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Are you a threat?

Topic: Christianity | Tags:


Acts 19:13-16

13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.

Paul was doing a lot of miracles at this time. He was overflowing with the Holy Spirit so much that even handkerchiefs he had touched would heal people. God was doing some amazing things through him. Evil spirits surely knew who he was and what he was doing. These priests tried to leverage that. Figuring the evil spirits would tremble at the name of Jesus or the name of Paul. It didn’t work though. The evil spirit’s were not afraid of these priests who really didn’t believe in Jesus. These priests really presented no threats to the evil spirits.

It isn’t enough to just know about Jesus. It isn’t enough to read the Bible. Satan knows who Jesus is after all. Just knowing about Jesus doesn’t give you power over evil.

When I read this it makes me think about my own life. Am I a threat? Does Satan and his demons know who I am? Have they conspired to bring me down or am I like these priests, someone they don’t consider a threat. Am I doing enough to further the Kingdom of God to be on their hit list?

Going through life and being a “good” person isn’t enough to a threat. Just because I am nice to people isn’t enough. Just because I sit here in the morning, reading some scripture and writing about it, doesn’t mean I am a threat if I am not doing anything with what I read. It doesn’t mean anything if I am not sharing this with other people.

I want to be a threat to Satan. I want him and his evil spirits to know who I am.

Lord, I pray for your Spirit to fill me. I pray for your strength to empower me. I pray for the courage to share with others about who you are. I pray that I would have the huevos to talk to others about you and not be afraid of what they might say.

Sacrificing Jesus

Topic: Christianity | Tags:


Luke 23:18-24

18Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” 19(Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) 20Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. 21But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
23But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. 25As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.

Wow, talk about pure pressure. Pilate is put in a tough situation. He is the leader but the people he leads do not like his decision. Does he sack up and stick with his hard decision or give in to his subjects and follow the popular opinion. Well, as we know from the end of this passage, he gives in. He follows the popular opinion. I wonder what would have happened if he didn’t. Would he have been overthrown as the ruler? Would the people revolted against him and killed him?

We are faced with things like this all the time through our life. Do we stand up for Jesus or pretend we do not know him in order to be popular or liked. Do we stand up for Jesus or cast him aside so we can get ahead in our jobs, in life. Every time we go along in sin with someone else is just acting like Pilate and casting Jesus aside. Putting someone down with a group of friends? Yep. Covering up for a friend that did something bad so that they would still be your friend? Yep. Stealing a piece of candy from the store so your friends will think you are cool? Yep.

It usually starts out small. Sacrificing a small piece of integrity to get a head. A small little lie here and there. Then it grows to something bigger.

Who is the authority in your life?

Where are your kids?

Topic: Christianity | Tags:


Luke 2:48-49

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

When I read this, multiple things run through my head. At first, the way Jesus responds to His parents seems like a smart ass remark. Sounds like something a know it all kid would say. “Duh, dad. If you had half a brain you would know.”

But, as I think about it more, it also sounds like the type of response I would want from my kids. He was so in tune with God the Father that he seemed dumbfounded that someone would think he would be somewhere else in the city. Why would he be at the mall when he could be spending time with God? Why would he be playing basketball when He could be worshiping the Creator? Jesus wanted to be in his Father’s house more than playing Nintendo with his friends.

Lord, I pray that my kids would have a heart like this. I pray that I could set an example to them of what really matters in life. That they would come to understand that you are to be our desire. That you are to be what we are fixated on. I pray that my kids would be so in love with you that everything else in life takes a back seat.

Is your Christianity showing?

Topic: Christianity | Tags:


Galatians 1:10 NLT

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Galatians 2:11-13 NLT

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Paul has this gem of a verse in chapter 1 about being a people pleaser rather than a God pleaser. He doesn’t say much else about it until this example in chapter 2. Not sure if he meant it to be an example but it paints a picture of how things can go when you are trying to please people rather than God.

During this time, Peter is an apostle to the Jews. He is teaching them about Christ. They have accepted him. They also had traditions and customs in place that maybe they were not willing to give up. One of which has to do with eating amongst Gentiles. Peter is in a put in a great teaching situation here. He has an opportunity to lead by example. To show that God’s grace extends to everyone. To show what it means to follow the teaching of Jesus and see people through the eyes of God. Or, he can do what he did. He can try to be the cool Guy. To maintain his status. To not rock the boat. To live in the world. He put aside his own morals. As a result, other people followed suit and he led them astray. They probably looked to him as a spiritual compass and thought whatever he did was fine for them to do as well.

We are put in situation’s like this everyday. The moments people know we are Christians, our actions are scrutiny sized. We can either show poeple the love of God or we can give them an excuse or good reason to think that certain sin is ok and acceptable. It may not be fair to be judged like this but this is the world we live in. I remember being out with some guys the night before I was to be married. I wasn’t driving but the guy who was pulled into the parking lot of a strip club. I had a similar choice as Peter. I could get out, go in with them and try to be “cool” or I could not give in and stand my ground. Thankfully I didn’t give in that night.

It isn’t always extreme as that and I haven’t always stuck to my morals. It could be as simple as obeying traffic laws or downloading pirated music and software. Some areas that I haven’t been the best example in the past.

Lord, thank you for this reminder. I pray that I would be an example of what it means to follow you. I pray that I wouldn’t give people a reason to turn away from Christianity. That I wouldn’t be the cause for someone stumbling.

A worthy life

Topic: Christianity | Tags:


2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.

What does it mean to live a life worthy of His calling? Paul is writing this letter to a church in Thessalonica. From the way the letter starts out, it sounds like this church is going through a rough time and it is being persecuted. This letter sounds like Paul is trying to encourage them to not give up. Trying to encourage them to not back down from the persecution. Under persecution and possible death, it might be tough to continue doing the work of God and spreading the Gospel. If you are threatened with death or constantly under attack for what you believe, how hard is it to listen to the Spirit, and when prompted, go talk to someone about God? What if it will jeapordize your job? What if it will jeopardize your friendship with that person? What if it will jeopardize your way of living?

So, back to the question. What does a life worthy of His calling mean? The Bible talks about not being saved by works so what are we supposed to do here? This verse isn’t saying you are worthless if you are not doing God’s work. You ARE worth something to God. He sent Jesus to die for our sins because we are worth something to Him.

When I read this, I don’t read it as trying to earn a reward. I’m not trying to earn my way to Heaven. I read it in the context of love. I love my wife so much. She is an amazing woman and she loves me. When you truly love someone, you don’t do things for them because you want to earn more favor with them. You do those things because you love them. If I didn’t show my wife that I love her, would I be worthy of being called her husband? Would I be living up to what it means to be her husband?

In John 21, Jesus asks Simon Peter if he loves him. When Peter replied that he did, Jesus asks him to feed his sheep. Jesus asks him to live out his love.

All this reminds me of an old DC Talk song called Love is a Verb. What are we doing because of our love for God? When we love God, we should be living a life that shows the world that we love Him. Not because we want to earn our way to Heaven. But living a life that doesn’t hide our love for Him. For me, this is how I relate to “being worthy.”