The Unmerciful Servant

Hello all!

I “randomly” ran across the following passage of scripture (while looking for a different passage for school) and wanted to share it with y’all.  This passage is Ecclesiastes 7:20-22.  It says:

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you.  For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.” (NASB)

I find this passage astonishing in an “aha!” sort of way; not because it is astonishing in and of itself.  This passage is in fact remarkable (to me at least) and above all plain common sense to my way of thinking.   It jumped off the page at me anyway, but maybe I’ll not find it so startling after I’ve had a bit to think of it.  All that aside, I believe this passage contains essential truth for our everyday life for two reasons.

First, big surprise here, people are not perfect, and because they are not perfect, we should show them grace.   Grace is shown to us by God precisely because we have great need of it; not because we have no need.  Why then, if we are to imitate Christ, should we show less grace when it is most needed?   It’s just not logical. 🙂  

Second, none of us are in any way superior to our fellow human beings.   Though grace may have more evidently worked to build Godly character and Christ-likeness in certain persons, we have all started from the same basic state of depravity, all have fallen short of the goal, all are equally helpless to save themselves, and all are equally in need of the abundant love and grace of our Lord and Savior. 

If God has shown us grace, how can we not likewise show grace to others?  The best illustration of this point is found in Matthew 18: 21-35 (the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant):

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

 23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

 24 “When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

 25 “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

 26 “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’

 27 “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

 28 “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’

 29 “So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’

 30 “But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

 31 “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

 32 “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

 33 ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’

 34“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

We are forgiven of so much by our Father, how can we and why should we not forgive our brethren of very little sins towards us…sins almost immeasurable  in comparison to our own sins already atoned for by our Father? 

Lastly, as illustrated in the parable above, the refusal to forgive a fellow debtor could actually be worse than their debt to us.  God is offended that we would take His Grace to us and use it for selfish purposes, for it is indeed selfish and foolish to want or think we can on the one hand benefit from God’s grace to us and on the other refuse to extend that same grace to our fellows. 

May that not be a description of our lives!

God bless and Veritas Supra Omnis!

President Obama and Hasty Vows

Hello all!

Today, while reading (and watching) some material covering questions of whether President Obama has been as transparent as he promised during his campaign, I was struck by a few things that I would like to “throw” out for y’all to take or leave. 🙂

Without getting into all the nitty-gritty details of the charges and response (which I will admit I am not as familiar with as I would like to be) I believe that during the campaign Senator Obama made more than a few rash vows, and as a result I think the accusations have a lot of merit.   However, with that said, I also can easily understand and agree to the statement made by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that, “Not everything the President does is for the cameras and for the press.”  

To my thinking, the real problem here is not that the President isn’t allowing the media to cover all the things they want to cover, or think should be covered, — the real problem is/was the rashness of the vows made by Senator Obama on the campaign trail.  As a Christian, I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that a rashly made oath is foolishness.   Leviticus 5:4-5 clearly teaches that rashly making an oath, be it for a good purpose or with a good intent, is a sin: 

“Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these.  So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.” 

Proverbs 20: 25 says…“It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!” and after the vows to make inquiry.” 

I believe that the promises made by Senator Obama were in large part good and I understand that in a campaign you are trying to paint a best case picture of what your administration would be and would do.  However, Senator Obama should have more prudently and/or thoroughly considered the ramifications of his rash vows and considered whether the promises made by ‘Senator Obama’ could be upheld by ‘President Obama’.  His promises of transparency were clearly more than could have or should have been reasonably promised.   Perhaps the problem is that President Obama has never differentiated between the things that should require transparency, the things that ought to be kept and done out of the view of the public and simply promised over-arching transparency in general.   I can see this being the case, but at the very least the President created an impression (purposely, I assume) and never clarified or defined the exact intent and extent of his stated purpose and goals. 

Probably no segment of our society demonstrates the ease and carelessness with which rash promises are made (and broken) more than the political world.   As Christians, it is our responsibility to clearly advocate for integrity and prudence in vow making and then to hold our elected officials to their word.  Most importantly though, it is up to us, in accordance with God’s word, to demonstrate the integrity and prudence in our own lives that we expect of people around us and representing us.  

