It’s been my absolute joy to speak into and invest in the lives of three of the finest young man I’ve ever been around. These three fellows and I have been meeting together around God’s word for the last year-plus, and in one of our gatherings a few months ago I asked each to write a mini-essay based on a random topic that I would give them. I merely handed them titles and gave them the assignment to give to it their own words. I also promised to post their interpretations to my blog.
So, without any further delay, here’s Nathan, Rick, and John using the power of electronic print – with only minor editing on my part (I think I added one punctuation mark) – to shed greater light on some pretty pointed subjects.
Spoiler Alert: This author is definitely guilty of what is mentioned here!
How much of our time and focus is spent on trivial matters in life? Really, take some time and think about it. We are all guilty; myself included. Triviality is a state that has affected the human race, especially God’s people, for countless millennia. If we want a self-contained example, we need look no further than the ancient Israelites that we study throughout the Bible. Time after time we are reminded of how much of a “space-case” these people were. God was there constantly trying to get their attention focuses back on Him, and they would not budge. Judges is all about the people running after the distractions of the pagan gods that were prevalent amongst the native peoples. Every major instance in that book has God intervening in some major way, only for the people to lose focus not long after.
The triviality continued in Israel from the latter years of Solomon and all the way until the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. as we see in several Biblical accounts. I have been recently reading through all of the Major Prophets in the OT, and we really get an idea of how trivial the people’s focus had become. Even though there were several times when you would think God’s patience would run out, He never wavered (never has, never will). Wavering is not a word in His vocabulary. We just need to accept that fact, even though it seems so hard to do. Again, I am guilty of this.
We also get a constant reminder of His grace and mercy throughout all of the words given to the prophets. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, and there still is. This may have been an extremely brief look back at history, but I believe that we need to see Israel as an example for ourselves. Take a look at our country for an example. We have truly lost focus on what is really important, and that is putting God first. For years, some have argued that the country never had its focus on God in the first place (we are looking at you Deists). I believe now more than ever, that we need to turn our focus on God. Not just as a country, but a church too. Something is not right, and has not been for a while. We have gotten lost in ourselves and our own incessant trivialities. There is so much of a parallel that exists between us now and with ancient Israel. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc… all give us examples that sound too familiar to many situations we now face. Maybe I am reading a little more into the text than I should, but it is too eerily similar to ignore. Dig into the text and see for yourself, if you haven’t already. We need to get our act together! It is of the utmost imperative. I believe that it needs to start with the church! We have gotten too complacent and caught up in our own trivialities. Poor public examples of our faith have tainted our reputation, and reputation is a hard thing to rebuild. Where do we go from here? I am not sure. What I am sure of is that we need to get rid of triviality and focus on God.
Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13
Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth.
This specific chapter is over what many would call the eighth wonder of the world: Love
The first half of this chapter is solely about faith without love. It really is impossible.
If I speak in the tongues (Or languages) of men and angels, if I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains; if I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I am worthless noise. I am nothing. I gain nothing.
It isn’t about us, but it is for us.
Love is patient, kind, without envy, without pride or boast. Love is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and never keeps a record of wrong. Love rejoices with the truth and never delights in evil. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. It never fails. Love never fails.
In a world that confuses love for lust, we find out that in this passage that Love is accurately for others.
Lust is seeking after what one can get out of the other. Love is seeking out not only what one could do for the other, but also what one could do to uplift and encourage the other.
Many things will fade in this world, as most know. But in and after verse eight of chapter thirteen; Paul speaks on many great spiritual gifts that will, in time, fade.
Our minds are limited.
He speaks of the great day that Christ comes back, where we will know fully and see imperfection depart and complete perfection arrive.
When we are born again, we search the Word for truth and for our way of life. We seek to put the old behind, and the new ahead. (Philippians 3:13)
Christ is our new, and our chains are our past. When we grow spiritually, we learn through the Word, how to release our bad qualities and gain righteousness (John 3:20-21); we begin to live as Christ, as we put childish things behind us. Although now, it is difficult to live for someone we have never seen physically, but to read His word and pray constantly is how we hear Him and get closer to Him. Now, we only get to see Him in a poor reflection, within us! Now, we only know little. But when our Savior comes back, we shall know fully. We will see Him face to face.
Jesus tells us the most important of all things, is to Love one another in brotherly love. May we be a family! He speaks through Paul stating that though Faith and Hope are amazingly needed things, Love is the greatest. In waiting for our God, He gives us Faith, He gives us Hope, and He gives us Love.
Everyone loves the black suit
What does the “black suit” represent?
When you think of spiderman’s black venom suit, what comes to mind? Power? Beauty? Strength? Cool? I think of all of these terms. But doesn’t the black suit bring out the greed, the selfishness, the hate, and the love of power in Spiderman? The answer is yes, it does bring forth all of these attributes. Why do we like the black suit then? I believe that it captures sin in its truest form. It produces nothing but sour fruit. The thing is, the fruit looks so tasty and tantalizing to us until we partake of it and recognize it as sin. The suit symbolizes the very picture that the enemy paints for us. The picture is painted with the greatest care with its only purpose designed to consume every part of your interest. The enemy knows your weaknesses and your very desires. It takes very little effort for him to construe a masterpiece and place it right in front of our faces for us to buy. Sin is like a good deal on craigslist; it is so easy to say yes, but it takes some serious effort to say no. This is why we love the black suit. It is so easy to wear, but it is so hard to take off. It feels so good, it feels so natural, and it fits like a good pair of jeans. Why? Because this “black suit” didn’t come out of nowhere one day and present itself to us. We were born wearing it. It is intertwined in the very fiber that makes up our very being. Sound depressing? Ya, a little bit. But the other side of this whole “black suit” dilemma is that there is this guy who wants to help us take it off. This guy’s name is Jesus! He wants to peel this suit off layer by layer. He started this mission when he took on, no, when he became the black suit on the cross and died for us all. His blood works like Clorox. You put your black suit in the washer, add his blood, and he washes it white as snow! That blows my mind! His blood is infinite and does not run out after 182 fl oz. No matter how many times you mess up, no matter how many times you lean on your own understanding, and no matter how many times we put another layer of the suit on.. he is always there waiting on us, arms open wide! That is the best part of this side of the story. You don’t have to do anything; he has already done it!