Jonah, a Rusty Gate, and Me

The Biblical account of Jonah has some crazy action! Jonah ran from God, got tossed overboard in a storm, swallowed by a giant fish, vomited out onto land, then finally preached God’s message in a very dangerous city, in a very dangerous country. The people living the city were so vile, that God had planned to destroy them if they didn’t change their ways! Jonah delivered the message to them and God’s transforming word did its work and they repented! God decided not to destroy them, and this made Jonah happy that he finally performed his God given duties. Right? No!

In fact, “it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.” (Jonah 4:1) Jonah had a lot of things going into the mission field of Nineveh. He had God on his side, he had a life saving, soul preserving message from God. Through Jonah, God saved many souls on that day! But Jonah was also missing a few things. Things like: compassion, grace, empathy, and love!

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul wrote, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.”  Jonah spoke with more than human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, he spoke with the authority and might of God! But he did not love. Paul would go on to write, “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Jonah did end up doing what he was told, he preached God’s life saving message and saved many souls, but he gained nothing. He was spiritually bankrupt! Because he did not love.

Are we any different? I can also go the ends of the earth, or the end of my street, and spread to gospel because it’s what I’m “supposed to do”. But just like a smile that never reaches my eyes, if the gospel never reaches my heart, I don’t benefit at all from the work I do! That’s called going through the motions. The people I teach may end up obeying the gospel and become saved, but if I don’t love them as I teach and preach, I will be lost!

So today, as I labor in God’s Kingdom, I need to evaluate myself. Every word I say, every action I take, every decision that I make, every thought I think… are they done with love?

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Don’t be a clanging cymbal, noisy gong, or a creaking rusty gate! Speak the truth and love (Ephesians 4:15)! 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

Have a great week!

Life Changes Ahead!

I’m currently enlisted in the US Air Force, my plan was to serve my 20 years while completing my bachelor’s degree in Bible/Ministry and a companion master’s then retire. After retirement I wanted to go into youth ministry or teach Bible at a Christian school. Well, after many prayers and discussions with my wife and family, I have decided to start applying for open positions and if hired, join the Air National Guard or AF Reserve. I’ll then focus on my ministry and completing my education.

I’m looking for a medium sized Church of Christ in the South Eastern United States (SC, NC, GA, AL, TN, FL Panhandle). Please shoot me an email if you have any leads! And feel free to download a copy of my resume.

More importantly, I would like y’all to pray for me and my family as we look to making a huge change in our lives.

Thank you!

But, who raised Job?

That’s a good question isn’t it?  Who did raise Job? Hmm…

We know already that Job was a Godly and righteous man. God’s Word says that he was blameless (Job 1:8)! Can you imagine God calling you, or the child you raised, blameless? But how did Job get to be that way? It’s possible that he came to knowledge of God through study. Or maybe one of his “good” friends taught him. But Job 31:16-18 tells us something about his upbringing:

If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,

    and the fatherless has not eaten of it
(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
    and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow)

You see, Job’s parents were servants before him. He witnessed his parents helping orphans and widows, just as we are told by James what true religion is (James 1:27).

So how did Job’s parents teach him to be such a good man? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 springs immediately to mind:

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

I can’t say for certain, but I would imagine that this is how Job learned, and this is how we are to teach our children. Notice that this passage doesn’t say to let Sunday school teachers teach your children. Neither does it say let the youth minister raise your children. No, the Bible says for YOU raise them (Ephesians 6:4). It says to teach by your example. How do you talk about God? Do you talk about God? Do you pray in the morning, before meals, at bed time? Do your children see you studying the Bible? This passage says they should literally see the Word everywhere!

Now that I’m done stomping all over my own toes, I pray that you have an amazing day.

Should we make a mess so allowance can abound?

Closet Nightmare!My wife and I are just starting an “allowance” for our kids, more like a chore incentive program. They do their chores, they earn a little spending money. My 5 year old son was looking for his remote control ‘Mater and said it was at the bottom of his closet, which is a nightmare! I told him not to make a huge mess, his reply: “Its ok, if I make a mess I can clean it up and get some money!” I told him that’s not how it works, you can’t create the mess on purpose just to clean it up and get some money.

Paul said something very similar to the Christians in Rome:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!

Romans 6:1-2a

 We have a gift of grace from God, but if we sin intentionally knowing that we can ask for forgiveness and He will forgive, we are wrong! That’s not how it works! Just like my son with his intentional mess, we also can’t make an intentional spiritual mess and expect to be forgiven! Of course we will all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but if we do our best to walk the Christian walk, and to be Christlike, then God will forgive our sins (1 John 1:5-9).

 

I pray that y’all have a great day!

 

Who are “They”?

Misters Merriam and Webster categorize “they” as a pronoun. A pronoun can refer to a specific person, or it can refer to many people.

But who are “they”? Let me introduce to you, “they”.

They are the innocent people in Iraq who are being murdered for their beliefs and their ethnicity.

They are radical Muslims who are murdering innocents throughout the world.

They are Christians, who unlike Christ, are full of hatred.

They are South Americans who are illegally entering the United States of America.

They are the people who make decisions based upon facts that you or I do not have access to.

They are politicians, both decent and corrupt, who make our laws.

They are families grieving the too early deaths of their children.

They are communities who are scared and confused.

They are law enforcement professionals who are trying their best to protect our society.

They are military members fighting to preserve our way of life.

They are guilty.

They are innocent.

They are you

They are me.

We all need the same things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Today I pray for “them”. From the radical militant Muslims to the American suburbanites. From the homeless veteran heroes to the DC politicians. I will pray for them all because as a Christian, I should love them all, and we all need Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 22:39, Romans 3:23).

In the immortal words of Tiny Tim: God bless us, every one!

The daring rescue of Lot

In Genesis 14:1-16 we read an account of Lot being taken captive and rescued by Abram.  Its only 16 verses, but in these verses is a lot of information and confusing names, I just want to take a few minutes and break it down a little bit.

Four rebellious kings went to war with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, the king they served for 12 years, in year 13 they rebelled.  The rebellious kings were:

  • Bera king of Sodom
  • Birsha king of Gomorrah
  • Shinab king of Admah
  • Shemeber king of Zeboiim
  • the king of Bela

The kings loyal to Chedorlaomer were:

  • Amraphel king of Shinar
  • Arioch king of Ellasar
  • Tidal king of Goiim

This group, 5 kings vs 4 , fought in the Valley of Siddim.  When we talk about kings fighting a war, remember that it wasn’t just 9 men going at in a royal rumble, but their armies battled each other.  Thousands of men were on that battle field. King Chedorlaomer and his combined armies won the battle and sent the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah running back through the Valley of Siddim.  King Chedorlaomer’s armies gave chase and took all of the Sodom and Gomorrah’s possessions and provisions along the way, including capturing a man named Lot and his family and possessions.

Abram heard about his nephew’s capture from an escapee.  Abram didn’t take the news lightly.  He led 318 of his family to Dan, where he divided his small force and attacked by night.  Abram and 318 men defeated 4 armies, not only did they win, but they chased them away!  With God’s help, Abram was able to rescue Lot, his family, and his possessions from a far superior foe.