Let’s Bring Matthew 5:13 Into Today’s Society…

Most of us are living in an IT (Information Technology) Age. And that is pretty apparent to just about all the people in the world. In fact, I am using my smartphone right now, in order to convey the words I want to share. What makes the phone smart? This little handheld device contains vast number of resources including (but not limited to) email, music, internet, etc. All the stuff you want to make your life go “easier.” Remember the first generation of software that came out with the floppy disc? Or how about those smaller hard floppy discs that were 3.5 inches all the way around? * this has a purpose in trying to relate what I am trying to get across, so we will leave this behind right now.

Christians all around are familiar with Matthew 5:13, I am assuming. You know, the passage that Jesus Christ during the Sermon on the Mount gives a teaching concerning the salt’s usefulness, and how if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? Well, why not take it straight from the Holy Book itself as Matthew 5:13 says,

You are the salt of the earth. But if it loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on. (NCV)

In Jesus Christ’s day, there were plenty of uses for salt. As a flavoring, as a preservative, as a disinfectant, as a part of ceremonial activities, and as a unit of exchange for it could be used in these only if it had its saltiness. If it were not, it could be used as only, well say, an old tattered tongue of a shoe. Not to useful. Wikipedia says that

The issue of salt losing its flavour is somewhat problematic. … Of the substances in this mix the NaCl (the chemical make up of salt) was the most soluble in water and if exposed to moisture the NaCl would disappear leaving a white powder looking just like salt, but not having its flavour or its preservative abilities. (Wikipedia)

The reason I chose the picture of the multi-colored hard floppy discs was because most Christians have a hard time accepting progress. As part of the Infomation Technology movement, the floppy discs are old and not useful anymore, except for coasters that we use for our living rooms, bedrooms, and the like in the house.

Jesus Christ addresses this very topic in John 15:1-5 where He says:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that does not produce fruit. And He trims and cleans every branch that does produce fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. Remain in Me (even in the most difficult times), and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone, but it must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but (you) must remain in Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remains in Me, I will remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without Me they can do nothing. (NCV)

So, this presents a problem for the church, the gathering together of local believers in Jesus Christ. So, if Jesus Christ used the current situation to get His point across, don’t you think that Christians should use the current situation to get stories from the Holy Bible across to people in this present age? After all, 1 Peter 2:21 says to do so:

For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, LEAVING YOU AN EXAMPLE, so that you might follow in His steps. (ESV)

Do you see what I am trying to get across to you? Let’s Bring Matthew 5:13 Into Today’s Society? 🤔

“Change”-Lecrae

“Word”-P. Lo Jetson

“War of Change”-Thousand Foot Krutch

“The Insanity of God: A True Story About Faith Ressurected” -A Book by Nik Ripken

“…I was told as a young believer that discouragement in my life would surface from time to time. But this was something different, something I had never faced before, and I had discovered that I had no tools to deal with it. Nothing in my background helped me deal with despair. I didn’t even have the vocabulary to describe it.”-Nik Ripken

“Praise You In This Storm”-Casting Crowns

“Broken Hallelujah”-The Afters

“Even When It Hurts”-Hillsong United

What Is God’s Will For My Life?!

Doing God’s will is tough. God’s will often comes without direction, leaving you to lean that much more into God. Since Adam and Eve (the first humans on the planet) took a bite of that tempting, ever scrumptious fruit hanging down from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, humans have been trying unsuccessfully to prove ourselves “worthy” to enter into God’s grace again. That puts all the effort on us to get into God’s good grace. Doesn’t it?

Well, no! It takes belief in Jesus Christ as the One that provided us a way to escape hell. Two thousand years ago (plus or minus), there was this baby who was born in the most deplorable conditions. In a barn that was used for animal’s at the inn in Bethlehem, Israel. Just think, who would want their baby to be born in an animal stable where there was gross excrement, and lay your baby down in a feeding trough where slobber abounds. Now, if someone saw this, the authorities would be called. Yet, that is how Jesus Christ was born coming down from His holy dwelling in a world outside of ours to endure life here on this earth, only to be ridiculed all the way to His death on the bloody cross to purchase salvation for you, me, and everyone who accepts that financially free gift. (See Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Hebrews 10:12 in the Holy Scripture)

However, I have not answered the question “What Is God’s Will For My Life?!” I know. It is hard to wait for an answer. Sometimes, finding God’s will for your life is quick, but the quickness of it will determine how long it will last in our memory. Take the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites back in Exodus 14 where after that super miraculous event they turned and worshipped a “god” made out of their own gold shaped into the form of a calf just chapters later (Exodus 32). Yet, something that takes a “long time” in our eyes has the potential to last in our memories. Take waiting for God to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham that he would have descendants like the stars in the nighttime sky (Genesis 15:4-6)? Or, better yet, look at Jesus Christ’s full life (as in the gospels) culminating with His death on that bloody cross. We are still seeing positive results from Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection in people of the world turning into people of God.

