No Addition Needed

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.–Proverbs 30:6

Adding To The Word

The Word must not be mixed with human ideas and imaginations. God’s truth is fully adequate to meet our spiritual needs. Anyone who teaches that something must be added to Biblical truths in order to fulfill our lives in Christ are wrong.

Revelations 22:18-19 states: “. . . If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

We should never be careless with the Word of God. Adding our own ideas or taking away parts that we do not like will have costly impacts. God does not need us to perfect his word. Our ways are flawed, His ways are not. No additional human wisdom is needed to complete the sufficiency of God’s Word. The words of Jesus and the grace of God were enough in the early days of the church to meet the needs of the lost.

Be Careful

It is easy to get in discussions about the Bible, ideas are being thrown around, you don’t have time to think about it, and you spout something off. We need to be very careful with this, especially around new believers or non-believers. They may not have the knowledge to refute what we say. If we are in any situation where we teach, we need to be very careful what we say. I have a habit of thinking out loud a lot. Sometimes what I’m saying is my own internal way of vetting what I want to say and if it is Biblical, I sometimes forget that I’m talking out loud. I’ve had to go back to people and say, that’s not true or Biblical on what I said. It was me vetting my own ideas. Individuals that are new believers, don’t always know when to question what they hear. So, if you are a teacher, always be cautious of how you word what you say and what you say in general, when discussing the Bible.

Secular Application

We should be very careful what we add to what others have said. Many times we will rephrase what somebody says and it ends up completely different that what the original person had said. Maybe you remember the telephone game that was played in school, someone says a sentence to the person on the right of them, then that person repeats what they heard to the person on the right of them. This continues until you have went through the line or around the circle. Usually, what the last person says, is nothing close to what was originally said.

When we add or rephrase what someone says, we have a good chance of changing their true meaning. Sometimes this has no impact, other times this could cause a lot of grief.

Going back to the Bible, we could be hurting someones spiritual walk with God, by adding to the Bible or taking from it. We could end up causing someone not to accept Jesus as their savior. We could cause them to be confused or even hurt them. Always be alert of what you say when teaching the Bible. We will be held accountable as John mentioned in Revelations 22:18-19.

On the flip side, we also need to be cautious of people that add to God’s word. Preaching prosperity seems to be very popular right now, but it’s very non-Biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does it say if you become a Christian, everything will be okay, you will be rich with no problems.

The take home message is, don’t change God’s Word, and stay away from those that purposely do change His Word.

Judging A Book By Its Cover

The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it. –Proverbs 29:7

Concern For Others

Followers of Christ will share his concern that the poor be treated fairly and compassionately, and that they have opportunity to hear the gospel. We naturally look out for our own concerns or the concerns of our families, but it is easy for us to harden our hearts towards others. Many times we become selfish with our resources or time.

Judging A Book By Its Cover

We all have a tendency to judge those around us, especially ones that seem to not have as much as us. It can make us feel uncomfortable or we fill like we are a little better than them. Just because someone has less than us, doesn’t mean that their value is less than ours. We all could fall on hard times where money is tight, where we don’t know where our next mean will come. What someone looks like on the outside has very little to do with who they are as a person, which is the most important thing. Jesus did not shy away from the poor.

We need to be careful how we treat individuals, especially in our churches. The rich should be treated as the poor, as we all need Jesus. The rich man deserves hell just as the poor man does. We should remember that every soul needs saved no matter how the look.

Sometimes I think it bothers us to be around others less fortunate than us, because deep down it makes us vulnerable. It hurts the pride that we have in how we carry ourselves. We realize that sometimes how people treat us, is due to what persona we display. If we don’t dress a certain way people won’t like us. Our independence is also challenged, as there are situations outside of our control, and only God is truly in control. That eats away at our pride we harbor.

All The Same

We have to remember that we’re all created equally. We were all created by the same God, he loves us all equally. When we think of that, it’s convicting on how we treat each other. Someone that has hardly no money is loved by God just as much as the richest person. When we come across someone that’s on hard times, we need to remember we could easily be in that spot some day.

