Friday, September 28, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 3

Yesterday we saw the dramatic dichotomy of Jesus being both fully God and fully man. We also have been concentrating quite a bit lately on the benefits of believing in Him and trusting our lives to Him, but what about the alternative? What happens if we choose not to live our lives by faith and instead practice unbelief? That is the warning in Chapter three of Hebrews. In the context of the day the author was still trying to reach the Jews who held Moses in such high esteem, but as we know Christ is greater than Moses, something that flew in the face of everything the Jews believed.

"3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast." – Hebrews 3:3-6

This is just a great comparison of Jesus and Moses and shows what place both served. Both played huge roles in the Bible (in the case of Jesus, duh) and were instrumental in shaping the faith of a people. Once again though, we see that Jesus is set up as the master. It is important that the author continued to state this fact as he was breaking down the traditions and beliefs of his day and setting up newer, better ones.

"12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:12-13"

Look at how these verses supports verses 8 through 11 above them. Those verses are taken from Psalm 95 and reflect the state of the Israelites in the time of Moses. How are we to believe that Moses is greater than Christ when he rules in a time of such rebellion, but we are promised that faith in Christ will lead eventually to peace? Moses was unable to lead them to the rest that God had promised, but Christ is able to lead us to that rest.

What is the danger of unbelief, however? Well, as it says here in Hebrews, the danger is that our hearts can become hardened and we can turn ourselves away from God if we wait too long. We are warned here not to wait when we feel the pull of God on our hearts. This is true even if we have already committed our lives to Christ because we are still capable of being stubborn and unbelieving. If we hear God's call on our hearts it behooves us to react according to what that calling may be.

When I was getting ready to start college I had a choice to make. I felt that God was calling me to a life of working in the communications field, specifically sports writing and broadcasting, because it is something I had always wanted to do. I had always wanted to go to Purdue University as well, mostly because it is where my father went to school and because of its sports teams. If you know colleges, however, it is not the best for this type of work. When I was a senior in high school I had a great offer to attend another school, Bradley University, with most of my tuition paid for due to academic scholarships. This school was perfect for what I wanted to go in to, but I became stubborn. For various reasons I turned this offer and ended up at Purdue as an athletic training major. This major lasted all of three weeks for me as it became clear once I got there that it was not what God wanted of me. I remained at Purdue for four years and graduated with a degree in Communications and TV production, but I missed out on getting it from a better program.

My heart was hardened and I didn't believe, but God used it for good anyway. While there he turned me on to writing, and I was able to minor in creative writing. These classes started a spark that has led me to my passion of writing, even though I know I was lucky. I wish now I had not ignored God's call on my heart because it has cost me a lot, but I thankful I did not hear it too late.


  1. Why is it important to compare Christ to Moses?
  2. Is it possible to still believe and unharden your heart?
  3. What value is there in trusting in God fully the first time?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 2

I love the second chapter of Hebrews because it provides the most vivid description and interaction of Jesus' human and Godly elements that we have discussed here to date. I love how the author begins things with a warning, as if to say, "Hey, we've talked about this before and stuff is happening right now that you really need to be aware of." Have you ever gotten his feeling in your life? It's a feeling that no matter how innocuous the moment may seem, there is a little niggling in the back of your mind saying, "Pay attention! Important stuff is happening!"

"2For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." Hebrews 2:2-4

This tells us that the coming of Jesus was not some unexpected miracle from the heavens. God let us know centuries in advance that He was sending his Son in order to save us all. It should not have come as a shock but in a way it still did because I don't think we can ever fully grasp the concept of our own world, yet Christ came to save all of it. At the same time, He was a man just like you or me. During his time on earth he put on his pants (or more likely, his robe) like anyone else in the morning. This is where the dichotomy really begins to be explained a little.

"7You made him a little
lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." – Hebrews 2:7-11


That is a much longer piece of Scripture than I usually single out here, but I had to take all of it because it illustrates the point of Christ being fully human and fully God so well. The last section of the chapter also does a fantastic job of this and I urge you to read it on your own. The part here about being made a little lower than the angels refers to the human nature of Christ. Immediately after that though we see that He is crowned with glory and that everything is placed under His feet. Even though He had this glory He still suffered unto death like we must do. He did so however to bring us glory. Because of this we are considered brothers and sisters with Christ.


