Black Friday

black-friday-meme

 

Thanksgiving is over and, even though places have already had Christmas displays out for weeks, it’s the “official” start of the Christmas shopping season. So, as I write this there are people already at stores or waiting for them to open so the can push, shove, argue and fight to spend money. People who, for a holiday season that is supposed to represent the love God had for us and sent His Son to be amongst us, are willing to show the very worst in human behavior at times. I have seen some pretty abhorrent behavior, and read about far worse than I have seen personally. Then, besides the fights for the special deals, people worry about what to buy, will they be able to afford all they purchase, that they think is what others want. Creating massive debts for themselves in vain, shallow attempts to please themselves or others.

All of that, to “honor” the birth of Christ? I know Christians that behave that way. Black Friday is definitely a dark day for many, it shows how willing people are to get up early, stand in the cold, fight crowds, and in other ways treat one another horribly all out of vanity and greed. I know what I say won’t change society, and there are some who will likely read this, agree, but were out there and will be out again in the future, behaving in a way they know is wrong, just to spend money on gifts. It saddens me to know that people are exactly as they are and even though they do these things “in the spirit of Christmas” they miss the mark. What should be about peace, love, mercy, grace and kindness very rapidly deteriorates to greed, vanity and hostility.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think not. I believe that the behavior that one hears about is completely the opposite of what Christ would have from us. The materialism, greed, maltreatment of others and near frenzy one hears about is contrary to His teaching. The fact that many Christians are out shopping and behaving as badly as others is a sad thing. They have to get the best deals, they are so worried about saving money and getting things cheap that they treat one another horribly.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  John 13:34

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.        1 Timothy 6:10

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity.  Eccleasiastes 5:10

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   Romans 12:2

 

15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 2:15-17

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for the blessings. I pray that people understand that the greed and materialism are the opposite of how You want us to live. That the desire for things and the love of money, along with the willingness to do anything to get things or money is not what You want from us. I thank You for reminding me that there are more important things than material items and money. I thank You for the salvation that was not obtained cheaply, that You sent Your son to die on the cross and pay for my redemption with His precious blood. Draw us all to You, teach us how to live the way that You want us to live.

Amen

 

I pray all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the upcoming Christmas season is blessed for all. Please take time to be a blessing to someone else today.

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Some fish can really fight!

 

Bluegill_fish_caught_on_a_hook_using_an_earthworm_lepomis_macrochirus

 

As I mentioned in a recent post about fishing where I talked about resisting the Lord just like the fish fought against being landed I had some thoughts that were nearly opposite; that perhaps we, like the fish, are in the right place, in the stream or river, enjoying the life giving waters of salvation and are tempted by some sort of lure or bait and are then “hooked” by the false promise of something good which ends up leading us into damnation and death.

Yeah, thinking about the fishing, how some fish really fight, resist getting landed and some are able to throw the hook or break the line, then they return back to their place in the stream. They are tempted by some choice, yummy looking bait, or a lure. Many times in life we face temptations, things we want, things we think we want, things that promise happiness, pleasure, wealth, alcohol, drugs, a fancy car, a nicer house or some other rewards. Usually those temptations seem like easier ways to get what we believe we should have in life than to maintain the faith and follow Christ. So, we go after it, then, once we have that thing, like a fishing lure or a baited hook, we eventually feel the sting of succumbing to the temptation. At times, even though there is some sting, fighting against it is more painful than just going along and following the temptation further. Its just easier to go with it, maybe the bait still seems good and one is enjoying it so they ignore the pain. Maybe they don’t even notice the pain and focus so much on the pleasure aspect that it is the only thing of concern.  As in fishing, the fish often comes in easily at first, not fighting much at all. Eventually, the fish will realize that it is hooked by that and are being lead further and further away from the part of the river that is best for them. As we as Christians often don’t think as much about it because we are still mostly in His will and following Christ but eventually get pulled further and further away from Him. Out of the main part of river of life with the living water and spiritual food we need. Then, into the shallows, barely living a Christian life until suddenly, we are completely out of the life giving water He has for us and are trapped. Oh, when we realize that we are getting further and further from where we should be we will start to fight some, trying to get back, but the temptation keeps drawing us away. If we do not fight the temptation we will eventually be lead to death and destruction.

Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly [is] ready, but the flesh [is] weak. Mark 14:38

 

There is no shortage of temptations out in the world. We all know how hard the devil is trying to tempt us and lead us away from God. He even tried to tempt Christ.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  Matthew 4:1

 

God warns us of the temptations and tells us to avoid them.

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  Luke 22:40

Christ even tells us to pray that we not be lead into temptation when he taught how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer.  And, we are promised that we will not be tempted more than we can resist. Oh, sometimes we don’t resist but He promises it won’t be so much that we are unable to do so.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

And, for those able to resist temptation (in the past I have resisted some, but sadly for me, not resisted all yet He helps me with that now and I am more able to resist with Christ helping me) He promises rewards and blessings.

