Welcome!

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." -Galatians 4:4-5

Trying to understand life rightly through a Covenant lens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

People Will Disappoint. God Will Never.

Proverbs 18:24 "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

It's kind of discouraging. Our human state, that is. Our Christian lives are identical to those of Israel's back in the Old Testament. God tells them what to do, they do it for a while, then they get bored of doing it so they start doing their own thing.

Isn't that how we are? We have so many peaks and valleys in our walk with Christ. I've come to this conclusion, though: You can't avoid it.

Sorry. That's just how it is. I share in your pain, if not even feel that pain more...

But that's not the end of this idea. Now since we realize that these peaks and valleys will be recurring our entire lives, It's all about holding onto Christ through both. If we can't avoid the troubles, let's take the Savior of our life with us. Then, maybe we can learn something in the valley of hardship.

Instead of walking into the dark road of calamity with our heads down, discouraged, let's go into it with the knowledge that Christ will not let us endure more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). You might be thinking "But you can't always go into these types of situations happy and upbeat like you make it sound." Agreed. That's a thought that I've asked myself plenty when I think about this topic. God doesn't tell us we can't be sad or mad or experience any of those normal emotions. The thing, however, that we can't forget or lose grip of is our faith in Christ. Through the tough time you will go through, you can't abandon God. You can question what He may be doing but it is extremely dangerous to walk away from Christ as a result of your hard situation.

Romans 8:38 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

The reason I'm writing this is because I've been disappointed by some people on campus here lately and it's made realize how wretched we are as humans. And ultimately what a contrast it is to think that God can be fully trusted and He will always be there to talk with, or vent to, or just be there to confide in. That's so foreign to me as a human because even my best friends surprise me sometimes.

That, in turn, causes me to think how I may disappoint some people in the things that I do as a result of being human. How discouraging for me... Because I want to be the guy that is genuine. The guy that people can confide in. And that's not to say that I will spill every secret I'm told because I'm sinful. That's not the case at all. It's some of the things that I do that make me maybe a little less trustworthy. And that kills me when I think that I can be that fickle, just so I can feed myself with pride.

I pray that Christ fills me with His grace. That He would seek out any wrong in me and get rid of it so that I can be the most genuine person this world has ever see.

I pray the same for you.

a wretch made right,
-sam

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Shield

Ephesians 6:16 "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one"

Our faith is in place so that we can stand strong against Satan's attacks and lies. That's why Paul relates our faith to a shield. It extinguishes the flaming darts that Satan shoots at us.

The thoughts of not feeling adequate, the feelings of loneliness and thinking no one is around to comfort you, the ideas that you will never amount to anything. All of those are cheap lies that Satan uses to cut you down and tempt you away from the presence of God.

It's in these times that we raise our shields to protect ourselves and our relationship with God. Verses saying that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), that God is our refuge and safety (Psalm 27), that God is near to us (Psalm 139), that you can be courageous and it will be worth it (Joshua 1:6).

When you are down and out, there is Someone who is always waiting to be recognized by you and carry you through. His name is Jesus Christ and He came to earth to die for you so that you can spend eternity with Him. We weren't made for time, guys. We were made for eternity. From there, it depends on your location.

Put out the fire that Satan is wanting to burn you with by suiting up with the shield of faith.

Love,
-sam

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Shoes

Ephesians 6:15 "...and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace."

In battle, I can imagine that a soldier would have to stand pretty sound on the ground. Though I've not been in the thick of war, I bet standing with calm and steady feet is a very important part of being a legit soldier.

It's the same way in our spiritual battle. If we can learn to stand with peace and confidence in the middle of life's trouble, imagine the witness we can have on people. The mental picture that comes to my mind is a person standing in a desert with his eyes looking to Heaven and his arms raised to the sky. All the while there is a huge and mighty wind blowing towards him. Things are flying past him and nearly hitting him, but he doesn't pay attention. He just focuses on what needs to be focused on and has faith that God will bring him through the storm.

So clothe yourself in the peace that is offered in God's word. He is our refuge and place of steadfast peace.

-sam

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Breastplate

Ephesians 6:14b "... and having put on the breastplate of righteousness..."

The breastplate of righteousness is represented as a breastplate because with righteousness on our chest, God is now able to look at us. He cannot look at sin. So once we take up our cross and make Him our number one priority, God covers us with is holiness. Obviously this doesn't make us perfect at all. And I'm not even sure if that means He can totally look at us then. Or even if He can "look" at us before we are questions. I'd be lying if I said I knew, but having the breastplate of righteousness just portrays the idea that we now have a direct line to God.

Lemme know what you think if you don't agree or have another meaning for the breastplate.

Love,
-sam

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Belt

Ephesians 6:14a “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with [the belt of truth]…”


Here marks the beginning of diving into the whole “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians. I’ve read this passage before but it hasn’t been since lately that it has hit me and how important it is to equip ourselves to become God’s samurais and warrior princesses. (Samurais can be the guys and warrior princesses can be the girls in this case. I’m not saying that girls can’t be samurais. But it does kind of seem like guys can’t be warrior princesses… So, if it makes you happy, insert your favorite military figure you want to be for God. That’s not the point though…)


Notice how the passage here starts out with Paul beginning with the most important part of any wardrobe: The Belt. It’s the thing that holds your clothes together. Well, more so back in the old days than today because these days we have elastic and other spiffy ways to keep up our trousers, but you get what I’m saying. We’ve all been there where we end up going out in public with a pair of jeans or shorts that we just bought and thought were the right size, but after further testing, they were in need of some support. It’s at those times where a belt comes in to be perfect.


