As we navigate the curves and straightaways of life we all have lessons to learn that God is trying to teach us. If we learn them quickly through following God’s biblical guidelines and praying ahead of time, we can usually avoid many of the more serious problems in life. However, if we cling to our stubborn ways and harden our hearts to God’s life lessons, then serious problems will almost certainly face us. Jonah is a great example of someone who ignored God’s directives and ended up in a disgusting place. Let’s come humbly and repentantly before God when our errors confront us and willingly do what Jesus, our Master and Savior, wants us to do. Such a route is by far the easiest in the long run.
At times the Bible refers to the sword of the Lord as the word of God. As we pray God’s words in the Bible we release what God wants to happen in the spiritual realm. The power we have access to in this direction is amazing. Because of that fact many countries and leaders have attempted to keep the Bible out of the hands of people.
In the 1500s William Tyndale translated the Bible into the English of his day. For that act he was arrested, tried and executed. His dying prayer was that the eyes of the king of England would be opened. Perhaps, because of that prayer we have one of the most beloved Bible translations of all time, the King James Bible, which was an outgrowth of a change in policy by the king of England two years later.
Today, countries like Saudi Arabia and North Korea have outlawed the Bible. Twice while traveling into Saudi Arabia to teach I had my Bible and other Christian materials confiscated. I had to pay a stiff fine just to get the rest of my things out of customs.
Don’t take lightly the precious word of God we have in the Bible and our freedom to own a copy. It is a treasure for all of us to mine.
Proverbs in the Bible makes clear: “As a person thinks in his or her heart, so is he or she.” What you most focus on you will become. If our focus is positive, then what will eventually manifest will be something good and vice versa. If our focus is fear-based, then that fear will probably show up sooner or later. If our focus is faith-based on a promise in the Bible, we can trust that God, who does not lie, will bring it to pass. Of course, we must do our part in this to bring it to fruition. If we are believing for finances, for example, and are not out looking for a job or getting the proper training to get the job we want, then our focus is misguided. James in the New Testament states that “faith without works is dead”. This principle applies to every area of our life.
Spiritually speaking, there are two sides to the word unplugged, one positive and one negative. Let’s look at the down side first.
Unfortunately, many people have unplugged from God and the Bible. Instead of taking directions from the small, still voice of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in the Bible they follow personal whims and fancies. What looks good in the natural realm catches their attention and off they go. Proverbs clearly delineates this approach to life: “There is a way that seems right to a person, but that way leads to death(spiritually).” There is a world of difference between following God’s Word and what appeals to our carnal mind.
The positive side of our title word unplugged begins when we decide to cut off from the multitudes of media-related connections that draw us away from God. If we are influencing our world and pointing others to God through our media-related connections, that is great. However, if our media connections are dragging us into Hollywood’s morass of immorality, then it is time to unplug.
The inner power core was damaged. Lack of careful maintenance had led to a breakdown, and now the consequences had to be faced. Either the unit could limp along at a greatly reduced speed and possibly fail altogether or a complete overhaul was in order.
That previous sci-fi approach to our Christian walk refers to many individuals who say they are Christians. They are walking wounded. Sadly, instead of ruling and reigning with Christ, even while still on this earth, they are virtually immobilized by dark forces and hurting so much they can barely take care of themselves.
What is the solution? As was already stated, a complete overhaul is in order, and that entails several steps depending on the needs of the individual. Here is a partial list:
1) Read and memorize the World of God, the Bible. I am not talking about a five-minute devotional but extended time reading and studying the Bible. Find memorize and proclaim Bible verses such as the following day after day after day: “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”
2) Find and connect to Christian media like Christian books, Christian television, Christian music, etc.
3) Locate and attend a local church or Bible study where the full Gospel is welcomed. Without those kind of connections the power source of out lives, the Holy Spirit, will never be released and used to overcome problems.
4) For some deliverance is in order. There may be rooms in our soul that have never been cleaned out. Unforgiveness, resentment, soul ties, etc. can only be overcome through the blood of Jesus, the cross of Jesus and the name of Jesus. Only someone has had experience in this area will be able to release the captives from bondages that are holding them in chains.
Several years ago I attended a graduation at a Christian school where the principal gave a message loosely based on a popular Christian song entitled “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” What is the main thing? Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen again. If the message of salvation through faith Jesus Christ is not apparent somewhere in our daily life, what we are doing has little if any eternal significance.
There are a number of new Christian movies out now or about to be released. Here is the list:
1) Grace Unplugged is about a girl’s relationship with her father as she embarks on a singing career.
2) Linsanity is a documentary of Jeremy Lin’s journey from obscurity to starting point guard of the Houston Rockets.
3) The Christmas Candle is a great family movie based on a Max Lucado book.
4) I’m In Love With A Church Girl has a great message for the unchurched and stars a famous rapper.
The Word of God in the Bible clearly contradicts the media-driven world around us on a number of issues. The question is whether we are going to follow what popular culture says or what God says. The bottom line is that in the long run God can’t bless those who follow popular culture where it goes directly against the Word of God.
Being busy is not the same as becoming. To constantly be doing something and not taking the time to grow in our Christian faith is a mistake. When Jesus came to Mary and Martha’s house, Martha complained to Jesus because Mary was not busy serving others like Martha but learning spiritual truths from Jesus. Jesus made clear to Martha that Mary had made the correct choice. Sitting at the feet of Jesus by studying the Bible, praying, etc. is of primary importance in our daily endeavors if our work is to have the agape love of God in it. Without God’s love empowering our lives we are hollow, worthless sounds.
Recently, I was listening to a very good message by a pastor that could easily have been titled “Pressure Or Peace”. In our fast-paced world people often make decisions based on pressure and not “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding”. Following Jesus, our Prince of Peace, will almost always lead us to a place where we want to be. Following pressure will generally result in circumstances that are less than God’s best.