Monthly Archives: July 2012
This year at E3 there were many amazing games and hardware from Microsoft and Nintendo, but not Sony. Microsoft showed off it’s new smartglass, Nintendo gave more info on the Wii U, Sony showed us the Wonderbook. Sony was very lacking at E3 this year–actually they’ve been lacking for a while. Their last big achievement was releasing the Vita, and that release have been less than phenomenal.
The fact that they have not released any info on any new hardware is not helping their case, either. They only have a small list of good games, too. With Sony falling behind this is a good time for Nintendo to catch up and Microsoft to get ahead.
There are a lot of people out there who may not be accustomed to living anywhere but a lie. Not just criminals or thieves, but ordinary people. And that’s the way the Israelites lived when they fell away from God.
The description God gives of Israel at the time of Jeremiah 9 is shows how the Israelites lived in their lie and their sin. He describes it as a place of deceit and lies (9:4-6), with people who act one way and are another way at heart. They live without honesty or truth–and so many people live their lives this way:
With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him.” Jeremiah 9:8
Sound like you or someone you know? It’s easy to get caught up in this. God said, “…it is not by truth that they triumph in the Lord.” Living the lie means you’re not living in God’s truth. It means you’re denying him and living the way you see fit. But there’s always consequences.
I have a saying: “It’s not karma. It’s life.” The Israelites became like they were because of their own actions–because they weren’t following God’s plan. And how did that start? You don’t follow God’s commands in the little things, and it keeps getting bigger. It grows.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Call it the inverse of the conditional, but Matthew 5:8 makes it clear that without a pure heart, you won’t see God. The tiniest sin can escalate to blind us from seeing God, and that’s exactly what happened to the Israelites.
That’s why, every time we sin, we need to remember God has redeemed our sins, and ask him for forgiveness and redemption for our actions, so our heart will be pure. It is because of our sin that we blindly make mistakes that end up hurting ourselves.
Jeremiah 9:13 should have new meaning for you now. As God is talking about the terrible place that Israel is to live in, he says knowingly:
It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.”
End those habits before they start. Ask for forgiveness, and ask that God will help you succeed next time.
In the midst of difficult situations, tempting circumstances, and harsh conditions, even as Christians we often deal with our life scenarios just like any other average Joe might. So we’re talking about the non-average way, the right way, to deal with issues. Last week, we talked about the first step in dealing with difficulties, which is extremely important: accepting your circumstance. This week, it’s about the execution.
Even among hard times, God is always working in our lives and in the lives of others. He’s always looking out for us. You can trust that before God would ever put you into a time of difficulty, he would give you a way to get through it.
Simply as a testament to God’s constant intervention, I had a lot of things I was considering putting in this post, and was a bit confused, if not lost on the subject. Then, I went to Sunday church, and was intrigued to have a guest speaker speak on this exact subject, dealing with resolving difficult times in a Christ-like way.
I can’t help but use the same verse in his sermon, because it wonderfully depicts the wrong way and the right way of dealing with troubles.
In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”” Psalm 11:1-3
David isn’t in an easy position, either. He’s under attack, literally or figuratively for his faith and for doing what he knows is right. Other people are telling him to flee from his enemies and run from his troubles, but he’s asking those others how they can ever suggest him to flee or run away when he takes refuge in the Lord. And so do we.
Because we are protected by God, we can trust him to help us through difficult circumstances, trusting him that we’ll come out all right. It’s critical that we move past our fear, and we don’t simply run and hide from the situation at hand. Rather, we have to get our hands dirty and face it: to move forward. When our foundations are being destroyed, the Lord is our solid rock and foundation. It’s a tough message, and a tough thing to do, and we only can succeed with God, but if you want to do things right, God’s way is the only way to go.
I’m pretty much no good at Call of Duty: Black Ops. My friend would score in the top two of every game, and I would score in the bottom two every game. And every time, at the end of the round, I would say to myself, “Next time. Next time I’ll do better.” Then, when I wouldn’t and I would have the worst kill-death ratio of any, I would say, “Well, I got like 30 assists, then.” And my friend would subtly say, “Um, you had two…”
“Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” Jeremiah 4:18
No, losing at a game isn’t punishment. But it is an example of a time we have to suck it up and accept the circumstances. For me, I’ll just have to live with the fact that I am never going to be a professional at first person shooters. For you, and for anyone, there are moments in our lives where the circumstances won’t be how we want them to be. Difficult circumstances, often.
The Israelites faced a similar situation, as they awaited doom. I’m sure many had their doubts as the prophet Jeremiah related to them the things which would happen to them, including being defeated by the Babylonians and exiled. And Jeremiah related the above line, from God, on the subject, and it’s so blatant that it’s too obvious to overlook.
Simply put, we have to take responsibility for things when they’re our fault. And when they’re not, but the situation couldn’t be changed, we still have to accept what’s happening and take it for the best. Accepting people, problems, and personal struggles we face will make it possible to deal with them in a Christ-like way.
Do you know what trust really means? The knowledge that you can depend on someone. Trust is a brutal thing because of its difficulty. You have to earn trust, as you probably know, and you probably also know that that’s not easy. You can’t go up to a stranger, tell them a secret, and be satisfied that your secret is safe. Restoring trust is even harder, though. You have to learn the nature of someone before you can trust them. And then, knowing who they are, you can decide to trust them.
Elijah took that to a whole new level. He trusted God no matter what, in 1 Kings 18: 36-39 Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal one man to four hundred fifty. He trusted in God so much that, through God’s power, he showed every one of those four hundred and fifty prophets up. Elijah knew God’s nature; he also knew God would come through and show his glory to Baal’s followers.
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”” 1 Kings 18:36-39
Due to God’s awesome mercy, he will forgive us for not quite trusting Him the first time, and will reward us when we do trust him–completely.