“Another god Chosen?”

Razorbacks Stadium

Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

The picture above is glimpse of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Those of you who know me well know that I am a huge Razorback fan. I must admit this time of year is so exciting for me because I love watching NCAA football and deer hunting. Summer is wonderful, but as we approach fall I cannot help but get excited over gearing up for two of my passions – football and hunting.

However, as I think about these two hobbies in my life there is a sharp reminder about the first commandment God gave in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.”. As much as I love hunting and football I can honestly say they are things I just really enjoy. I also know that I really enjoy them because they are times that I get to spend with special people in my life such as my son and father.

So, why all the talk about the first commandment of the Ten Commandments and sports? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere in a cave there can be no doubt that sports ( such as football, hunting, and many others ) have been elevated to a place that should only be reserved for God Himself. In this we see THE PROBLEM of sports becoming a “god” in America today. There’s hardly a distinction between the Church and the secular world when it comes to this arena of conversation. Many churches will have missing members on Sundays because of kids being required to participate in games scheduled during church times. Others will miss because the game will start before the church service lets out. It does not make any difference to God whether it’s a professional sport or a little league game. The “god” of sports has become a problem and the church has not been immune.

 GOD’S POSITION on the whole thing is pretty clear all throughout Scripture. However, if there were no other verses in the Bible about the subject we cannot ignore what Exodus 20:3 says. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Is a pretty clear cut stance on how God feels about ANYTHING that would be put in His rightful place. This verse has to deal with the object of our worship. Who or what do we worship? Most of us would simply and quickly say, “we worship God”. Is that the real truth? What or who is the real object of our worship – money, school, career, family, children, friends, video games, clothes, sports?? All of these things will compete for our affections and our worship. The Egyptians and the neighboring people of that land had many gods that they worshipped. Their worship of other gods was their main transgression ( sin ). It was a battle for them, and we are no different in America today, but God is clear on His view. He is to be the object of our worship. He is to be the object of our affections too.

God is clear on His position. We cannot deny there is a problem, and the struggle is manifested within OUR PASSION. We all know what it’s like to be passionate about something. My friends would describe me as being passionate about my wife, my children, Razorback football, hunting and fishing. Those things are fine, but that is not what I hope to be known as most passionate about. I would rather be known as being passionate for Jesus Christ, and for spreading the Good News of His Gospel. What we are passionate about will show. America shows great passion for baseball and apple pie. The South shows great passion for Elvis and Bar-B-Que. Texas shows enthusiastic passion for A&M football and beef brisket. In themselves, these things are fine, but the problem is that so many of these things have become false gods to billions of people day after day.

May we be humble enough to re-examine our lives and evaluate who or what is the real object of our worship and affection today!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

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“God used a Weed Eater”

weed_eater

Isaiah 40:28, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. “

             First, let me say that it’s always so neat to me how God uses the little things in life to show us some of His greatest truths. In the past week or so God has taken a broken weed eater and reminded me of a great truth about Himself. I have had this weed eater for about 5 years now, and it has probably been the best weed eater I have ever owned. At least until a part broke on it last week. I found a schematic of the weed eater online, called the company and ordered the part. For $10.50 plus shipping my weed eater will be back up and going soon.

             You’re probably asking yourself, “What in the world does a broken weed eater have to do with God?”. Let me ask you a question. Do you ever think about how temporary things are in and around your life? For example, I use my regularly week after week during the spring and summer. It has been a good weed eater, but after 4 or 5 years now it has given me trouble from parts breaking on it. Most people trade their vehicles in after about 5 or 6 years so they can get a newer model that will not give them trouble because they know every day their vehicle is wearing out. I was playing soccer in the yard with my children yesterday and could feel the pain in my ankle from an old injury. Our health, our vehicles, our houses, our cities, our towns, our wealth are all things that are temporary. These are all things that will not last forever. Some will wear out, and others will just be gone one day.

             If we dwell on the fact that our health, wealth, and the things in this world are temporary then we would be a people who would have all the reason in the world to walk around in the most pitiful manner. However, thanks be to God that we don’t have to be settled with this life or the things in this life. We can have absolute joy, real hope, and be authentic in our faith because of who God really is. Isaiah 40:28 is a reminder that God is not temporary, but everlasting!

