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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Comment I heard recently…

September 4, 2011 1 comment

“Anything I place in front of my recovery I will lose anyway.”

Really?

How about this statement instead: “Anything I place in front of Christ I will lose anyway.”

Recovery or Christ? Is recovery the god of the person who made the first statement above? Maybe. Recovery is certainly the most important “thing” in the person’s life! Our goal must not ONLY be to stay clean and sober (recovery) but our goal must be to glorify God with our lives and to live for Him alone!

You may be thinking I am splitting hairs over this but it’s important and an important distinction. The biblical word is transformation anyway – not recovery! God wants more than just recovery; He wants a transformation for the person struggling with an addiction. Praise God!

-Mark (wanting more than just sobriety; wanting to know Christ more deeply and wanting to glorify His Name!)

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“Mark is my comforter, counselor, and leader?” NO!

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Christians are so quick to seek comfort, counsel, and leadership from me BEFORE they turn to Christ. But they’ve got it backwards. Turn to Christ first and then to other people.

The Holy Spirit is your Comforter through another person so I understand that a human being often ministers the comfort of God. I don’t have a problem with that. My concern is that a person is turning to another human being rather than turning to Christ alone.

Remember it is “Jesus Only” month in January. Let’s turn to Him through prayer and reading His Word first!

-Mark (re-directing people who look to me to look to Him)

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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)

Apologize for Christ?

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Do we have to apologize for presenting Christ to people? Would He want us to say things to soften the message so that we are not offensive to people?

I say strongly “no” because NO apology is needed.

Christ was offensive to people. Imagine being there when Jesus confronted the rich young ruler in Mark 10:22 who went away sorrowful: “Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Jesus didn’t pander or coddle this guy. Jesus simply spoke the truth in love.

Another example comes in Luke 12 where Jesus says that following Him is going to lead to division among blood relatives because they are going to have different spiritual desires (verses 49-53).

Jesus taught obedience to Him was a radical way to live.

It still is a radical way to live; that is, IF you are obeying Him alone. Biblical counseling preaches this message of radical obedience for the glory of God to counselees daily.

-Mark (no apologies needed for my Savior, the King of Kings needs no help from any man)

Did Jesus fear the Lord?

December 5, 2010 1 comment

Fear of the Lord gets watered down anymore when people say, “Well, it doesn’t mean we fear the Lord but that we respect Him.” Not totally true. It does mean we respect Him AND it does mean we FEAR Him. There’s no way around it.

I did a word study on fear once trying to find it to be true that it was respect. Somehow I was thinking that was better than “fear.” Well, my studies told me that the word “fear” meant “fear.” Fear is fear. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Ok, it’s fear, Lord, so please put more of the fear of God in me.” That was my prayer.

Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. AND Proverbs 1:7 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”**

Wisdom is the doing of knowledge. It’s the “living it out” part and the application part of knowledge. To be wise is to be a doer. Jesus was the wisest man who ever lived.

So, did Jesus fear the Lord? In Luke 2:52, it says: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”** Therefore, if He grew in wisdom, He first had to fear the Lord. His fear was not like ours – momentary outbursts of fear – but it was sustained throughout His life and was not sinful. But yes in a human sense, Jesus had to have feared the Lord since He submitted to the Father; therefore, you and I must fear Him and submit to Him, also.

Allistair Begg explained this concept of fear and I’ll paraphrase what I gleaned from him. He was commenting on Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Begg said that life is not trivial or irrelevant since we are to fear God and keep His commandments. It’s not servile fear (which means harsh or cruel) which is the fear of what God might do to me since we are His children. Rather, it is fear of what I might do to Him when I sin and “shame” His glorious reputation.

Are you afraid that your actions might drag God’s reputation through the mud since people know you are a Christian? Then, you should fear Him and do what is right at all times, even when no one is looking!

Even the thief on the cross understood fearing God in Luke 23:39-43: “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

One thief never feared the Lord. The other one came to fear the Lord while on the cross and now he is with Jesus in heaven!

I’d say this is an important Christian concept not to lose sight of.

-Mark (praying and asking the Lord to put the fear of Him in me EVERY day)

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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)

Did Jesus ever give anyone a Prozac?

August 27, 2010 1 comment

Why do we offer people anything less than Christ?

I love what Peter says in Acts 3:6 in the following historical account about a beggar crying out for alms (I liken it to crying out for a medication like Prozac) when what he really needed was Christ but he had no idea about his real needs:

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

Yes, you may call me radical but I simply think people need only to know Jesus Christ so that’s what I tell them. I don’t recommend Prozac (I’m not a doctor) nor do I recommend anything less than Christ.

What else is there to offer someone? Where else is there real hope for transformation?

-Mark (I love to read about the early fathers of the faith who pointed people only to God)