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“I’m not going to die until I say I’m going to die.”

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Just heard a celebrity who was a childhood star say this sentence on tv: “I’m not going to die until I say I’m going to die.”

The lies people tell themselves! They want to believe this statement is true but they do not know Who gives them breath and Who holds their destiny in His Hands.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us of this: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:time to be born, and a time to die…” (ESV from Biblegateway.com)

Whether we want to die or not does not matter because we cannot make ourselves live. Only God gives us life and every day is a blessing. Teach your children that their lives belong to the Lord and that they are to use this life to live for His glory alone! Don’t let them believe lies like this one! Let them know that they are fragile in this life ever depending upon the Lord for strength, hope, and life everlasting!

I pray you will be thankful to Him for the days you’ve lived and that you will not believe that you hold your destiny in your own hands like this celebrity whose riches deceived and whose own lies deceived this person from knowing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ!

-Mark (learning to live and die with grace)

Are Christians being Santa-tized?

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s Christmas time and that can only mean one thing: Jesus’ birthday, right? Well, to some, it’s Santa Claus time but what does Santa teach us and are the messages biblical? Should Christians embrace Santa?

First of all, Santa is a lie. I work with abused kids and neglected kids. They have been lied to their whole lives and now parents are encouraged to lie to them one more time about ole Saint Nick? What are we thinking? Encourage parents to lie to their abused kids one more time and cause more distrust between parent and child. I don’t think so! Some argue it’s a good lie but is there really such a thing in God’s eyes?

Second, does Santa know if you have been naughty or nice? Is he all knowing like God? I don’t think so. Jesus knew if people were naughty or nice because He was the Son of God. Santa is not the son of God. Santa is not divine. Santa is portrayed as a man with special abilities like knowing if we’ve been good or bad, but he’s not god. Strange stuff!

Third, are we teaching kids to be works-oriented and to earn their gifts? When we talk about salvation as a free gift yet encourage kids to be nice to earn their Christmas gifts, we are undermining the very idea that a gift is not earned or deserved just like eternal life is not earned or deserved. Salvation is a free gift and it’s given to us while we are yet naughty (not nice). Romans 5:8 reminds us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” so that means we were still naughty!

When something is sanitized, it is cleansed and purified. Unfortunately the opposite is true when something is Santa-tized: it is polluted and corrupted and made unclear. That’s how I feel about the lie of ole Saint Nick. It’s a lie plain as day and yet we embrace it and justify it as mere fun – a good lie.

I wonder how the Lord feels about lying. Oh, I don’t have to wonder. I already know as it is one of His 10 Commandments – “thou shalt not bear false witness.” He is not pleased with any lying and that includes Santa-tizing! I hope you will consider this commandment you are tempted to talk about Santa. Sounds harsh to some but it’s important to be obedient to the Lord.

Celebrate Jesus this Christmas…not Santa!

-Mark (celebrating the pure birth of our Savior and not anything else this advent season)

Living in Dark of Eternity

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Most people do NOT live in light of eternity like Colossians 3:2 tells us:

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”**

What is most important in this life are the eternal things that will carry on in the next life. How ironic is that? It’s upside down to most people and many in the world would disagree thinking this biblical truth is insane. Those people have no hope in God and the next life to come.

What will live on in the next life? Our souls in new bodies and the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Our possessions will no longer mean anything to anyone so why do we work so hard for temporal things? Because we are in the dark not in the light.

So if you are not living in light of eternity, then you are living in the dark of eternal things.

-Mark (learning to set my mind on eternity as I live each temporal day; please pray for me to do this better!)

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Col 3:2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Being a Daniel in Babylon

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This is one of the more important blogs I’ve written. No kidding!

We are all living in Babylon in some way. Everyone has a Babylon they live in whether it’s at work, home, school, or even at church. They feel like an outsider (Daniel) living in a foreign land (Babylon) with foreign values and foreign ideas. As a Daniel, they stand out as “different” to the culture around them but they are just “right” in God’s eyes.

Where is your Babylon? Are you called to be different from your work, school, home, or even church? Are they wanting you to bow down (or join in) with ungodliness?

