Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eating at a Billboard

Take time to read Hebrews chapter 10.

This chapter is packed with some awesome truths and I want to unpack a few nuggets of truth from this chapter.

1) No one eats at a billboard.

"The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming... not the realities themselves.  For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.  If it could, would they not have stopped being offered?  For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.  But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."  Hebrews 10:1-4

The writer of Hebrews is addressing a problem that first century Jewish Christians had.  These Jewish Christians felt the need to hold on to the law and all the religious traditions of Judaism as a means for salvation.  They kept thinking, "God's grace and..."  The writer makes it clear that the law and the religious traditions do not save; rather the law and traditions were shadows or signs pointing to the real deal.

No one would pull over to the side of the highway to eat at a billboard for McDonald's.  The billboard is a sign pointing toward the real deal which is coming up.  Same with the sacrifices and the law.  The law and sacrifices pointed to Jesus' perfect life and perfect, once for all sacrifice.  The writer of Hebrews is arguing that Jewish Christians stop feasting at a billboard and instead "taste and see that the Lord is good".

We need to listen to this.  Although I've never felt the need to sacrifice a bull, I have felt the need to add something to grace.  We add nothing to grace.  Sure, we will obey but not in an effort to earn grace.  Grace is unearned by us because it has already been purchased by Christ.  That is what we feast on; the goodness of God's grace through Christ Jesus our Lord.

2) Spur each other on toward love and good deeds.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another... and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  Hebrews 10:23-25

These verses pretty much speak for themselves.  But ask yourself these questions: a) do I act in a way that shows I believe in the promises of Christ; b) do I spur on my Christian brothers and sisters toward love and good deeds; c) do I meet with other Christians regularly?

3) Remember the fervor you once had.

"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  you sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions."  Hebrews 10:32-34

The writer is saying, "Remember how fearlessly you followed Jesus when you first became a Christian?  Where did that go?"  I could ask myself the same thing.  Young Christians are so fearless with the way they share their faith.  It's like we forget the "better and lasting possessions" that we've been given through Christ.  This is a challenge for all of us: "Remember the fervor you once had."  We need to relight the fire of our love for God.

This chapter is an amazing chapter. Please take time to study it on your own.  Don't waste time eating at a billboard; go for the real deal, God the three in one.  Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  And remember the fervor you once had, today.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

All Days are His Day

You may be sick of hearing it by now, but I will be getting married in fewer than three months.  I'm excited to be a husband and I'm excited to celebrate our wedding with our friends.  Many people are excited for us, too.  They keep saying, "Your big day is getting closer."

"Our big day is getting closer."  This is an interesting and exciting phrase.  But one statement that we've heard a lot that I don't feel comfortable with is this: "Remember, your wedding day is your day not anyone else's."  I understand why people say this.  I understand that they don't want us to feel that all of our decisions must be based on pleasing others.  But the thought that bothers me is that our wedding day isn't mostly about us.  We want our wedding day to be about our Heavenly Father.

All days are His day; this includes the day of our wedding ceremony.  In fact, the entire wedding ceremony is His.  But that's not all.  Our marriage is His.

With that in mind, Christine and I thought of ways to honor God in our wedding and to be a part of His mission in the midst of our wedding.  I honestly believe that we shouldn't get married unless we can make earth a little bit more like heaven together.  Our influence in helping expand God's Kingdom should be enhanced by our marriage; not hindered.

This is where we need your help.  We have been lead to help Cedar Valley Friends of the Family through our wedding.  One of the places on our wedding registry is Cedar Valley Friends of the Family.  We want people to make a donation in our name as a wedding gift.

Cedar Valley Friends of the Family is a local organization that helps sexually assaulted women, women and families affected by domestic violence and the homeless.  They help give housing to homeless and women evading an abusive partner; as well as several other things.  Check out their website for more information.  They are a great organization in our back yard.  We feel that they do an awesome job of serving people as Christ would want us to.

Here's how you can give.  Click here to go to their website and donate online.  Once you've donated, there is a place that allows you to put a comment in with your donation.  Please comment "Ray Lind Wedding".  We would love to know how much money is raised, it would be a huge encouragement to us.

We would love for you to give to them.  If you don't give, that is okay.  However, if you are getting married or thinking of getting married or know someone who is getting married please spread the word about this idea of making a donation to a charity or mission part of a wedding registry. We want to start a new trend.  We want things that make the world a better place and that help "the least of these" to be common place in wedding registries.  We love bouquet tosses, rehearsal dinners and crazy wedding party introduction dances; but we'd love to see this idea catch on in wedding culture.

Thank you for your love and support.  Thank you for helping us recognize "our big day" as "His day".  Thank you for helping make this world more heavenly.  God bless you today.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The King is Enthralled by Your Beauty

My fiancĂ©, Christine, wrote a very good post.  It's a post that all women and girls should read.

Read Christine's post today.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Proverbs for Graduates

I went to a graduation party yesterday.  Despite the fact that we had snow this week and it felt like winter, Whitney's graduation party reminded me that the end is near for many seniors.  Graduates from both high school and college are in need of wisdom as they move on to whatever is next in their lives.

Here's a post from last year full of wise words for you graduates.  I'll admit I stole all of this from King Solomon.

"Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs"
Proverbs 10:12

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom."
Proverbs 11:2

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid."
Proverbs 12:1

"A mise son heeds his father's instruction,
but a mocker does not listen to rebuke."
Proverbs 13:1

"All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty."
Proverbs 14:23

"Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisors they succeed."
Proverbs 15:22

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3

"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue."
Proverbs 17:28

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are saved."
Proverbs 18:10

"Listen to advice and accept instruction,
and in the end you will be wise."
Proverbs 19:20

I could go on.  In fact, read Proverbs and you will find more wisdom. 

My advice for you is to seek the Lord, seek knowledge and surround yourself with wise people.  Search for good friends wherever it is you are going.  Find a good church and become friends with those older than you. 

Congratulations graduates and search for the wisdom of God today.