I Enrolled in Seminary and Forgot to Invite God

Despite the fact that I attend chapel every day, prayed with my classmate before the start of every class and I read the Bible every day in support of my assignments. I discovered one critical part of my seminary experience was lacking. I forgot to invite God to come to Seminary with me!

 

From the day my yearning to serve the Lord turned into a call to ministry, I knew that I would attend seminary.  In the nearly three months since I have been at

 

From the day my yearning to serve the Lord turned into a call to ministry, I knew that I would attend seminary.  In the nearly three months since I have been at Columbia Teleological Seminary I have concentrated on the tasks of school – such as learning Greek, writing papers, performing seminary service and finding the right balance between studying, rest, and life.

 

However, despite the fact that I attend chapel every day, prayed with my classmate before the start of every class and I read the Bible every day in support of my assignments. I discovered one critical part of my seminary experience was lacking. I forgot to invite God to come to Seminary with me!

 

The life of a seminarian, especially one who approaches this adventure later in life, requires imagination to see the possible in the impossible.  Resilience to take the punches of the ups and downs of learning new things, along with attentiveness to see the details of the little, and the opportunities of the large.

 

This week I wrote several papers about Peter’s conversion in Acts Chapter 10-11. God open Peter’s eyes to see that the Gospel was to be shared with both Jews and Gentiles.

 

Breaking with Jewish laws and customs that forbid association with Gentiles was big deal for Peter.  It called on him to go beyond the norms of just doing the things expected because of his religion to truly worship God with his faith.

 

One thing I learned from the study of Acts Chapters 10 -11, and the subsequent writing assignments, is that I must have imagination, resilience and attentiveness to do God’s and not just tasks of being in seminary.

 

Therefore:

 

The Lord is the source of my imagination:

God will help me write papers, unlock ways of learning Greek, and provide opportunities for service I thought were possible.

 

The Lord gives me the resilience:

God will provide the stamina to keep me going with a superior attitude regardless of the setbacks.

 

The Lord will make me attentive:

God’s hand is in everything that I do. God’s attentiveness to me, my classmates faculty and staff will bring glory to our efforts at Columbia Theological Seminary and the world we are called to serve.

 

I now know that seminary is more than an academic exercise, it is truly a calling.

 

So despite my struggles:

 

  • I will learn Greek to interpret God’s Word for the people of God,

 

  • I will wash dishes in the cafeteria so that I can be a better servant leader, and

 

  • I will go to chapel not because it is expected, but because it is a place where I worship the Lord.

 

Nearly three months after my enrollment I finally decided to invite God to attend    Seminary with me and to my surprise God has been with me all along.

 

Read more of my blogs www.marbenbland.com

Text Marben to 22828 to receive my weekly blogs and emails

 

I have concentrated on the tasks of school – such as learning Greek, writing papers, performing seminary service and finding the right balance between studying, rest, and life.

However, despite the fact that I attend chapel every day, prayed with my classmate before the start of every class and I read the Bible every day in support of my assignments. I discovered one critical part of my seminary experience was lacking. I forgot to invite God to come to Seminary with me!

The life of a seminarian, especially one who approaches this adventure later in life, requires imagination to see the possible in the impossible.  Resilience to take the punches of the ups and downs of learning new things, along with attentiveness to see the details of the little, and the opportunities of the large.

This week I wrote several papers about Peter’s conversion in Acts Chapter 10-11. God open Peter’s eyes to see that the Gospel was to be shared with both Jews and Gentiles.

Breaking with Jewish laws and customs that forbid association with Gentiles was big deal for Peter.  It called on him to go beyond the norms of just doing the things expected because of his religion to truly worship God with his faith.

One thing I learned from the study of Acts Chapters 10 -11, and the subsequent writing assignments, is that I must have imagination, resilience and attentiveness to do God’s and not just tasks of being in seminary.

Therefore:

The Lord is the source of my imagination:

God will help me write papers, unlock ways of learning Greek, and provide opportunities for service I thought were possible.

The Lord gives me the resilience:

God will provide the stamina to keep me going with a superior attitude regardless of the setbacks.

The Lord will make me attentive:

God’s hand is in everything that I do. God’s attentiveness to me, my classmates faculty and staff will bring glory to our efforts at Columbia Theological Seminary and the world we are called to serve.

I now know that seminary is more than an academic exercise, it is truly a calling.