No Soda Challenge Update 1

Last week I posted about how I was going to stop drinking soda and some of the reasons why. Go here, to see that post. It’s amazing what your body has to do in order to control that much sugar in the body. What is even more amazing is how our bodies are created, and the processes it has to protect us and handle what we put in to it that is not good for us. It’s been a week since I’ve quit soda and I just wanted to give an update on some of the changes I’m already feeling.

Cravings

I have to admit the first couple of days I was really having some cravings for soda. Monday morning, going into work, was the real challenge. Usually in the morning I would go get a soda, to get me that jolt of caffeine. I also had cravings around the 2 pm time frame. As the week progressed the cravings for soda have subsided. Also, the first couple of days I was craving sugary foods. After about 4 days, those cravings started going away also.

Energy

Being honest, the first three days were horrible with energy. My body was on a routine for when it would get soda, and not putting that caffeine and sugar in my system, that it was used to. I felt sluggish the whole day, for those first three days. About mid week I started not feeling so sluggish. I also noticed more clear thinking and my concentration was starting to increase. I was also becoming less irritable.

Sleep

This is the biggest benefit I’ve seen so far in just a week. I fall asleep quickly now. When I was drinking soda, I would never fall asleep that quickly. I could lay in bed for a good hour before I would finally fall asleep. Now, I’m out within a few minutes. I’ve also noticed I don’t wake up in the middle of the night like I use to. The last couple of days I wake up and not so groggy. Going off my Fit Bit, my REM sleep is increasing. My deep sleep hasn’t increased yet, but I’m expecting it will. The improvement in my sleep, especially the not waking up in the middle of the night, is probably the must appreciated benefit of no soda.

Going Forward of Not Drinking Soda

The benefits of how I’m starting to feel just after a week, is well worth fighting the urge to drink soda. I’ve also noticed that I’m dropping a couple of pounds on the scale, which is always good. I’ll keep track of that and see if that continues. It makes sense, as you’re putting less sugar/carbs into your body. Going forward, the plan is not to drink any soda at all. I should also note, that during this time, I have not substituted soda with anything else that has caffeine, i.e. coffee or tea. I’ve really wanted to quit cold turkey, and I was afraid if I put any caffeine in my system, I would start drinking soda again. I really wanted to break my body’s dependence on caffeine as my primary source for it was soda. If you’re thinking about quitting soda, I would highly encourage it. The first few days are hard but then it starts getting better, especially when you see some of the benefits of not consuming it.

Are Your Standards Right?

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him–Proverbs 26:12

Our Hearts

Pride and self-importance cause people to seem wise in their own view, which leads them to be arrogantly confident in their own ideas. Wisdom comes from God and is not formed by human reasoning, but accepting what God has said and revealed in Scripture. We have to understand that that there is potential deceit within our hearts and we must not assume that our standards of right and wrong are God’s standards. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

The heart is the inner being of a person that includes our desires, feelings and thoughts. The heart is extremely evil and corrupt, as a result people turn to selfishness and evil rather than to God. This cannot be cured and cannot be changed by itself. Only God’s grace can cure it. We need to ask God for wisdom.

Seeking Wisdom

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. We need to be asking God to give us wisdom in dealing with and coping with our trials. Wisdom means the spiritual ability to see and evaluate life and conduct from God’s point of view.

In 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” To have the mind of Christ means knowing God’s will and his plan and purpose. It means seeing things the way God sees them, valuing things the way He values them, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. This is how we should be setting the standards in our life.

Setting Standards

Many times we set our standards based on our own understanding, preferences, and how we were raised. There have been many times as I’ve got older that I have realized that some of the standards I was setting were based on my parents preferences. We also set standards to what we think is right, which is flawed. We need to be seeking God’s wisdom when setting our standards. As a whole, we need to also realize that our standards may work for us, but may not work for other people. For example, dressing up for church, I personally feel that I should dress up for church, because I’m going to worship God. Other people do not feel that they should dress up for church. I should not apply my standard to other people. In reality, I don’t think God cares what I’m wearing, it’s my heart at that time when I’m worshiping Him.

