Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Do we love ourselves too much?

Many really do. 
Funny. Just noticed this. A top seller right now: The Selfie Stick. And listen.. having one of these doesn't mean you love yourself too much, but.. just sayin'. 
You already do ♥ U and I do too (let's admit it.. but who wants to ..too much? Not me. Not you.. right?). U ♥ U. Yup. 
Q: When shown a group photo, whose pic in there do you look for first? Sure yours.. so quit tellin' people you hate yourself. 
When a teenager says they hate themselves cuz of their zits and how they look, it's not true.. cuz if they really did hate themselves ..wouldn't they be glad they had zits and looked bad? Sure they would. 
The Bible is not teaching you to first love yourself and then love your neighbor. Rather, it is teaching that you already love yourself, so now love your neighbor.
"The second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." — Mark (12:30-31)

Got some self esteem issues today? Really? How come? 

When the Bible states, "Love your neighbor as yourself," it is clearly not saying, "You need more self esteem. First learn to love yourself more, and then love your neighbor cuz you'll then be able to." Nope, but it is saying, "Hey, it is obvious you already love yourself. Therefore love your neighbor in the same way." 

Today least here in the West.. it is this love of self, this rad obsession with self (I've even seen a magazine called by this S name), and my stuff, my experience, feelings, education.. and my resume, and gettin' "it" my way, and my looks.. (yes ego n self..) that gets us into trouble. It's true. 

You and I don't really need more self-focus, a better self-image, or more love of self. You know what I mean. Who among us needs greater self-esteem? Not me. You and I for sure don't need more self-love. But here is what we do need: Christ (the Savior we see in the Bible), who lived selfless. We need more focus on the Word. 

Jesus (God) said "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). 

Christ did not say, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him esteem himself and cultivate their self-image" or "let him love himself so he can start loving others." Rather, He said, "Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." This iactually means: to repudiate, to disdain, to disown, to forfeit, to totally disregard. Yikes. Challenging! 

What we often hear in our Land today is how radically significant self is. We hear about the importance of self-image, more self-love, self-worth, and higher self-esteem.. "Dude, have pride in yourself."  Why? Pride in self has meant gobs of trouble for us humans for centuries. 

And we even hear it preached in our churches, Sadly, yes proclaimed from our pulpits in Jesus' Name: "Doesn't the Scripture say, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'? First you have to love yourself, and then you love your neighbor." Wrong!!! 

The Bible is not teaching you to first love yourself and then love your neighbor. Rather, it is teaching that you already love yourself, so now love your neighbor. In fact, the Bible says, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it... " (Ephesians 5:29). We already have self-love. Now we need to love others in the same way.
You will hear people say, "I am trying to find myself." But Jesus says that if you want to find yourself, then lose yourself. If you want to find your life, deny yourself.

What is the big prob in your life? It ain't our spouse. It ain't your mean boss. It ain't your co-workers or fellow students. It ain't your environment or upbringing or lack of education. It ain't really your low self-esteem or poor self-image. It be that proactive, overt love of ourselves. The ultimate choice in life for you and me is.. between living to primarily please ourselves or primarily living to please God by obeying Jesus.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I want to ask you some questions that I was asked. May I? Who started the work of grace in us? Did God choose us, or did we believers choose God?

"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…" ~ Paul

Bottom line: There was zero merit or goodness that caused God to choose you or me. You know we've blown it in sin going against God's holy standards and commandments - yes, all of us are real sinners. We have both crossed God's line and fallen short of His glory.(Rom.3:23) It is clear that in spite of our best intentions and the high opinion we may hold of ourselves, God's choosing had nothing to do with our merit.

Greg Laurie, my friend and pastor in California, says God chose us for the same reason He chose Israel. To them He said, "The Lord did not set His heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you" (Deuteronomy 7:7-8 NLT).

I personally wasn't out lookin' for him when I lived in Dana Point at the time. A friend named Randy Zieglar - my football coach and a four A surfer that I'd go hit the waves with.. told me all about knowing Jesus.

Glad!!!  I had no desire to seek Him. I was a surfer and mocker that got changed and now I am a mockee, but happy. Way blessed. Yup. 

The Lord loves you.

Romans 5:6–8 tells us, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (NKJV).

Paul was preaching to some Gentiles (non-Jews) and a number of them believed: "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48 NKJV).

Allow me to pray for you before I close here...

