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Archive for July, 2009

Where’s My Heart?

July 31st, 2009 Comments off

Matthew 6:21 – “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”

This morning’s devotion talked about a guy named William Randolph Hearst (yea Hearst Castle).  What I didn’t know was he was a collector of “stuff”, and boy did he have a lot of expensive treasures and unique items.  Just looking a a few pictures of the castle itself can tell you he definitely would be considered “rich”.  The unfortunate thing for Mr. Hearst is his heart was set on earthly things, and after a lifetime of collecting items he has passed and now probably wishes he would have seen past money and earthly treasures and sought a fulfilling treasure that he would have gained in heaven.

Now, what would it take for Mr. Hearst and so many people who are ‘addicted’ to money to begin to store treasures up in heaven?  Matthew 6: 24 says: “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Interesting how ‘money’ is capitalized…)  Jesus also clearly tells us in Matthew 19:2324: “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  So, the Bible is pretty clear that being rich means nothing, and you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven because you serve Money.  Not only that, it owns you, you are in this endless cycle of wanting more, the things you only fill the void inside you a little, and you try hard to fill it with more things.  If you truly want to fill that void, there is only one thing that can completely fill it, and that is the TRANSFORMING LOVE of God.  This devotional and appropriately titled blog entry focuses on our hearts…  Once our hearts have been transformed by the love of God, Money becomes money, and we begin to seek more of God and the treasures He has in store for us in heaven! :D

For myself, I admit that I did have a problem with trying store up earthly treasures, and I still have wants in my life today.  The fact that technology always seems to amaze me doesn’t help at all either…  I’ll even go as far to justify those wants and say I’ll use them for the glory of God, but like the verse above said, I cannot serve both God and Money.  However, I think the past 2 months, God’s transformed my heart to become more aligned with His desires and will.  I am starting to see those heavenly treasures and earthly things seem like trash now.  I’m so excited to see where He is taking all of this and really what He is about to do in my life!

Tough Love

July 30th, 2009 Comments off

Luke 23:34 – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Isn’t it amazing that while Jesus was up on the cross, in excruciating pain, prayed to the Father to ask for forgivness for the soldiers who were about to mock Jesus, for the rulers who didn’t believe, and one of the criminals being crucified alongside Jesus that despised Him.  The most surprising fact is He prayed for them BEFORE the series of humulitation and mocking were described in the Bible.

The more I look into the life of Jesus, the more and more I realize that He IS the ultimate/perfect example for use to follow.  It is important to note He did everything in His ministries as a man, a being made of flesh who experiences the same thoughts, tempatations, hurts, emotions, pain, weaknesses, etc. as we do.  And yet, His life is still spotless and shows us how we should live our daily lives.

For me, loving others usually comes easy, because I am just so darn nice :wink: !  I haven’t really experienced someone who abuses me, or treats me like trash, and I am most thankful to God for that.  But, that doesn’t mean that people who come into my life in the future won’t be so easy going and friendly.  That only encourages me to pray for them now just like Jesus prayed prior to receiving abuse.  I need to constantly prepare my heart to produce tough love for when the time comes so that I will be able to forgive them, because I’ll know they are in bondage to sin and they need my light to shine in the dark areas of their lives, and need the LOVE of God to transform them!

The Battle Within

July 29th, 2009 Comments off

Judges 1 – Israel Fights the Remaining Canaanites:

This chapter was about Israel battling against the Canaanites so they can claim the land that the Lord promised them.  Yet the Israelites failed to completely remove all of the Canaanites and the chapter explains that they did not drive them out, but instead turned them into slaves, and lived alongside the Canaanites.  If it is one thing I know about God, is if He tells you to do something and gives a promise if you do it… He is always true with His promise, so it is wise to follow His commandments.  Because the Israelites didn’t follow God’s commandment to completely drive out the Canaanites, they were going to be a nuisance to the them.