When we set our standards in our lives, seek God’s wisdom. Our ways are deceitful, God’s are pure and just.

Samson Part 4: Separation

Part 1, we discussed Samson’s wasted potential. Then in Part 2, we discussed how he didn’t have the right focus. Part 3 was about how Samson didn’t have wisdom. The final part in the series on Samson, we will discuss separationfrom God.

And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was depart from him.–Judges 16:20

Samson’s Sin

In the three previous posts in this series we have discussed Samson’s sin. He was anointed to be a Nazarite, which means he was to be separated from the rest of the population to do God’s will. He took a wife from the enemy, he disobeyed his parents God-given instructions, he had relations with a harlot, etc. Samson was more interested in his own needs than following God. He was in a state of constant disobedience with God. Honestly, this is how our lives are. We get so focused on our desires, wants, and our own will that we don’t pay attention to what God wants.

Separation

As Judges 16:20 said, “And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” Samson is an example of believers that think God will remain with them and bless them, while they continually sin and are in immoral conduct. If we continually disobey God will not bless our lives. Just as parents with their children, if the child keeps disobeying, eventually the punishments get more severe. When we do sin, we need to ask forgiveness and completely move away from that sin.

How Did Samson Get To This Point?

He lost his focus on God, because he wanted to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Our fleshly desires lead us astray. They’re contrary to what God has desired for us. This is the beginning of our separation from God, because we start losing focus on Him.

Second, he started affiliating with the wrong people. The people that are in our lives every day are the ones that have a huge influence on what we do and think. We need to choose who we associate with very carefully.

Third, Samson, did not seek wisdom. Four times, he told Delilah the source of his strength, and four times the Philistines tried doing what Samson said would make him weak. We need to seek God for his wisdom, so we can stay away from these type of situations in our lives. We need to seek wisdom, so we can identify quickly when we are getting outside God’s will for us.

Samson had so much potential to do great things for Israel. Instead, he was a judge for 20 years and accomplished very little. We have all been given gifts by God to be used for his glory. Those gifts can be blessed greatly by obeying God, or those gifts can be wasted by not following God’s will. I believe that we will have to answer for that, and quite frankly, we’re going to be standing there with a bunch of excuses.

Use what God has given us. Stay focused and continue to ask for wisdom, and ask that God will show us his will, so we can glorify Him and be used for great things. As always we should be reading our Bibles and praying. This is how we keep from being separated from God.

Samson Part 3: Wisdom

In Part 3 of Samson, were going to discuss wisdom. Part 1 talked about wasted potential. Then in part 2, focus was discussed. To see those blog posts go here: Part 1, Part 2

Judges 16 goes through the exchange between Delilah and Samson. To give a quick overview, the Philistines come to Delilah and want her to find out what the source of Samson’s strength is. Judges 16:7, Samson says if they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried. Then he tells her in 16:11 if they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied. The third time, Judges 16:13, Samson tells Delilah if though weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. Finally, in Judges 16:17 he tells her the truth: That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a rasor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

Each of these times, Delilah told the information that Samson had told her, to the Philistines and they tried it. I would like to think that if I told where my strength came from and then the enemy got that info and tried it to kill me, I wouldn’t be dumb enough to tell the person that just asked me what my source of strength was. Maybe Samson was asked a lot about where his strength came from. He could have told all sorts of people the same things as he told Delilah. When you tell a person three times what the source of your weakness is, and the enemy tries it on you; I would think you would start wondering who is giving them this information. The fourth time is what set him on the path of death.

As I mentioned in Part 2, we have to be careful who we associate with. We need to seek wisdom from God. The people that surround us, have the most influence in our lives. We need to ask God for wisdom with who we choose as friends. Those individuals can dictate how we serve the Lord, no matter what our intentions are.

I would think at some point Samson was wondering, why does she keep asking me what my source of strength is. We’ve all been there, where we’ve been in situations where the circumstances don’t seem quite right. That’s when we need to be asking God for wisdom.

