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Archive for the tag “stuff we say”

God + country

“God’s country.” “For God and country!” We’ve all heard these phrases.  Until recently, I’ve have really thought about what it means. They sound Christian but anyone following this “Stuff we Say” series knows anything can sound Christian and not be.

God’s country
“God’s country,” as defined here  means this:  “1. an area or region supposed to be favored by God, especially a naturally beautiful rural area. 2. an isolated rural area. 3. one’s native region.”  None of these are really scriptural. Yes there are extremely beautiful places in this earth, but God created all the earth – even the parts deemed ugly by us.  All the earth is beautiful and brings glory to Him. I will admit, after seeing New Zealand as shown in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, some regions appear more glorifying than others.

God and country
I couldn’t find a definition for “God and country.” I did find here that “God and country” originated from the Army phrase “Pro Deo et patria.”  If you consider the conjunction “and” between “God” and “country” this phrase essentially puts country on equal standing with God. Some are motivated to serve “God and country.” Sometimes we have ceremonies to celebrate “God and country.”  There are even “God and Country” church services around the 4th of July.  The problem with this thinking is that country is held at an equal (or sometimes higher) place with God the Creator, the Most High, who Was and Is and Is to Come. (See the blog series on Idolatry in America to read more about this).

Using the Lord’s name in vain (Ten Commandment #3) means to use his name flippantly, emptying it of it’s real meaning, in ways that make God to be an object. That being the case perhaps we need to look very closely at what we mean when we say these.ThingsWeSaw  I’d say God comes before country…. way before.

“To thine own self be true”

This phrase actually has it’s origin in the Shakespeare play, Hamlet. The character Polonius is giving advice to his 18 year old son. He tells Laertes, “Neither a lender or borrower be. This above all; to thine own self be true.” Pastor David Dykes provides this commentary about this phrase:

“It combines two concepts that cannot be ignored: self and truth. Americans are involved in a continual love affair with self. Our mantra has become: Take care of #1. Know yourself, love yourself, and be true to your self. Self has become the basic standard for truth. Americans bow down at the altar of Sovereign Self. How far this is from the words of Jesus spoken in Mark 8:34 when He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Today, we hear, love self; protect self; promote self–and Jesus said, “Deny your self.” He wasn’t talking about denying yourself some thing–like going without food, or pleasure. He meant to deny self’s desire to constantly climb onto the throne of your life.”

The passage he mentions, Mark 8:34-36, Jesus says this,

“If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life?”

Truth takeaway: To God only are we to be true. This idea of being true to our self sounds good, but is self-centered. If we’re true to our Creator, then we’re ultimately true to who we’re really supposed to be – who he created us to be.ThingsWeSaw

“I need more of God”

ThingsWeSaw

In the church circles I’ve been in I often hear of people wanting, praying for, and singing for more of God. To me, it sounds like God is withholding some of his Spirit and we need to ask for more. But what does the Bible say?

In 2 Peter 1:3 it says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Philippians 1:19 also says, “for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” The word for provision is “epichoregeo.” In his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner tells this story:

“Thousands of years ago in classical Greece, a huge choral and dramatic company practiced endlessly for a huge, important theatrical performance. After they put in a great amount of time, effort, energy, and practice, it was finally time for the show to go on the road. But there was one major problem — they ran out of money!

These people had given their lives to this production. They had committed all their resources to making sure the performance succeeded. But because they ran out of financing, it meant the show was over — finished! They were washed up before the show ever officially got started. From all appearances, it was the end of the road for them and their dream.

At that exact moment, a wealthy man heard of their crisis, stepped into the middle of their situation, and made a huge financial contribution on behalf of the choir. This contribution “supplied” all they needed to get back in business again! In fact, the gift the man gave was so enormous that it was more than they needed or knew how to spend! This man’s contribution was excessively large, abundant, overflowing, and overwhelming.

This is where we get the word “supply” in Philippians 1:19 that now describes the enormous contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ wants to give to you and me! In light of this, Philippians 1:19 could be taken to mean:

‘I am certain that this situation will ultimately turn around and result in my deliverance. I’m sure of it — first, because you are praying for me; and second, because of the special contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is donating for my present cause.’ This means when you’ve run out of steam; when you’ve given your best effort and you don’t feel like you have another ounce of energy left to give; when it looks like your resources are drained and you are unable to take one more step unless someone steps in to help you — that is exactly the moment when Jesus Christ becomes your personal Benefactor! Like the wealthy man in the story above, Jesus steps into your life at that moment to donate”

Often when I feel like I don’t have enough of God, I find out I’m not allowing God access to all of me. According to the Bible he’s already given us everything. He’s there to supply and provide. My role, then, is to die to myself – my wants, desires, ambitions, and wishes.

“Money is the root of all evil”

Some people say the Bible declares that money is the root of all evil. What the Bible actually says is, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10)

This website explains it well.

Truth takeaway: Money isn’t evil. The love and worship of money leads to all kinds of evil.ThingsWeSaw

“The eyes are the window to the soul”

ThingsWeSawThis saying comes from the passage in Matthew 6:22-23 that says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Eye contact often establishes a connection even in people who are just talking together. We can look into the eyes of our children, or our spouses, and see more than what they are saying verbally.  The passage in Matthew emphasizes that we need to be careful what we look at. David mentioned being careful what we gaze upon in Psalm 101:3. So did Job in Job 31:1.

