Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All is Not Lost

This past Friday I made one of the stupidest mistakes I have ever made.  I was home on my day off but needed to send a couple of work emails and was then going to spend the rest of the day doing whatever.  I decided to get a bowl of cereal and was eating it at the same time I was typing an email.  Well the unthinkable occurred and I spilled milk on my Macbook!  I immediately got up, poured any milk on the laptop on me.  I turned the power off and dried it off as best as I could.  I immediately called Apple's tech support to find out what I should do, which they advised I needed to take it to an Apple store to get it checked out before even attempting to turn it on.  I took it and after they looked at it they advised it needed to be sent off to determine if it could be salvaged.  So now I must wait about a week to find out if the computer is ok.  The thing is, I am ok if the computer does not work.  However my data was not backed up and I could potentially lose hours and hours worth of work if the hard drive is destroyed.  I must say that at the thought of this I was devastated.  How could I make such a terribly stupid mistake?  Friday was not a good day at all.  They said that more than likely the hard drive will be ok, but we do not know yet.


After a couple of days of worrying about it, I felt God speak to me concerning this.  I felt God say that whether or not I lose the computer, or lose the data, it is still ok.  I still have my health, my family, my home, my job, and most importantly Jesus.  I am reminded of a quote by Reepicheep in The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Eustace is turned into a dragon and later that night is lying on the beach and crying over what has happened to him.  Reepicheep walks over to him to console him and makes the statement "All is not lost".  I certainly do not want to lose my computer.  I even more so do not want to lose the data on the hard drive.  But if I do, all is not lost.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I have faith that my hard drive will be ok, but if not I do believe that God will guide me as I work hard to recover some of the work I had already done.  While there will still be much I cannot recover in work, pictures, etc. I still know that all is not lost.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emotions

This week in our Proverbs series we took a look at emotions.  Our emotions are powerful and can cause us to be paralyzed with fear or depression or can lead us to be ecstatic with a good memory or something good happening to us.  We can not trust our emotions because they are fickle and are always changing.  Everyone experiences a wide array of emotions whether we admit it or not.  It is very important that we understand this in order to better understand others and help them through difficult times.  We looked at three things concerning our emotions and the emotions of those around us.


1)  Emotions are Powerful
Our emotions can lead us high and low.  When we experience good emotions we feel better and have more energy.  On the other hand when we experience low emotions it makes us weak and can even lead to sickness.  As we read in Proverbs 14:30 and Proverbs 15:30 our emotional well-being is linked to our health.  If we are in constant stressful situations and experience these emotions, our health can deteriorate. Stress causes heart problems and depression weakens the immune system.  This is why it is important to understand that our emotions are powerful enough to not only effect us now but they can also have an effect on us later on in regards to our health.


2)  Don't Hide Your Emotions
Proverbs 14:13 talks about how we can laugh on the outside but be hurting on the inside.  Sometimes people hide their emotions because they are embarrassed by their circumstances or they are embarrassed to show their emotions publicly.  If someone asks us how we are doing then we should be honest with them if we are not fine.


3)  Empathize With Other People's Emotions
On the flipside of being honest with others about your emotions is that you should also care about other people's emotions.  Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings or emotions of another person.  Do not ask someone how they are doing unless you are willing to hear the truth.  One of the biggest frustrations we have endured is when someone will ask how we are doing in a rush and do not stop to hear the truth because they do not care how we are.  They are simply asking out of obligation.  Take the time to walk in other people's shoes.  Never judge someone on their emotions.


We closed with the following thoughts before breaking up for discussion.  It's ok to be emotional because that is how we are made- however it is never ok to be a drama queen/king.  Eventually you are going to need someone to be there for you but they might not be there if you are always causing drama.  Then finally we can rejoice in the fact that we never have to be alone in anything we experience.  We have Jesus to guide us and comfort us through anything we may experience.  We must take advantage of that and rely on Him.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Work Ethic

As we continued our study in Proverbs we focused this week on work ethic.  Work is a way of life and has existed since creation.  However because of Adam and Eve's sin, the curse was placed that work would not be hard.  While work is hard it is our human tendency to be lazy.  We must understand what God's Word says about work so that we will have a better attitude toward work.  Here are the points we looked at concerning work ethic.


1)  God Honor's Hard Work
Many times we do not work hard because we do not think it is necessary or because we do not care.  Whether it is chores, our job, or school work we must work hard and give our best effort.  Proverbs 10:4 and Proverbs 14:23 both show us that hard work will bring us blessings while laziness will lead to poverty.


2)  Work With a Purpose
You must see value in the work you are doing whether it is at school, a job, or chores.  If you see value in the work you are doing you are going to work hard and not slack.  Proverbs 10:5 shows us that when we work with a purpose we are preparing for our future.


3)  Laziness Leads to Addictions
Laziness and self-control are related to each other.  When we are lazy we choose our own comfort over work which leads to a "me-centered" life.  A "me-centered" life leads to addictions as we feed our "me" attitude with something to feed our lazy desires.  This can be anything from drugs, alcohol, and pornography, to something we do not even realize we can be addicted to like entertainment, acceptance, friends, church, school, and even sometimes work itself.  The addiction is a wasteful habit and becomes an idol in our life.


So if you still have any questions as to why we should work hard then take a look at Colossians 3:22-24.  This means that whatever we are doing we must realize we are doing it for Jesus.  If we truly realize this then we are going to have a better attitude toward the work, and give it our best effort.  This means whether it is chores, a summer job, homework, or even bible study as you seek to grow in your relationship with God.  The decision and attitude you make toward these things now will determine how you work when you have a full-time job and are trying to provide for your family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are You Looking For Him?