Thank you Father for choosing us and hearing us. You are SO worthy of all glory and honor and praise. I worship You and I pray because I love You. We all do here. We want to be close to You, and want all our friends to be saved and helped. Yes God, we desire You and to be used by You to reach the lost around us. God, please use us today.. to sharpen our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to give the Lost a viable answer for the hope that we have in Your son Jesus. Please fill/refill us with the Holy Spirit for this Task. Guide our thoughts to the right ideas; to the right words to share with those in need. Give us a hunger to know You better and to serve you faithfully in every part of our lives. Please bless each of my friends where they need this most. Father, I ask all this in Jesus' Name as He has in the Bible clearly instructed us. We love You Father. Amen.

The Bible is filled with the call of God to man to respond to the Good News!

1. John 11:26 – "Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."
2. Paul in Romans 10:13 said, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
3. Revelation 22:17 – "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."

God started it - as the Initiator. I responded.. just like you can do if you still need assurance inside. I love Him because He first loved and chose me. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A free songwriting tip for ya.. if you need one.

If you write for those hurting, you'll never be without an audience cuz this world so quickly gone sideways is full of em.

Brutal to the point honesty. What you've struggled with in the dark before and then gained victory over, bring it on out into the light so to speak. Not hidden in shame. Tell it so someone else who is suffering can be helped. Painstakingly write it down. Yeah, the careful consideration of each element of how you tried, died, turned, and humbly got through it all with significant Help. Too many still stuck ..fear telling on themselves, or how they found a way out.

Friday, January 23, 2015

God's Word ain’t just there to be reasoned over, periodically pondered, or talked about. He is alive, strong and near - He is to be well known and daily experienced ..personally.

The Word of God is living, active sharp and working.. He's a person that deeply loves you and has a plan for your life.

He can keep you, provide for you, and use you today. Well you pause today.. and take some time to pray?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

You can gain a good spiritual hunger even when you currently have zero in the tank.

"He who has the most need of righteousness is he who desires it the least." ~ Puritans 

How do does a believer develop this wonderful spiritual hunger, when he or she currently doesn't have any hunger for God's Word? Simple. 

It's the principle of prayerful force-feeding your own decision ..until real hunger arrives to your joy and betterment.

Ever been so busy and not at all hungry for physical food (my brothers and I would get like this when a north swell was in and the waves at the beach were good..) but then you tasted some of your grandmother's uber delectable home-cooking.. and you suddenly got real hungry for more of it? Hey, it can happen. All guys know this.  

So be motivated If you don't have any spiritual hunger now to apply, cuz you could easily get on auto-pilot so to speak.. you can get locked into neutral impact.. for many fruitless years and then regret such waste. Yup, as your friends (minus your good influence on em, or any healthy words or warning) simply head in the wrong direction to their LONG-term hurt. 

But wanna know the end result of havin' such a great hunger down on inside? God says it plain, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." 

If you are not authentically revived, on-fire for Christ instead of lukewarm spiritually.. if you aren not spiritual and balanced instead of carnally or worldly minded.. if you are not really hungry for knowing the Lord.. and hungry for the things of God.. then how do think that you will even start to help anyone else get hungry for what they need most? 

For 18 years of my life as a church-goer in Southern California.. I allowed many blind men who were dead inside to lead me ..a blind and very dead-inside kinda person. I had no hunger inside and never got any from them, because they were not hungry for the Word of God or being born again in Him. Hey, If you wanna start getting spiritually hungry in a good sorta way, then try hangin' around with spiritually hungry, spiritually alive Bible lovers. 

Ain't here to cast the final judgement or be "a hater" of people. Nope. I do want to judge myself, but I'm not the ultimate Judge - never was Him. But listen, God does want each and evey single one of us to judge their message and fruit. 

Who? Those you like you hear or follow. Is the one you follow following Christ according to the Scriptures? Nobody can be a good leader who isn't a good follower of the Bible Jesus.  

Yup, I'm a fruit-inspector and a seed sower instead of the Judge. I like to sow seeds of truth from the Bible. God wants all of us Believers to be hungry for truth and sharing what God says is really so. 

Jesus is our best Friend and as iron sharpen iron so one man sharpens another.  

So who have you been feeding from.. I mean listening to lately? Who has been influencing you, and in what direction? Towards the Lord and His Church or away from His Word and Kingdom? 

Here's a good test for em...

What is their doctrine like?..  do they actually hold to Christ and the Essentials of our historic Christian faith?  

What are their deeds like?.. 

..and what do their so called disciples turn out to be like? What do they crave.. you know what are they hungry for? What are they talkin' about the most, or actin' like?.. immoral, or puffed up with "know it all" pride. Are they greedy, lustful, or rebellious regarding the civic authorities or towards Bible authority?

How are their attitudes? Now you know that real Christians can act like a hypocrites, or even have a bad attitude at times. I hate those kinds of sins and have been guilty before, but what is their character really like?

The Bible says, "Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals. Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God." 1 Cor. 15:33