Tag Archives: Christianity

All The World Is A Stage

Shakespeare penned those words, “All the world is a stage.” He was absolutely right. God is the Author and Director, His Word is the script, His Son is the superstar, your pastor is the narrator, you my friends are the cast, and the world is your stage. How well have you been acting? Are you studying and constantly practicing your lines? Are you giving an Academy performance or are you just going through the motions? Will you be honored at the ceremony? In other words, when the curtain goes down, will you hear your name followed by, “Well done good and faithful servant?”

Christ was beaten beyond recognition, crucified on a cross, and speared in the side on your behalf, get out there and break a leg!

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Whose are you?

Megan came home from school recently with a paper that showed she had failed a test. It turns out that she found her paper on the “No Name” board. Without a name on her paper, the teacher had no idea whose it was, therefore she got an ‘F’. It didn’t matter how many of the questions she got right, she missed a vital, necessary part of the test, identifying who it belongs to.

Likewise, you are a test, an open-book test at that. While one of the questions might be “Who you are?” the answer to that question is irrelevant unless you first establish “Whose are you?” Like the answers on Megan’s test, all the right answers or even all the good deeds in the world will not get you a passing grade if you don’t give credit where credit is due. So, whose are you; who do you belong to? Is your identity found in Christ? If not, you will surely fail.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. ~2 Corinthians 13:5-6

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” ~2 Timothy 2:19a

Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. ~Psalm 119:94

. . . that by believing you may have life in His name. ~John 20:31b

One Way

I went to my folks’ last night to hook up a DVD Home Theater System that I bought them for Christmas. They already had a DVD but a new one came as part of the package. I got it more for the sound than anything else. It just seemed out of place to watch a 42” flat panel High Def TV with the audio capability of a 13” black and white TV––at least that’s the way it seemed.

I hooked the system up using some of the options described in the instructions, including the A/V RCA plugs, the S-Video cable, and the YPbPr components (hang on––I don’t necessarily know what these are either but you don’t need to know to “get” this post). Each way seemed to sacrifice some of the features. I’d get sound from the theater system with one but no sound from the TV speakers, or vice versa, or only stereo sound when playing a DVD. I finally realized what it was that was missing: the gold standard in digital cables, the HDMI. It afforded me the desired audio, but also a digital picture which was impossible to achieve with the analog alternatives mentioned above.

Here’s the point: There was only one way to hook up that TV to harness all of its qualities––that’s with a HDMI cable. Without that cable, the system would be inadequate. No HDMI, no digital picture. It’s the same with Jesus Christ. He is your HDMI cable. Without Him, you are just inadequate. Yeah, there are other doctrines just like there are other cables. And they may even offer some of the same benefits. However, there is only one way to redemption and that’s through Jesus Christ. If you’re going to get hooked up, get hooked up the right way––no Christ, no Heaven.

Jesus answered,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

~John 14:6

March On!

People, Christians included, tend to have the logic to sort of lay low or back down when times are tough. For example, secular and Christian charities alike seem to be taking the biggest hit from the economic crisis that the world finds itself in. Non-profits, at least the Christian ones anyway, shouldn’t be suffering much. Isn’t a crisis a time for the Church to shine even brighter? If we are in the world but not of it, isn’t that a call to be different than the world? If Jesus is the difference in our lives, shouldn’t that be evident in our deeds especially in a trial? Let me put it another way: If we serve a God who saw a problem (sin separating us from Him) as an opportunity for action (redemption and reconciliation) despite great sacrifice (His son’s death), wouldn’t it not only make sense, but also honor God greatly, for us to do the same?

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,” says the Apostle Paul. This is not a season for God’s people to back down; it’s an opportunity for us to rise up and advance the kingdom of our Most High God! If you’ve relaxed any area of your spiritual walk, consider doing like the Macedonian churches, giving “as much as you are able, and even beyond your ability” (2 Corinthians 8:2-3) regardless of the current hardship. God will not only sustain you but He will reward you for your faithfulness. March on good Christian soldiers!

Other scripture references for further study:

Hebrews 10:35-39

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Hebrews 4:14-16

I’m Such A Tool

What is it with stuff that breaks around the house? I mean, how come no matter how many tools I acquire, I never seem to have the one needed when something breaks?

