So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him.
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In their book, “Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation,” psychologists Baumeister, Heatherton, and Tice discuss what they call “lapse-activated behavior.” That is behavior that follows a “lapse” in a commitment. A person has resolved, say, to quit smoking and is highly motivated to keep the resolution. But if they break their resolution, the lapse will usually trigger a chain of additional lapses. Subconsciously, the person thinks, “Oh well, the commitment is broken now. I’ve messed up the whole thing, so what’s the use in trying.” Once a resolution has been broken, further lapses just don’t seem as serious.
In our spiritual lives, we need to be careful about this pattern of behavior. We all stumble from time to time. We break even the best of our resolutions. But it’s important NOT TO GIVE UP.
An old adage reminds us that “victory consists of getting up just one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” So when we find ourselves down, we must summon the courage to get back on our feet. In this world, there is no such thing as never stumbling. But there is one thing we can do: WE CAN REFUSE TO GIVE UP.
What are the commitments in your life? What are your resolutions and promises, your plans and your intentions? If these are pointing you in God’s direction, then you are to be commended for having made them. When you have a lapse, please don’t question the commitments that you have made. Just gather yourself together and GET BACK TO WORK.
Getting to heaven requires a multitude of adjustments and mid-course corrections. So aim high, make honorable promises, and get back up every time you fall. The Lord will help you to do so (Philippians 4:13).
- Gary Henry, ChristianDailyDevotion.com
Good thoughts on some similarities between Judgment and pop culture from Trevin Wax:
Whenever Simon Cowell gives a brutally honest assessment of an American Idol performance, all of America watches the response of the contestant.
What will they say?
Will they take the criticism in stride?
Will they incorporate the truth and become better?
Or will they lash out against Simon (who is usually right)?
For years, we have heard the common refrain from contestants: “Well, Simon… That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.” Perhaps this reply showcases our culture’s resistance to seeing anything as objectively good or bad. Is beauty only in the eye of the beholder? Or are there transcendent standards of beauty and goodness?
This year, contestants have been more apt to admit that they might have performed badly. But they have often sought to justify themselves by saying: “But at least I had a good time.” Or: “Well, I was having fun up there.”
In other words: “It doesn’t matter whether or not I sounded terrible. It doesn’t matter if the arrangement stunk or if America and the judges thought the performance was lacking. What matters is that I had ‘fun.’”
It has been funny to watch Simon and the other judges respond politely, saying “Good for you” while probably thinking, “America doesn’t care if you were having fun. Are you good enough to go on to the next round or not?”
I wonder how many people in our society respond to the consequences of their bad decisions in the same way. “At least I had fun.”
However, people never really look back on their failures and think of how fun it was at the time. Equipped with 20/20 vision into their past, they see the whole picture and regret their failings. Sadly, those without Christ will race forward blindly, lacking wisdom, discernment, and direction and inevitably slam into more walls of failure and regret.
Our society believes that enjoyment of this life is the primary purpose of life. We are Epicureans now. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Negative consequences may come to us because of negative choices, but we can justify those consequences by appealing to “fun” and “pleasure.”
It is sad to watch people who appeal to the “good time” get voted off the next week. Real life comes crashing down. We face judgment for our choices. Perform badly for the judges on American Idol and the American public who is watching at home on TV and you will be sent packing, whether you had a good time or not.
The judgment of God is similar. Our performance before a holy and righteous God is sadly lacking. We have not reflected him rightly. We have not fulfilled the human vocation he gave us in the Garden. We have rebelled against his rule.
How many people will face the judgment of God in the same way? When those who refuse to bow the knee to Christ (the only one to offer God a perfect performance) will stand before his throne and hear the chilling words, “I never knew you,” how will they respond?
“Well, at least I had a good time…” could be the sad, last words of the sinner doomed to destruction.
This 45-page booklet has full-color graphics throughout to complement Ken’s thought-provoking material and is perfect for evangelistic outreaches. At Laurel Canyon, we make copies freely available to all of our visitors. I highly recommend this great resource. Here’s what others have said:
“The battle for souls will be won person to person. Ken Craig’s material is a great asset to those who are seeking to expand the population of the Kingdom. I highly recommend it.” (David Tant)
“Ken Craig has made a great presentation of the way of salvation, putting all the elements into proper relation and making the whole theme of the Bible understandable. Not just Ken, but more and more teachers around the world are finding this lesson one they can teach effectively, simplifying the larger picture for people out of Christ. I commend it to everyone who wants to be effective in leading people to Christ.” (L.A. Mott)
“Ken’s material is very effective both to those who know nothing about the Bible as well as the scholar in that they are challenged.” (Ricky Shanks)
Special bulk discounts are available to churches when purchased directly from the publisher.
