While I Was Reading

I am currently re-reading one of my favorite books, The Lord Of The Rings. Although it was broken up into, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Tolkien himself always intended for it to be a single book. If you have never read this literary masterpiece I highly recommend it!

Anyway, while I have been reading I have, again, realized just how quotable Tolkien is and how deeply relatable his characters are. As I read for fun I don’t want to read to just simply escape reality. (Read my thoughts on that topic here.) Instead, I want to read everything, even fiction, with purpose. I want my stories to teach me something and remind me of my own reality. (The good stories will always do just that.) Today, I wanted to share a couple of quotes with you that recently impacted me.

The first quote is the ever-wise Gandalf in response to Frodo’s questioning why he was chosen for such a great task.

“‘Why was I chosen?’ ‘Such questions cannot be answered,’ said Gandalf. ‘You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must, therefore, use such strength and heart and wits as you have.’”

These words greatly remind me of God’s interaction with Abraham in Genesis 12-17. God chose Abraham, not because he was a great man of great strength with great faith or great stature. God just simply chose him. After God chose Abraham He blessed him and, in turn, used him to bless the entire world. Similarly, God chose and used Moses, imperfections and all, to lead His people out of captivity and right up to the doorstep of the Promised Land.

In the New Testament, in Romans 8:30 and Ephesians 2:8-9 we find that God is consistent. People are not saved because of personal merit or works, but rather by the grace of God alone. And Ephesians 2:10 encourages those that have been chosen and saved by grace to produce “good works” as a result.

Frodo was very weak; however, he was still “chosen” for a great purpose -to destroy the evil ring. We are very weak; however, we have still been chosen for a great purpose -to glorify God and to tell the world about Jesus and His love.

The second quote I want to bring up is spoken by Aragorn when he is trying to ignite courage in the face of almost certain doom.

“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”

As I read this I can’t help but ask myself the question, “Do I do what I do to get recognition and pats on the back? Or do I do it because God has called me to faithfully serve Him?”

Galatians 1:10 makes it clear that if our intentions are to please people then we cannot truly be servants of Christ. And Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

We need to do the right thing even if no one is watching and waiting to sing our praises.

The reality is that God is always watching, and His opinion of us is all that really matters anyway. Everything that we think, say, and do should be for God’s glory even when its not popular and especially when we do not receive recognition for it.

The purpose of sharing these quotes is to first, show how they remind me of great truth found in God’s Word. The second reason is to remind all of us how we can take everyday life and situations and think of them with a biblical mindset. That’s why I created this blog in the first place. Everyday life from a biblical perspective.

What is something that you have read, or seen, or heard lately that reminds you of our awesome God?

Use Every Moment

One week ago, the year Two Thousand and Nineteen began. It is hard to wrap my mind around how quickly time flies and yet how slowly it can crawl.

It seems as though just yesterday we were ringing in a new decade. At the same time, 2015 seems like an eternity ago.

Everything happens, and nothing changes as time marches on. Ok. Maybe I am being too deep for a blog, but I am blasting an epic Hans Zimmer playlist while I write this so maybe that has something to do with it. But the point remains, time moves forward whether we are ready for it to or not.

And as I sit and think about this new year that is already a week old I can’t help but think about Ephesians 5:15-16. It says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

The days in which we live, and the days that Paul lived as well since he wrote that, are evil. Therefore, we cannot afford to waste any time doing the things that do not matter. We must live and act wisely with the time that we do have.

In Psalm 90, the Psalmist asks God to “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” And Psalm 39 reminds us that our time here on earth is small and limited but that our hope is still in the Lord. Colossians 4:5 reminds us to wisely use every opportunity we have when encountering those who do not know Jesus.

Each moment that we have here, in this life, is precious.

  • The moment when you welcome your spouse home and ask about their day.
  • The moment when you greet an old friend.
  • The moment when a family member reminds you of their love for you.
  • The moment when you look at the sky and appreciate God’s incredibly beautiful creation.
  • The moment when God reveals an exciting truth to you in His Word.
  • The moment where you thank God for your stressful job.
  • The moment when a coworker asks you about your faith.
  • The moment when you show kindness to a stranger.
  • The moment that you realize that God has faithfully been with you through every single one of your life’s moments.

We have so many opportunities in life to do something that matters. We can encourage, bless, love, pray, share, act justly, and so on. But as much as we have an almost uncountable amount of opportunities, we must also realize that today we have fewer opportunities than we did yesterday.

We must make each day count.

We must live each day for Jesus.

We must refuse to waste our lives.

Warning. Warning. Warning.

Thankfully, tornados don’t touch down on Tuesdays. That’s what I grew up thinking at least.

Let me explain. For as long as I can remember the first Tuesday of every month was the day that our local tornado sirens were tested. Like clockwork, the sirens went off in the morning of each month’s first Tuesday. If you are from the Midwest, chances are that you too have a tornado siren testing day.

The practice makes perfect sense. We need to be warned if there ever is an approaching tornado, and a siren is no good if it doesn’t function. Therefore, regular testing to ensure the functionality of the siren is a wise and appropriate practice.

As a kid, I remember asking my dad, “what if a tornado comes on the first Tuesday of the month?”

