Live by the 12:12 Principle

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Today’s reading is from Luke 12:12. Jesus talked about how to respond when we are challenged about our faith. When these times happen Jesus said, “Don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.” This is a great principle to live by. Rather than always figuring out ahead of time what we will say to people if we get in a difficult situation or how we should express our faith to people if we are ever asked, it would be better to live by the 12:12 principle. This is the principle that says, “Live your life in close communion to the Holy Spirit every day, then you will always have the right thing to say!” This is how Jesus lived His life and this is why He always had such incredible responses when He was challenged by people. This is where He came up with the answers, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” when He was challenged about paying the Temple tax or when He said, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” He did not plan in advance what He was going to say when He was in difficult situations; He lived in close communion with the Holy Spirit and listened instead! What a great way to live.

Now this is not an excuse not to study God’s Word. This is not an excuse to be lazy and not be aware of what is going on in our community. This is a principle that helps us to keep the main thing, the main thing. If we don’t have that close relationship with the Holy Spirit then we are likely to start developing our own strategies and rules and regulations on how to live and how to tell others about God’s Kingdom. This then becomes nothing more than a religion. This is the mistake the Pharisees made. They knew all the rules and regulations; they did not know the voice of God’s Holy Spirit. How about you, what principle are you living by?

Making the right choices

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Today’s reading is from Luke 10:38. Jesus came to visit with Martha and Mary. Martha was so excited that Jesus was in her house that she went all out to make sure He was comfortable. Mary, on the other hand, sat down to listen to what Jesus had to say. This did not go too well with Martha, since she ended up doing all the work, so she complained to Jesus. His reply to Martha was surely not what she expected! Jesus basically told Martha that she should slow down and follow her sister instead of doing all she was doing. Often in life we are faced with making decisions that are not between good and evil but between good and better, or good and great. Some choices don’t affect our lives that much; others may affect our lives for twenty or thirty years. Martha had made a good choice but Mary had made the better choice. The key words to this story and all stories like this are ‘has chosen.” Mary had to make a choice. No one could make it for her, she had to decide. Often people try to blame things that happen to us or our business on uncontrollable circumstances as though we had no choice. This is simply not true. The choice is always there. The key is making the right choice. Martha’s heart was in the right place, she just felt a bit overwhelmed by her circumstances. True spiritual maturity comes when you realize you are not mastered by circumstances and things. True spiritual maturity comes when you are making the right choices regardless of the circumstances and situations you are facing. What choices are you making today?

What kind of soil are you?

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Today’s reading is from Luke chapter 8. It is the parable of the sower and the seed. Whenever I read this parable I am challenged by Jesus’ words. The seed is good, since it is the Word of God. What makes the difference is the ground that it falls on. Jesus makes it clear that the ground is the hearts of every person. Our hearts are either hard, or rocky (without much root) or crowded with lots of weeds, (the cares of this word) or good soil. I want my heart to be the good soil that God’s Word falls on. Jesus said in verse18, “Take heed how you hear, for whoever has, to him more will be given, and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” So the key to being good soil is to be a good listener. This means to have an open heart to receive what God’s Word says and to believe it. But it also means to ‘do it.’ Because in verse 21, Jesus said, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the Word of God and DO IT.” It is not enough to just hear the Word and to believe the Word, there must be some kind of action. I fear that some people stop with the hearing and believing and never find themselves DOING the things that the Word says to do such as loving others, serving others, giving and forgiving. My prayer for today, “Oh Lord, help me to be the good soil that hears your Word, believes your Word and DOES your Word.”

When is it right to discriminate; a look at the US Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals have a Constitutional right to marry

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We need to be able to cut through all the confusion in our culture today. On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court made a bad decision. They declared that refusing to allow homosexual couples the right to marry was discrimination and this kind of discrimination is unconstitutional. Now this is where you need to be sharp to cut through all of this smoke. Is it ever right to discriminate against a person? Is it ever right to discriminate against a person for bad behavioral choices they have made? There is a lot of discrimination that is allowed in our country that is totally legal. For instance, banks will discriminate when making loans. If a person has a foreclosure or a bad credit score the bank has the right to discriminate against this person and to refuse to lend them money. Why is this allowed? Because it is the result of their bad choices. It would be wrong for a bank to discriminate against a person if they were dark skinned, left handed, or Asian or Italian. Why is this allowed? Because they are born that way, these are unchangeable characteristics. When I rent homes to people I am allowed to discriminate against people who have been evicted from their previous residence or who have a record of paying late. Why is this allowed? Because it is the result of their choices. I cannot discriminate against a person if they are old, or dark skinned, or of some other nationality. Companies are allowed to discriminate when they hire. They can refuse to hire someone who does not have the correct degree or enough job experience but they cannot refuse to hire someone who is old, or just because they are a female or a male. Grad schools discriminate when deciding who to allow into their schools. They can refuse to allow someone into their program who does not have high enough grades.

So you see the issue is not that we CANNOT discriminate, the question is what criteria we use, to decide when to discriminate and when not to discriminate. That criteria should be what is in the best interest of our society. So it is right for a bank to refuse to loan money to someone who has bad credit, and it is right for a rental company to refuse to rent to someone with evictions and late payments and so on. In the US we do have a very special right that is the result of our choice and that is the right to our religious freedom. So even though a person is not born Christian, Hindu, or Moslem in the United States of America is it illegal to discriminate against a person for his religious choices.

The question that needs to be answered is, “Is homosexuality the result of ‘behavioral’ choices or it is the result of ‘unchangeable’ characteristics. There is NO real scientific debate about this at all. All unbiased scientific research has clearly leaned on the side of homosexuality being the result of ‘behavioral’ choices rather than being ‘born’ homosexual. There was one so called scientific study over twenty years ago, 1993 that claimed homosexuals had a genetic difference. This study has been rejected by all scientific research today. It has never been reproduced. It was totally flawed. It is not science at all! But yet we still have people today who think that a person is born a homosexual. This is just plain not true, never has been.

The US Supreme Court basically said that homosexuality is not the result of someone’s behavioral choice but basically that they are born this way. This is where the mistake is. Homosexuality is the result of someone’s sexual choice. If a person can be born homosexual because of sexual orientation isn’t it possible for a person to be born a child molester, or an adulterer since these are also the result of someone’s sexual orientation. Couldn’t a person be born an alcoholic? Wouldn’t it be possible to be born abusive, or to be born a kleptomaniac or a pyromaniac? Where the confusion is today, in our culture, is basically with personal responsibility. When a person makes certain choices it is all right to refuse them certain privileges for their choices, like what banks, businesses and grad schools do. This is a form of discrimination that is allowed and legal and necessary for our culture to exist. Homosexuals should not be allowed to be married. Homosexuality is not healthy. It is unnatural and it will be the ruin of our society. History clearly bears this out. Marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is a sign of brokenness and sexual identity confusion. Homosexual marriage should not be considered a Constitutional right!

We are living in some difficult times. What is so sad is that many Christians have become so dull they cannot tell what is right and what is wrong anymore. So many Christians have strayed from God’s Word as their guide post for living. It is clear in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and needs to be repented of. The reason it is sin is because it is destructive, much like drunkenness is a sin. Homosexuality is the not worst sin a person can commit but we need to clear on the teaching of God’s Word, that homosexuality is wrong!