A few weeks ago I wrote this post about creating art for the Lord. Today I want to expand on that post just a bit.
When the Israelites left Egypt, Moses received specific instructions about how to build the Ark of the Covenant. Once the construction began, who were instrumental in creating the Ark?
You are an artist of some sort. You may be a writer, painter, or gardener. Maybe you wanted to be at one time, only to set it aside for some reason. You had a dream and it still lives there deep within you.
Is not pursuing that dream a sin?
I’m not 100% sure of the answer to that question. I can tell you that I think it is. Why? Because the Lord wants to give us the desires of our heart. That begins with Him being our number one desire. Our dreams and desires should then flow from Him.
Pursuing those dreams is an act, a way, of obeying and worshiping the One they come from.
The Israelite artists and craftsmen uses their abilities, talents and gifts to create the Ark, the precursor to the Temple. Now there is no building that acts as a temple for our Lord.
We are the temple of God now.
Just like the Israelites, we should use our abilities to build the temple of God. We should build up our brothers and sisters who are the temple as well. Our dreams and desires should further the kingdom of God in the world and within us.
So, I will leave you with the question I asked earlier.
Is not pursuing your dream a sin?
This post is not what I intended to write today. If I had posted that one, you would have wondered if I had lost my mind and why I was so negative.
I was (and am) frustrated by a couple of things. I will even write that post when I can do it in a way that does not sound quite as negative as what I originally wrote.
However, it did lead me to write this one.
This is not a negative post.
This is about what I do when I feel the negativity winning and taking over. It is about what happens to me when negative thoughts try to rule my life.
I fight. I do everything I can do to beat negativity.
I may be slightly predisposed to being negative. I may have a natural negative outlook on life. That doesn’t mean I have to let it stay that way.
Life happens. That doesn’t mean that I just ignore negative situations. I deal with them. I think about how I can make it a positive in my life.
Take sin, for example. I find myself committing a sin. I could wallow in the negative and let that sin defeat me. Or I can look at it as proof that I’m not completely where I need to be yet in my relationship with the Lord. I find that I need to fight to make my relationship with Him better and stronger.
What this post is not is a negative piece about what has temporarily brought me down. It is about how I fight to battle negativity in my life.
How about you? Do you give in or fight negativity?
For most of this summer, as in summers past, I battled fire ants. Several mounds of these pests from the bowels of the earth infiltrated my yard.
I did several things to battle these creatures. I bought a commercial product to spread near the mounds. This didn’t work. I spread rice around the mound in hope that they would eat and swell to death. No luck. Again, I bought a commercial product. Temporary at best, the ants and their mounds returned.
Finally, tired and concerned the mounds would multiply, I decided on a drastic course of action. I went to my outbuilding and sought my measure of last resort. I retrieved the only remedy of which I could think.
I grabbed my can and doused each mound with gasoline.
The mounds and ants are gone.
This was not the best method to rid myself of the ants. I have a few spots in my yard that are bare. Nothing will grow there for a while. I’m sure there are environmental risks.
The ants, though, were defeated.
You might want to know what that has to do with anything.
It has everything to do with everything.
You and I have sin in our life. We will do many things in an attempt to defeat sin in our lives. (Don’t get me wrong. Ultimately, if we are believers, sin is defeated by Christ on the cross. What I’m talking about are the sins that creep into the nooks and crannies of our lives.)
We try a variety of things to make ourselves holy. Or we don’t. Hopefully, we are all concerned with sin in our lives.
Some might call it the mortification of sin.
Sometimes it takes something radical to rid ourselves of sin.
Much like when Saul had disobeyed God and Samuel hacked Agag to death, it often takes extreme measures to rid ourselves of sin.
Here is the most extreme.
We need to love God more.
We need to fill up on the Holy Spirit more.
We need to put on Christ more.
In other words, God must be our aim.
Why does sin have a hold in our life? Why are our lives full of pride? Why do we lie or live lives of gluttony or lust or you (insert ) a sin here?
It’s because we aren’t doing the most radical thing that we can do. We aren’t chasing after God with all we have. We aren’t living our lives by reflecting on the gospel. We aren’t living our lives in the shadow of the cross.
How can I say that about you? Because that’s my problem. I’m just an ordinary guy. I’m nothing extraordinary. I’m just like you.
Do something radical today. Do something extreme in your pursuit of the Lord. Do whatever it takes to rid yourself of sin by gaining more of Him.
How do you rid your life of sin? Are you filling yourself up on the Lord?
I see it all of the time on Facebook and Twitter. Someone posts statuses that quickly let me know what or who they are against. It may be a cause or political figure, family member or acquaintance. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it.
What about those of us who follow Christ? Do we do the same thing?
