Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

In God we trust is a statement that all Americans are very familiar with. The statement …And may God bless America is another statement we are well aware of. It is one that ends nearly every presidential address as well as many other speeches that politicians give.
While I long to be part of a country that acknowledges God in all that we do, I am not convinced that these statements truly reflect the heart of the nation I proudly belong to.
It is a true statement that God can bless whomever He chooses. However, when one studies the Scriptures, one will find that most of God’s blessings are contingent upon the faithfulness of His followers. Yet the inconsistency of what many politicians (and Christians) practice does not really line up with their calling on God for blessing.
There are many places in Scripture that follow the theme of Malachi 3.7 where the prophet Malachi writes on God’s behalf “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes, and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you.”
A section of Scripture that I am drawn to as I consider the concept of returning to God in order that we might receive His blessing is found in Isaiah 1.18-20 where the prophet Isaiah wrote the words, “‘Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
My belief is that we are not eating the best in the land. Yet many Christians have settled for what they believe to be “good enough”. As long as sin is allowed, blessing is withheld. If we desire to eat the best in the land then we must, as Isaiah wrote, consent and obey. It is my belief that God is waiting to bless those who will stand up and say “Yes I will be faithful”.
The restoration of a God honoring nation does not begin with government. It begins with God’s people choosing to be faithful. Choosing to stand out from the crowd and call sin, sin and do what is right in the eyes of God rather than of man.
The spiritual revival of our nation starts with you and me. It is time we as a nation stop using God’s name in vain when we say “God bless America”.
The Christians of America need to stand up and say what the writer of Hebrews said about Moses in Hebrews 11.25. They need to say, I choose to endure the ill-treatment with the people of God rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin because I have an eternal focus (vs. 26).

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Every year when the months of February, March and April come around the discussion of Lent comes up.  Without fail I will enter into a conversation with somebody about the topic of what they gave up for lent.  Sometimes I will hear junk food, steak or even tv.  Yet chocolate seems to be one of the number one things that I hear in this giving up discussion.

I have often asked people why they have given things up only to be told, “It is Lent.”  Sorry that is not a good enough answer.  If I am going to give something up I need my reason to be more than “just because” or it’s a tradition.  Perhaps in my simple mind I just don’t get it.  Maybe giving up chocolate or American Idol truly does make one more like Christ.  Then again maybe not.   I for one am pretty sure that Christ never watched American Idol and He probably did not consume much chocolate.

So why do so many give something up?

Well I suppose to answer this question, we must first define what Lent is.  The most simple definition that I can give is that it is the forty days preceding Easter.  It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday (depending on your convictions).  It is known by some as the season of repentance or the season of discipline and due to the nature of these 40 days it is often seen as a somber time period.

According to one source I read, there are at least 3 things that are to be accomplished by abstaining from something during the Lenten period.  1.  It is used as a discipline for learning self-control, to free our minds from chasing after material things and to tell ourselves ‘no’ and make it stick.  2.  To identify with Christ’s sufferings, and to remember what the true pleasures are for followers of Christ.  3.  Finally it serves as an act of sorrow over our wrongdoings and our state of sin.

We now have a simple definition of Lent and a basic understanding of the need for a fast during the Lenten season.  Now let’s examine what Scripture says about the early church and how they spend the 40 days preceding the resurrection.

Well that was easy.  Scripture does not utter one word about what the early church did in the days leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  It is not there.  The period of time that we know as Lent is not found in the Bible.

Giving  something up is a Scriptural concept.  In fact we are told as Christians that we should lay our lives down daily.  Daily sacrifice is required by believer’s if they are to live lives that conform to God’s expectations.  Their conduct should change.  Their desires should change.  Their thought process should change.  Their relationships should change.  I could go on, but I am sure you get the point.  The point is we must daily pursue Christ and give Him our all and not just give Him our chocolate during lent.

I mean come on.  Do you really think that giving up chocolate identifies with Christ’s sufferings?  HE WAS TORTURED TO DEATH!!!  What it does prove is that most religions fail to understand the magnitude of what Christ did.

So in closing I would say, give Christ your life not your chocolate.  He is more than willing to fill  your spiritual walk and let you fill your sweet tooth.