"16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for
the sins of the people." – Hebrews 2:16-17


What can I possibly add to God's word here? Verse 17 completely explains both sides of Jesus; His humanity and His pure, perfect, Godly form. This is God Himself acting as a mediator on our behalf. He had to suffer and die on the cross to make perfect our salvation, not Himself. His sacrifice was not just some great spiritual atonement He had to complete either. It was done in order to identify with us and see our need for salvation. It was done in order to communicate God's love to us on a personal, base level. I really can't add anything else to that.




  1. How is God asking you to pay attention to something happening in your life right now?
  2. What is our responsibility as brothers and sisters with Christ in the family of God?
  3. What role does Abraham and the promise God made to him play here?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 1

Hebrews is a 13 chapter pep talk for the soul. That's really the best way to describe it. We're not really sure who wrote is, as my Study Bible lists possible authors as Paul, Barnabas, Luke, or Apollos, but the writer's intent in this letter is to provide support for the struggling new Christian. While the support was directed at Christians who were facing persecution and were reverting back to the Old Testament ways because of when it was written, once again that amazing nature of the Bible shows that its words can be relevant today.

The first chapter deals solely with the superiority of Christ. It is important to remember that these Christians were still somewhat hesitant to fully embrace the divinity of Christ. To them He was still somewhat of a polarizing figure and they were still trying to compare him to the old covenant through the Old Testament. As we learned throughout the last four books we discussed here in this blog though, the old covenant was washed away with the blood of Christ. He now stands superior in its place.

"3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs." – Hebrews 1:3-4

I know recently I have put a lot of emphasis on the human characteristics of Jesus, but let us not forget that He was fully God at the same time. For as much as He lowered Himself to come to earth and die for our sins, he was that much higher than everything else in creation including the angels. He was God personified and placed into a human body, but at the same time he was and still is bigger than we can possibly imagine. He had human nature when He was in human form as well as His divine nature.

So what is the role of the angels then? Well, we see here in the first chapter of Hebrews that they are indeed subordinate to Christ, but they still play a very important role in the spiritual hierarchy. Even as we are to worship Christ and his divinity so are the angels even though they were created before man and still are above man by being in the physical presence of God.

"6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." 8But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom." – Hebrews 1:6-8

We see here that the angels serve an important role as ministering servants. Think of them as behind the scenes workers at a TV show that don't get the glory of being seen on camera, but the show could not be done without them. They offer protection, guidance, ministering, and watch over God's people. They also can dole out judgment to the wicked, all while honoring and praising God. They are strong spiritual beings and those in both Old and New Testament times interacted with them and sometimes even worshipped them. This is why the author writes to show Christ's superiority because even though these angels were powerful beings, they were still subordinate to Christ.

So you may ask where that put mankind in the grand scheme of things. Well, think about this for a second. We're below the angels, who are always in the presence of God, yet God loved us so much He came to earth in the form of a man (that is Jesus) in order to die for our sins so that we can be with Him. This is not something He had to do, but He chose to do it out of His love for us. He had the angels to honor and glorify Him as they are already righteous, but God chose to simplify things with Christ in order to make righteousness available to us. This is something we will discuss more as we get deeper into the book of Hebrews, but for now just concentrate on the Godly characteristics of Christ.


  1. What role did the angels have before Christ?
  2. If Christ is the mediator between us and God why does He still need angels?
  3. How did God achieve being fully God and fully man in Christ is man is naturally fallable?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Colossians, Chapter 4

We finally come to the end of our journey of eating potato chips with God as we reach Colossians 4 today. While it is a short chapter filled with many personal greetings and wishes from Paul to others in the church, it still has value and we can still learn from it. What we can learn from it is Paul's attitude of servanthood carried on even through his imprisonment. Here was someone totally committed to the cause of Christ and the mission of the gospel, and we see his commitment even in his instructions to others.

"2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:2-5

Prayer is a powerful tool. Look at what is accomplished for Paul during his imprisonment. He had only prayer and some paper to write on and he ended up writing most of the New Testament. This is still around today as a guide to not only salvation but as kind of a "How to be a Christian 101." I believe fully in the power of prayer and that it can accomplish everything, as I have seen times in my life when all I could do was pray and hope God could figure it all out for me. The beauty of prayer is that it doesn't have to be thoughtful and flowery. I t can be a mere conversation with god as if He is sitting next to you. I have had this experience many times on late nights driving home from covering a basketball game for my newspaper job. On these nights I simply sit and talk to God like He's in the passenger seat next to me. This is how simple prayer can be and we cannot shirk our responsibility for it. Remember the four beats of the spirit? Prayer was one of the four key beats and we cannot forget it.