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

Hold that thought, God

Here is a wonderful reminder and challenge that I told a dear friend I would post.

 

 

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

The Fire (Full) by Nate Pfeil

Hey all!
 
Here is an EXTREMELY powerful message that I was recently made aware of thanks to Hillary.  This is the first time I have heard teaching from Nate Pfeil, but I can guarentee that I will look for him again in the future.  I’ll let the message speak for itself, but I would encourage you to do two things.
 
1) Watch the full message (it’s only 12:06 long), meditate on it and pray, and then examine your own life in light of what you have just heard.
2) Keep in mind that this is a short message.  You can’t explore the full scope of theological truth in a message of this length and still be substantive, so try to show grace in recognizing that there are things he isn’t able to explore in this message.  That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t say them if you sat under his teaching most frequently.  🙂  
 
  
 
Alternate link:  The Fire: Nate Pfeil
 
As I listen to this message, a passage that keeps coming to mind is Acts 20:24-26, which says…
24“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

 25“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

 26“Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.”

 

Have you or do you you really love all mankind enough to preach the true Gospel with boldness?  Even when it means sacrificing your wants and desires, and men mock, ridicule, and persocute you?  Are you innocent of the blood of all men?

If you have any thoughts to share, assents or concerns to voice, please leave a comment and share them with me. 🙂

 

God bless and veritis supra omnis!

 

Charmaine Yoest explains the threat of gov. funded abortion

Hey all!

Some of you may be a little confused or wondering as to how exactly the government health-care proposals on the table would effect abortion, specifically, whether government funds could be used to fund abortions under the guise or category of “health-care”.   

Charmaine Yoest, President of Americans United for Life (AUL), from the beginning of the health-care debate has been on top of the issue and in the front line of the health-care fight, bringing much clarity to the issue and fighting to keep government health-care dollars from funding abortion.   In the imbedded video she explains how the current health-care proposals would indeed inevitably lead to abortion funding through…the courts?   Yes…and I believe she is absolutely correct.   Be sure to watch the video… 

Additionally, I’ve linked below an article written by Yoest in The Washington Times.   For those who don’t have time to read the entire article I have pasted the key portion of article directly below, so be sure to read that if you can.  Remember this is an important issue!

The truth is that the health care packages under consideration do include abortion funding. Without a specific statutory amendment that includes an explicit ban on federal funding and coverage, we face health care reform that includes abortion.

Lost in the debate over whether or not abortion is “in there” – whether or not you can flip to a certain page and point to a particular clause related to abortion funding – is an understanding among political elites that this is a watershed battle over definition. It’s existential, if you will, and comes down to a very straightforward question: Is abortion health care, or is it not?

An inadvertent answer from the abortion advocates’ side emerged during the debate over H.R. 3200 in the House Education and Labor Committee on July 22 after Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana Republican, offered an amendment to exclude abortion funding from health care reform. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California Democrat, clearly miffed, responded:

“[Abortion] is a legal medical practice and by even having to talk about it … we’re not talking about having your tonsils out. …”

No, indeed we are not. As a matter of public policy, we still have the ability to differentiate between an abortion and a tonsillectomy. But this is precisely the debate we confront.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby define abortion as health care, as being morally equivalent to a tonsillectomy, and health care reform is their vehicle for imposing that view definitively with the full force of the federal government.

For the record, the Souder amendment to bar federal funding of abortion failed, as have all similar attempts to provide a clear and unequivocal abortion exclusion.

This is literally a defining moment for the pro-life movement. On Planned Parenthood’s Web site, the very first category under Health on the navigation bar is Abortion.

You can read the entire article here.  It provides some background that isn’t included in the video.  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/21/is-abortion-health-care-or-is-it-not/

In closing, this is an incredibly important issue were are dealing with here and it’s vital that we get the word out about the dangers facing us.   More importantly, it’s important that we spread the word about the danger facing the unborn.  I hope some of the information in here was helpful.   If it was, be sure to pass it on through email, facebook, blogs, twitter, myspace, etc., and/or use it as a base for additional research. 🙂

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

“Tears of the Saints”

Hello all!  