At a place I used to work, we had to keep the TV on the news all of the time, in case a major event occurred. I found that when I watched the news, with all the controversy and commentaries, I got agitated and unsettled at the wrong going on in the world. I had to make a decision to not watch the news and avoid certain parts of the newspaper (I found the comics are pretty safe).

Truth takeaway: While not explicitly expressed in the Bible, the eyes’ connection to the soul is undeniable. It’s a good idea for us to guard what we read and look at.

“This too shall pass.”

While this phrase is often attributed to Solomon, it’s not actually found anywhere in Scripture. Upon researching it most sources say “this too shall pass” originated from medieval Persian Sufi poets. It’s often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. This phrase first became popular in the 19th century. It was used by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

Wikipedia has an article about it here.

Truth takeaway: Things will pass, good and bad. But thThingsWeSawe Lord, his Word, and his Kingdom will be forever.

“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”

Here’s another “Stuff We Say” that has been addressed by someone else better than what I could have. Here’s the link that explains the truth behind “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” While this article is simply their interpretation and opinion, it’s one I agree with.

Truth takeaway: Yes, idle, lazy hands are “the devil’s workshop.” We are to be busy with God’s work. Sure sometimes we need to rest. Sitting around doing nothing will make it easier for us to be doing something we don’t need to be.

(Disclaimer: While I don’t agree with all the answers on Gotquestions.com, this is one subject that I felt they covered very well and truthfully.)

ThingsWeSaw

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

In our society and cultural debates these days, this one comes up often. I’ve used it a lot myself. To me, it just sounds “right.” But what sounds right to us and what the Bible declares as truth isn’t always the same. I was really eager to look into this saying to determine its truthfulness. The phrase itself is actually a quote from Mahatma Ghandi. So is it Biblical?

A lot of the time I’ll find one of these sayings. As I’m looking into the history of it and comparing it with the Bible I’ll find what others have said about it. This is one of those where I feel like someone has already explained it, and has provided good Scripture to support their explanation.

This link explains the truth behind “Hate the sin; love the sinner.” While this article is simply their interpretation and opinion, it’s one I agree with.

Truth takeaway: We tend to treat people based on what they’ve done wrong. This is wrong in itself. No matter how heinous the offense they’ve committed they are loved by God. The same God that loves you and me. Their actions/behaviors that are incited by the Evil One are to be hated, but not the people.

Freedom takeaway: If we could remember to see people the way God does – as children needing loved – how would we deal with those we’d normally shun? What would it be like to be able to deal with people without having disgust for their actions cloud our dealing with them or praying for them?

ThingsWeSaw

“God wants me to be happy.”

How many times have we heard about, read about, or know someone who excused a decision by this phrase: “God wants me to be happy.”

Does he want us to be happy? Within the bounds of his standards, I believe he does. He wants us to find our happiness in Him. Unfortunately most of the time when people say God wants them to be happy, they’re pursuing happiness apart from God’s will for us.

Biblical happiness isn’t found in stuff of this earth – physical, material, or even emotional. Nowhere in the Bible does God look fondly on one who rebels against his standards. Including for one’s own happiness.

One word that conveys happiness in the New Testament is “makarios.” It’s usually translated as “blessed.” God does want to bless us. But that blessing is most often dependent on our obedience (Ps 103:17-18; Jn 8:31; 2Cor 7:15). “Makarios” is found in the the Sermon on the Mount, and the book of Revelation (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Another Greek word is “euthymei” which means “be of good cheer.” This is found in James 5:13. In the OT the Hebrew term is “ashre.” It means “blessed,” “happy,” “elated.” It’s found in 2 Chronicles 9:7. That will be all for today’s ancient language lesson.

God has often asked those that truly follow him to make decisions that will make them unhappy. Choosing not to deny Christ as you’re being martyred doesn’t sound very happy. There are times when exacting revenge on someone would’ve made me a lot happier than forgiving them. This idea of “I deserve to by happy because… And if I’m not happy, I should be allowed to do whatever to be happy. Nothing else matters,” is ridiculous! And I’m talking about born-again believers here.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if someone else is going to get hurt, people will still think that God is blessing their decision. “But God gave us free will.” Yes, he did. We have free will, but it’s not without consequences. If you choose to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, statistically, you will get a non-curable STD. That’s a consequence of free-will. If you choose to be unfaithful to your spouse (even in an internet chat room) you may likely face the consequence of losing your family and home in an ugly divorce.

Truth takeaway: God wants us to be happy in following his will; staying within his standards. Because he knows that’s the the only place real peace and contentment are found. Outside of that, your happiness is irrelevant. What God really wants is personal sanctification (set-apartness) from us.

Freedom takeaway: By living a life where our happiness comes from walking with the Lord in personal holiness, we’ll be truly happy and blessed. We’ll be free from chasing happiness that leads nowhere.

ThingsWeSaw

 

“Conquer your demons.”

In a discussion with someone, they told me that they hoped I conquered my demons someday. I have an extremely addictive past and they knew the struggles I had been through. At the time of this conversation I had been walking in freedom unlike I had never experienced. Their statement made me ponder if my demons were conquered. Or did I still have conquering to do?

1 John 2:13 says, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”

Romans 8:37-38 agrees with this: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons…”

Truth takeaway: Biblically I can’t find where those redeemed by Christ have anything unconquered. We struggle. We may have to fight but our victory is assured in Christ.

Freedom takeaway: Your demons have already been conquered! Walk and live in that freedom!

ThingsWeSaw

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