Lessons learned for the Christian life.

I Dare You!

   Philippians 4:8 (New Living Translation)

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

    I am not going to post a devotional today. There has been something else on my heart, a challenge, more-or-less. As I said yesterday I have been increasingly more and more convicted about the things that I am allowing into my life. This isn't the first time that the Holy Spirit has made me aware of sin creeping into our lives through media, entertainment, recreation etc. I read a great article this morning about Christian Married Couples and entertainment by Meg Miller, You can read it HERE

   Last year I wrote an essay of sorts called "Who Are We Serving" and I feel like I need a reminder of that, and I wanted to share it with you as well.

Who Are We Serving?

Have you heard that you cannot serve 2 masters? Do you believe that is an accurate statement?
Matthew 6:24

No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

    Those words are true in relation to money; I wonder if they are also true of other things. Would you agree that you cannot serve both GOD and …satan? Would you agree that you cannot serve both God and…a cow? What about …you cannot serve both God and yourself…That is ridiculous, you say.  You can’t serve yourself….. It doesn’t work like that. Switching gears for a moment….How do you show someone that you love them… I will make it easy...When you love someone you WANT to be with them, is that right?
   When you started dating your wife or husband, didn’t you think about them every minute, count down the hours before you could be with them again, think about them when you weren’t with them, call them every hour or so just to say “hi” …… you would sit on the phone just to hear each other breathe… for hours!!
Is this sounding familiar to anyone else??? So logically, we can conclude that when you love someone, one way you can show it is to spend time with them, don’t tune me out, I am going somewhere with this. I will go a step further and say that when you love someone you want to spend every waking moment with them, and every sleeping moment dreaming about them…… anybody else??

    Friends, who or what, is getting all of your love these days... On whom are you spending your time…..?  What holds your attention…?

    We all know that God is the right answer here…But, is it really God- how much time are you allotting for him?? 1 hour on Sunday mornings??? If you want to look like a really good Christian,  2 hours Sunday morning, one hour Sunday night…. if you have had a good week, or nothing is on TV…maybe an hour on Wednesday nights?? Television… how many hours a day… 2...3…some of us… 6 or 8. The internet…….count me in…. At least 8 hours a day….Movies…. Couple hours a week. What about listening to music…… several hours a week... If not several hours a day, right?

    So, if you spend time with whom or what you love… what is that saying about our love for God…..? If we love God, wouldn’t we want to spend our time focusing on Him?

    Guys, would your wives be satisfied if you spent the same couple of hours a week with them that you spend with God??  NO, they want the time you give to football, hunting, your job… your friends... am I right?…If you spent 1-4 hours a week with your spouse, do you think they would feel loved, would it be hard for them to love you back?… do you think they would hang around???

    So, what do we actually love?

    I know what you are thinking... because I have had the same thoughts…”You only live once, enjoy it….. God loves us and he  wants us to be happy, and LIVE our lives…..God doesn’t care what I watch on TV, or what I listen to….I am not hurting anyone.. I am not looking at pornography… or listening to heavy metal backwards or…..He doesn’t want me to spend every second in church... or doing … church things.. Or witnessing….. HE DOESN’T WANT EVERY SINGLE PART OF MY LIFE”…whoa, did I just say that...…? Listen, I actually had this argument with myself…. I had been convicted about some of the music I had on my mp3 player when the pastor asked to borrow it…… wow... if you don’t want the preacher to see it… how much worse if God knew it was on there… wait… he does know what is on there…..And it wasn’t even bad music… No cursing….. It wasn’t talking about serving other gods, or busting a cap in anyone….  Or cheating on your husband …..But it wasn’t serving God….. The music was self serving… it made me feel good…. It put me in a good mood……I smiled when I heard it.

    The truth is God DOES want every single part of your life, your music, your television, your computer, your spare time, and the time that you do not consider spare, your bank account, your thoughts, and your relationships… all of it….. Romans 12:2 says, do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    We are to be in this world… not a part of it…If we indulge in the distractions of this world, can we be in his will. Can you have one foot in the world and the other in God’s will. The verse says Do not conform…. Be transformed… and THEN you will see His will….

    Don’t tune me out yet….. I am not saying that I think you should stop watching TV and listening to secular music…..but, I am not saying that would be a bad idea either…

    I am sure you are thinking that I have gone off the deep end….. or become one of those maniacal fanatics……..if I said to you, I believe that we should all go home and bring back our televisions, radios, mp3 players, computers, non Christian books, CD’s, DVD’s… so we can light them all up in the parking lot at church…. How many of you would think I was a loony… my own church might start looking for someone to replace me.

