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Monday, December 28, 2015

Misplaced Priorities

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When I decided to go back to school to receive my master's degree, I wasn't thinking about the college I went to. I didn't care, so long as it was accredited and got me a degree. My parent
s have never placed an emphasis on college and where I attend, and so I don't either. As Christians, it shouldn't matter where you get a degree from, in the sense of "prestige." Your importance is found in God, not in man-made institutions.

What I did not realize though was that it wasn't just the world who perceives choosing college to be extremely important, but it's also the Christians. While sitting among empty nesters one day, all I heard them talk about were how smart their kids were and which Ivy League school they were going to. One even mentioned that although their son had a full-ride scholarship to a certain university, he decided it was more important to attend an Ivy League school, and thus he was applying to those. I was shocked at the emphasis of "elite education" placed by these Christians upon their children. Why is this important to us as Christians? It's not important to God at all. God doesn't tell us we cannot enter into Heaven if we aren't accepted into an Ivy League school. He doesn't tell us that we aren't important unless we are extremely smart. Getting an education from Yale does not make you any better than the other Christian who lived his whole life without a degree and worked as a janitor. There are no spiritual gains to be had. And if God places no value of importance on the school you go to, why should we as Christians? That's the world's mentality- being important comes from education and where you get it from. They place self-worth on those things, but we know better.

It's more important to raise up children who love God and serve Him as Christians, rather than to raise a child who is so brilliant and yet so lost at the same time, never coming to a knowledge of Christ.

There's nothing wrong with going to an Ivy League school, but when that's what's emphasized and prioritized, then it is. When you go into debt to keep up outer appearances for something God places no value on, then it is. When you are stressing a child out or forcing them to conform to these extremely high standards so you can look good, then it is wrong.

It's so important to remember what God really values. Whether you got a degree or not, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you live a godly life that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks about you. And once you graduate, nobody will even care where you went to school! Nobody really asks that question. I barely get asked that question. So remember where your priorities really are. Our value lies within God and not the things that are here on earth. God's opinion of us is much more important than man's opinion. If only parents would talk about how their children are doing spiritually and emphasize that! Imagine what type of a conversation that would be! The world would be baffled, and isn't that what we want- a reason to share the hope that lies within us!

Friday, December 25, 2015

For Our Persecuted Brothers & Sisters in Christ

Many believers celebrate this Christmas day as a special time with friends and family, remembering Christ's birth to save us. It's a peaceful and happy time for most of us, but let's not forget our fellow believers all around the world who are at this moment being persecuted and in danger of their very lives. All is not well for them. 

The Middle East faces fears of Christian extinction, comparable to the days after Christ's ascension. We know that God has always spared a remnant and that no power or being on earth could ever completely destroy all of the Christians. 

As you celebrate this season, please lift up your prayers for our fellow believers, especially those in the middle east. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Disappointment With This Christmas Season

I'm normally disappointed with Christmas and the way it's treated, but I've been especially discouraged by the way Christians are beginning to treat Christmas. Christians say Christmas is about Christ but when they talk about how all the children care about when it comes to Christmas are the presents, it's bothersome. And the fact that they cave in and let the kids have all the gifts they want just continues to breed selfish children. The other day I heard a "Christian" song on the radio about how Christmas is about getting stressed out, gifts, praying for parking spaces at the mall, and re-gifting. I was appalled. Who prays for a parking space? How disrespectful and ridiculous is it to pray to God for a parking space when the Christians in Syria are praying for God to stop ISIS? How stupid such a prayer sounds. All of our silly, "Johnny has a cold" prayer requests are outlandish. Well,  since when has a person died from a cold? Barely ever. There's no need to pray for such silly things like that as adults. Christmas is NOT about any of those things either. Our traditions are fun, but they should NEVER take the place of God. It's disgusting to see such rubbish being spread around. Maybe this is why we are in the condition we are today, because we have the blind leading the blind. This rang true when I found out one church allows Santa to come to their church for the children to take pictures with and sit in his lap. Why? Santa has no business being in the house of God. Such disrespect. Leonard Ravenhill was right. If Jesus were here, he wouldn't cleanse the temple, He'd cleanse the pulpit because we've made a mockery of the Church. It's no longer sacred. We let kids run around and chase each other in the church, we let our members eat pizza and drink coke during the sermon, we have fast food facilities in our churches, we have video game consoles too. How could any of this please God?

All of this has been extremely disappointing. As Christians, we've let the world infiltrate our holiday and allowed their secular holiday to become ours. We are to be different. We are to teach our children why we really celebrate Christmas. We are to teach them that gifts don't matter by de-emphasizing them or getting rid of them altogether. Materialism is at the heart of secular Christmas, let's not let that get the best of us. And let's quit mixing the world and Christianity together. The church building is meant to honor God. It replaced the temple after Christ's resurrection. The temple was sacred. It was not to be trifled with. Even Jesus became upset when He saw it used so disrespectfully. Please rethink the things you support being allowed into your church. Would God really be pleased?