Friday, January 1, 2016

Saucer Sleds and Jesus



As I was watching my wife come down the sledding hill on a speeding saucer sled with my 3 year old daughter at the time, it reminded me of how we protect our children! I watched (through the eyepiece of my camera while secretly chuckling) as they slowly disappeared behind the cloud of snow being thrown up by her boots dragging on the ground! While all were fine, minus a bit of whitewashed faces, it reminded me of this passage I read this morning.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV)
What we speak has the power to influence others.

While above I speak of saving through physical protection, it reminded me of how we can save through other forms of protection. How our actions are not only meant to protect ourselves, but those around us.

As Christians, are we keeping a close watch on ourselves and our teachings? Do we realize by the life we lead, the words we speak, and the ideas we teach - we have been given the responsibility to bring others to the knowledge of Christ?

May we, with a good conscience, begin the new year well.

Blessings friends ...

His,
~Matthew

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Clear Conscience or a Shipwrecked Faith


When that glorious day arrives when Christ returns, nothing else will matter. As a pastor of a local church near our family's vacation home reminded me this weekend, "In 100 years from now, all that will matter is your relationship with God."

We are in a war - not with flesh and blood - but a spiritual army far more formidable that our feeble minds and bodies. However while the enemy can have his way with me, he cannot have his way with the One that fights for me. As Tozer said ...
I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me — he’s got judo I never heard of, But he can’t handle the One to whom I am joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in my nature. — A. W. Tozer
Yet when we wage this war, there is something that we should never let go ... a good conscience.
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (1 Timothy 1:18-19 ESV)


What a great opportunity on the last day of the year, to be reminded that we need to keep our conscience clear. May we never let pride hold back repentance, our recognition of our sins, and our need for a savior; daily! May our walk with Jesus, while at times stumbling, never be seen empty while we try to hide sins in the dark (as if He doesn't see every dark corner of our life). May our faith be carried like a healthy ship on the sea, even in storms, always upright.

When we close our eyes to sin, conscience, and the Holy Spirit, we leave the wheelhouse empty, and can quickly run aground ...

May we never be shipwrecked.

His,
~Matthew


Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

This are two of my (three now) stuffed traveling companions I take with me on business trips. They are posing with an elephant friend of theirs that they met at our table at the hotel restaurant - which I managed to convince the establishment to sell me as a souvenir! Perhaps this elephant in my room I have now at home will remind me of these words I write now ... 
When reading through Matthew, Jesus goes through a list of woes set out before the Scribes and Pharisees. One of them describes how they participated in one part of the law, without participating in others. He mentioned to them that they were tithing, yet they ignored more weightier matters of the law when they should have been doing both. This really highlights two important factors to me:

  1. They should have been striving to obey all the law, not just parts.
  2. Some parts are weightier than others.

It is this second observation that I really want to think about. What laws did He specifically mention that seemed to hold more weight?
"... you have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness ... " Matthew 23:23 (ESV)
In fact, Jesus even compared this logic (of choosing to tithe and ignore justice, mercy, and faithfulness) to "straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!"

Straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel ... it resonates with me that often the more important commands are not the easiest, but they are the most obvious.

How am I doing with that elephant in the room? Am I checking boxes, or am I passionate about the more weightier and obvious matters like justice, mercy, and faithfulness?

Reflecting,
~Matthew

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