Monday, November 18, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- As most of you who know me well are probably aware of, I like chess a lot. On chess.com people can create groups for players to join. Some groups are focused simply on having teams of good players, others are created where chess players who have other things in common can meet. I and another player were both in a group that was specifically for Christian players and another group that was simply trying to play well as a team. He was respected as a polite (and very good) player. Recently he was banned for cheating. (Using a computer to find his moves) I wonder what the non-Christian players in the team (the one trying to play well) thought. It's likely at least a few had seen he was in a Christian group and then saw that he was later banned for cheating. I cannot help but wonder if they thought something along the lines of Christians being hypocrites. It's possible anyway. While the world's watching of us should certainly not be our primary reason for obedience to Christ, it should spur us on in the right direction. The story above, to the chess fanatic, will be quite serious, but probably not sound like too big of a deal to the average person. But that's why I used it. There are lots of examples of famous Christians falling into sin, but I didn't use one since it might then not seem applicable to us normal people. Yet we must must be sure we are letting our light shine! Our actions, whether big or small, might be watched by others in the world. Are we pointing to or away from God by those actions? What/Whom do we reflect?
Monday, September 30, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- I recently read Money, Possessions, and Eternity. This excellent book has changed much of the way I think about money. In America it seems almost everyone is a materialist, and almost all materials about money always say how to get more and more money so that in the next few years you can live a life of ease. Reading this book was a very refreshing change. Giving, saving, spending, investing, tithing, and fundraisers are a few of the many topics which Randy Alcorn covers in this book. Money, Possessions, and Eternity gives a very scriptural view to some very important issues that are not often viewed in light of the Bible or eternity. I have to admit that while reading this book I was challenged. Sometimes while reading I would think, "Oh no, I don't want to believe that," but after reading the book I'm glad I believe "that." I still don't agree with 100% of what he wrote, but I only disagree on a few of the minor points. Reading Money, Possessions, and Eternity was well worth the effort. As a result of reading it, I think that I'm now more generous, better understand money, better understand God's view of money, and trust God more. Money was probably of too much importance in me and I think that even some of my trust was in it, making it an idol. It feels very good to be free of this. If you are like most Americans, I believeMoney, Possessions, and Eternity is a book you should read. Hopefully it will change you in the positive ways it changed me! God bless!
Monday, August 5, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- It seems that many Christians worry a lot. We can worry about politics, work, school, our family, money, health, tomorrow, and the list goes on and on. But what does worrying accomplish? Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25) We should not fear. God has everything in His control. He is wise, gracious, loving, and He knows what's best. Matthew 6:25-34: 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) God has everything in control. He made the universe and He knows how to control it. The world may at times seem overwhelming, but God knows what's going on. We can (and should) rely on God. We need to stop trusting in good circumstances; we need to trust God. So, does this mean we can sit back, relax, do nothing, and hope for our problems to go away? No! This would be be laziness. God has given us commands and we need to obey Him. Realizing God is in control should inspire us to more action, not less! We are going to have a wonderful eternity. Do we act like it? "Duty is ours; consequences are God's." Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, 1863 We need to live life remembering that God is good and always in total control of the world, and we need to go forward confidently.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- Time is one of the easiest things to waste. It is also one of the worst things to waste. Its so easy to hop on the computer for a minute (which usually turns into much more than a minute), to be lazy and put off things that need to be done, and waste time in so many areas. The list of things where time is wasted could go on for a long time. If you had a whole week where the world stopped for ten hours each day, what do you think you could accomplish? Could you write a book? Could you get ahead in school? Could you make a dent in that huge to-do list? If you find only 15 minutes per day (excluding Sunday) that you are wasting and put them to good use, you have saved yourself 78.25 hours at the end of the year! That was figured out by taking 365 days minus 52 days times 15 (which gets us to 4695 minutes) divided by 60 equals 78.25 hours. If you get on your email three times per day for five minutes when you really don't need to, you are wasting a whole week per year! How much time do you think you could use better? I think most of us waste much more time than we think we do. Start being honest with yourself! One way to do this is to keep a record of your time. Every time you do something, whether it be a 4 hour job or a 3 minute break, write it down. At the end of the day review how you used your time. One day mom told us to get a sheet of paper. Every half hour we were to write what we had done. Doing this helped me use my time better. When I felt like wasting time, I couldn't because I knew I did not want to have to write that I had wasted that much time. If you have something to do, do it! Don't waste your time. You can make other people (and even yourself) think you are much busier than you really are. You can rattle off your to do list and all the other things you need to do and why you cannot give more time to other things. But is the way you spend your time showing you to be busy? If you think you may be wasting your time, change some of your language. Instead of saying you're not going to do something because you are busy, say you aren't going to do something because you are being lazy (if that is actually the case - in other words, don't make excuses). If you put off doing something today, you will have to do it and probably something else tomorrow. One way to save time is to write a list of things you need to do at the start of each day. Also pray and ask God for wisdom. Another way to used your time the right way is to get your priorities right. Is it more important that you are a great facebooker or that you have a good relationship with your family? A way to get your priorities right is to ask yourself if what you are doing will matter tomorrow, in a week, in a month, in a year, in ten years, or for eternity. Later will you look at what you've done and be happy you did it? Use your time wisely. The rest of your life begins now - Use it!
