Black Friday

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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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The new sins?

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I was on social media earlier and saw the link below (okay, I hope it is a link, but you may need to cut and paste) but so much on social media, online in general that we have new sins, well, not really new sins, just new, more advanced ways to sin.

 

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-online-sins-we-re-all-aPridepparently-okay-with.html?utm_source=fbad&utm_campaign=CW+Boosted+Post+-+%2Fslideshows%2F10-online-sins-we-re-all-apparently-okay-with.html-lal&utm_medium=fbad&utm_term=paid

It’s an interesting read, so I would recommend all take a couple minutes to read through the article. But, for those that just want the low down, here is the list and the scripture they quote for each:

  1. Indulgence: But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 1 Timothy 5:6 (NIV)
  2. Materialism: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 1 John 2:15 )(NIV)
  3. Pride: 23 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,
    24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV) 
  4. Slander: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
  5. Quarreling: It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)
  6. Vanity: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philipians 2:3-4  (NIV)
  7. Discontentment: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Philipians 4:11 (NIV)
  8. Hypocrisy: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23: (NIV)
  9. Hatred: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45(NIV)
  10. Jealousy: For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16 (NIV)

I wish I could say I had never been guilty of any of them, but, some I have, some I have not. Some, I probably did and didn’t realize: Slander-calling someone a jerk or such, maybe true, maybe not. Quarreling? No, I haven’t really done that online, but boy have I had some try to draw me into an argument on social media. Jealousy, Yeah, but not to horrible extent, but possibly wishing I had the car, house, etc but not as bad as a lot. Some of the others, probably most to at least a small extent. Most of us probably are at least a little guilty of all of them and some are REALLY guilty of some but barely guilty of others. Yet, I wonder how many adapt an online persona that is different than their true selves. Some get very brash, hostile, aggressive, or any other way you would like to say, because the internet allows a certain amount of insulation from our actions and other times, anonymity. Even if we know a person not looking them in the eye or even speaking on the phone, our actions can be very different than in person. I have had some seriously attack me via text, chat, email, and such, but they are afraid to speak directly too me anywhere near the way they do when the conversation is electronic.

A lot of the ways, I would suspect most don’t initially think about some of the things listed as sinning. Some are subtle, and I can easily see myself thinking, well, it isn’t a real sin, since its online. But, as the author of that article points out, it is sinning to be sure. So many ways that it is far easier to sin than we realize.

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name, I ask that You help me avoid any of these sins, and other sins, forgive me any of my failures and I pray that those I have sinned against forgive me as I have forgiven any who have done me wrong. I pray in Jesus Name that You work in me and give me the help I need to better serve You. Please draw loved ones nearer to You and those that are sinning, show them their sins so they are convicted and find their way to forgiveness from You through Your Son Christ. Teach us all how to be the Christians that You wish for us to become.

Amen

 

Thanks for your time, I do suggest you read the article. Have a blessed day, and try to be a blessing to others.