So despite my struggles:

  • I will learn Greek to interpret God’s Word for the people of God,
  • I will wash dishes in the cafeteria so that I can be a better servant leader, and
  • I will go to chapel not because it is expected, but because it is a place where I worship the Lord.

Nearly three months after my enrollment I finally decided to invite God to attend   Seminary with me and to my surprise God has been with me all along.

 

Read more of my blogs www.marbenbland.com

Text Marben to 22828 to receive my weekly blogs and emails

 

So What Am I Doing Wrong?

I have a son and a nephew both are under thirty.  They both graduated high school, both have gone to college, or are currently attending college.  My son has a lovely wife and three wonderful daughters.

As a Father figure to both young men, I tried to teach them by example, how to be a good American.

Therefore:

  • I graduated from high school

  • I graduated from college

  • I have a master’s degree, and I am currently studying for another one

  • I served in the Army, and I defended our nation in a war

  • I have been gainfully employed

  • I pay taxes

  • I vote

  • I don’t do drugs

  • I exercise

  • I volunteer

  • I have never been in trouble with the law

  • I stand for the National Anthem   

So what am I doing wrong? 

Why is it that the young men I raised to be good American citizens are nine times more likely to be killed by police than any other demographic?

I am asking because I want to protect them, I want to keep them safe, and I want to keep them alive!

So what am I doing wrong?

My conservative friends say be polite and do as you are told by the police.  Will being polite keep my young men from being killed if they are arrested?

My First Amendment friends say get them a gun for protection.  Will having a gun keep my young men from being killed during a traffic stop?

My liberal friends say there is no need for a gun.  Will being unarmed keep my young men from getting killed if the car stalls?

I want to know because this is America – the land of the free and the home of the brave.  This nation was founded on the premise that all men are created equal.   

I want to know because we are the country so free of racial bias, that we elected an African American President. Then that President was dogged out to show the country his birth certificate.  Now the same man who gave the President such a hard time, is now running for the same office, but he refuses to show his county taxes.

I want to know, what am I doing wrong?

If you are a White friend of mine, I am certain you raised your son or nephew with the same, or higher standards than I raised my own.  Please tell me if you ever worry about them being shot by the police, if they are stopped for speeding, or if the car breaks down?

You don’t have to tell me; I think I know the answer!   

If you struggle with the question of what white privilege is, perhaps this will help.   

However, I do have an answer for you – If you struggle with the question of what white privilege is, perhaps this will help.   

White privilege is the fact that you never have to worry about your son, your nephew or even yourself being shot by the police during a traffic stop, or simply because your car broke down.

So now, we all know what my son, my nephew and I, are doing wrong.

Jesus A Protester Long Before Colin Kaepernick

Jesus is a protester, and He is calling on you and me to also protest

Are you ready for some football!

As we ready ourselves for another great weekend of play in the National Football League, let’s think back on the games of last weekend.  Perhaps the most talked about action took place off the field, as San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin  Kaepernick continued his protest.
colin-kaepernick2Kaepernick a six-year pro, who lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the National Anthem.

The QB is taking this action in protest of what he deems as wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.     

In an interview with NFL Media, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black People and People of Color.  To me this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Many people, including those of us who profess to being Christians, have complained that Kaepernick’s protest is wrong.  Many think it is disrespectful to the flag, and to those who served and died in the military.

As I military veteran who took part in the first gulf war, and wore the uniform with pride for over a decade, I am not offended in the least by Kaepernick’s protest.   

I fought for the free speech rights being exercised by Kaepernick’s protest.   While I may differ with his specific expression of protest, I support his right to do so.

Furthermore, I applaud his courage for taking a stand when he did not have to do it.  I stood up for freedom in the Army, so Colin Kaepernick could knee down in protest in a football stadium.   

As a Christian and now a seminarian, I understand that God calls us to protest.  More importantly, Jesus protested long before Colin Kaepernick.

Jesus was a protester when he stormed the temple overturning the tables of the money changers while  proclaiming, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”  (John 2:16, New Living Translation)

Jesus was a protester in His boyhood home of Nazareth.  In the synagogue service, He read the scroll of the prophet Isaiah declaring, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day” (Luke 4:21, New Living Translation). 

This incredible true statement by Jesus was true because He is the Son of God.  However, the people would not accept this, so it led to the formation of a mob so furious, they chased Jesus out of town with the intention to kill Him.