The other day, the automatic garage door opener broke. This one appears to have seen better days in its 14 years of use so I was dead set and headstrong on getting a new one. There was just one tiny obstacle: the CFO said “No!” I even showed her the chewed up gear deep inside the openers encasing thinking that she’d be convinced (as I was) that it’d be easier and more economical just to replace the unit in its entirety. WRONG! Instead, she scoured the net for the exact part needed to fix it and then had the gall to find a local dealer who carried it. We did manage to save $130 or more. (They should let my wife run the US Automakers.)

Since we decided (Yes, I said ‘we.’ When “the boss” says “no,” you follow suit or suffer. Haven’t you heard the saying, “happy wife, happy life!” Besides, ‘we’ are one.) . . . as I was saying, since we decided to go the replacement part route, I imagined this would prove a little more difficult than the “just popping out a few screws and securing them into the new unit” idea I had, but hey, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?

Now I can remove sutures like nobody’s business but when it comes to tinkering with machines, forget it. Five minute jobs turn into an eternity (thanks Dad) and I lose my patience (and sometimes my religion). Why should this situation be any different? There’s nothing like coming home from a long day’s work to put your feet up for over 4 hours . . . on a ladder . . . arms extended indefinitely above your head . . . wrong tools in hand . . . scowl on face . . . staring into a box that is nearly as Greek to me as a nuclear bomb . . . and grumbles of sweet nothings coming from my mouth. Worse yet, I think by some cruel fate, the designer of this unit happened to be a lefty. Nothing wrong with a lefty of course (Tina and my dad are lefties) except that it makes for a very daunting task for this left-hand challenged Carter-Oosterhouse-I’m-not.

BAM! No, that’s not the same exclamation you hear from chef-extraordinaire Emeril Lagasse, that’s the sound of my derrière hitting the concrete as I stepped off the ladder onto the edge of the toolbox. No lie, my keister and the floor had a meeting. I did finish though, one backache, a cut leg, two filthy hands, and a bruised ego later, with five or so hours to spare before I had to get up and start all over again the next day.

And yet, I am still blessed beyond measure. Darned if it isn’t hard to see that in the moment sometimes (thanks Tina for putting it into perspective for me). I left a decent, secure job in a paid-for car that runs to come home to a warm house with an equally warm spouse, an A-B honor student, and a hot meal waiting for me on the table. I have a garage, a garage door opener, and the money to fix it when it’s broken (the ability is another thing; the Holy Spirit must have gotten me through). Then, I still had the strength to drag a battered and bruised but otherwise healthy body into a cozy king-sized bed next to a beautiful wife who rubbed my back (and my ego) so that I could catch some zzz’s before the start of a brand new day. Life may not always be kind, but God is good and His love endures forever. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:1, 24).

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NIV

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. ~2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

Open Door Policy

God works much like the automatic doors at grocery stores and other establishments. As we get closer to Him or His will, doors open for us. Keep in mind though that it does require a move on our part. If you stand outside just looking at the grocery store, the door will not open for you and you will not get into the store. You actually have to move toward the door for it to open and walk through to get in.

Want to get into God’s will? Move toward Him and walk through the doors that He opens for you!

Get a Clue!

Tina, Meg, and I were playing a game of Clue last night. I had the killer and the location of the crime identified but I only had the weapons narrowed down to three possibilities. Using the trophy in two separate unchallenged accusations, I was convinced that I had finally nailed down the weapon used to commit the crime. I quickly got into position where I could make the final accusation that would win the game. As I opened the envelope to reveal the answer to the crime, I slowly slid out the cards one by one, first revealing the killer–YES, I got it right; then the room–BAM!; and finally for the win (drum roll please) the weapon–WHAT?! It wasn’t the trophy as my evidence had implied. Someone either unjustly gave me the wrong information or wrongfully omitted a very important clue. Someone failed to show me the truth for which I missed the great mystery; I was deceived into believing the wrong answer!

In this game of life, are you neglecting the Truth? Will you miss the great mystery (“which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”)? Are you being deceived into believing the  wrong answer? Here are some questions and scriptures for further consideration:

Do you rely more on your pastor, other fellow Christians, or even non-believers to decipher the mystery of the God instead of looking to the Word of Truth for yourself?

  • Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…” ~Matthew 24:4-5
  • See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. ~Colossians 2:8

What evidence are you using to justify your beliefs? How can you affirm your faith?

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:2
  • I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. . . Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. ~Romans 16:17-19, 25-27

Get a Clue, Get in the Word!