Friday, August 10, 2012

Going for Olympic Gold

I love watching the Olympics.  Some of my favorite events are volleyball, soccer, track and field, and gymnastics.  But I have found myself this time watching whatever event that was showing my country compete.  I take great pride in seeing the American flag fly when we win an event.  I love watching my fellow countrymen and women work their hardest to represent our nation well.  There is a lot of training and preparation for them in their pursuit for gold.  And to see it pay off for them in the end is a wonderful site.

This makes me think of how we serve our Lord.  Are we going for the Gold Medal at the end of our lives for Him?  Even the Apostle Paul likened his life to a course that is run.

2 Timothy 4:6-8
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

The crown of righteousness is  our prize, or gold medal if you will.  We have to make sure that we stay on course through our lives.  So, the question now is how to run the race to gold?  First, we have to have the right preparation.  We must be saved!

John 3:3
"Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”"

Salvation is key.  Before we can even reach the podium at the end of our lives we must be saved.  As Jesus Himself said, we must be born again.  We must repent from our sins.  That word repent means to have a change of mind about sin.  We must turn from those sins that ensnared us, and live for the Lord.  And we must acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our life.  That means that we no longer live our lives in what we want, but in what He wants.  We must put Him first in all things.

After this, we must train for the race ahead of us.  How do we do this?  We study God's Word.  We must continually devote ourselves to scripture.  For that is the best way to get to know Christ, and seek His will for our lives.  And along this, we need to pray.  We need to commune with God on a regular basis.  We need to seek His guidance in all things.  This builds our relationship with Him.  This is where our religion is separate from the others.  It is about a relationship with Christ.

Lastly, we need to live what we learn.  We need to be that witness that everyone sees while we run this race.

Hebrews 12:1-3
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

The race that is our life, is a long one to run.  That is why we are to run with endurance.  Will we sin?  Yes, of course we will.  We will fall along the track.  But, a true believer will rise up.

James 1:22-25
"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."

And when things get hard, keep your eyes on Christ.  For what we have waiting on us in heaven is far greater than anything we have here on earth.  And it is worth so much more than a gold medal here.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless you all this week! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chick-Fil-A and the Bible

There has been a lot of controversy these past few weeks concerning the stance of the owner of Chick-fil-a.  The owners of this franchise have always based their business on biblical principles.  One of which is that they are never open on Sunday.  This is one thing that I have admired them for.  They stay closed to give their employees a chance to go to church if they want to.  Recently the head of their company and son of the founder of the Atlanta based company, Dan Cathy, made these comments for the Baptist Press.

"But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us."

"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that."

"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

So what is the biblical definition of marriage?  All of the scripture that I have read teaches me that marriage is to be between one man and one woman.  A husband and a wife.  Here are some examples from the old testament.

Genesis 2:21-24
"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “ This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

Genesis 34-8
"But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage."

1 Kings 3:1
"Then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem."

If you want something from the new testament, check out Colossians and Ephesians where the Apostle Paul teaches about how the family unit should work.

Colossians 3:18-21
"Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."

Ephesians 5:22-33
"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."

There is no where in the scriptures that teaches that marriage can be of two people of the same sex.  As a matter of fact the bible does teach that homosexuality is wrong.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."

Leviticus 18:22
" You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." 

Romans 1:24-27
"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."

And this is the reason behind the attacks.  People have turned their backs on God.  There are many out there who do not believe and do not want to.  And further more they attack everyone who speaks about their Christian beliefs.  But why are we surprised?  Christ foretold this while He was on earth.

Matthew 10:22
"You will be hated by all because of My name,.."

John 15:19
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."

But, this is also how we know who truly belongs to Him.  This is where we get some of that eternal security.  If we are hated and mistreated for trusting and putting our faith in Him, we belong to Him and will be blessed.

Luke 6:22
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man."

Matthew 5:10-12
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I am very proud of the stand that the leaders of the Chick-Fil-A company is taking based on their faith.  I will continue to support them and eat at their restaurants as often as I get a chance.  I pray that other business leaders who believe the same way will let their voice be heard as well.  And I also pray earnestly for all those out there that hate this company and us Christians for what we believe.  I pray that God will open their eyes to the sin in their lives and they repent before it is too late.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all this week!