12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

James 1:12-16

 

Lord, I praise Your Name and thank You for all the blessings. I thank You for the simple lessons that help me understand the mind of Christ better and the ways in which I can be a better Christian. Lord, I know I have so much I can improve on but I also know that You have brought me a long way. In Jesus Name I pray that You continue that work in me. Strengthen me in my faith and help me avoid the temptations in the world. Draw me, and my loved ones, closer to You. Show each and every one of us Your true plan for our lives and help us better learn to follow Christ.

Amen

Thanks for your time today. I hope everyone has a blessed day, and that you have the chance to be a blessing to someone else.

 

 

Lets Go Fishing!

BentRod

 

 

I mentioned in my last post about going fishing while on my trip. Well, if you read that you know that there was some bad with it. However, that is much better now. But, I guess, like some of the Star Wars and such, I talked about the last part before the first. While there, yes, as you know, I went salmon fishing. I know I went a couple times as a young child, but I don’t personally remember catching any but did see the adults catch some and I remembered that the fish fought pretty hard. I have fished for all kinds of fish, mostly in ponds and lakes, some in streams and rivers, a little surf and deep sea fishing. But, I really don’t remember any fighting as hard as the salmon did when hooked.

When I was fishing, sometimes they would barely nibble, other times they would grab the bait or lure hard and it was on. Once on the line, they would fight, sometimes not too much, but usually they fought pretty good. Sometimes, they fought REALLY HARD, heading in the other direction, diving deep, suddenly take off a different direction and jump out of the water. It was a lot of fun to see them jump like that. Sometimes, they would seem to be nearly exhausted and one could reel them in almost to the bank and suddenly they would take off again and the fight was on again. Eventually, either they would finally tire out and could be landed or at times, thankfully only a few the fish would be lost when they would manage to either throw the hook or break the line.

Now, as I thought about the fishing, how they fought, resisted, but with rare exceptions eventually succumbed and were landed; I got to thinking about how I and I suspect most Christians are when it comes to confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. Now, obviously, fish do not have a happy ending when they are landed, but Christians, well, life is much better for us when we do, but, back to my initial thoughts. I know that I, for a long time, felt convicted about things, mostly that, even if no “big sins” I wasn’t living a Christian life and God was reminding me of that. But, I fought him, in my mind I justified the wrong I was doing, I convinced myself that it was fine to not go to church, not pray, not read the Bible. I fought against God. I resisted His convictions to do as I should. I would ALMOST decide to go to church, read the Bible, pray; but I would not quite do it. I fought against Him.

How many of us have done that? Most I suspect are in the same situation. Not doing the right thing for God and ourselves. Convincing ourselves we are okay to stay in the stream, stay in the life we are currently living, even though we know that He has a better life to offer us. He puts the “bait” of salvation, forgiveness and life eternal there right in front of us and sometimes we ignore it, or nibble at it, but won’t take it. Then, when we start to do so, we reject Him, we spit out the bait. Yet, Christ does not give up on us. If the bait is gone, He is patient and will put more bait on the hook and start all over again. When we resist Him, He does not simply yank hard, but maintains that steady love and patience, showing us that He has a better way for us, that we will not become exhausted if we follow Him. He gives us the free will to run from Him, while He knows the truth that we will be better if we didn’t run from him. The pain that comes with the convictions and knowledge of our sins, our guilt, won’t be felt if we follow His lead and let Him “land us” by accepting Him as the son of God, confess our sins, ask Him for the forgiveness that He offers.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.     Romans 13:2

 

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Acts 6:10

So, when we resist Him, we condemn ourselves, but He promises that we will not be able to always resist the wisdom of the Spirit.

 

He is such an amazing God and Savior. No matter how hard we resist the truth of His word, His grace and mercy, He continues to try to lead us back to Him. So that WE have rewards beyond measure.

 

Lord, I praise You and thank You for all the mercy You show me and that despite my resistance You did not give up. You at times gently lead me to You and at other times were more harsh in how You tried to bring me to salvation by allowing hardships and challenges that I suffered alone because of my stubbornness. But, You did not quit loving me. I thank You so much for Your patience, love and forgiveness.  I know I am not always the man I should be, but with Your love, guidance and grace I am getting closer to who You would have me to be for Christ’s glory. I pray in Jesus Name that You continue Your work in me, that You help me better know the mind of Christ that I be a better example of His work in me. I ask that You draw me and my loved ones closer to You and show us all Your love, mercy and the salvation You have for us. Show us all Your plan for our lives so we know what to do and that You break down the resistance to Your will and way for us and instead of resisting You we succumb to Your perfect way. I thank You for the gift of salvation and forgiveness, paid for through the sacrifice and blood of Jesus when He was crucified and suffered to pay the price of my sins.

Amen

 

Thanks to all for your time today. I hope all have a blessed day and are able to be a blessing to someone else as well. Oh, by the way, I had some near opposite thoughts on fishing so check back in the next few days for the other analogy.