             This verse shouts to the whole world that God Himself is everlasting. Before any mountains were ever formed, and before the whole earth was formed, there was God! ( Psalm 90:2 ). No matter how bad this world gets, no matter how corrupt the politicians become, no matter how hard evil agendas are pushed, no matter how much sin may flourish upon this earth, no matter how many Christians may suffer and be put to death by extremist groups, the Lord Jehovah God will always be! He will never end! He is the everlasting God!

             This verse does not just give witness to God’s eternality, but it gives witness to the character traits of God. For example, it shares of His great power. This verse says He never grows weary or tired. Wow! Can you imagine never growing weary of people, things, situations or circumstances? Can you imagine never being tired or drained physically, mentally, or emotionally? God never struggles with these things that can be so wearisome to us throughout the day. God’s understanding is so vast that you cannot understand it fully. We are so finite and He is so infinite. His wisdom and knowledge is so rich and deep that we cannot grasp it. ( Romans 11:33). Even those of us who call upon Him every day cannot grasp His greatness. ( Psalm 145:3 ). He is so great in power, and there is no limit to Him or His understanding. ( Psalm 147:5 ).

             I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of what is really important in this life. For me, I was upset because I wasn’t able to get my weed eating done. I concentrated on the fact that the weeds would get worse before I could get them cut down. My focus was on the weeds the whole time. Sometimes we get choked by the weeds and it keeps us from realizing God’s greater purpose. God is everlasting and His focus is on the eternal. Part of our strength as Christians comes from the realization of knowing that God is everlasting and nothing or no one can ever change that fact. Today, are you focused on the hear and now, or the everlasting God?

 Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

 

 

 

“Bogged Down?”

Bogged Down

Acts 8:39, “ When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him,[a]but went on his way rejoicing. “

         This verse of Scripture is a reminder of how exciting salvation is. There are so many things in this world that advertise themselves as “the most exciting thing ever”, but nothing can compare to a life that has been interrupted and changed by God!

         Think about what happened in this verse. A eunuch and Phillip are riding along together in a chariot having a conversation. The eunuch looks to Phillip and asks, “How can I be baptized?”. Then Phillip tells him the glorious truth of the Gospel. Phillip says to the eunuch that you must first be saved, and then you can be baptized to give testimony of God saving you. There it was! It was the simple life-saving truth of the Good News ( the Gospel ) that Phillip gave to the eunuch that day.

         So after the eunuch puts his faith in the Lord the two get out of the chariot, walk down to the water that they were right next to. Right there, Phillip baptized the eunuch. That was a day that a life was saved by the grace of God, and the eunuch gave testimony to the world about what God did in his life.

         It’s the last part of that verse that really sticks out to me like a huge lit up sign – “he went on his way rejoicing”. I think as Christians we sometimes get bogged down by the big stuff and the little stuff. It may be the everyday things at work, at home, or even in your church. It’s even possible to get bogged down in ministry. When we get bogged down it’s hard to keep our eyes on the source of our joy. The eunuch that day had his eyes on the source of his joy, and that is why he was able to go away rejoicing.

Rejoice

Salvation is the greatest gift that God has purchased for mankind. It may be free to us, but it cost Jesus His life. We have reason to rejoice if we are in Christ. I challenge you today. Examine your own life. Are you able to rejoice throughout your day because you’re living like you’re in the presence of our Savior; or, is your life lacking in the area of rejoicing? If your life is lacking it’s probably because you have taken your sight off the One who provides real joy.

         Life is too short to live defeated. We should live with the same reality that the eunuch had that day that he gave his heart to Christ. I would imagine it was a lot like the day I gave my heart to Christ. It was as if the weight of sin was literally lifted off of me. I went away rejoicing because I knew what God had done for me. If you’re a child of God you should be living in the realization of what God has done for you. In doing that, we too can go on our way and rejoice!

A few questions to ask yourself today?

  1. Am I bogged down in my life right now?
  2. What are the things in my life that may be bogging me down? (i.e. activities, relationships, things…)
  3. Have I taken these things to God through prayer to see how He wants me to proceed from here?

 Blessings,

Bro. Bryan