Pursued By GodTweet
Posted 2/18/13 at 9:21 PM | Dan Navin |
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
(James 4:17 ESV)
This verse in the book of James raises the bar to a high level in respect to how we are to make decisions for ourselves and on behalf of others. Oftentimes, when faced with a decision, I do my best to look for guidance in the Bible and through prayer. I believe this is a wise course of action, however I am still sometimes left wondering what God would have me do in the given situation. And sometimes this lack of direction can leave me unable or unwilling to take any action at all, sometimes out of fear for doing the wrong thing.
Do What You Think Is Good
One of the principles we should take from this verse in James is that my inability to gain clear instruction from the Bible is not necessarily a justifiable excuse to take no action, especially when for the good of another. Sometimes we withhold doing good for another because we believe others are more qualified to help; or perhaps we don't know the best way to help someone in a given situation. But even so, we can do something for a friend in need, and the Bible clearly tells us we should just do what we think is good and helpful. Let's be honest; in most situations, we know the right thing to do. It is often our own laziness, unwillingness to make the effort, or choice to take the easy road rather than put ourselves out there for another person that is the excuse for our inaction. We are all very good at coming up with excuses of why we shouldn't help someone And James is telling us that this failure to do good for another is sinful. Because while we may not be the "expert" in every case, we are still Christians who know the command of God to love others. God doesn't command us to solve all problems for all people, He simply commands us to be kind and do good for our brothers and sisters. And when we do this, we fulfill His command to love one another. When we have done what we were able to do, that we have met God's expectation of us in aiding, doing good, for another. FULL POST
Posted 2/10/13 at 12:00 AM | Dan Navin
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:19-24 ESV)
As God continue's His work in us, one of the qualities, a fruit of the Spirit, that He will develop in us is faithfulness. As Christians, we should seek to be regarded for our faithfulness; a faithful follower of Christ, faithful friend, faithful spouse, faithful brother or sister, faithful leader, a faithful reader of the Bible, faithful in prayer. And much as it is impossible to fully love someone outside of faith in Christ, so too is it impossible to have the faithfulness spoken of in this passage by Paul without this same faith in the Lord. It goes without saying that our faithfulness to God requires our faith. And without this faithfulness to God first, we cannot fully show our faithfulness in relationships with others; because a necessary component of our faithfulness requires us to draw our friends, brothers and sisters, spouses, and others to Him. FULL POST
Posted 2/7/13 at 11:49 AM | Dan Navin |
An Offensive Faith
Matt Moore is a Christian blogger who openly acknowledges his struggle with same sex attraction. He has written extensively of a past spent pursuing sex with other men, drinking, and drugs. He became convinced of the sinfulness of his lifestyle in 2010 and became a follower of Christ. Matt has blogged extensively about Christianity and the sinfulness of practicing homosexuality. You can learn more of Matt by visiting his blog at http://moorematt.com/. He also appears on The Christian Post.
On February 5th, news articles began appearing which told of Matt’s picture and profile on an app called Grindr. According to its website, this app allows users to locate nearby “gay, bi, and curious guys for dating or friends”. One of the prominent uses of Grindr is to facilitate “hook ups” by listing users in order of their proximity to each other. FULL POST
Posted 2/6/13 at 1:56 AM | Dan Navin |
So often we encounter sin in our own lives and in the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters. How does God continue to respond to us in our moments of sin? How are you and I called to respond to our brother or sister who has succumbed to sin? The answer to both questions is with love; God’s love and the application of love, as defined by God, by believers to their brothers and sisters.
God Gives Us An Advocate – Because We Need One!
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 ESV)
We will sin. God hates sin. God also knows that even the most faithful follower of Christ is incapable of living a sinless life (1 Jn 1:8-10). And because of that, He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world. This is love. Jesus laid down His life for us so that we might join Him in worshiping His Father, have a relationship with Him, and enjoy eternal life. Sin in the lives of His saints is to be expected, but it is not to be embraced. FULL POST
Posted 1/28/13 at 11:18 PM | Dan Navin |
As Christians, we have a duty to seek the best in and for each other. In our relationships, we are called to be a source of encouragement, hope, truth, and strength.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
How do we stir one another up to love and good works? We continually point them to the One who gave His life so that we may have life. By reassuring our brothers and sisters of God’s truth and wisdom and His love and compassion for them – both in our words and action toward them, as well as by the example we set in our own daily living, we are able to strengthen them.
Who Needs Building Up?
Everyone! As we travel this road on our way Home, we’re told to be mindful of those that we come into contact with. In the case of those closest to us, it’s likely we will know their present circumstances; the joys and the pain. And this knowledge should be put to good use; so that we can meet their current need for comfort, encouragement, hope, and godly wisdom. Or perhaps we can do the job with just a smile, pat on the back and a heartfelt “good job!“. FULL POST
Posted 1/24/13 at 10:57 AM | Dan Navin |
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now…”
(1 John 3:1-2 ESV)
Feelings and emotions can sometimes get in the way of the truth. I have a great and unwanted talent for occasionally not believing the things that God says are true of me. It can become way too easy for me to think and live in a way that denies the simple truth of the above passage: I am a beloved child of God. When I get angry because things don’t go my way, or when I cave in to sin, or even am just flirting with temptation, I am living in a way that denies my trust in the Lord as well as my understanding of His love for me.