Stay with me ….

So, if the hours you spend a day on TV, movies, face book... I AM GUILTY… Are not spent loving God, serving God, doing God’s work… who are we loving and serving with that time…… ourselves, right?


 Who wins when we serve ourselves instead of God…?

    I believe that the enemy has worked really hard for the last few thousand years coming up with new tricks, and deceptions to lure us away from Christ…, and he has decided that since making Christians worship things like cast idols, wasn’t good enough anymore… and because he really wants to cause Jesus pain…. Satan has tricked us into worshiping ourselves. That is a slap in Jesus’ face, and contrary to everything he taught us and died for … the pathetic part of all of this is that we are doing this and we do not even realize it, or worse, we do realize it and we simply do not care….

    What messages are you receiving when you watch or hear a commercial….... because WE are worth it… OBEY YOUR thirst…be all that YOU can be…maybe SHE’S born with it….have it YOUR way, right away….Calgon, take ME away!!..Image is everything…double YOUR pleasure, double YOUR fun….me, me, me... I … I… I want, I need, and I have to have….

    We come home for church and watch shows that are filled with violence, abuse, drug and alcohol use, infidelity, carnality, witchcraft, rape, murder…… do you recall why God sent the flood to destroy the earth….we are being entertained by the very things that repulsed God to the point that he said, you know what. That is it… I am just going to destroy all of them…

    We fill our minds with these images, and lyrics, and wonder why we can’t feel God’s presence, or hear His call, we wonder where He is… does he really care… exist….. This is exactly what satan wants, he wants us to question our beliefs and SETTLE for what little comfort we can find for ourselves.

    Don’t be fooled…..he will use every tool and technology he can to distract us from our purpose in this life…Don’t you think that when we zone out in front of the television, or the computer that he is dancing around and gloating… “Look God… they can’t be about your business because they are all about pleasing themselves…… entertaining themselves, and serving themselves”… we have become inward focused, lazy, selfish, and self serving …

    This is the exact opposite of who we were created to be, in Christ. Outward focused, giving, compassionate, loving, faithful servants of God.

Matthew 24:36 says

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

    This is not a new concept for any of us… we know that Jesus could come back in 2 minutes, or in 2 weeks… yet we allow the devil to trick us into living our lives like we have all the time in the world to come back to God….. Later…. When we are done having fun… serving ourselves…. When all the good years are behind us.

    I pray that you do not have that mindset, because I fear that before you get those good years behind you, you may wake up to a fiery reality.

    Don’t take advantage of the gift of grace that Jesus has given to us, that Jesus suffered and died to give to us. We serve a loving and forgiving God, but I have to wonder if there will be a line drawn for those who say, I can just do whatever I want to do, as long as I repent and ask for forgiveness after I do it….. gives the following definition for the word repent

to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc.

to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.

    When you repent and ask for forgiveness, this means you are so sorry for what you have done that you literally turn around and change the direction in which you were going. You turn away from sin and turn towards God.

    I understand that as long as we serve ourselves, it might just be a nice comfortable life. Yes, you might be happy, yes, you might be content…. The devil is blissfully ecstatic for us to live our lives of comfort and contentment. While we serve ourselves and live a luke warm pseudo-Christian life... AND LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT….

    In the other direction of course a life dedicated to serving Christ may not be one that affords you the comforts of this world, or the pleasures of this world, you can take pleasure in knowing, serving, honoring, and worshiping our Savior.  Know that the treasures of earth are nothing compared to the treasures our Lord has for those who love and serve Him. Take comfort in knowing that every time you turn off the TV or computer and tune into God, and seek and live out His will for your life…. It is a slap in satans face; it makes him tremble in fear….. Because he also doesn’t know the day or hour when his time will be up… and he will awaken to that fiery reality…

    I believe he knows what his fate is; he just wants to take as many of us with him as he possibly can.

    I beg you to search yourself; I am not trying to push my convictions onto anyone. I only wanted to share what has become painfully obvious to me.  I refuse to give Satan a stronghold in my life. I will not allow him to pollute my mind or entertain me with things that repulse God. Violence isn’t funny, poverty isn’t entertaining, seeing people act out deplorable acts for a laugh or for the sake of action and suspense, has become sickening to me.  Don’t just sit on the couch in front of a box and check out until you fall asleep. Turn off the ipod and listen to GOD. Stop serving yourself, and call up your neighbor and ask if you can do anything to help them out, and while you are at it, make sure that you do share the good news of Christ’s love- don’t just say you love God, live it.

    You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Help us. 


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