Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Advertising on "Skins"

The advertisers who think they are taking a stand by not advertising on MTV’s “Skins” but who continue to advertise on MTV are having no impact on the larger issue: that of the ideology of MTV itself. If the advertisers do not agree with “Skins,” then they do not agree with MTV and need to pull their advertising from MTV itself. Pulling advertising from “Skins” while continuing to advertise on MTV is pointless: it totally negates the stand taken against the content of “Skins” and continues to support the creators and mindset of the network.

If advertising on MTV is still a goal for advertisers even after they refuse to buy time on “Skins,” they are complicit in promoting “Skins” and continuing its existence. It is hypocrisy for an advertiser to go all-integrity on us and not advertise on “Skins” while at the same time having no qualms about continuing to buy ad space on MTV itself. Supporting MTV with advertising dollars supports the ideology behind “Skins” whether you advertise on that particular show or not.

“If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:12

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:26-27

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;” Galatians 6:7-8

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love God and Time with Him

The third encouragement from Charles Stanley is this:

“How do you increase your faith? (By) growing in your love toward the Father. You learn to confide in the Lord more deeply by spending time with Him—by praying and reading His Word. It is crucial that you develop an intimate relationship with Him so that when hardships arise, you won’t be tempted to let go of Him.” Charles Stanley

Think of the best friend you have. It could be the grandma that just seems to “get it” when you share your heart. It could be the friend who isn’t afraid to give you a loving but honest answer. It could be the Dad who is always approachable and full of wisdom who makes everything okay, even if it means hard work ahead. Then think of God, who is all of that and more.

I love that I can sit down with my coffee and start to converse with God, and then stop, knowing that I can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes regarding my motivations. That’s the conviction I live for: to have God say “wait a minute, start over, and this time be honest, because I know everything about you—even the hidden things.“ “For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20).

For the times I‘m at wits end, frustrated by something or someone, or caught up in a misunderstanding or yet another failure on my part, and I can’t go to anyone about it because I know that no human will ever be able to see it as I see it, I can go to God. “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” says Lamentations 2:19. God is there, nodding and listening and bearing with us in those times, and I marvel at the privilege of being with Him.

Knowing that Jesus Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34), and the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26-27) puts a love of the Triune God on my heart that I treasure, not just when times are good, but especially when they are not so good. And this love I have for God is completely given to me from God, as 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Even my love for God is a gift of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Right Understanding of God's Promises

The second encouragement from Charles Stanley is this:

“You must continue to trust the Father, regardless of your circumstances. You must accept that the Lord not only has the power to help you, but He is also willing to provide the very best for you. Do you have faith in His character? Do you have confidence that God will keep His promises to you? You cannot obey someone you do not trust.” Charles Stanley

In order to have confidence that God will keep his promises to us, we need to have a right knowledge of those promises. Many people do not read their Bibles to find out what, exactly, the promises of God are. So they adopt New Age or self-conjured promises that they then feel entitled to. But when we immerse ourselves daily in God’s word with a humble approach and attitude, we can quickly learn what the True promises of God are. Only then will we see the actual way God works, instead of the fantasy way we’ve carried in our minds. The act of obedience on our part will come when we not only have a right understanding of what God promises, but what He asks of us as well.

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6

“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Proverbs 3:21-26

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trust and Love God

I’ve been receiving some great newsletters this month that have been very encouraging in how to intentionally face the days ahead to make 2011 a spiritually strong year. In the coming weeks I’d like to share five encouragements that I received from Pastor Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries.

The first is this:

“The first thing to recognize is that your willingness to submit to the Lord depends on what you believe about Him. Do you accept the fact that God is in control of all things? Many find this basic principle a difficult hurdle to overcome because of the troubles they face and the injustices they see in the world. In fact, you may be experiencing inexplicably challenging circumstances and not understand why the Father has allowed them. But if you trust God is sovereign and all-powerful, then you will have faith that He will cause 'all things to work together for good to those who love' Him (Romans 8:28).” Charles Stanley

The words that stand out for me are the words in the very last line: for those that love HIM. So often we focus on God’s love for us that we might overlook our need to love Him, even in times when it feels as though He is far away. Acts 17:26-27 assures us that “he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

Since God determined the times set for us, He is with us in those times, be they good or bad. In every situation let us love Him and thank Him that He is never far from each one of us.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Edmund Burke Quote

The following quote is one of my favorites:

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

I legitimize Burke's quote by adding Philippians 2:13 to it: "...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Why do I add this verse? Because the quote talks about "good men." But we know from Romans 3:10 that "There is no one righteous, not even one..." "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23). Only God is good, and therefore, evil triumphs when men fail to obey God and allow God to work His goodness through them.

Here's a commentary on the quote from American Minute with Bill Federer:

This famous quote was from British statesman Edmund Burke, who was born JANUARY 12, 1729.

Considered the most influential orator in the House of Commons, Burke stands out in history, for, as a member of the British Parliament, he defended the rights of the American colonies and strongly opposed the slave trade.

In "A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," 1791, Edmund Burke wrote:

"What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint.

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves."

Edmund Burke continued:

"Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:7-10

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Living in Expectation

I received a newsletter from Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio who also has a radio program called “Truth for Life.” In his letter, he said he has “gratitude for the past and a great sense of expectation for all that God will do in us and through us this year.”

The thing I appreciate about this quote is that in it there is no disdain for the past. So often at this time of year, the past gets a really bad rap. Many people look back over 2010 and begrudge it as if nothing good happened and the only positive that remains in life is the future. Today, January 4, will be “the past” a year from now. Are we going to sweep today under the rug as so much dirt a year from now? Or will we sit back on January 4, 2012 and be grateful for January 4, 2011?

One of the best ways we can go forward is to respect the past, with all its lessons, victories, hardships and joys. And the way we get to the next part of Begg’s statement, the part about expectation, is to especially look at how prayer has been answered in past years.

The first time I ever experienced answered prayer I began to understand hope. Within hope is the expectation that God will work. When we focus on the way God has provided, heard our cries and rewarded our patient trust in Him, we gain the confidence that God will do all of that and more as we grow spiritually mature and in ever deepening relationship with Him.

Do we take time to really see and thank God for how He worked in our and other’s lives in the past? Do we allow ourselves the unabashed confidence that He is working even now, as we speak? Do we go to bed every night and wake up every morning with the anticipation of God with us?

I recently told my sister that, with Christ, every morning has that “Christmas morning” feeling. Every morning I get up and go downstairs, wondering what will transpire in the Christian life today. I fully expect to meet with God and to know that the time I spend with Him will be fruitful. I fully expect His word to work in my heart, convicting and encouraging me. I fully expect God to bear fruit in the world in which He placed me.

What a privilege it is to look back in gratitude, to anticipate the future with hope and to live in continual confident expectation of God.

“In the morning, O lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3