Who are we? We are God’s children! This is not something He tells us only in passing. Nor is it something apparent to us only by reading between the lines. References to our position in Him are written for all to see throughout the Bible. Look at this love that the Father has for us; that he openly proclaims for all to see that we are His children now! It is true: we don’t always understand why our eternal Father allows or causes certain things to happen in our lives; and it is true that our “dim” view of things can sometimes make His ways confusing. But the Truth remains; we are loved by the Father in His perfect way and it is a love that says to us very specifically: “you are My child”. FULL POST
Posted 1/22/13 at 12:15 AM | Dan Navin
The stories I read of young gay men like Josh break my heart and often leave me wondering how close I was to concluding my life on earth in a similar fashion. Why do I deserve a different outcome? The fact is I haven't earned a different fate, I don't deserve it, nor does anyone on this earth.
Josh came out as homosexual just a couple short months before his death.
Joshua Pacheco, the 17-year-old student from Linden High School who committed suicide Tuesday, was “a happy kid with a glowing smile” according to his friends. The students also stated that “Josh was continuously bullied.” ~WCRX.com
“My son was very funny and exceptionally sensitive and loving to other people’s feelings,” said Pacheco’s mother, Lynnette Capehart. FULL POST
Posted 1/21/13 at 10:48 AM | Dan Navin
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)
I was spending some time browsing through some blogs earlier and I came across one that grabbed my attention. The writer, a Lutheran pastor, stated that the quality or purity of the gospel that is preached, being Bible-centered, or even being Christ-centered are not the things that a church focused on growth should be concerned about. What should the church be focused on? According to this pastor, Starbucks has the answer. You see, the day before, they had mistakenly given him the wrong type of coffee. When he returned the following day, the Starbucks employee apologized and gave him a free coffee. He goes on to say that because of this kind act, he will be back there tomorrow; and he says that would be the case regardless of the quality, or lack there of, of the Starbucks product, In other words, it’s about how he was treated; all throughout his article making comparisons of the Starbucks product to the product of the church; it’s Bible-centeredness, Christ-centeredness, or purity in presenting the gospel. I don’t share his belief that these aspects of a church are unimportant. But when I read his next couple of sentences, I found myself becoming a little angry: FULL POST
Posted 1/15/13 at 6:08 PM | Dan Navin
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 NASB)
At times I take comfort in knowing that I am a person who cares about others. By “care”, I mean that I feel bad for them when they struggle or face challenges. In other words, I feel for them in their distress. I want them to experience joy, to feel at peace, and to always remain hopeful. I have been increasingly realizing just how meaningless this type of “caring” for others is. When I wish others well or tell them “I am there for you” it really doesn’t amount to much in God’s eyes. It is no great feat or act of love to tell someone “I care”.
It is easy for one to fall into believing that our concern, thoughts, or feelings about a situation or a person count for something, or make us a caring person. But when God calls us to have compassion, love, or mercy toward another, His concern isn’t in what we are feeling - it is in what we are doing. In speaking of the kind of faith that God calls us to, James 2:15-17 illustrates how far short we fall when we think our mere concern for a person counts for something. In this passage, upon encountering someone lacking food and clothing, we see a depiction of what could be a well-meaning person offering prayer and good wishes for the sufferer’s needs to be met. But James tells us that this failure to act indicates a lack of faith, and thus an insufficient amount of care for another. In the above example, why pray for them to have clothes and find food when you already have the means to provide these things for them? In this case, simply praying or wishing is not doing any good…not because prayer and wanting the best for someone aren’t important or useful; but because when God has already given us the means to put care into action for another, we must do so ourselves. If we don’t, despite whatever warm feeling we are experiencing or how much we say we care; our lack of action tells the truth: we don’t care and we are simply praying for someone else to came along to do the real job of caring. FULL POST
Posted 1/14/13 at 11:05 PM | Dan Navin
Over the past couple of years, I have spent a great deal of time working out what it means to love others as a follower of Christ. It has benefited me greatly in so many areas to understand this real love; the love that Jesus demonstrated and spoke of. As someone who was most frequently led by my emotional, gut feelings of love, this understanding has helped me tremendously. It has given me a standard which I can use to compare what I felt was loving to what God says really is loving. I have often found that my motives were less then selfless, kind, or from a place of being long-suffering.
As I have been seeking this understanding of love, it has bothered me that I have had a greater love toward some people, and conversely, a lesser love toward others. I’ve felt pressured to decrease my love for some, while building it up for others for whom it came less naturally to me. I thought that loving everyone equally was the Christian ideal that I should live up to; and perhaps it is, but it is not necessarily the place from which I can start my journey. I have been rethinking things lately, not in a way that I shouldn’t strive to be loving toward all people, but just in the sense that it isn’t necessarily un-Christian or sinful to love some people more than you love others. I think the greatest example of favoritism or partiality in love would include the love of Jesus for the Apostle John, as discussed below. FULL POST