As discussed in Part 1 and 2, Samson took a Philistine as his wife, even though God had forbid mixed marriage. All that did is start the fall of Samson’s life. We need to seek God’s wisdom in who we marry. Choosing the wrong person, can cause a lifetime of misery. Choosing the right person will lead to a lifetime of serving the Lord together and that can bring joy in your life even when troubles come.

The main point, we should always be asking God for wisdom in every aspect of our life. Too many times we get caught up with our lives and our wants and don’t seek God’s wisdom to guide us through the challenges we face every day. Samson was more concerned about his wants. Besides praying for wisdom, we should be praying that God changes our heart to be after his will, not ours, so we don’t end up like Samson.

Samson Part 2: Focus

In Part 1, I discussed how Samson wasted his potential that God had for him. Part 2, I’m going to discuss how not being focused on the right things in life can cause destruction. If you missed Part 1 of Samson, click here.

And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.–Judges 14: 1-3

Samson was blessed by the Lord, but he made errors that led to spiritual failure and actual death. He was not focused on the Word of God. He ignored God’s law concerning mixed marriages. He disregarded his parents God-given instruction in order to fulfill his own desires. He chose to enjoy the short pleasures of sin and express his human desires that were unpleasing to God. He misused the gifts that God had given him.

After his wife was killed, Samson wanted to avenge her death (Judges 15:7). His fight with the Philistines was more about anger and revenge than doing God’s will. In Judges 16:1, we see where Samson’s sexual lust got the better of him, as he took a harlot. Samson also fell into the trap of telling Delilah what the source of his strength was. I’ll talk more about that in Part 3.

As talked about in Samson Part 1, Samson wasted his potential. That potential was wasted due to not focusing on the right things in life and mainly God. It’s easy for us to fall into sin and lose our focus on God’s will for our lives, which causes us to not use what God has given us. Not having the right focus also causes God not to use us. As stated before in previous blog posts, God doesn’t need us, we need God.

So how do we not become like Samson and stay focused on God?

First, we need to be in the Bible reading every day. Being in the Bible lets us get the foundation that we need. Many times when trouble comes I remember a verse that either helps in the situation or provides some comfort. Second, we need to make sure we are praying and constantly in communication with God. This is how we let God know what our struggles are and how he tells us to handle those struggles. Third, we need to make sure we have the right people around us. So many times what we would say are good people, get caught up in the wrong crowd and end up getting away from God.

We should always be on guard, to make sure we’re not losing our focus on God. When we do, that’s when we fall. Just like when Peter took his focus off Jesus, he started to sink. We are the same way.




Samson: Part 1 Wasted Potential

For the next few days I want to talk about Samson, and how we should strive not to be like him. Sure, as men, we would all like to have his strength, but he had some major character problems, that we should be on the outlook in our lives to make sure we don’t have or to correct.for

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son: and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.–Judges 13:5

From the beginning, Samson was called by God to be of the highest example, a Nazarite. Nazarite means to set apart and dedicated wholly to the Lord. The law of a Nazarite can be found in Numbers 6. They were to separate themselves from alcohol, have nothing from a vine tree, refrain from cutting their hair, not be around any dead bodies, and be holy unto the Lord. Yes, a couple of these seem a little odd, but it was so they were physically and mentally separated from the general population and could be pointed out by others. As Christians, our lives should be different from the world and it should be easily pointed out.

Samson was also a judge. Judges were leaders in the tribe of Israel, either in the tribe or even the whole of Israel. Samson, was set to have a lot of potential, we was in a place for God to use him greatly. Samson was judge of Israel for 20 years (Judges 15:20). During the 20 years of being judge of Israel, Samson never succeeded in delivering the people from the rule of the Philistines. He only had sporadic exploits against them. To cut to the chase, Samson wasted his potential.

Many times in our life, we waste the potential we have to serve God. We waste the gifts given to us sometimes out of fear, other times it’s because we are not following God’s call in our lives like Samson. Samson got caught up wanting to be friendly with his nations oppressors (Philistines). He did not seek the Lord in wisdom, he was looking at the wrong perspective, and eventually the Lord left him due to not following God’s will. Those are the points I will be discussing in the next few blog posts.