"18I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you." – Colossians 4:18

This is such a short verse to end our study of Colossians on, but it is so powerful because Paul is telling us such an important message here. He is not asking us to remember his physical chains and pity him for his imprisonment. Instead he is asking that we remember His servitude for Christ and that we must take up the same attitude in order to spread the good news of the message of Christ. Paul knew that he could never accomplish his mission alone, as he needed the help of not only Christ, but other believers in the church. How did he know his letters would be delivered once he wrote them? It's not like he dropped them off at the post office and delivered them priority mail to Colosse.

We must have this attitude of servanthood in our own lives as I stated before. Once we begin our faith in Christ we begin our own form of bondage because much is expected of us in that walk. Some will pay more than others, but all must work to further the kingdom of God. My chains are this blog and using the gift of writing that God gave me to spread His message. Others are called to teach. Some are called to be missionaries all over the world. Whatever your calling is pursue it passionately, as this is what God wants and You will be happiest in doing so. How else do you explain Paul finding joy while in prison?

To those of you who have been here during the entire walk of Eating Potato Chips with God I thank you. I pray the words God has given me to write have done His work and have been useful to you. Next up I will be tackling another book in the New Testament I have been compelled to study closely of late and that is the book of Hebrews. I hope you'll come back and please forward this on to others.


  1. What has prayer accomplished in your life?
  2. How strong is your prayer life and what is your conversation with God like?
  3. In what form do you feel the chains God is placing you in take in your everyday walk?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Colossians, Chapter 3

On the surface the third chapter of Colossians appears to simply be a repeat of some of the topics we discussed earlier in our journey of eating potato chips with God. When I first re-read this I was thinking that God was merely repeating the same thing and that Paul had made a mistake by writing the same letter to the Colossians as he did the Philippians and such. As I went through the guided questions in my study Bible though, I saw that God does not make mistakes. If it's in the Bible a second third, or fourth times it's probably because it is something rather important we need to pick up on. Since chapter three begins with rules for Holy living I would say that those are pretty important.

"5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:5-10

This is a given and has been clearly stated before, but how do we avoid the trap of simply saying, "easier said than done," and glossing over the parts that we do not want to fix? That is part of our sinful nature in itself, because it is our selfishness and even lack of faith coming through when we quit trying give something up. It takes the work of God in our hearts to truly get through these things. It is stronger than we in our own capacity can resist, but Christ's nature in our hearts can overcome it. One thing I must learn is that this nature takes time. I have already seen what the Nature and love of Christ in my heart can overcome when it comes to succumbing to earthly natures, but I also see that I still have a very long way to go.

"12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." – Colossians 3:12-14

Personally, this one kicked me in the teeth this morning. I know in my life I have long dealt with trying to forgive totally. At times it has been easy to forgive other, but not myself. Other times the exact opposite is true because I have been able to get over my own actions quickly, but the actions of others who wronged me have sat and smoldered on my heart. I am not going to take credit for the four steps that are listed in how to do deal with this, as they come from the study section of my Quest Study Bible, but they did come out as an example of how God's word speaks to you when you need it most.

First, forgiveness requires us to surrender our right to get even. Second, Forgiveness takes time. Third, Forgiving doesn't require forgetting. On this point it elaborates that it is nearly impossible to forget, but we must detoxify the memory so it does not poison our thoughts. Finally, forgiving is expected, because as it says in verse 13, we must forgive as we have been forgiven.

This was one of those personal moments where I felt God slapped me in the face with His word, because much of the bitterness I have felt in my heart lately comes from an inability to properly forgive. Some memories of things I have forgiven on the surface still simmer below and remain toxic in my heart. I recognize that I still need time to heal in many ways, whether that healing comes because of mistakes I have made, or mistakes others made in regard to me. While verse 13 asks us to forgive look at what verse 14 asks. It asks to put on love, which binds everything together. Forgiveness is love, but both are very difficult to learn. These are things that I fully admit Christ still needs to work in me.