Jesus was a protester when the disciples betrayed Him. He was a protester when the officials arrested Him. He was a protester when the soldiers mocked, spit on, and beat Him.  He was a protester when He hung on the cross from the sixth to the ninth hour.  Jesus was a protester when He died and arose again victorious three days later.

Jesus is a protester, and He is calling on you and me to also protest.

Therefore:

Jesus is calling us to protest – when we see injustices in the treatment by law enforcement of specific segments of our society, based only on skin color or economic status.

Jesus is calling us to protest – when floods take place again and again in places where it should not flood, and when earthquakes happen on lands where fracking was practiced.  While our elected officials may deny the dangers of fracking, or the science of global warming, we cannot use this as an excuse to do nothing!     

Jesus is calling us to protest  when our fellow man is left delicate by vagaries of life, and dumfounded by the ravages of sin.  The best way to protest is to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   

My fellow faith blogger Steven Mattson put it best when he wrote, “Christianity isn’t political power, military might, safety, wealth, control, fame, or comfort — it’s emulating Jesus.”

Jesus protested for causes that were just, for people who had been wronged, and for the world the way it should be.  Jesus’ earthly life left us an example of what He wants us to do until He comes again.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12, King James Version).

  

9/11 From Disconsolate To Joy

Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

This Sunday, marks the 15th anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist attacks which took the lives of 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others. According to Wikipedia, the deaths included 265 on the four planes that crashed, 2,606 in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.

None of us of a certain age, will ever forget our actions, our shock and our response to this event.  We can all answer the question, “Where were you on 9/11?”

I experienced the gut retching actions of the day, as the crash of United Airlines flight 93 was only sixty miles from my then home in Pittsburgh.

That evening I attended a service of healing and memorial.  The very first song that was played was the great hymn of the church, “Come Ye Disconsolate.” While I had heard the hymn many times, this night perhaps for the first time, I really understood the meaning of the word disconsolate.

In Middle Age English, the word disconsolate was used to describe someone who was feeling sad, unhappy, doleful, woebegone, dejected, downcast, desponded, dispirited, or crestfallen.

Sir Thomas Moore the 18th Century Irish poet was well known for penning the sentimental romantic ballads of his day, wrote “Sir Thomas Moore ,” because he knew a great deal about being disconsolate.

Dogged by tragedy, Moore endured the deaths of all his five children – from age 2 to age 27 – within his lifetime.

Moore used his sorrow and personal pain to write “Come Ye Disconsolate,” an anthem of godly hope and strength in the midst of unspeakable grief.

With words like “languish, wounded and anguish,” the opening stanza of the song painted the perfect picture of the United States on September 11, 2001, as we were a nation of the disconsolate.

In the closing lines of the first stanza, Sir Thomas gave clear direction as to how the nation should move forward from September 11, 2001.  He urges us to “bring your wounded hearts to the mercy seat.”

Moore reminds us to tell the Lord of our anguish because “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

Reflecting on the decade and a half since that evening in Pittsburgh, this is what I know:

In this life, we will all feel disconsolate –

We will all feel sad

We will all feel unhappy

We will all feel dejected

We will all feel desponded.

Regardless of the reason for our feelings, God is with us to comfort us, to renew us, and to give us hope.  Psalm 30:5 says it best, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Sir Thomas references this joy in the second stanza of the hymn with the phase, “Joy of the desolate, light of the straying, hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!”

Desolate is the perfect word to describe the United States that day as we were in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.

However, desolate and disconsolate is not the way God wanted us to be on September 11, 2001, and it is clearly not the way God wants us to be on September 11, 2016.

God wants us to move from disconsolate to joy!

Therefore, on this Patriot Day, “Come ye disconsolate, come to the mercy seat.  Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;

This Sunday, marks the 15th anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist attacks which took the lives of 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others. According to Wikipedia, the deaths included 265 on the four planes that crashed, 2,606 in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.

None of us of a certain age, will ever forget our actions, our shock and our response to this event.  We can all answer the question, “Where were you on 9/11?”

I experienced the gut retching actions of the day, as the crash of United Airlines flight 93 was only sixty miles from my then home in Pittsburgh.

That evening I attended a service of healing and memorial.  The very first song that was played was the great hymn of the church, “Come Ye Disconsolate.” While I had heard the hymn many times, this night perhaps for the first time, I really understood the meaning of the word disconsolate.