Truth is what we cling to as Christians. It’s the thing that we distinct right and wrong with. It’s the way of living that makes us trustworthy and responsible people. I mean, when people look for friends, they probably aren’t looking for ones that always lie.


In a world that is so grey, God was gracious enough and loves us so much that He gave us His word, the Bible. This contains so much Truth (notice the capital “T” since it is real Truth from God) that it might just blow your head off or mess you up for life. It has definitely messed me up but it hasn’t blown my head off yet. Phew…


But for real, this is our “Handbook for life”. Our road-map, if you will. Though it doesn’t give us specific “fortune-telling” words, it does have everything we need for “life and godliness” (see 2 Peter 1:3). It has Truth out the wazoo. I have been loving the Epistles (Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, etc. Basically any of them that end in “-ians”) lately for a bunch of advice on how to live.


Ask for discernment when you search for God’s Truth. There is a lot of crap out there these days in this society.


Buckle truth around your waist so it holds everything that you are together.

-sam

Saturday, July 3, 2010

in-ten-si-ty

It's not a bad thing to have. Speaking in the realm of sports, intensity often makes a game ten times better. Although I do have to say that intensity coupled with unfair play is not a good thing. But intensity while playing within the rules is something to treasure.

Take for instance the World Cup, which happens to be on right now. Weird. (You had to know I'd make some sort of reference to it.) When the teams don't play dirty or kill each other it really is a beautiful game to watch.

With that being said, God is intense. Seriously. People may see Him as a being that created the world but is now disconnected with us. Some might see Him as someone Who is totally boring because He created church. Still others think He doesn't even exist.

The fact is that God is intense. He is intense in the way He rules. He is intense in the way He loves. He is intense in the way He communicates with people. He is intense in the way He opens the eyes of everyday people.

Whether it is in an earthquake destroying a small country, a whisper in your head or the way a song touches you in a way you've never felt before, God is real. We can't deny it. Well... I guess we can deny it but then we would just be ignorant. There is too much ruling in the favor of God's existence that it is practically undeniable.

Get in the Word. Experience God's intense love.
-sam

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

gen-u-ine

–adjective
1.
possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real.

Being genuine is
arguably one of my favorite characteristics in a person. I think it's something about when someone lives in such a way that they are transparent, not hiding anything.

When you think about it, that truly is the way to live, isn't it? It's so freeing knowing that you are not hiding anything from anybody. It's also at that point that people can truly get to know each other. On the next dimension of friendships, you throw all your cards out on the table that are in your hand. I like to call this accountability. We all need at least one friend (preferably same gender) that we can bring everything to. Although, we should be already bringing everything to God, don't get me wrong. But having that brother or sister in Christ to talk to here on Earth makes things a lot easier. That's my plug for accountability partners.

But just being real with everybody sets such a testimony for others. When you live in such a way that you aren't afraid to tell others what you've gone through or struggle with or have been happy about lately, it is such a witness to people, I believe. I'm just thinking about it now, and trying to see it from an outside perspective... If I saw two people being real with each other, and they came out of it feeling free, I would want everything to do with it, to be honest. The feeling of not being tied down or chained up to a situation would feel great. And, often times, that's what accountability has to offer. If we could just bring down our walls and trust just a couple people we love, our fellowship would be ten times better and people would want what we have.

So find that person(s) if you haven't already.

And also, if any of you have heard me say "Keep it real" to you, I mean "Stay genuine. Don't be fake."

Be blessed,
-sam

Friday, June 18, 2010

hu-mil-i-ty



I know this girl that is super humble. Almost to the point of where she should be bragging because she can back it up in her golf game. She's the one that just won state champ and set a new course record. But, in all fairness to her, I'm not posting about that. In all of this she chooses to keep her head screwed on right and keep things in perspective, giving all the glory to God. It's truly a testament to me. She sets the bar so high for me that I can only hope to achieve that. So I've been working on it lately...

Seeing this makes me ask, "How does she do it?"

Is it just natural? Has it been hard for her to think this way?

Either way, she's got it down. Props to you, pal.

Then I look to the Bible to see what it says about being humble.

Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction a person's heart is arrogant, but humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 16:19 Better to be humble with lowly people than to share stolen goods with arrogant people.

Proverbs 29:23 A person's pride will humiliate him, but a humble spirit gains honor.

James 1:9 Humble believers should be proud because being humble makes them important.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the Lord's presence. Then he will give you a high position.

1Peter 3:8 Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble.

1Peter 5:5 Young people, in a similar way, place yourselves under the authority of spiritual leaders. Furthermore, all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble.


You got it, Mags. Keep it.

Be blessed. This one's for you.
-sam