Getting impatient? Well, that is precisely what I want to do. See, it takes patience to see what God is up to in your life. Maybe you could be going through heartache for someone else. The way you handle it (seeking God all the way through), might offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration through Jesus Christ to others? Who knows? God the Father does, and that is what Jesus Christ (His Son) was saying when He said in Matthew 24:36-

But about that day or the hour no one knows, not the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father. (NCV)

So, to answer the question “What Is God’s Will For My Life” looks different to everyone of us True Life Christians. So, in doing God’s will, you want to be 100% positive that you will not fail especially where your joyfully serving the God of the Universe. I completely understand, but I caution you. 100% positive doesn’t come. Most you will get little glimpses of His will along your journey with God so you won’t go off and do your own thing for the Lord completely messing up His will for your life.

The person who is writing this has a deep understanding of this because I was called by the Lord at the age of 14. Called to what? I thought it was to be a youth minister, only to turn out that wasn’t God’s will for my life. No, in order to accomplish His will would take a month-long coma, having to relearn everything, suffering from expressive aphasia, being slow as compared to a normal person, and an incredible amount of frustration and patience. Things with which a person with God in a similar circumstance can truly understand. I have a traumatic brain injury suffered when I was 18 to the glory of God.

Now it is your turn. What has God allowed in your life that you didn’t see as glorifying to God causing you to reevaluate “What Is God’s Will For My Life?” Go, take your pain, and use it to glorify God!!!

“Jesus Freak”-DC Talk

“The Insanity of God: A Story of Faith Resurrected” (A Book By Nik Ripken)

“… It might be, in fact, to be safe in the center of God’s will, but we would be wise to stop and think what it means to be safe.”-Nik Ripken

“While I Wait”-Lincoln Brewster

“Thy Will”-Hillary Scott & The Scott Family

To Be Like Jesus Christ, Would You Walk Into A Situation Where You Find Yourself Being Tempted?

Temptation is around us all day, 24/7. If you’re truly a Christian, things like calling out sick from work to get a day off from work should bother you since the Holy Spirit lives inside your soul. True Christians are supposed to be like Christ as much as possible, and Jesus Christ would not tell a fib (lie). For I could give you many more examples, but I won’t giving you the benefit of the doubt trusting you know exactly what I am talking about.

However, Jesus prayer to His heavenly Father, He prays for us that His Father will keep the evil one from us (John 17:15). And all true Christians should know that Satan is the father of lies, and he successfully tricked the first humans (Adam and Eve) that were on this planet by getting them to eat of the scrumptious tree of knowledge of good and evil. Instead, humanity had to wait for the second Adam (Jesus Christ) to come and successfully fulfill all the requirements of the Old Testament Law. And Jesus Christ had fulfilled them perfectly, but still rejected by His own people, the Jews. In fact, some of religious elite in His day wanted to kill Him several times. Yet God the Father allowed the people in His day to crucify Jesus Christ, God’s Son. To Satan’s surprise, God the Father raised Him from the dead, 3 days later. “What was that for?” you maybe asking. Well, I will tell you, for 1 Peter 2:21 says this:

For to this, you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might walk in His steps. (ESV)

Both in Matthew 16:24 and Luke 9:23 Jesus says that if we are to follow after Him we must take up our cross and follow Him. So where would temptation come in?

For,

As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out the water. Then heaven opened, and He saw God’s Spirit coming down in Him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and am very well pleased with Him. Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 3:16, 17; 4:1 NCV)

For true Christians, could the Holy Spirit lead you into an area where Jesus Christ knows you have trouble giving into temptation? I think yes. Let me explain.

True Christians have to be close to Jesus Christ. Correct? Well, then in order for you to become more like Christ, the Holy Spirit (who is inside of you) would lead you out into your own personal desert to cause you to rely on Him more. Correct? No?

I am going to repeat a verse that comes from 1 Peter 2:21:

For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. (ESV)

I may be going out on a limb here, but isn’t most of our spiritual walk in order to become more as Christ paved with heartache now only to be a blessing in the end? Remember Romans 8:28 which says:

And we know that for all those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. (ESV)

I believe that every day we battle with temptation, but for the True Christian; I believe this includes temptation in taking up your cross every day (not trying to avoid it at all costs).