God has so much in store for us. He has plans on using us, but we don’t let him. We get scared, we want to stay in the world, we say we will take action when the time is right. I’ve been talking more about spirituality, but this is the same in everything we do. People have so much potential and they waste it. They get scared, they get wrapped up with the wrong people, they get caught up in drugs, etc; and that potential never gets used.

The ones that seem to have the most potential are the ones that seem to get caught up in something, where that potential is not used. At some point God will get tired of dealing with our stubbornness and quit blessing us. God doesn’t need us to carry out his will, but we do need God. Samson had the ability to be a great leader and do great things for God, but he went his own way. We need to be careful that we don’t do the same thing Samson did and waste our potential.

Quit Soda Challenge

We all know soda is not good for you. I’ve stopped drinking it before and it was amazing how much better I started feeling after a couple weeks. I had so much energy. The problem is I get a bad headache and I tell myself that drinking a soda will make it go away. Then all of a sudden I’m craving soda all the time.

Every time we consume a can of soda, we’re dumping our daily intake of sugar into our system. This should actually make us vomit, but the phosphoric acid helps keep us from hurling this up.

After about 20 minutes we get a huge insulin spike and our liver is trying to turn every bit of sugar into fat. Drowsiness has subsided due to the adenosine receptors being blocked.

Forty minutes in, our bodies have consumed the caffeine, our blood pressure spikes, our liver is dumping more sugar into our system.

After 45 minutes our dopamine has been increased giving us pleasure. A lot of illegal drugs work in a similar way.

Now an hour has passed and your body is excreting calcium. Soda makes your body have to pee more, which is excreting even more calcium that was going to go to your bones or teeth. Never mind all the water you’re loosing that your body should be using elsewhere. Then your body starts to crash.

All the sugar in soda gets turned to fat. Even worst, it gets turned to belly fat, which poses even greater health risks. Soda drinkers also have a higher risk of cancer. It wrecks your dental health, from leaching the calcium from your teeth. There are a lot of other health risks from dementia to gout that seem to occur when people consume lots of soda and sugar.

I’ve always known that soda is bad for you, but when you start looking into it, it’s a no brainer to quit drinking this stuff. It’s time to quit drinking soda for good and that’s what I’m going to do.

Works cited:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you#section10

https://therenegadepharmacist.com/what-happens-one-hour-after-drinking-a-can-of-coke/

Are We Cutting Away the Bad

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. Jeremiah 4:4

In order to avoid the trouble coming upon them, the people of Judah had to have a complete moral change, by committing to truth, justice and righteousness. They had to be honest with themselves and repent of their sins.

So many times we are like this in our lives. We like to live in the world but be Christian also. Sure it feels good for a moment, but that moment passes by and then we feel remorse. We cannot keep trying to walk the line between being “Christian” while enjoying what the world has to offer. It’s either one or the other. God does not judge us like a car thermostat where you start getting kind of warm or kind of cold and at some point it’s okay. No, it’s either right or wrong.

As Christian men we need to start making sure we cut away any sin we have. Not partially cut it out. When someone has cancer, they don’t partially cut out the cancer, they cut everything out. Sin is just like cancer in our lives, and we need to cut it all out. If we don’t, it will creep back into our lives and be as predominant in our life as it was or even more.

This is the same in anything we do that’s bad for us. I like soda, and I know I need to quit drinking it. I’ve tried so many times to cut down and only drink a soda every so often, but what happens? I like that taste and the feel of the carbonation and I start craving it. I desire it and starting thinking about it more and more, until I have an extra one. Then I say, well one more won’t hurt, until I’m drinking several cans of soda a day.

This is why when we want to remove something negative in our lives whether it’s sin, bad habits, bad diets, etc; we have to fully remove it. Cut it out. . . all of it! Otherwise it will creep back in your life. Yeah, I’m cutting out soda fully in my life. Maybe I’ll do a post on why soda is so bad for you.