I have noticed that we who claim to follow Christ don’t act a lot different than the world. We take up causes that we seem to become known for more than the One who we say drives those causes.
We stand for the life of the unborn and, eventually, became known for being pro-life or, worse, anti-abortion.
We stand for traditional marriage and become known for being against homosexual marriage.
(For the record, I am pro-life and pro traditional marriage.)
We say that we hate the sin and love the sinner.
We become known for hating the sin, but are we really known for loving the sinner?
While declaring our hate for this sin, do we really love those we declare to be sinners?
I believe this has become such a cliche’ that we just blow through saying it as though that’s all we have to do.
Do we really love those who are pro-choice? I know some do, but how about US?
Do we really love the homosexual who wants to marry their significant other? I know some do, but how about US?
What are we known for?
On Tuesday, I wrote a post about losing our focus. Today, I am trying to help us all get that focus back when we lose it.
The first step is figuring out why we lost focus in the first place. I think scripture tells us why we tell to drift away from Who our focus should be.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to lay aside every encumbrance that entangles us. The picture being drawn for us is of a runner. Instead of running is lightweight running gear, this runner is running in full clothes. Good clothes, but not the clothes needed for a race. Imagine someone running the upcoming Olympic marathon in jeans and polo shirt. That just won’t cut it. Want to regain your focus? Begin by laying aside whatever is weighing you down.
The author doesn’t just at good things that simply weigh us down. He moves on to something that destroys us. Let’s keep with the example of the marathoner. Imagine he eats McDonald’s everyday and stays out all night. His behavior isn’t what is necessary to compete at a high level. If he wants to win the gold meal in London, he will need to eat right and get proper sleep. The writer encourages us to do the same. He says to lay aside the sin that entangles us. Sin is like spiritual fast food and partying. It will destroy us spiritually like those will physically. Lay those aside.
Finally, look to Jesus. He is the goal. We can make so many things our goal. We can set so many dreams. Ultimately, though, if we are going to call ourselves Christian, He must be the ultimate goal for everything in our life. Career. Family. Church. Jesus must be the goal for all of the these. We must seek Him and His kingdom above all of these others.
Do you want to regain and keep your focus? Lay aside good things and bad that will weigh you down. Look to Jesus.
Are you focused right now? What do you need to lay aside to regain your focus on Christ?
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It’s Twitterific Thursday where I write a post of 140 words, more or less. Today begins the Christmas season of blog writing and I will be writing a Christmas post daily for the next 25 days.
Christmas is all about nostalgia, isn’t it?
Listen to the Christmas songs on the radio. They convey a feeling of remembrance of past Christmases that we have enjoyed. They point the way back home. They remind us of what Christmas was like when we were kids.
Christmas is about going back home. Visiting with family. It’s about sharing meals with loved ones who we may not have seen for a year or so.
Christmas is about memories and the warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling that we get when we get together.
However, there’s nothing nostalgic about Christ.
He came to die on a cross for our sins.
He continues to work in our lives now.
He’s coming back someday and He will physically reign as our King for eternity.
Christmas may be nostalgic. Christ is not.
What is something nostalgic you think of at Christmas? Does Christmas increase your thoughts of Christ?
It’s Twitterific Thursday, where I write about a subject in 140 words more or less.
Sometimes pride comes before a great fall. You and I have experienced it. Someone we know has a great amount of pride in their lives. Maybe it’s you. I know that I do on occasion.
Maybe, like me, you have been encouraged to take pride in yourself. Maybe you have been encouraged to take pride in your work. I don’t think this is something that we really have to enough pride in our lives.
I don’t think you and I are fundamentally that much different. I have not met anyone yet who does not struggle with pride.
It’s the root of most of your sins. It’s the root of most of your problems. It’s the root of most of your issues. It is the root of your personal conflicts. It’s the root of most problems in your marriage. I know because that’s the way it is for me.
Let’s battle the pride in our life?
It’s Twitterific Thursday. Here are 140 words or less I write about a particular subject.
Forgiveness is a big deal to those of us who follow Christ. We have been forgiven–everything. Faults and failures are forgiven. Fights are forgiven. Of course, all of these trace back to the original one that is forgiven–Sin.
The question becomes: How forgiving are those of us who are forgiven much? We either forgive or we don’t. We like to say, “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.” Let’s not waste our time. That’s not forgiveness. That just allows us to throw whatever sin, failure, fault or fight back into someone’s face and still feel good about ourselves.
Christ forgave. Period. Even those who were nailing Him to the cross. He asked His Father to forgive them. What other choice do we have?
How easy is it for you to forgive those who have wronged you?
***For a bonus on forgiveness, check out my friend Rob’s post from yesterday***