I heard on a Christian radio station a meeting to help you out of temptation. There come on was, “If you are get hit with a temptation that seems too much for you to handle, then come to this conference and we’ll equip you to handle whatever the temptation might be.” Mainly, to stay away from the temptation. However, if you get caught in an unbelievable situation, then apply these principles (that you will have to go to the conference to get). Really?

What if the temptation is a beautiful girl or a physically appealing guy (who seems to say all the right words around you) at work? As a true Christian, you pray that your paths don’t cross, over and over again. Yes, then there is an opening for your manager, and you find out that they applied and received the position. So, now, you are going to have to deal with why God did not answer your prayers. Let me repeat the last verse I gave you:

And we know that for all those who love God all things work together for good (even though they might seem bad at the time) for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

(I am not suggesting going against what Scripture says when it tells you to flee from sexual temptation as you will see in the verse below {Colossians 6:18-*click on the Temptation link by 116}. On the contrary, I was putting the emphasis on God has the power to use things like temptation to bring humanity closer to Him.)

Or on your way to work, someone cuts you off in your car. You are tempted to do as everyone else does and react in anger (not righteous anger) but in anger nonetheless. Anger that produces some swears that come out of your mouth, or even if they don’t you are still thinking them (which as God sees it, you are guilty of saying those swears). God places in our way those situations (temptations) which are supposed to drive us back to Him. Instead, we have the free will to choose Him or not; sadly, we choose the latter rather than the former (I am including myself in this).

Yet for us true Christians, there is a warning involved given by the writer of Hebrews. Hebrews 10:26-27 gives a stern warning, for it says,

If we decide to go on sinning after we have learned the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins. There is nothing but fear in waiting for the judgment and the terrible fire that will destroy all those who live against God. (NCV)

Further, I know I am heading into a slippery slope to a majority of Christians (maybe) who view temptation differently. But these are my thoughts, and if I am wrong, I will have to answer for it in heaven along with those who take up my stance. However, what if I am correct? 🤔 It is worth thinking about, isn’t it?

*I can only see only sexual temptation is the exception, for Colossians 6:18 cries out:

That is why I say to run from sexual sin. No other sin affects the body as this one does. When you sin this sin it is against your own body. (Version Unknown)

“Temptation”-116

“Blessings”-Laura’s Story

The Insanity of God: A Story About Faith Resurrected (a book by Nik Ripken)

“I admit, however, to my surprise, I found myself living a life that was neither safe nor secure. I was stunned, when I considered a life of sacrificial obedience, I could point to very little in my ministry that was effective.”Nik Ripken

“Tremble”-Mosaic MSC

“Blessings”-Laura’s Story

The Insanity of God: A Story of Faith Resurrected – a book by Nik Ripken

“…Obedience to God’s call would result in a life of safety and security. Obedience, was implied, would lead to effective ministry and results and even success. ‘The safest place to be,’ I was told more than once, ‘was to be in the center of God’s will.’ And that sounded both true and reassuring.”-Nik Ripken

“Trust In You”-Lauren Daigle

What Happens When You Fail As A Christian?

If you are a Christian of any sort, whether a baby Christian all the way up to mature, congratulations! You need to be celebrated, for the people of the world will not celebrate you for following God’s Son, Jesus Christ who took the way the world operates and turned it upside down where the world has at its mantra “everything to better me” versus Jesus Christ’s mantra of “everything to better others.” Jesus Christ commands people for helping others, where humility wins out over peacefulness.

Everything about Jesus Christ goes against the people in the world (worldly people). But weren’t we worldly people to, once? Yes? Yes, we were. And we, Christians, find ourselves turning to worldly people ways of finding solutions to our problems whether it minor to catastrophic. However, being a Christian means you have to wait on the Lord, but with all the pressing demands of the world Christians don’t have a second to waste. So what is the God-fearing and respecting Christian supposed to do?

What could be better than sharing my constant battles waiting on the Lord and the demands of worldly people in a fast world? The whole perspective of my life changed when I turned 18.

See, shortly after I turned 18, it was early summer. Not a full week had gone by when I was in a horrifying, almost fatalistic car accident, for I got into my accident June 28th, 1989 around 6 am (with hours to complete before a full week of summer had passed by into all eternity). I had several pieces of glass lodged into my head plus an open traumatic brain injury Thus began my journey into the land of waiting on the Lord and the demands of worldly people living in a fast world.

For even after it was clear that I would survive (1-month coma until 3 weeks in my rehabilitation stay where I made a solemn vow to the Lord that I would live out whatever life He had for me), I still found recovery extremely frustrating and difficult. However, once I asked a doctor walking down the hallway of the rehabilation hospital how long would I have expressive aphasia, he just looked at me and said never. It was devastating that my recovery would only be partial at best. There was nothing I could do; I would have to start accepting my “new normal” as Jeff Huxford, M.D. describes it in his new book, “Finding Normal.” *-a book about a doctor who had just reached his ultimate goal of being a doctor only to have it ripped away twice by a closed traumatic brain injury.