  1. Is it possible in this life to rid ourselves of all the things in verses five through nine?
  2. If it is not possible to do so, then why must we try?
  3. Why is overcoming our own nature even with the help of Christ one of the hardest things to do?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Colossians, Chapter 2

There seems to be a contrast between Philippians and Colossians as far as the way the message of Christ's love and sacrifice is presented. In Philippians we saw how Christ's humility was a key character trait and that we need to emulate it in our own lives. Colossians seems to concentrate more on the message of Christ's love and what exactly His sacrifice on the cross accomplished. Both are critical lessons that we must learn. Here in the second chapter of Colossians Paul also touches once again on the fact that when Christ came to earth the very rules of mankind were changed. In all this Paul continues to drive home Christ's love and passion for all of us.

"8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." – Colossians 2:8-10

Many of Paul's letters were written in order to combat false teachings that were prevalent in the areas to which the letters were written. In the case of Colossians the church in Colosse there were still people teaching that salvation was obtained through either superior knowledge or through strict following of the law. As was a problem in many places, it wasn't enough that you believed in Christ, you had to follow Jewish law and be circumcised as well. WE saw this back in our study of the book of Galatians, and here in Colossians Paul uses circumcision as a metaphor. This metaphor shows once again just how much Christ changes our lives drastically when we accept His gift and sacrifice.

"13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:13-15

We were once dead, but now we are alive in Christ. I love how Paul gets to the heart of the issue right here and makes it very plain what Christ's sacrifice on the cross accomplished. We also see that this sacrifice washes away all our own petty human regulations and places just one important one in charge, and that is the authority and power of Christ's blood. Though I have been blessed with the gift of writing I feel I cannot add a single word of meaning to the words Paul wrote above.

"20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings." – Colossians 2:20-22

When we get so caught up in following the rules and regulations set before us we become disconnected from the main purpose of the church, and that is spreading the message of Christ. My wife grew up Catholic, and I know one of the biggest things that turned her away from that path and on to a more personal relationship with Christ is that very fact. She was unimpressed, and even bored with the Catholic church because of its strict adherence to rules and regulations instead of just sticking to the message. It does not matter that you say the same liturgy over and over again if there is no meaning behind it! All these rules and rituals are still based in humanity, which as we know falls woefully short of the glory of God.

Christ is the center, and nothing else. No tradition, no liturgy, no combination of words said or ritual done can bring us closer to Christ than a deep, personal relationship with Him based on faith. Remember, it was once illegal for the common man to even read the Bible, as it was limited only to the clergy, yet we see here that we are to form out own relationship with Christ. That is what is clearly stated here in Colossians, and we have Paul to thank for clearing this up.


  1. How can we mesh human traditions with the fullness of love we have been given in Christ?
  2. What powers and authorities were disarmed on the cross?
  3. Can human commands and teaching still play a role in a relationship with Christ, simply because the Bible comes from human hands and minds?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Colossians, Chapter 1

We finally get to the last book on our journey of eating potato chips with God and I cannot be more excited. Just in going through these previous three books, especially Philippians most recently, I feel like Christ has really spoken to my heart and is teaching me some things I desperately needed to learn. Here again in Colossians we see Paul under house arrest, but he was writing to the church in Colosse, which is in modern day Turkey. The church there was under pressure by a local sect called the Gnostics that was undermining the work of Christ's gospel. What Paul writes is basically a treatise defending and proving the supremacy of Christ and how we can honor Him.

"9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." – Colossians 1:9-12

God's power is the ultimate strength, and I love the compassion we see here from Paul. He truly shows a Christlike attitude by taking this burden of prayer upon himself not only for this church, but all the churches he visited. It is a testament to the power of prayer that we see here in these verses. We also see again God's strength and mercy in that we can rely on Him for all things, and that we indeed have to rely on Him for all things. We cannot save ourselves, but we are only saved by His grace.

"17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." – Colossians 1:17-20

What better way is there to talk about the supremacy of Christ? In this one paragraph Paul sums up the entire argument for Christ and says all that needs to be said about Him. In the following paragraph we see how we are separated from Christ and why, but in this we see that lamenting is unnecessary because we still have hope and faith in Christ. We are reconciled in His blood.

Let's look at the Old Testament for the moment just to see the difference of how we are reconciled of our sins. Back in Old Testament days on the day of atonement you had to bring an absolutely pure, without blemishes animal to be sacrifices on the altar. The blood had to be poured out and you were cleaned, but it was a process that had to be repeated. Now imagine doing this for all the Israelites at the time. Even if it was as few as 50,000 people that's still a lot of animal carcasses, and this is in the middle of the desert. Plus you still have to go out and find these animals, as they didn't exactly have a Wal-Mart with which to pick up sacrificial turtle doves.