In Middle Age English, the word disconsolate was used to describe someone who was feeling sad, unhappy, doleful, woebegone, dejected, downcast, desponded, dispirited, or crestfallen.

Sir Thomas Moore the 18th Century Irish poet was well known for penning the sentimental romantic ballads of his day, wrote “Come Ye Disconsolate,” because he knew a great deal about being disconsolate.

Dogged by tragedy, Moore endured the deaths of all his five children – from age 2 to age 27 – within his lifetime.

Moore used his sorrow and personal pain to write “Come Ye Disconsolate,” an anthem of godly hope and strength in the midst of unspeakable grief.

With words like “languish, wounded and anguish,” the opening stanza of the song painted the perfect picture of the United States on September 11, 2001, as we were a nation of the disconsolate.

In the closing lines of the first stanza, Sir Thomas gave clear direction as to how the nation should move forward from September 11, 2001.  He urges us to “bring your wounded hearts to the mercy seat.”

Moore reminds us to tell the Lord of our anguish because “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

Reflecting on the decade and a half since that evening in Pittsburgh, this is what I know:

In this life, we will all feel disconsolate –

We will all feel sad

We will all feel unhappy

We will all feel dejected

We will all feel desponded.

Regardless of the reason for our feelings, God is with us to comfort us, to renew us, and to give us hope.  Psalm 30:5 says it best, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Sir Thomas references this joy in the second stanza of the hymn with the phase, “Joy of the desolate, light of the straying, hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!”

Desolate is the perfect word to describe the United States that day as we were in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.

However, desolate and disconsolate is not the way God wanted us to be on September 11, 2001, and it is clearly not the way God wants us to be on September 11, 2016.

God wants us to move from disconsolate to joy!

Therefore, on this Patriot Day, “Come ye disconsolate, come to the mercy seat.  Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

For more posts go to www.marbenbland@com

For more posts go to www.marbenbland@com

Your Labor Matters To God

“I would rather be a (dishwasher) in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness”

After a working career spanning over three decades in corporate American and the military, I am now a fulltime student at Columbia Theological Seminary.

The school has a program called Seminary Service, where it awards institutional financial grants to students in exchange for “service work” on campus.  Like traditional work studies programs, Seminary Service Students are matched to jobs on campus, corresponding to the skills and abilities that they bring from the life they had before entering school.

Armed with a lifetime of business experiences in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and social media, plus my consulting and writing background, I was confident that I would be matched to a cutting edge job that would leverage my executive profile.

This week with great fan fair, we received our Seminary Service Assignments.  Many of my classmates, fresh out of college, with little or no business experience were thrilled to be assigned to the various offices, tasks and projects on campus.     

Seeing the pleasure of my colleagues, I was tingling with anticipation of my own assignment.  I was taken aback when I learned that my Seminary Service Assignment was to work in food services.   

My thirty years of military and corporate experience with some of the best companies in the world, would be leveraged in the “important task” of washing dishes.   

On reflection, I now understand God’s purpose in giving me this assignment.  As Christians, many of us hold a decidedly unbiblical view of work.

Some view it as a curse, or at least as part of the curse of living in a fallen world.

Others make a false distinction between what they perceive as the sacred – serving God, and the secular – everything else.

Others make work into an idol, expecting it to provide them with their identity and purpose in life, as well as being a source of joy and fulfillment.

In their excellent book, Your Work Matters to God, Doug Sherman and William Hendricks expose the wrong ways of thinking about work, and explain how God invests work with intrinsic value and honor.

Rick Warren echoes this idea in his blockbuster, The Purpose Driven Life when he writes, “Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.”

The origin of work is depicted in the book of Genesis.  In the opening passage, God is the primary worker, busy with the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-15). The Bible states that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. These passages reveal that God was the first to do work on the earth.

Therefore, legitimate work reflects the activity of God.  Because God is inherently good, work is also inherently good (Psalm 25:8Ephesians 4:28).

Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 declares that when God viewed the fruit of His labor, He called it “very good.” God examined and assessed the quality of His work, and when He determined that He had done a good job, He took pleasure in the outcome.

By this example, it is apparent that work should be productive.

My work as a dishwasher, as a student, or as a pastor should be conducted in a way that produces the highest quality outcome for the glory of the Lord.

