The Renewed Mind

Because Ideas have consequences

“And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:7

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June 28, 2015

Who is my Neighbor?

One day, a lawyer, a member of the religious institution known as the Pharisees, asked Jesus a question to test him.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” – asked the lawyer.

Jesus told him that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything we are. And the second is “to love your neighbor as yourself.” According to jesus, everything hangs on these two commandments (Matt. 22:36-40).

The lawyer, who thought he could out-smart Jesus, asked him “And who is my neighbor?”. Jesus responded with the story of the Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37)

Simply put, for Jesus, your neighbor is anyone who is near and anyone who is in need, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, economic bracket, politics, culture, or creed. Your neighbor, according to Jesus, is every other human being.

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June 26, 2015

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April 24, 2015

What would I do?

  


As I watch the mass murder of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS I begin to wonder why no one is outraged about what’s happening.

In January 7, 2015 Islamic terrorist attacked the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killing 12. The world, rightly so, was shocked and outraged by the attack. We quickly saw the social media inundated by “Je suis Charlie” and world leaders (except president Obama) flew to Paris to march in solidarity against the attacks.

Now, many more are slaughtered by ISIS just for their faith and the world and social media remain silent.

Franklin Graham has expressed disappointment that the world does not seem shocked and horrified by the killing of Christians in the Middle East and pointed out that “We should continue to be horrified and nauseated,” he continued. “We should make sure our government and the current administration recognizes Islam for the danger it is, and that they are doing all they can to work against it.”

On a Deeper Level…

But on a deeper level the suffering and killing of fellow believers, of brothers and sisters around the world should make is pause and consider what are we doing as Christians. Are we more concerned about the latest electronic gadget or TV show or about the fate of those around us, far and close?

And what about me? What would I do if faced with the same level of hatred and persecution? Right now we are feeling a little heat about the same-sex marriage and many of us have chosen to remain quite for far of being singled out.

But what about if the life of my kids and my wife was threatened for my faith, our faith? What would I do? I find comfort on Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:17-19:

“Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” – Matthew 10:17–19 (ESV)

I have the utmost respect for all those modern day martyrs that are standing up for Christ. Yes, let make no mistake, they are not dying for their faith but for Christ’s sake. In Matthew 24:9 Jesus himself warned us about what we could expect to experience IF we are his true followers:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” – Matthew 24:9 (ESV)

Jesus goes even further and tells us that ”…many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.” (Matthew 24:10 ESV)

Are we deceiving ourselves?

We love to quote just those promises in the Bible that speak of great and positive things for us, cannot forget that Jesus told us that IF we truly followed him, live the real Christian life, we will be persecuted and even put to death for his sake.

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:20 (ESV)

Sadly, I think the modern church seems to have forgotten about our real situation and have made Christianity about us when in reality is all about Jesus.

While the calling for those brothers and sister right now is to die for Christ, until that moment we are faced with the same question “would you die for Christ”, will we live for him? “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21 (ESV)

As I wonder what would i do if faced with the same choices as those believers in the Middle East and other part of the world who are suffering and dying for Christ’s sake I am comforted by Paul’s words in Romans 8:37-39:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37–39 (ESV)

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April 22, 2015

Victorious Living

Every Christian knows that while he or she is saved from the consequences of sin and no longer belong to this world that we all struggle with sin. 

Solomon asks that very question in Psalm 119, how can a young person live a godly life?:

“How can a young man keep his way pure? 
By guarding it according to your word. 
With my whole heart I seek you; 
let me not wander from your commandments! 
I have stored up your word in my heart, 
that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:9-11

The answer? The only way we can hope to walk a triumphant Christian life is by saturating our hearts and minds with God’s Word. We need the Word of God to be bigger inside of me than I. 

Paul is very clear about it in Romans 12:2-3:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Rom. 12:2-3

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April 21, 2015

Whose sin is worst?

“And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.” – Matthew 11:23–24 (NLT)

 

God is more greatly grieved by the sins of those who claim to know him than by those who know him not.

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April 17, 2015

Counter-cultural

  

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April 15, 2015

What is Character?

“Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.” – Psalm 119:61

We can see the depth of the psalmist’ commitment to God’s word in Psalm 119:61. Even when the wicked have him ensnared, he does not forget the law of the Lord. No amount of suffering or persecution at the hands of evil men can shake his faithfulness to the God who has redeemed him. 

Though it might make him more comfortable or put him in a better estate physically if he were to forsake the Lord’s commandments, he will not do it.  

How often we are in such situations that create opportunities for us to be faithful to God’s Word and and let Him shine but we just blow it? Sadly, to many times and too frequently. 

Today I has one of such opportunities and instead of handling God’s way I never gave Him the chance to take over but I handle it my way. 

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim. 1:7

We need to ask God to empower us to yield to His Holy Spirit that gives us the self-control that we so desperately need. 

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April 8, 2015

How shall we know what to do?

Want to know right from wrong? Want to know what to do on any situation that faces you?

Then you have just one option and it is to depend in the wisdom that comes from God.

In the first place, we need to recognize and accept that the kind of wisdom that we need to do right comes from and has it’s origin in God.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Prov. 9:10 (NIV).

 

Secondly, in order to know what we ought to do our minds, the way we see and respond to the world and problems need to, need to be transformed. In Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul tells us that:

“Do  not conform to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s  will is—his good,  pleasing and perfect will.” – Rom. 12:2

 

We are transformed to Jesus’ mold only by God’s Word:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Tim. 3:16-17

 

Thirdly, we need to follow Jesus example and submit our will to God’s sovereignty. We need to say like Jesus ‘not my will, but the Father’s’ (Luke 22:42).

 

Fourthly, we need to use God’s Word in all our decision making because it is the word that can clear our path into what is right and God’s will (Eph. 6:17).

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Heb. 4:12

 

Finally, let’s dwell on those things that can help us have the proper and right perspective in live. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” – Phil. 4:8

 

 

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