Let’s bring this a bit closer to home.  God promised us the gift of salvation, a great new life and an awesome relationship with Him, but the requirement was to “put off [our] old self” (Ephesians 4:22).  For many of us, including myself, we are charged to drive out all the bad areas of our lives (like the Israelites driving out the Canaanites) to put off our old self and put on the new…but the problem is we don’t.  Without driving out the old habituous ways, they will only be a thorn in our side, and a barrier to God’s plan for us.  So I was challenged to really look deep into my heart and identify the bad areas of my life so that I can calim God’s promises for my life!  I’m already seeing my old self being stripped away and witnessing the wonderful things He has in store for me!  Isn’t it time you take a look into your heart and fight off the remaining Cannanites in your life?

Do Hard Things

July 28th, 2009 Comments off

I know I always try to start updating my site on a regular basis…and time and time again I get busy, overwhelmed and push this site aside.  For the most part, I’ve always updated this site about pointless things, but this time it will be different.  Why?  Because I am seeking to glorify God in everything I do now.  The past 2-3 months, I’ve grown so much with Him, and my change of heart for Him is slowly beginning to to produce such sweet fruit, and I’ve seen Him at work numerous times.

I’ve actually had the privilege to read another book, as much as I don’t really like reading or even have the time to read, but it is called Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris (yup Joshua Harris’ little twin brothers author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  While the book was meant for teenagers, these two brothers challenged me to become greatness for God, and become a rebelutionary.  Yup, The Rebelution is the movement that really came out of their ideas, and the book gives so many inspiring examples of other young ones doing big hard things that change how the world will view teenagers.

I’ve been even more blessed when I got to take some of our youth’s to the day conference put on by this movement in Orange County last Saturday, and I was really captivated by all the messages, and challenged even more.  To become greatness, I think that is what we are all meant to be…  Too often am I complacent about the things I do for God, and realize that I could have done SO much more for Him.  That thought makes me feel guilty in a way, but it also encourages me to something about it now.

After the conference we had this amazing awesome time of fellowship where we really got to discuss spiritual things and how we were to make permanent changes in our lives.  Most of the changes that came out will be difficult challenges for those people because it requires time and lots of effort.  But no longer will I expect very little of them, but set my expectations of them at God’s high standard, just like that has become mine.  I actually almost cried when I found out someone who went to the conference challenged someone who did not go to do devotions and write about their thoughts online, and that person already started…  That type of response is like a wild fire that spreads, a passion that I envision for all the youth at my church to “spur one another toward good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

For those of you who were at the fellowship (I’m not really sure how many of you actually read this since I don’t update it often), I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that I will use every ounce of strength in my body to encourage you and keep everyone of you accountable to the challenges you made for yourselves.  Actually, I feel my own challenge for myself was too complacent, which was to give up “Lakers” entirely.  For some, that may seem like a big thing but, to me, once I realize how much time I’ve wasted by watching games that don’t really benefit me at all, especially when my time is precious and I can be doing better things with it – doing hard things for God!  So, I’ve decided one way I can help encourage those who have challenged themselves, is to have someone (me) doing it along by their side.  What that basically means, is I am going to take on pretty much everyone’s challenges (except the ones I’m already doing).  So, I’ll be waking up extra early in the morning to read and do devotions (I was going to start today, but didn’t realize how long this post was going to take), and blog about it.  I will at least once a week post a blog about anything that happened during the week where God deserves all the glory (This post counts!).  I will be encouraging to everyone at church and not be complacent.  I will cut out all gossip.  I will take someone new out once a month and use that opportunity to evangelize.  You might be wonder, “Nick, you won’t have time!”  And my response to that would be you are probably right…  But seriously, I have to put myself in situations that require God’s power and hand to guide me, because if I’m always comfortable, I will never see God work.  My standard for myself is to be come like Jesus, and that is a standard that is so high and pretty much unattainable by anyone, but yet I will continue to strive for it…

Alright, thanks for reading!