Pleasing to God

A friend of mine who works as a teacher was recently telling me about a conversation she had with several of her band students about the Bible.

One student recently started to look closely at the Bible and indicated he wanted to make some changes in his life. Although I was not part of that conversation, from what I understand, a group starting talking because the young man was reading some passages that teach about how we should live and how to deal with things that are not pleasing to God. He was reading to see how his life measured up to the life a true Christian should live.

I do not recall the exact passage or the exact command from the Bible this young man was talking about, but the dialogue went sort of like this, following.

“Wow, so God really doesn’t want me to do that? Well, what about this other thing? I mean, it is really similar to what God states He does not want me to do, but it is not specifically stated as being wrong. So, am I okay if I do this other thing?” There were several people involved in the conversation. Some more discussion took place. Someone spoke up and made this point, saying, “You know, it may be okay or it may not be okay. But honestly, why would you want to split that hair? If there’s a chance of something not being pleasing to God, then why take that chance?”

I think there may be many times that we, as Christians, find ourselves in that student’s shoes and similar feelings or situations. We want to see just how far we can go. We want to know exactly what is wrong so we can get as close to it as possible without going over the edge. Why do we try to push God’s boundaries? Why not limit our actions to doing what we know is definitely pleasing to God and not was is if-y or on the edge?

Galatians 5:22-26 is a good scripture to provide some guidance or guidelines to pursue. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

If we focus our daily living on pleasing God, instead of simply avoiding punishment or living on the edge of wrong, then maybe we’ll have more success at remaining faithful. Remember, please don’t just try to stay out of trouble; aim to please God in all you do.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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Black Friday Epic Fail

I was a failure at my Black Friday shopping this year.  It has become a tradition that my father-in-law and I go to the local Sears at 4:00am when they open to take advantage of their tool sales.  We’ve done this for a few years now and always find some great tools that we “need.”

This morning the alarm didn’t go off on my iPhone.  I even double checked it at 12:30am and everything was set.  At 7:00am the alarm was still set for 3:15am, yet it never went off!  My father-in-law just assumed I decided not to go and went without me.  I woke up sad and depressed because my annual Sears shopping spree was lost due to the stupid whims of an iPhone 3G.

On the other hand, my would-be shopping buddy picked up a 19.2 volt Craftsman Hand Vac that I was looking for, I got to sleep, and I didn’t get pepper-sprayed.  Happy Holiday’s everyone!

Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving Day!  The day where you gather with your friends and family, and in the spirit of the season you sit down together to watch “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving.”  Just kidding…

I always love Thanksgiving.  When I was a kid our whole extended family would gather together at my grandparents house…no kidding there were like 25-30 of us in by grandparents very average sized house.  The kids would run through the woods and play, the men would go hunting, everyone would eat way more than they should, and then the Dallas Cowboys would take main stage and we’d all gather around to watch them beat everyone they played…well almost.

Now that I’m married, my wife and I spend Thanksgiving with her family and have done so consistently since we were just dating.  I am truly thankful for all my family and friends, and all the years I’ve been able to enjoy this wonderful holiday.  I love my new Thanksgiving tradition and family we get to see every year during this time, but I still long for the days when I was a kid in the back yard pretending to be Troy Aikman or Jason Garrett and throwing the football.  Today I’ll still be pretending to be Troy Aikman and Jason Garrett by adding my own color commentary and coaching from the couch as we watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Miami Dolphins.  As confident as I am that they will win, I seem to remember a time when this didn’t go so well…

More on the Cowboys later.  For now, here’s hoping you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving Day memory?

Keep Your Focus

In 1978 during the a fireman’s strike in England, the British army took over emergency fire-fighting.  On January 14 they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to rescue her cat from a tree.  They arrived with impressive speed, and very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away.

But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea.  They spent a great deal of time there talking, and enjoying a nice break from the hard work of the day.  After a good long visit, and with fond farewells and warm waving arms, they drove off, and in doing so ran over the cat and killed it.

The firemen lost the focus of why they were there.  If they had remembered and been focused on saving the cat, surely they would have looked for it before driving away!

2 Corinthians 8:20-2120 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

Sometimes we forget what we’re supposed to do in life. Even though we think we’re doing our jobs, and feel like we’re making progress, the reality is we’re so caught up in other activities that we’re not taking an honest look at what is truly going on around us. Sometimes we run over the cat we’re trying to save and don’t even realize it.

It’s times like these that we really have to stop and consider our path in life.  Am I really following the path God has planned for me, or am I being led astray by all the stuff the world throws at us?  Is God in control of our lives, or are our lives controlling our relationship with God?  It’s at these times that the first few verses of Hebrews 12 comes to mind.  We need to throw off all the things that entangle us and keep us in sin.  We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, and consider all of those who have gone on before us…all of those who endured so much more difficult and trying times “…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”   When we grow weary and lose heart we’re not the only ones that suffer.  Those who rely and depend on us suffer as well, and sometimes that’s the greater tragedy.

First Post…Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!  I’m not sure quite what this will turn into over time, nor what I’ll write about from day-to-day.  As you can tell from the description, this blog has a pretty broad scope when it comes to topics.  We’ll touch on a little of everything, but today we’re starting with politics.

Our federal government is spending WAY more money than it brings in each and every year for the past several years.  This is referred to by political insiders as the “national deficit.”  That’s just a nice way of saying “the drunken national spending binge.”  The federal government this year will take in $2.17 trillion and will spend $3.81 trillion.  That means that this year alone your government officials in Washington D.C. will overspend by $1.63 trillion.  OVERSPEND BY $1.63 TRILLION!!!  The absurdity of this should shock every American and cause us to drastically rethink the choices we have made to re-elect the same old people to Washington.  But that’s not all…

Today the “Debt Super Committee” failed in its ability to reduce the federal spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years which has automatically triggered some so-called “cuts” to our federal spending.  Let’s look at this in a way that most politicians would rather us not.  Each year the federal spending automatically increases. So if our government did absolutely nothing, spending would still increase next year by default.  And remember, we’re already $1.63 trillion upside down this year alone!   Next year that spending will increase again.  But Matt…what about all these automatic deep cuts that went into effect?  It’s another lie coming out of Washington.  GO FIGURE!

The “deep cuts” that automatically went into effect are simply decreasing the amount of spending increases that will occur over the next several years.  Let’s use the federal defense budget for example.  Originally the defense budget would have increased by 23%.  Now with the “deep cuts” that went into effect, the federal defense budget will only increase by 16%.   In other words, everyone in the government is getting more money next year, just not as much more money as they thought they were going to get, and this bends everyone out of shape!

Our government is overspending by more and more each year and our politicians, Democrat and Republican, can’t even figure out a way to not spend more than they bring in?  Yes cutting our gross overspending will hurt a little.  It would hurt if you had to cut your personal spending the same way, but if you or I didn’t stop our spending we’d go bankrupt in a couple of years and lose everything we have and hold dear.  I just wonder what will happen to our government…

Thanks for taking the time to read by first post! For the next post, sports. I guess you’ll just have to come back for that one.