God has demonstrated that the reward for work is the honor and satisfaction that comes from a job well done, not the work that has been assigned.

God also wants us to see that work is His gift to us; it is not a result of the Fall!  Before sin entered the world, God gave Adam and Eve the job of cultivating the garden and exercising dominion over the world.  We were created to work, and for work. Work is God’s good gift to us!

Listen to what Solomon wrote:

“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live:

Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot.  Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!”    Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 MSG

Yes, work truly is God’s gift to us.  It is His provision in a number of ways.  In Your Work Matters to God, the authors suggest five major reasons why work is valuable:

1. Through work we serve people.

Most work is part of a huge network of interconnected jobs, industries, goods and services that work together to meet peoples’ physical needs. Other jobs meet peoples’ aesthetic and spiritual needs as well.

2. Through work we meet our own needs.

Work, whether paid or unpaid, allows us to exercise the gifts and abilities God gives each person.  God expects adults to provide for themselves and not mooch off others.  Scripture says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  2 Thessalonians 3:10

3. Through work we meet our family’s needs.

God expects the heads of households to provide for their families. He says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8

4. Through work we earn money to give to others.

In both the Old and New Testaments, God tells us to be generous in meeting the needs of the poor and those who minister to us spiritually.

5. Through work we love God.

One of God’s love languages is obedience.  When we work, we are obeying His two great commandments to love Him and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

We show our love for God by obeying Him from the heart.  My work as a dishwasher is truly my Seminary Service.  I will be able to love God and my neighbor with every glass I empty, every table I buss, and every dish I wash.   

Therefore, on this Labor Day Weekend as we rest from our labors, let us reflect on the value of work.

Through Seminary Service I understand better than ever before that “I would rather be a (dishwasher) in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10) because my labor matters to God.

Ryan Lochte And The Opportunity Of The Second Chance

Regardless of the lies we have told, the blunders we have made and the sins we have committed, God will not only forgive us, but He will give us the opportunity for the second chance.

ryan-lochteRyan Lochte lied!  Lochte a 32-year-old U.S. Olympic swimmer has won 12 Olympic medals – six gold, three silver, three bronze.  Lochte’s achievements rank him second behind only Michael Phelps as the most decorated man in Olympic swimming History.    

In spite of his successes, Lochte created an international incident at the Rio Olympics.  As, Ryan told the world that he and three other American Swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by men carrying police badges.    

A Brazilian police investigation not only proved the allegation false, but revealed it was Lochte who had committed the crime. In a drunken rampage the swimmer vandalized a sign, destroyed a bathroom soap dispenser and publicly urinated at a Rio gas station.

Ryan Lochte lied!

IMG_0891Marben Bland lied!  Bland a 58-year-old seminary student and licensed preacher has had a stellar professional career –  earning honors as a speaker, writer and business owner.

He has worked in senior leadership for some of the world’s best companies including Sara Lee, Eaton, Fiskars Brands, PPG and Advanced Micro Devices.  He actively practices his Christian faith by preaching, blogging and leading group bible studies.

However, despite his professional accolades and professed faith, Marben has lied repeatedly about important and trivial things, to family, friends, business partners and the women in his romantic life.

His lies inflected pain, produced misunderstandings, causing loses of money, trust and social standing.

Marben Bland lied!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             King DavidDavid lied!  King David, the “sweet singer of Israel,” reigned over Israel for nearly 40 years, from 1000 B.C. to 962 B.C.  David’s greatness as a leader was forecast years prior to his kingship.  As a young shepherd, beyond all odds, he defeated the towering Philistine Warrior – Goliath.    

As King, David conquered the city of Jerusalem, defeated the Philistines and ushered in the city’s golden age.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Following God’s commandments, David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and destroyed the “High Places” where only the select could worship. He made Jerusalem not only the political capital of Israel, but its religious center as well. 

Not only did King David successfully rule over a unified Israel, but his reign also established a powerful dynasty. From David’s bloodline would come Jesus the Christ, sent by God to restore Israel and to save the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         However, with all that greatness and favor from God, David lied about an affair he had with a woman named Bathsheba. 

David followed this lie with a murder – he arranged for Uriah, Bathsheba’s Husband, to be sent to the front lines of battle where he was killed.  The lie led to additional death and pain, as the son conceived in David and Bathsheba’s night of passion died.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ryan, Marben and David all lied! 

