what the Bible says about pleasing God

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10

An idea that I have encountered over the years is that believers in Christ cannot do anything to please or displease God, because they are in Christ, and they have been justified (declared righteous) by faith in Christ, and only by faith in Christ.

Taking this further, fellow Christians have told me that they will not have to stand in judgment before God someday, and they will not have to give an account to him for all they have done with their lives.

While it’s true that believers do not need to fear that final judgment since our ultimate standing before God has been determined in Christ, we should be concerned with, and even fear, God’s displeasure of our disobedience of his commands. Conversely, it should be our desire to please God who is our heavenly father, and who has saved us by his grace.

Colossians 1:9-10
Hebrews 11:5-6
Hebrews 12:3-11

what the Bible says about the American dream

‘And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry!’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
Luke 12:19-21

The American dream is a moving target, largely dependent on what year it is, but if it is anything, it is the desire for more, for prosperity, for ownership, for an easy life after working your tail off for three or four decades. After all, you deserve it, don’t you? That’s what our culture wants us to believe, anyway.

The guy in the parable had it made, and what Jesus describes there sure sounds to me like a first-century version of the American dream. But what does God say about that man and his dream? “Fool!” and within hours that man was standing before God explaining to him why he had pursued such an empty goal with the life God had loaned to him.

Jesus saves, and one of the things he saves people from is the emptiness of the American dream.

what the Bible says about mountain biking

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Okay, it doesn’t specifically mention mountain biking, but the Bible doesn’t specifically mention many things that we still need to think biblically about.  When Paul said “whatever you do,” I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.  So I conclude that mountain biking, in all of its various subdisciplines, can and should be done to the glory of God.  It can also be done to the glory of ourselves.  And we need to think through what that difference looks like, for mountain biking and everything else that we fill our days with.

Colossians 3:17

How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God

what the Bible says about what to think about

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

At first glance that list may sound rather limiting, but if we ponder it, we’ll find that it’s much broader than we first thought.  How do we make it happen?  First, Paul was writing to fellow Christians, so belief in and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ is foundational.  Second, we’ve got to be careful about what enters our minds through our eyes and our ears, and that, my friends, can be very difficult in this modern world we find ourselves living in.  Thankfully, it’s not impossible, because of the gospel, but it can be difficult. Is there a practical benefit?  In the verses just before and after this one, Paul was writing about peace with God, and I’m convinced that until we bring our thinking in line with this verse, we won’t have the peace with God that we could have.

Romans 12:1-2
Proverbs 9:10

Image credit: Wikipedia article “The Thinker”

what the Bible says about the brevity of life

What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14

James wasn’t saying that your life is worthless or of no consequence, as the rest of the book of James and the Bible tells us plainly that life is highly valued and it has eternal consequence.  Compared to eternity, though, our life is a flash in the pan that is over very quickly.  If you’ve ever forgotten or doubted the frailty and brevity of the human life, spending some time in a hospital Emergency Room, like I did last night, should cure that tendency in a hurry.  Don’t waste the one, short life that God has given you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

what the Bible says about making plans

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Before this past Thanksgiving holiday several people had asked if we were doing anything or going anywhere for the holiday and my answer had been, “No, nothing special.”  Then at the last minute we decided to drive to Missouri to spend Thanksgiving there with some of my wife’s family.  Then this Christmas we again had no plans for anything special and I ended up spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my dad in two Emergency Rooms and a hospital room, and probably the next few days in that same room as he gets ready for “surprise” surgery.  We can make plans, and we probably should to some extent, but in the end what actually happens is up to God and his wisdom.

James 4:13-17

what the Bible says about salvation

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-6

That sentence is packed with good stuff, but what I’m focusing on in this post is the three words: “he saved us.”  We don’t and can’t save ourselves.  We don’t and can’t save other people.  God saves people – people just like you and just like me.  The rest of the sentence explains more about the “how” and the “why,” and is worth pondering for a while.

what the Bible says about the Christmas holiday

(This page intentionally left blank, since, to my knowledge, the Bible doesn’t mention anything like the American holiday we call Christmas. Just saying.)

Image credit: Jeff Weese on Wikipedia

what the Bible says about Jesus

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

This declaration by Jesus is foundational, really.  According to him, he is the only way to God.  Period.

what the Bible says about work

And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…And God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good.
Genesis 1:28, 31

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15

When we think about work in today’s world and our current place in history, we often associate it with anything but the term “good.” But what we often miss is that “work” existed before sin entered the world, and God declared that it, along with everything else he had made, was “very good.” Sin changed the picture, of course, but not completely. Work is still good — it’s just more difficult (see Genesis 3:17-19) and often frustrating — and we should view it as more than just a way to pass our time and pay our bills.

Exodus 31:1-11
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Theological Reflections on Going Under for Nose Surgery Tomorrow