Nearly two and half years ago I purchased a one-year daily Bible that each day gives you a portion to read from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, and Proverbs.  With school Bible reading and my own choosing to do another reading plan, I have put this Bible down several times and have recently picked back up with hopes to finish the last 20%.  I am pretty sure that I have read the Bible completely, but have no other way than this to benchmark that.  Anyway, while I usually make jokes with the students about reading Leviticus, if I am honest I normally struggle to find it exciting to read 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.  Sure there are plenty of great lessons for us to read and learn about, but sometimes the king lineage can be tedious.  However over the past couple days there have been some great things that I have read out of 2 Chronicles, one of which I want to think about today.


In 2 Chronicles 15 we read that King Asa has committed his life to serving God and influences his people as well.  In the 15th year of King Asa's rule he gathers all the people in Jerusalem where they make sacrifices to God and commit their lives to following God.  They celebrate this commitment with a loud shout and blast of the trumpets and sheep horns.  Then in verse 15 they rejoice because of their commitment to God.  The New Century Version states in verse 15 "They looked for God and found Him".  Pretty simple statement, right?  How often do we say we are committed to God, but do not look for Him?  I know we do not have to search for God because we do not know where He is.  I mean that we search for Him by daily seeking Him through prayer, Bible study, and by seeking His will for our lives.  Because if we seek for God like we should then it is pretty simple, we find Him just like verse 15 states.  My prayer for you today is that if you are tired, weary, angry, or whatever in your relationship with God that you would start fresh today.  I pray that you will make an effort to seek God as you know you should.  Know that you will not have an instant emotional change because our relationship with God is definitely more than just emotions.  I pray that you will seek God with all your heart because you will find Him, and as Jeremiah 29:13-14 in the Message says "When you coming looking for me, you'll find me. 'Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

If Money Talks...What Is It Saying?

For a few weeks we are going to use Wednesday nights to finish a Bible Study we were doing on Sunday nights on the book of Proverbs.  This week we looked at money and just a small bit of what the Bible tells us about money.  We began the night by playing the game "Who Wants To Win a Dollar Bill" where a student won a dollar bill by answering biblical trivia questions.  I know that a dollar is not a whole lot so I also gave them a free ticket to the upcoming JFest concert we are attending.  The Bible has over 2300 verses on the subject of money.  This shows us how important is it that we have a biblical view of money because as Matthew 6:21 tells us, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  We must first understand that all money belongs to God as Psalm 24:1 tells us The earth is the Lord's, and all i contains.  We looked at the following four points concerning how we should learn to handle our money.

1)  Save For Purchases Instead of Using Debt
Proverbs 22:7 tells us that we are slaves when we are in debt.  We discussed how not all debt is necessarily bad (for instance a home mortgage).  However we talked about the fact that if you can save up for a purchase then it is best to delay owning it and making a sacrifice until you can actually afford it.
2)  Save Instead of Hoard
Proverbs 11:24 tells us that if we hoard money (holding without need) will only leave us wanting more.  We should save for purchases as discussed in point #1, as well as for emergencies.  Genesis 41 we read that Joseph had them store up during for the years of famine.  We learn here a great example of how we should save and that it is completely different from hoarding.
3)  Giving
Proverbs 28:27 gives us a stern warning about giving.  We hear in church often about giving a tithe which means 10%.  We discussed how this is actually a good starting point but Jesus encouraged to give more.  In Mark 12:41-44 the widow only had two coins to give, but she gave all she had and gave from her heart.  On the other hand the pharisees were giving out of their excess.  We have to learn the importance of giving sacrificially.
4)  Don't Seek Being Rich
Today most teens want to grow up to be rich and famous.  Proverbs 23:4-5 gives a stern warning regarding seeking riches since money is only a temporary thing.  Getting rich should never be your goal in life.  God may choose to bless you with riches, but you should not spend much time dwelling on the thought of it.  You might have to wear yourself working hard at times to provide for your family, but you should never wear yourself out working hard in order to become rich.

We then broke into groups to discuss a few questions concerning money.  One of which the students shared a foolish purchase that they have made at one point.  Then we ended the night with some worship singing songs that focused on how God is all we need.

Monday, May 9, 2011

7- Part 4 "Perfection"

Behind on blogging but hopefully will be better at updating.  This past week at Wednesday Night Worship we finished the series called "7- Words From the Cross" looking at the theme of perfection in the words that Jesus spoke.  We focused on the final two things spoken from the cross in John 19:30- "It is finished!" and Luke 23:46- "Father into Your hands I commit My Spirit".  


First we looked at Luke 23:46- "Father into Your hands I commit My Spirit".  Jesus is quoting Psalm 31:5 here.  The beautiful thing we see here is Jesus' willingness to die for us.  He was "committing" His Spirit.  When we commit to doing something, we are doing it willingly and because we want to and not out of obligation.  Jesus was willing to give up His life for you and I.


Next we focused on John 19:30- "It is finished!".  It is important to note that Jesus did not say "I" but "It".  This means the Law had been fulfilled, the price had been paid, and that His sacrifice was perfect and complete.  The Greek verb that John uses here is "tetelastai".  This word would have been used when a person paid off a debt.  The word "tetelestai" would mean and signify that the debt had been paid in full, it was fulfilled, and no other payment was needed.  Jesus' death on the cross was perfect and no other payment is needed to cover our sins.  We only need to accept Him.


This is so important because today there are many people who believe that there are many roads to heaven.  We know that this is completely untrue.  When Jesus said "It is finished", He was essentially putting the exclamation mark on John 14:6 when He said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me".  Jesus did not say I am a way, but instead said the way.  It is so important to know this truth as we are faced today with a word that believes otherwise.  We finished the night by showing this video from Matt Papa called "It is Finished".