It is not easy. In fact, I continue to warn people about the dangers that contributed to my almost fatalistic car accident. Yet I do not know where I would be without that car accident. Before the accident, I was confident that I knew what God wanted for my life since the age of 14. It took the accident to reevaluate my life that I was God’s, and He could do anything with my life. So, I let Him- 3 weeks out of 2 1/2 months into my in-patient rehabilitation process.

You may say, “Excellent story. But how does this have to do with failure as a Christian?” Ever since my accident, I have become more self-aware (to almost a detriment), except that it makes me lean on God more. I am being honest.

I have a master’s of science in human services, but I haven’t been able to use it because of my slowness, the way that I talk due to expressive aphasia, my slowness of speech, and a constant limp on my right side. Most of the time, I don’t notice my constant limp except on deep, ominous, dark cloudy days to when the barometric pressure decides to go up or down. Yet the rest, I am pretty much aware of on good days, self-loathing on worst of worst days.

During the worst days, I feel like I can’t do anything right, leaving me with an over-sense of failure. As a Christian (especially a True Life Christian), am I supposed to feel that way? Yes and no. Let me explain.

Coming from Genesis 1-3, the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, introduced sin into the world. Ever since then, the human race has tried to reach up to God. However, since sin separates us from God, Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, and the Garden of Eden was guarded by an angel. Since sin separates humanity from God, God had to send His Son (Jesus Christ) to take the weight of the whole world’s sin (both past, present, and future) and die a bloody death on a cross, thus sin was paid for as long as humanity has to accept Christ (John 3:16-21). Yet three days later God the Father raised Jesus Christ, God the Son.

However, I am supposed to explain the overwhelming feeling you and I get in response to failure as a Christian. This is where one of my favorite passages of Scripture comes into play. Romans 8:26-28 says this:

Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit Himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. And He knows what is in the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit speaks to God for His people in the way God wants. We know in everything God works for the good to those that love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan. (NCV)

So for you True Life Christians out there, I have some more good news for you! What Happens When You Fail As A Christian? You are forgiven because Jesus Christ has taken punishment for all sin all of the time, but do not take that forgiveness for granted. As it says in 2 Corinthians 13:4-6:

For He (Jesus Christ) was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are also weak in Him, but in dealing with you we will live with Him by the power of God. Examine yourselves, to see whether or not you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or you do not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless, indeed, you fail the test! I hope that you find out that you have not failed the test. (ESV)

Remedies for What Happens When You Fail As A Christian:

1. You are forgiven!

2. Ask for forgiveness anyway because that keeps you sensitive before God. Examine yourselves.

3. Rejoice over your continual forgiveness!

“Forgiveness”-TobyMac ft. Lecrae

“Forgiven”-Crowder

“Forgiveness”-Matthew West

“The Insanity of God: A Story of Faith Resurrected”-a book by Nik Ripken

“… This is what God offers His people. This is God expects of His people, and His people will respond with obedience and trust. I am not suggesting that I always got it right because I didn’t. But still, the way to be so trusting seemed clear, and the need to be obedient was beyond question…”-Nik Ripken

“Trust and Obey”-performed by Big Daddy Weave

A True Wish For The New Year!

How has the year 2018 been for you? It could have been the year of surprises, disappointments, or both which if in all honesty is like that for many of us. Whether you have the past year as full of many pleasant surprises or disappointments leading to disasters, I have some good news for you.

”What good news do you speak of?” many may wonder. What I am about to tell you unfortunately been communicated before in various words. As you read this, I beg of you not to treat this as another broken new year’s resolution. In fact, I heard with my own two ears that 80% break their new year’s resolution sometime in February and that most of them have to do with exercising, losing weight, and/or eating better. Year after year, we keep doing the same thing.

In a recent church service, the Bedford Campus Director gave a pretty interesting way to overcome this sense of failure to keep the New Year’s Resolution. He suggested one day at a time. He gave personal examples of things, such as health and personal fitness, and he is now confident that after a time he won’t be drawn into those behaviors again. He then got a little bit personal as he told us of a personal sin that he has been struggling with but knew it had to come out of his life if he would ever want to move forward with this one area of his spiritual life.

“One day at a time,” he said, “with being intentional about giving it to the Lord.” Give your life to the Lord, that is the only way to have A True Wish For The New Year!

“Vow”-Kutless