Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I could have never been

Some may not know, but my parents (biological) decided to let me live. That's right. They had the choice to abort me or give me up for adoption. They could not keep me so they chose life. Life for me that is. I was adopted by two parents who loved me. Just think about it, I would not know any of you had they ended my life. No marriage to Michelle. No New Community Church. No Sam. No Jon Jon. Most of you who attend NCC would have never met. A lot of you not met the Lord. Not met your spouse. Not had your kids. Whew! That's too much for me to fathom. Scripiture says God has all our days planned even before we are formed in the womb. Let's leave God's plans in place. There are no unplanned pregnancies with God. Choose Life. I am glad to be alive.

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Atom bomb-God's way?

After dropping the Atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Jan. 9, 1945, President Harry Truman said, "Having found the Atomic bomb, we have used it. We shall continue to use it. ...It is an aweful responsability which has come to us. We thank God that it (the bomb) has come to us intead of our enemies and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes."

What is your reaction to this?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Murderer in Me

This week my reflections are on the 6th Commandment: "You shall not murder". Recently I recieved a call about an abusive husband who had a long history that I was aware of involving betrayal, verbal abuse, and now was becoming physical. Over time, my opinion of this person has degenerated and then the latest news came of a particularly dispicable act toward the woman and then out of my mouth it came, "That man is an idiot". I wanted to call him a fool but I know what Jesus says about that.
Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

I'm no axe murderer, but niether are the guys Jesus is talking about above. Apparently Jesus magnifies the 6th Command to include the way we regard others in our heart and mind. According to Him viewing others as worthless (Raca) or thinking someone is an idiot or moron (Fool)is a murderous proposition that endangers us for serious judgement.
I am thinking about this today as I don't want to be a murderer at heart.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Love being these guys Dad!

This pic was taken at Loews Lake Las Vegas after a long day at the beach. I honestly did not know just how much I would enjoy Fatherhood. Even right now I have a bouncing (and tooting) baby boy in my arms and I love it! Being a dad of two sons is the best thing ever!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What principles can you draw from this?

I have never really thought deeply about this passage...
Isaiah 58:13-14
"Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Tell me what you think...is this for Christians today? How do we practically apply it?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Agriculture and the Sabbath-a test of faith

Did a little research on various internet sites and thought I would share it with any study heads out there that like this stuff...

Leviticus 25:1-5 (NIV) 1 The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.

Sabbaths are a Test Commandment

The Sabbaths are a test commandment to "prove the people whether they would walk in God's law or not" (Ex. 16:4-30).

As part of the fourth commandment, the Sabbath and Jubilee years are a test of faith for God's people to obey and trust Him to bless them and provide their needs even during long periods of commanded rest (Lev 25:20-22; 26:2-12; Neh 5)."And if you say, 'What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?'" Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce enough for three years" (Lev 25:20-21).

The Sabbath and Jubilee years were given to provide a "sabbatical rest" for the land and for man, requiring farmers to take a break from their regular pursuit for profit and wealth, learning to trust God to provide.

Throughout history, man has exploited the land, which caused erosion and depletion of soil fertility and productivity and resulted in the downfall of many civilizations of the past (see "Conquest of the Land Through 7,000 Years," Agricultural Information Bulletin No. 99, U.S.D.A and "Ill Fared the Land").

The principles of the land rest are principles of soil conservation for maintaining and improving soil fertility, rediscovered by the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, which was established because of the "dust bowl" of the 1930's in the U.S. For more understanding of soils and sustainable soil management principles see "Keys to Understanding Soil's & Soil Testing for Sustainable Soil Management" and "Soil Biotechnology for Profitable & Sustainable Agricultural Systems".

God knows the the land needs to rest and He commands us to let it rest. May we obey for our own prosperity's sake. By the way, what am I made out of? Psalms 103:14 (NIV) 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. I need my rest every seven days too or I become less productive.

More bricks less straw

The command to take a Sabbath day every week and rest cannot be properly understood apart from these words, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of slavery". Coming out of Egypt into the promised land required a change in how they viewed productivity and freedom. Egypt was the epicenter of modern culture and technology. The biggest city. The best homes. The pyramids. All this built on the backs of ever harder working slaves. The Jews were given quotas of how many bricks they were to produce in a day. If they did not make quota or complained Pharoe would beat then and increase the quota. Seven days a week they worked to produce more and more and more.

Exodus 5:10-14 (NIV) 10 Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.'" 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, "Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw." 14 The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten and were asked, "Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?"

For us, coming out of Egypt and into a new place of freedom means rejecting the voice of the worlds fastest and most demanding economy that tells us "more bricks less straw". Productivity at all cost often means doing more with less.

But can we do more with less rest? Or do we actually become less productive if we do not get regular times of rest? "But if I can just get the overtime we can get that bigger, nicer condo down on the nile". Really? What does it matter to have "better" things when you are too tired and stressed to really enjoy them? In the long run we are not more productive with out a Sabbath anyway. Without proper rest we break down physically, emotionally, and spiritually and begin to lose our abilty to be fruitful in all areas of our lives. You can even see this is agriculture. Of course, God already knew this. I will discuss this tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Question: "Does God require Sabbath-keeping of Christians?"

In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul instructs, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
Romans 14:5 states, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

These Scriptures imply that, for the N.T. Christian, Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom. Sabbath-keeping is an issue on which God’s Word commands us not to judge each other. Sabbath-keeping is a matter about which each Christian needs to be fully convinced in his/her own mind about if, why and how they will observe it.

I keep a Sabbath Day reserved (Monday) for my family as a life principle. It is an act of obedience to God for my own good and the good of those I love. On that day we unplug from phones, computers, and anything else that might lure us into work. We rest.

We do not feel the "law requirement" as much as we feel the "love requirement". We hear the voice of a loving Father saying, "Get your proper rest my child". Once again, we see this is a loving command and it positions us to be more loving by being refreshed and revived one day each week. Tired, worn-out, cranky people find it difficult to love God or their neighbor.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sabbath thoughts

Have not blogged in a week...As I get back to my studies in the 10 commandments I turn to the 4th command:

Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV)
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

It takes maturity to apply this command to our lives and benefit from it. My son throws a fit when I say it is time to rest. He NEVER wants to rest. He gets tired alright, but that is when he fights harder. He gets cranky. He gets upset. He should gladly just "give in" because rest is the only thing that will right the ship but no-he cannot-he will not give in. Finally, I make him lay down and he drops off into his much needed time of recovery.

Rest. Do you do it? Do you fight it? Or do you just press on like so many cranky, fussy Americans chasing productivity and seeking to get ahead.

God says that He made this day called Sabbath for you. It is your day to rest. Do you have a day that you totally stop? Unplug? Enjoy God? Enjoy family? Friends? If you don't take your weekly break you are disobeying God. He gives us this day for our own good. Maybe we should take another look at it and trust God to bless us as we obey. Recovery. Renewal. Recreation. God's Idea!