news to know that someone is outright rejecting God – that is heartbreaking enough, but to know that they reject and hatefully go after those who do, is even more heartbreaking.

I used to be the type that would argue my point until I was blue in the face. Then I realized that it was going to do no good when they closed to the idea that Christ died for them so that he could spend an eternity with them. This is when Matthew 7:6 came more to light for me.

Matthew 7:6 (www.biblegateway.com)
” Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:5-7 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter)

The “Good News” (Gospel) that we have is a precious pearl and treasure to the Christian. It brings hope. It brings life. It brings joy (notice I said joy not happiness there is a difference). It brings us closer to a God who loved us enough to send His son to take on the penalties of our wrong doing (Sin).

Romans 5:8 (www.biblegateway.com)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-9 (in Context) Romans 5 (Whole Chapter)

But your faith will also bring persecution. They will turn on you and trample you, but just like Paul you have to brush yourself off and continue in the Faith. It is not always easy but it is always for the good.

Now I read things like this with a saddened heart and maybe or maybe not leave a comment, then I move on. It is heartbreaking to leave them as they are, but we have to remember, “Just like the people complaining to Moses, it wasn’t him who they were rejecting.” We cannot give up on sharing the gospel, but remember Matthew 7:6. Give what information that you can in love and pray for those who persecute you – but don’t throw your pearls before swine for they will turn on you and trample it underfoot.

Word of the Week: “Dawns New Day”

Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new day. The First Black President will take office and will go down in the History books as such. Some are fearful for what this means, others are showing their hate, while others are in awe of a truly magnificent new day. I cannot say that I voted for him because of the Political views, but I have to admit I think that he is trying to do something that Dr. Martin Luther King would be proud of. He is trying to bring together the nation into one. It does seem fitting that the Inauguration is the day after Martin Luther King Day. King said that, “He had a dream, where a black man and a white man, Jew or Gentile, Protestant or Catholic would come together.” I think it is time that we do our best to bring the Conservative and Liberal together as well. After all they can be just as hateful to one another at times. This marks Obama as a man that has the ideals of a Hero and although I did not vote for Him, I will hope and pray for him to bring the nation together. Not everyone will like what he does. At times, I am going to hate his policies, but either way I will accept him for who he is: The President of the United States. So for this week I bring two different passages of Scripture and it deals with praying for our leaders and our responsibility as Christians to his authority, as long as it does not oppose scripture and God’s Mandate.

1 Timothy 2:1-6
www.Biblegateway.com (New International Version)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

Titus 3:1-2
www.Biblegateway.com (New International Version)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

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