Sooner or later, we will reap the consequences sowed by our lies:

  • Ryan – lost his sponsor endorsements and faces the possibility of being barred from competitive swimming.
  • Marben – lost friends, opportunities, money and relationships.
  • David – lost control of the royal court as his son Adonijah attempted to overthrow his father and seize his throne.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

However, despite all the wrong that we have done; God gives all of us the opportunity of a second chance.

God is not only the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance!

This is good news because even when given another chance, most of us mess up the opportunity of the second chance fairly quickly.

One of the amazing facets of God’s character is His incredible patience with us.  Psalm 86:15 says it well, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” 

 Regardless of the lies we have told, the blunders we have made and the sins we have committed, God will not only forgive us, but He will give us the opportunity for the second chance. 

Nevertheless, to gain that second chance, we must sincerely ask God for forgiveness.

After his sins with Bathsheba were exposed, David wrote Psalm 51, which can be a model for us when we ask the Father for forgiveness:

“‘Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love.
Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!’  
 

Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin!’    

‘I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins.’

I have sinned against you — only against you — and done what you consider evil.  So you are right in judging me; you are justified in condemning me.’” (vs 1-4)

“Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!” (vs 1)

Psalm 130:3 from The Message translation tells us:

“If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.”

God has given Ryan, Marben, David and anyone who is reading this post the opportunity for a second chance.

Remember that no lie is too big, and no sin is too large that God will not forgive.

Ryan, Marben and David all lied – but we are all given the opportunity of the second chance by a God who loves us and wants the best for us even when we have done wrong greatly.

For as Sir Thomas Moore wrote in the great hymn of the church –  Come, Ye Disconsolate, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Who Do You Trust?

A recent YouGov poll reveals that Americans have a profound lack of trust in both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The New American Standard Dictionary defines trust as, “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

Trusting the Lord is the hallmark of our faith.

Proverbs 3:5 states it clearly, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Think about it, how many of our difficulties, defeats and dilemmas stem from our failure to trust the lord with all of our heart?

One area where many of us fail to trust the Lord is with our finances.

For many years I went about my life living as I thought according to God’s commandments, praying, reading the Word even leading Bible studies.  However, when it came to money, I failed to live out God expectations.  In essence I did not trust God with my money.

But that was the problem my money is not my money.  The funds that we “earn” working our jobs, investing our money or even enjoying the jackpot from the lottery are given to us by God because He trust us to act as stewards of what He has given to on His behalf.

Paul make the case for stewardship in 2 Corinthians 9:6 when he says; “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

Trusting God and being a good steward of our finances will reap these bountifully results:

1. Trusting God –  Will Give Us More Money 

God does not want us to live pay check to pay check with nothing saved for a vacation or a rainy day.  Trusting God with our money requires us to save.  1st Corinthians 16:2 gives us a great plan for saving. “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come”.

This command is really simple when we get paid, save some of it.  If your funds are tight start with saving a dollar per paid period with the goal of increasing it by one dollar each time you get paid.

Soon you will be amazed how the dollars will add up and you trust in the Lord will increase as you realize that He will make a way for you to save when you thought that your funds were too tight to ever consider saving.     

2. Trusting God – Will Get You Out of Debt

Being a good steward of finances calls us to pay off debt.  Psalms 37:21 tells us The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but

the righteous is generous and gives.

God wants His children to be debt free.  However, the question is with student loan, credit card, car and other debts how do we work our way out to the financial pit many of us find ourselves in?

God has graced many talented people to help His children get out of debt.  I am big fan of Dave Ramsey and His Financial Peace University click on this link to find a church near you that are conducting financial peace classes.

3. Trusting God –  Will Make You A Generous Financial Giver 

Being a godly steward of our finances will make you a more generous giver with God and with yourself.

A Word About Tithing:

Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Let’s be clear tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30;Numbers 18:26Deuteronomy 14:242 Chronicles 31:5).

In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” as we discovered in 1 Corinthians 16:2, when it says that we should take put something aside.

We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church.

However, despite the teachings of New Testament I still tithe.

Why Do I Tithe?

I tithe not because of a legalist commandment that requires me to give at least 10 percent.  I tithe for one reason and one reason only because I trust God with my money.    

Tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

God trust me to be a good steward of the money He has given me.  And because God trust me, I trust I trust Him.

Trust the Lord with your money, it will give you an eternal return on your investment.