Here is a video I wanted to share with y’all.  It’s really powerful!  It definitely leaves one thinking…what can/should I be doing that I am not doing?   Most people have a mindset of “Oh, I’m just one person and I can’t do that much, so why even try.”   But, we forget that God has used individuals to affect massive change many times before, so what makes us so sure He won’t use us?  And, even if you don’t become a tremendously successful missionary or head of a large and influential mission’s organization, is it okay to ignore or nominally obey our clear call to reach the nations by one means or another? 

God is pleased by a person faithfully supporting missionaries with prayer and money, among other things, if that is His calling for that person.  But, so few of us test the extent of God’s calling for our lives in any area, much less in the area of missions, so we never fully realize our potential to be used of God to perform great works if that be His will.   We should never be content to get by with what is culturally acceptable regarding missions.  We should seek fully and sincerely God’s will for our lives. 

A few verses to meditate on: John 15:16, Matthew 4:19, 6:24 28:19, Luke 10:2,, Acts 1:8 Romans 10:15, Philippians 2:13,  James 1:27.

Here is the link. http://xeoncross.tumblr.com/post/173976518/tears-of-the-saints?ref=nf

I wanted to embed the video but wordpress didn’t seem to like the host website. 

Be sure to watch the video!

 

God Bless and Veritas Supra Omnis!

Honoring God With Time

Recently, I have been thinking and studying about the practice of devoting time to be alone with God (through prayer, meditation, and study) and I have been amazed (sadly) at the ease with which Christians “lightly esteem” God and His Word by failing to devote any significant time to the study of His Word.  We come up with our reasonable sounding excuses (to us)…”Oh, I must first do such-and-such a chore; so-and-so needs my attention at this time; I can’t rise early because I work much and need my rest”…and our minds think in a manner that places ourselves and our needs at the center of our thoughts, instead of God.  But, since when are we to place ourselves foremost in our minds?   Since when has God been officially relegated to second place?   Since when are we to rely on us to meet our needs?  

We often deceive ourselves into thinking, for instance, we are placing God first in our lives just because we think we desire to honor Him by doing things like spending time in the study of His Word and prayer, or “desire” to meet the needs of our brother who needs help with a project, or “desire” to devote more time to the needs of our families.  We think that desiring is enough, but God demands that we place Him first in everything, heart, mind, and deed.   Anything less is dishonoring to Him. 

Measuring our commitment to God by our desire alone is dangerous in-and-of-itself.  If it is true that “the heart is above all deceitful” then it is folly to measure our “desire” only by our heart.  We must also measure ourselves against the written word of God, and the Word of God is very clear on the issue, saying…”faith without works is dead” (James 2:20)…and…”it is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself (Proverbs 20:11).”   Those commands present for us the absolute standard by which our devotion to God is measured; by our heart and our deeds…the internal and the external.  So desire is a dangerous measure.    No doubt some are sincere in their “desire”, but I doubt that most are.   Usually we “desire” but don’t do the things we know we should but don’t want to.   

God gives us all different tasks to do in life and some are called to do things that are seemingly more spiritual things then others, but that matters not.  We are all called to different tasks.   What matters is that we do our best and bloom where we are planted (give it the old college try, so to speak) and place God first in our life, doing what we can for His glory, as we can, when we can.  This is what God asks of us. 

If we truly desire to love and honor God (in our hearts) that desire will translate into good deeds (I Samuel 2:30).   Placing God at the center of our heart and mind instead of ourselves should produce a radical change in our lives, an internal change that, if true, will be evidenced externally.

I could go on, but I am learning that shorter is better for blogging and this post is getting to be too long, so I had better wind things up.

I would encourage you to read Malachi 1:6-8, and verse 14 of the same chapter.  The context is God speaking to Israel concerning their putting other things before Him, ultimately resulting in Israel offering defiled sacrifices on His altar, among other things.  Frequently, the things we place ahead of God and the way in which we place them are more subtle and less terrible seeming then what we see in Malachi, but the result is still that our sacrifices are defiled and God is dishonored.   “May it never be!” (Romans 6)

Please, never allow the pursuit of God to be less important than anything, even sleep if it comes to that.   God will provide for us in ways that surpass our human understanding if only we honor Him as our Lord and Savior.  Let us never forget the words of Matthew 6:33:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

May our sacrifices to God never be second best, but always true and pure.