Friday, March 23, 2012

HUNGER GAMES: Hungering and Thirsting

Beloved brothers and sisters:

This is something we urgently need to consider. I am applying this to a specific item right now, but I believe that the concept applies to every single part of our life.

I'm assuming all of you know what "The Hunger Games" are. (books and movie) When the books started becoming such a huge deal, I became aware of them and a bit concerned. I was concerned because although I didn't know even the plot of the books at that point, I knew that they were wildly popular in SECULAR circles AND Christian circles. As Christians, we have been made dead to sin, ALIVE to Christ and have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and causing us to love God and His Word. Unbelievers on the other hand, according to Scripture, are still entirely in sin, DEPRAVED, and ENEMIES OF GOD who are HOSTILE in mind to Christ and the gospel. In fact, 1 Corinthians says that the message of the cross is FOOLISHNESS to them. That being said, there really isn't a whole lot of things that unbelievers and true, Scripture-filled saints have in common and enjoy... So when I see them all linking hands around something and embracing it side by side, it tips me off to be concerned and look into things. 

I read a review of the plot of the books and it didn't sit well with me. I couldn't exactly put a finger on it but I think this guy (Doug Wilson) kinda nailed it. I encourage you to read his review which is both short and direct.

(Click here to read his review at )

Im not trying to be "oh so spiritual" or point fingers. Honest. I just have been PERSONALLY challenged more and more these days to not settle for "it's not really that bad" but to seek and understand "Taste and see that THE LORD is good".

This is really what I want to get at with this post; simply to encourage my brothers and sisters to start humbly thinking BIBLICALLY and to HUNGER and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I think we don't know God, experience His power and love his Word like we WANT TO because we are so filled with things that arent spiritually nourishing.  Weights that hinder and entangle, things that might not be CLEARLY BAD and EVIL, but certainly not BEST.

Loved ones, I am convinced of this and am trying to grab a hold of what it should look like in my life: There can be NOTHING more THRILLING, EXCITING, FULFILLING or DELIGHTING - nothing more SATISFYING, SANCTIFYING or SWEET - there is nothing more PURE, more PEACEFUL, or more POWERFUL than this: TO KNOW GOD through Jesus Christ in a PERSONAL, INTIMATE, TANGIBLE way and to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. 

"I say to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'”
(Psalm 16:2)
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
(Psalm 34:8-10)

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"
(Philippians 3:7-8)
 You might say, "what will I miss out on if I live fully surrendered to God, seeking Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Think of the friends I wouldn't get to hang out with, the movies I wouldn't get to watch, music I wouldn't get to listen to, all those 'good times'! I'd have NO LIFE!" 
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
(John 10:10 )

I want for myself, and for you my beloved brothers and sisters to hear "WELL DONE, my GOOD and FAITHFUL SERVANT".... and not "I had SO MUCH MORE for you!"

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation"
(1 Peter 2:2)
LET US SEEK GOD IN HIS WORD WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH. With every single second of song, movie, book, conversation, relationship, money-spending and time-spending, let us choose only that which furthers us toward the all-surpassing glory of knowing CHRIST.

Let us repent of our seeking after worthless idols and turn to the Lord who is MERCIFUL. Read this last passage and take hope if you have been convicted of your faithlessness as I have.
"Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
    “When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them."
(Deuteronomy 4:23-31)

-Cody †

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Heart and... Eyes: Take Care

 "And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them."
(Deuteronomy 5:1 ESV)

Beloved brothers and sisters,

I was reading in Deuteronomy 4 and 5 this morning in my chronological reading, and found the charge here very similar to my previous post.
"See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?"
(Deuteronomy 4:5-8 ESV)
 What we have is VERY, VERY GREAT!

Our God is a GREAT GOD.
“There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God."
(1 Samuel 2:2 ESV)
 And His words are EXCELLENT WORDS.
"I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad."
(Psalm 119:96 ESV)
 But even so, our hearts, reasoning, and affections are still very much under the corrupting influence of sin. We are quick to stray from what is GOOD for what is worthless. This IS true of us as I have said, and we need to recognize this. Moses certainly recognized this, take a look:
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children"
heart and eyes again...)(Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV)
As I read through chapters 4 and 5, I saw Moses - a faithful shepherd - urging the people of Israel (and us) over and over with words like, "take care" (4:9, 23) "beware" (4:16, 19) " be careful" (5:1, 32) and "watch yourselves very carefully" (4:15). Actually, the phrase "take care" is used 10 different times in the book of Deuteronomy alone. It is a much needed reminder I'd say.

With this post I have somewhat followed the flow of chapter 5, which starts with a command to "be careful", filled with who God is and with His law, and ending with a command again: "Be careful!" 

"You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess."
(Deuteronomy 5:32-33 ESV)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Heart and... Eyes: Remember.

Beloved brothers and sisters,
"The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them,
not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
(Numbers 15:37-41 ESV)
It is entirely important that we understand the nature of our sinful hearts. I find that I am so quick to forget; so quick to think I am "getting pretty spiritual these days" or something like that. Thankfully, my God mercifully, graciously, faithfully and often painfully shows me, through the mirror of His word, (James 1) that my heart - though it has been regenerated and is being sanctified - is still quite a far cry from the heart of God. My eyes as well are all too swift to lead me not to God's but to so many "desires of the eyes" which are "passing away" according to  1John 2.
"The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?"
(Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways."
(Psalm 119:37 ESV)
 LET US REMEMBER our weaknesses, remember our inclinations, and MAKE WAR AGAINST THEM. Let us daily be in desperate prayer for God's grace to CHANGE our hearts and our eyes; for His word to be the thing that leads us!

Brothers and sisters, WE HAVE A MIGHTY, GOOD, POWERFUL, LOVING GOD, and He has given us HIS WORD as a weapon with which we can "put to death the old self"!

"The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
(Psalm 19:8 ESV)
I don't care if it's tassels or a 3x5 card in your pocket, we need to "REMEMBER ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD, TO DO THEM" 
"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."

-Cody  †