I think we are called to be a Daniel in Babylon. Daniel was a Hebrew with Jewish values and it was a challenge to live in Babylon yet not be a Babylonian in how he acted, thought, and spoke. As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of the world. In other words, we live in the world so we are familiar with the culture around us yet we are NOT to partake in worldly things that oppose the Lord and His Word. We are to be obedient to Him.

James 4:4 tells us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” which is a strong statement that we should not want the things of this world. So, when you are in a Babylon situation, what do you do? Move out of Babylon? No! Stay there but keep your eyes on Jesus by studying His Word and worshipping Him alone. Glorify Him by living your life in a “set apart” or “holy” manner of living so that others will see your good works and glorify the Lord who is in heaven. In other words, they will see how you are different and be drawn to Christ. That’s the goal – eternal life for others!

Sometimes, we are tempted to leave Babylon. I say that is a wrong view of suffering for the glorify and purpose of Christ. We are to live in Babylon, not as a Babylonian, but as Christians who are called out of the world of Babylon to be different as ambassadors of Christ.

One more thing. I hate to see churches do outreach events without Christ and His Word. What good is that? So you have an Easter egg hunt and invite hundreds of people to the event but if you fail to tell them about Jesus, what good is that? Proclaim Christ because He alone is worthy to be praised!

-Mark (trying to be a faithful Daniel in my Babylon situations)

Missions: how important is it to you to share your faith?

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

How important should missions work be to us?

Read Matthew 28:18-20 and give me an answer. I think Jesus placed a high value on missions work!

Where does most missional work occur? In our neighborhoods? I would say in our homes. I live with 4 children who I am a missionary to – they all need Christ. Our children are lost. They are born that way. They need to know Christ (John 17:3). Do you realize that?

Hoping our children magically find Christ is not good enough. We must evangelize them which occurs in BOTH word and in DEED. Our actions speak louder than words. Then, we must ask the Holy Spirit to do His work of saving grace to bring them to Himself.

When that battle is won, then I recommend you go to your neighbors (or maybe you do both at the same time – evangelize your children and your neighbors). The world needs the Gospel but it starts in your own home. Share the Gospel with those nearest you today and expect God to bring them to Himself!

-Mark (missional work is important in every way)

Biblically Illiterate

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I thank the Lord for the great Bible teachers I have had in Sunday school, church, seminary, and in my personal life. I am still learning so much about the Word of God and realize I have so far to go.

It’s always sad to me to talk to people in counseling who are biblically illiterate. They are often MEMBERS of a church but one guy honestly did not know where Genesis was in the Bible? Genesis! Are you kidding me?

I felt so badly for him and was glad he was honest with me so I could begin teaching him. He needed the basics. He needed a foundation. He needed to know God’s Word. He needed to know what God says Himself!

Even with my children, we are reading Ruth right now, because I want them to know that biblical account. I don’t want them to be biblically illiterate.

NOTE: Did you realize that Ruth’s life has positively impacted you and I personally, if you are a Christian? Think about it in this way: Ruth’s obedience and faith in Christ as lived out with Naomi. Ruth gave birth to Obed who is in the family line of Jesus Christ.

-Mark (thanks be to God Who utilized Ruth to bless the world)

Isn’t it ironic that our political leaders are calling each other corrupt but deny sin?

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

In every political season, it’s almost comical (if not so sad) to hear our political candidates talk about how corrupt our government is and yet they are part of it! You hear these guys talk about corruption in government and it’s just accepted by all of them and all of us as if, “that’s just the way it is.” How sad to accept corruption in our leaders!

Sin is so evident. Mankind seizes power and uses it for selfish, corrupt reasons. Sin manifests in front of our eyes yet we deny sin’s presence and even preeminence in our culture. Romans 1 reminds us that mankind will “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and that means denying sin even when it is so clearly evident before our eyes. We acknowledge problems but do not always lay the blame on the right culprit: our sinful, selfish nature! Instead, we blame mental illness and the like…

In a fallen world, we need a Savior to save us from our sins. I am glad He is returning soon!

Happy Election Day! Go vote for the best sinner (or the least of sinners)!

-Mark (calling our attention to sin so that we will then turn to our Savior, Jesus Christ!)