My adapted sermons from March 1 are available below.
INTERACTIVE SERMON OUTLINES :
SERMON AUDIO :
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
None of us is neutral. Just as Jesus said: “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30).
And this psalm presents the only two options: you are either righteous and do good, or you are evil and do evil. You are either one or the other.
So don’t pretend to be on God’s good side just because you aren’t out killing people or doing drugs. If you are not actively pursuing him and his will, you are his enemy. There is no spiritual Switzerland.
ht: Fighter Verses
This city’s three billionaire Kwok brothers have just the answer for the rising waters threatening the global economy: the world’s first life-size replica of Noah’s ark, built to biblical specifications off the coast of this recession-struck Chinese financial center.
You’ve read the Bible passages before:
Isaiah 53.7 — He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
John 1.29 — “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
1 Corinthians 5.7 — For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Hebrews 9.22 — Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
If you want a deeper understanding of the history and symbolism behind those passages, consider this post from Todd Bolen:
Recently I noted an article about a planned animal sacrifice in Jerusalem. This event was controversial because 1) there is no temple or altar in Jerusalem today; 2) killing an animal makes some people mad.
Friends in Jerusalem went to the Old City that day and saw a guy they suspected of carrying a ritual knife in his briefcase and followed the guy through a wild maze of streets in pursuit. It turned out they followed the right guy. They filmed the service.
We talked about the appropriateness of putting this online. The five-minute video is as graphic as it gets. More and more people today don’t realize that meat doesn’t originate at a grocery store. They have little concept of an animal being raised and then slaughtered. Furthermore, almost no one in the Western world has ever sacrificed an animal for religious purposes.
I think, however, that is precisely why this *graphic* video should be shown. We read about sacrifice in the Bible but we don’t really understand what that means. We read passages that talk about the “life being in the blood,” but those are just words that we don’t really consider. We “know” that the wages of sin are high, but we don’t get the life lesson that the ancient Israelites received every year.
The point of sacrifice was simply this: you deserve to die because of your sin. This animal is dying in your place. Watching the priest slice his throat and watching the blood drain out drove the point home much better than reading a chapter of Leviticus.
Today New Testament believers know that the blood of bulls and goats is not enough to take away sin. But I think that we can often just take for granted Jesus’ death in our place. We don’t think about his innocent blood draining away because we can’t conceptualize it. We don’t always appropriate the idea of substitute because we’ve never seen a living object die in our place. But our loss can be this: sin is easy because forgiveness (we think) is cheap.
The video was made by SourceFlix Productions. Instead of dubbing over the scene with English commentary, they chose to include some explanatory text below. Don’t watch this video while eating, and if you’re thinking about showing your children, watch it yourself first.
Josh Harris has adapted several verses of Scripture to press the important point of thinking before we speak, even via e-mail or Twitter. Here’s an excerpt:
This reminded me of James 1:19 that encourages us to be “slow to speak” in our conversations. It got me thinking how certain passages of Scripture (with a few added phrases for our electronic forms of communication), could be useful to inform our e-mailing, blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking. A few suggestions with new words in italics:
Set a guard, O Lord, over my keyboard;
Keep watch over the door of my send button!
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to read, slow to Reply All, slow to click Send.
When blogging is abundant, transgression is not lacking,
But whoever restrains his keyboard is prudent.
There is one whose comments on blogs are like sword thrusts,
But the comments of the wise bring healing.
Don’t follow the Twitter feed of a fool,
For there you do not meet words of knowledge.
A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the Twitter feed of fools proclaims folly.
Whoever “friends” the wise becomes wise,
But the Facebook-friend of fools will suffer harm.
I also enjoyed these two from the comments section:
A man of many Facebook companions may come to ruin,
but there is a real live friend who sticks closer than a brother.
If you subscribe to RSS Feeds, read only enough for you,
Too many of them, and you will vomit.