My dad replied without missing a beat, “that’s easy. We just don’t schedule tornados on Tuesdays.”

Regrettably, I admit that I was satisfied with his answer for way too many years. Come to find out, tornados aren’t something that you can schedule at all!

Fast forward a bunch of years to today. It’s the first Tuesday of the month, as you well know. And I was walking outside when I received a phone call. I answered and was in the midst of a good conversation when the person on the other end of the line interrupted me.

“What is that noise?” They asked.

“Umm…what noise.” Was my response.

It took me a full 10 seconds to realize they were asking about the blaring tornado siren.

I had gone deaf to the warning I had heard all my life.

It’s actually a fairly terrifying thought if I’m honest. Warnings are there for us to keep us from harm and if we go deaf or blind to them what is to keep us from the coming danger? Now, I would like to give myself a bit more credit and assume that if there really was a tornado threat coming my way I wouldn’t need a siren to tell me to get to shelter. But the point is still valid.

We need to pay attention to the warning sirens in our life so that we don’t ignore them when we need them most.

The Bible gives us plenty of warnings.

Warnings…

  • about being careful how we talk. (James 1:19)
  • about not worrying or being anxious. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • about avoiding unhealthy sexual temptations (Proverbs 5)
  • about the need to repent i.e. turn away from our sins. (Acts 3:19)
  • about not getting distracted by present suffering. (Romans 8:18)
  • about the need for humility. (Philippians 2:3)
  • about false “gospels” that creep into our thinking. (Galatians 1:6-10)

And many, many more.

The only problem? Many of us have heard these warnings before. We probably have heard the blaring sirens of these warning from our parents, Sunday School teachers, Pastors, friends, awesome online blogs, etc. But maybe we have heard them so often that we have, eventually, become deaf to them. I hope not. I pray not. But it is possible.

So, what do we do? We become even more familiar with the warning. Or better yet, we become even more familiar with the source of the warnings.

Read your Bible.

We need to be careful not to treat the Bible, or the awesome instruction and warnings in it, as background noise. God’s Word is living and active, (Hebrews 4:12) and its message needs to be loud, clear, and primary in our lives.

God’s warnings are there for our well-being, let’s pay attention.

Secured

Can a Christian lose their salvation?

Chances are this is a question that you have heard before. Maybe you have even pondered this subject yourself.

Well, in order to answer this question, we first need to define two terms, Christian, and salvation. Once we understand what those two words truly mean the answer to our question will hopefully be plainly clear. Just a heads up, there are a lot of Bible verses referenced in this post. I didn’t put them in here to make myself look smart, instead, I put this in here because I want you to check them out for yourselves. Digging into the Bible for yourself is the coolest thing you could ever do!

So, what is a Christian? A Christian is someone who, by faith, have put their trust in Jesus, and Him alone, for their salvation. A true Christian would affirm that: they are a sinner in need of a savior, (Rom. 3:23, 6:23) Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for their sins, (Rom. 5:6-8) Jesus rose again from the dead, (Rom. 6:9) and that they are saved as a result of God’s free gift of grace, not their own good works. (Eph. 2:8-9)

A true Christian is also made distinct because at the moment that they place their trust in Jesus they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:13-14, Rom. 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) The Holy Spirit seals believers and guides them in righteousness. (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1: 13-14) Once a believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit they are guaranteed a permanent inheritance as a child of God. (Ephesians 1:13-14) This promise of the Holy Spirit living inside of believers, guiding, directing, empowering, and gifting them, is a permanent promise. Believers do not need to worry about the Holy Spirit leaving, He never will.

Now, to define salvation. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” Salvation is the free gift of God of eternal life and forgiveness of sins that is extended from God to sinful mankind. (Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16)

This salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. (Acts 4:11-12)

Jesus came to earth and died as a substitute (2 Corinth. 5:9, 1 Peter 3:18) in order to bring life that never ends. (Romans 6:10, John 10:10) This life that Jesus brings to those who believe is freely given, guarded, and guaranteed. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Another promise given by God is that true believers after they have been saved, will one day be glorified. (Romans 8:30) This Glorification means that one day believers will be perfectly free from sin, pain, fear, and death, and will forever be with God.

Now, since we have an understanding of who a Christian is and what salvation means we can now come to the realization that a person who is a true follower of Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation.

The true believer’s salvation cannot be lost because:

  • The Holy Spirit is indwelling them
  • The promise of the Holy Spirit is permanent
  • The promise of the life that Jesus gives to believers is permanent
  • The promise of Glorification is still yet to be completed

A true believer of Jesus can rest assured that God fulfills His promises to them and that their salvation is secure. (John 10:28, Philippians 1:6)

With that being said, security of our salvation is not a license to keep on sinning. We cannot just simply pray a prayer and then continue living our lives however we want to.

True faith results in true life-change.

Romans 6:1-2 Paul addresses this very thing. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

When we become a true Christian, we have died to sin and become completely new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, we cannot continue to live unrepentantly in our old sinful lives.

The security of salvation that we have in Jesus is not an excuse to keep sinning “because I prayed a prayer that one time,” rather it should motivate us to more fully love and obey Jesus in every aspect of our lives.