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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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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April 6, 2015

Two Wisdoms

True wisdom does not come from what you know but from who you know.

Wisdom is a capacity of the mind. As seen in the Old Testament, wisdom involves both knowledge and the ability to direct the mind toward a full understanding of human life and toward its moral fulfillment. All true wisdom is ultimately rooted and grounded in God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” – Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)

But there are two kinds of wisdom: human wisdom and the true wisdom, that which comes from God and happens supernaturally in our lives as we are transformed in obedience to his Word.

False Human Wisdom

There is a wisdom that is unspiritual, even demonic.

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” – James 3:14–15 (ESV)

True Human Wisdom

To find true human wisdom we first need to find God (Proverbs 2:6–12). True wisdom cannot be understood apart from God. 

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:16 (ESV)

That is why we see in Romans 12:2 a call by the apostle Paul not to comfort to the wisdom of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds:

“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.” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)

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April 4, 2015

Escape the Rat Race

I am sure that capitalism was born out of keen observation of human behavior and Knowing what God’s Word tells us about human sinful condition. In Ecclesiastes 4:4 the Preacher tells us that, in our human sinfulness, that jealously fuels the drive to have a lifestyle that others have or even to best one’s neighbor economically and socially. 

“Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors.” – Ecc. 4:4 (NLT)

 

But before we withdraw from the pursuit of human endeavors thinking that we become righteous by doing so, the Preacher also warn us (the wisdom books are filled with such warnings) that the the lazy man do nothing and just folds his hands and sit idly, and he ends up eating his own flesh (Ecc. 4:5 NLT). In other words destroying themselves. 

So what is the answer then? 

First, to do everything we do as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23 NLT). Let out motivation to excel be the Glory of who deserve all glory and praise, God. 

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Col. 3:23

 

Secondly, True Contentment is the answer 

Being satisfied with enough and not living one’s life for just a little more or prizing idleness above all is the balance that enable us to navigate life well (Ecc. 4:6 NLT).

 

“First, help me never to tell a lie. 

Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! 

Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 

For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” 

 

And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” – Prov. 30:8-9 (NLT)

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April 3, 2015

The Delights of the World

The world delights in bold sinners who flout God’s Word and expect no punishment whatsoever. Our culture celebrates the skillful cold-blooded assassins, bold thief, self-righteous vigilante, fault-mouthed recording artist, creative rebel, blasphemous stand-up comedian, naked actress, fornicating “glamour” couple”, self-worshiping athlete, occultist mystic. And the like. Perhaps the clearest example in our day has been the movement of homosexuality from something almost universally seen as shameful to something that ought to be delighted in. The gay right movement is seeking not merely tolerance of what God calls sinful, but society-wide celebration. 

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.” – Rom. 1-28

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