Monday, June 3, 2013
Friday, May 31, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Mark 4:40 For he who is not against us is on our side. You're either on Christ's side or you're against Christ. These passages show that their is no neutrality; there is no middle ground. Are you for Christ?
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- I believe in separation of church and state. Definitions are very, very important! Most people would probably think of something very different than what I mean when I say "I believe in separation of church and state." What I mean when I say I believe in separation of church and state is that the church should not have power over the state and the state shouldn't have power over the church. However, I certainly don't mean that God isn't over both of them. Let's think about this using the example of family and state. My family doesn't have the authority to tell the state what to do. The state doesn't have authority to tell my family how we should live (even if they think they do). However, God has authority over both the state and the family. Both should follow and obey His commands. The state should punish murder, theft, etc. like God commands. My parents should raise me in the fear and admonition of the Lord, just like God commands. God rules the church. God rules the family. God rules over the state. That doesn't mean the church rules over the state. To say that it does would probably mean you are dividing life between secular and sacred, something that can be quite dangerous! Hope you have a great week!
Monday, April 1, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" I Corinthians 10:31 Recently I finished reading Christian Overman's excellent book, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives. I highly recommend it! One of the things he writes about is how many Christians separate their lives into two different categories: sacred and secular. They might divide politics, church, work, recreation, prayer, and education into something like this: Sacred: Church and prayer Secular: Politics, work, recreation, and education Dividing life into two categories, secular and sacred, was what Greeks such as Aristotle and Plato did. They also said the spiritual (sacred) was more important or better than the physical (secular). Unfortunately, many have done this. I even realized that I often think of my life in terms of sacred vs secular. So what is wrong this view? After all, how could something such as recreation be sacred? The answer is that any of the above things can be either sacred or secular. If we use recreation the way God tells us to, then it is sacred. However, if we don't use recreation the way God tells us to, then it is secular. If we are following God's way in these areas then it would look like this: Sacred: Church, prayer, politics, work, recreation, and education Secular: If we are not following God way in these areas then here is how it looks: Sacred: Secular: Church, prayer, politics, work, recreation, and education Let's follow God's great plan in ALL areas of our lives!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
---First published on stephen-blog.com when I used that site--- I was planning on posting this much earlier, but sickness, forgetfulness, and simply me postponing this kept me from doing so. In earlier years I don't think I really took this seriously. I had some serious resolutions, but I also made some silly ones. This year I only intend to resolve only what I truly resolve to do. I resolve to love, obey, and serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ more and more. This is by far the most important goal! I resolve to excel in my homeschooling. This is also very important and will surly affect the rest of my life. I resolve to schedule my time well. Have you ever noticed time flies very fast? I have! I'm already 16 and will soon be 17. That is sometimes hard for me to believe. When I have a good schedule I notice I get much more done than when I don't have a good schedule. I resolve to develop more self control... ...in all areas of life, but especially in sticking to my schedule. Having a schedule but not using it seems very silly. It certainly requires self control to keep from getting distracted, fight laziness, and focus on what needs to be focused on. I resolve to post on this blog at least once a month. This month I almost didn't get a post! I resolve to keep seeking God's plan and calling for my life. Seek and you will find! Well, that's basically it. Other than the posting once a month resolution I haven't really posted very specific goals. However, if I do what I've resolved in the above resolutions, I think that my more specific goals will be easily attainable. What are your goals for this year?