Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thursday's Theology Thing: God is Good

Yesterday, my wife and I signed on our first house. We are officially homeowners!

Throughout this process, it has been crystal clear that God had his hand in the entire process. There is no doubt in my mind that were it not for God, we would have never found this house, and would have ended up with one we were much less satisfied with. Truly, God blesses his children!

So in today's brief TTT, I just wanted to give a short testimony about how God has blessed us. Remember, we don't serve God in the hopes of being blessed, but it seems to always end up that God overflows his blessings on those who follow him.

To think about: How has God blessed you lately? Was it for something you have been praying about, or an unexpected blessing? Make sure to thank God by not only giving thanks in prayer, but by continuing to live a life of thanks.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thursday's Theology Thing: You'll Get Your Comeuppance!

My wife and I really enjoy playing board games. Probably our favourite game is Trouble. Sometimes when she troubles one of my men, I'll shake my fist at her and exclaim, "You'll have your comeuppance!"

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this phrase, you can check Merriam-Webster online. Basically, it means to receive a rebuke or penalty, or "just deserts".

Occasionally you may notice a non-Christian who always gets the upper hand in life, or seems to get away with things that they shouldn't. There's a part of us wants to see them taken down a peg, which we think would make us in turn feel better. Of course this is selfishness, and something that God does not approve of.

So when are they going to get what they deserve? David penned it quite eloquantly in Psalm 10:

Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
"He won't call me to account"?

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless. (Ps. 10:13-14 NIV)

God is aware of everything. There is nobody who is outside of his sight. In due time, everyone will sow what they reap. Numbers 32:23 says "But if you don't do what you say, you will be sinning against GOD; you can be sure that your sin will track you down." (MSG)

Here's an idea: instead of worrying about other people and when they are going to "get theirs", focus instead on serving God as best as you can. Let God worry about who's doing what!

To think about: Have you wished bad things on someone because they seem to be doing so well? Be careful, because this is selfishness taking root! Ask God to search your heart for these feelings and to remove them from your thoughts.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Thursday's Theology Thing: Don't Fight With God

Trust, me. Just don't do it!

What am I talking about? Let me explain.

Have you ever done something (or wanted to do something) that you know was contrary to what God wanted? Probably most if not everyone has at some point. You know, you feel in your gut that whatever you are doing (or not doing) does not line up with what God wants for you.

What is that gut feeling? Many refer to it as your conscience, which would be correct. But if you're a Christian, your conscience is heavily influenced by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. Not just a long-term plan of what we should be doing in 15-20 years, but also in every day events of our life. Spend time in prayer with God and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you each and every day.

I saw a sign out front of a church the other day that said, "God wants your availability more than your ability." God may be leading you to do something, but you are fighting him because you don't think that you are qualified enough. Trust in him! He is wanting you to grow, and grow closer to him in the process.

So remember, if you feel in your heart that the path you're taking isn't the plan that God wants for you, give in to God! Some will say that when you fight with God, you lose. It is possible, however, to go against God's will long enough that the Holy Spirit will no longer lead you. That's when you REALLY lose!

To think about: Have you had a fight with God lately? Give in to his plans, he knows what's best for you!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thursday's Theology Thing: I'll Do Whatever I Want!

I finished the book of Judges yesterday. For many who read this book, it comes across as a book of heroes, filled with leaders like Gideon and Samson who led Israel out of oppression from other countries. To me however, it is a depressing book. It is a story of a recurring theme of Godlessness and moral depravity in Israel's history. God raised up these leaders because when things were going well for them, Israel forsook God instead of serving him out of thankfulness and devotion.

Look at the final verse of the book and you'll see what I mean:

"At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing." (Jud. 21:15 MSG)

Since there wasn't an authority figure, Israel got lax in their devotion to God. People basically did whatever they want, served whatever gods they wanted to, and married whomever they felt like.

This sounds familiar, doesn't it? In North America and many other parts of the world, people do whatever they feel like. They serve whatever god they want (if any), and for the most part, they do whatever they want. Sure, there are laws that are enforced in each country, and most people adhere to these laws. Of course, the number of lawbreakers seems on the rise, so even laws aren't always a deterrent.

What if you're a Christian? Are you free to do whatever you want? Yes, scripture tells us that we are free, and no longer a slave to sin. But does that mean that we're free to do whatever we feel like? Here's what Paul had to say:

So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom! (Rom. 6:15-18 MSG)

If we do whatever we want, we become slaves to sin once more. As the above passage mentions, there are some forms of freedom that can destroy freedom. By being free you are not free at all. Paradoxical, but true.

Being a Christian is not easy work. We need to always be on guard to resist temptation, and to do the right thing. So how can you tell what the right thing is to do? Scripture makes it pretty clear that if something is good, then it is something that we should focus on (Phil. 4:8). But in any areas that you are unsure of, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. God wants us to serve him, and is not going to try to confuse us.

To think about: who is your "king"? Have you been living however you want, doing whatever you feel like? Or are you subjecting your will to God's will, and striving to do what's right?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thursday's Theology Thing: How Bright Are You?

No, today's TTT is not about intelligence, and there are no IQ tests. So put your pencils away! Instead, I wanted to post about how the world sees us.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2:14-15 NIV)

Umm, the last time that I checked, I wasn't shining like I should. Yes, I am a Christian, and am confident that due to the grace, love and patience of God, one day I will spend eternity with him and all Christians. But I also have my shortcomings. I can be impatient, rude and quick-tempered among other things. I complain, and if you ask my wife, I bet she will admit to you that I argue! Yikes.

So what do I do? I ask Jesus for a continued renewal of strength and for his help when I am weak. He has already given us the ability to withstand temptation, so it's up to me. Thankfully, Jesus is there to pick me up when I fall. But I need to strive to be the best Christian that I can be. As I spend more time in his word and in prayer, I will grow closer to him. James 4:8a says "Come near to God and he will come near to you." In doing so, I will become a brighter shining star to those who are not yet saved.

To think about: What's your brightness level? Do you see room for improvement? Ask Jesus to show you how you can be a better servant of his, and resist temptation when it comes.