Can you see how man's attempt at reconciliation falls so horribly short then? This is why we need Christ! We are reconciled by His blood, and it is a binding reconciliation that cannot be taken away under any circumstances. We only need to ask Him for it and believe in the power of His name! How much simpler can that be, yet people try to make Him more complex and make salvation that much more difficult. This is the most basic thing we need to take from the message of Christ.


  1. If Christ reconciles all things, why do some still reject Him?
  2. How do you share the burden of prayer for those you care about?
  3. What was Christ's motivation in simplifying matters in the way that he did?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Philippians, Chapter 4

Today we finish our short jaunt through the book of Philippians and we see that Paul takes the time not only to thank those that have helped him and encouraged him along his missionary journeys, but to praise God well. This is yet another important part of our Christian walk because being a Christian is about more than spreading the message and helping those in need. It is also about giving in encouragement to those who need it and being thankful for that which we are given. Sometimes it is easier, when we don't know what to pray about, to simply sit and give thanks for that which we are given. It brings a smile to my face when I think about all I am given and how thankful I am for it.

"4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." – Philippians 4:4-7

This paints a totally different picture about what God is than we have seen before in this book. Really it is the ultimate picture of closeness and the personable character of God. We are told here that we need not fear taking anything before God, because through Christ we can come to Him for anything. Last night in the weekly Bible study my wife and I attend we had our second session on the Phillip Yancey book The Jesus I Never Knew. We were talking about the nature of Christ's birth and what we learned about the nature of God it in. Yancey argues that one of the traits we learned here is the humbleness of God.

Now you may ask yourself, "What on earth does God have to be humble about?" I think He shows this by the fact He came to earth in Christ. There is no way we can ever reach His glory or attain righteousness on our own, but He loves us so much He chose to lower Himself to our level in Christ Jesus, the man who was fully man yet fully God, in order to save us. Not only is this very humble, but it shows the personal and caring nature of God, as He was able to experience life as we lived it.

"12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength." – Philippians 4:12-13

How wonderful would it be to reach this point of peace that Paul reaches in his heart? In this day and age we have a bad day if our morning coffee isn't prepared just right. Paul, however, knew what it was like to be rich or poor, full or hungry, or anywhere in between but he still had a deep-seated peace and joy upon his heart at all times. Here was a guy that wrote these words from prison and later faced beheading because he boldly proclaimed the faith, but he still carries a countenance of joy because of his faith.

God always gives us the strength to do what he wants us to do. He may not provide in the way that we think He should provide, but He still provides. I use my own life as an example to this. I have not had a permanent, full-time job since three weeks after I got married in January of 2005. For more than two and a half year, while learning the ins and out of marriage, I have worked a series of temp jobs that have seen me grade standardized tests, substitute teach from first grade through high school, stock ice cream shelves, stock greeting card shelves, answer phones, be a general temp lackey at an insurance company, and write sports articles for a few newspapers. It's not a glamorous life of "hookers and Chrystal" as the rappers would have it (not that I would want that, but it's a metaphor), but God has provided for our needs. For that I am thankful, and I know some day this period of transition will end. I simply need to learn what God wants me to learn in it.


  1. How do the lessons of humility from the last two chapters carry over into the lessons of this one?
  2. What is the peace that Paul talks about in the first highlighted passage?
  3. What can we do to reach Paul's place of peace?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Philippians, Chapter 3

Yesterday we saw an example of how humility can be a distinguished trait through Christ's example. Today we see that Paul continues this lesson by showing humility and servanthood of his own through his ministry. When we look at Paul's background we see that he was a man of some privilege. He was a Roman citizen unlike many of the other disciples, and he was a Pharisee before his conversion. What we see in the beginning of the third chapter is that even though his conversion was dramatic and complete, he still wrestled with issues of faith and had to humble himself before God.

"3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." – Philippians 3:3-7

For Jews circumcision is a physical act and a reminder of Abraham's covenant with God. Paul uses it here to show that it, as a physical act and part of the law, is still not enough to bring us to Christ. We can only come to Christ through a spiritual circumcision and covenant with Christ. Paul is saying here that there is nothing at all that we can do in our flesh to gain the righteousness needed to get into heaven. He uses himself as an example, as before his conversion he was a strong and proud Jew. Since his conversion however he considers it all a waste in comparison to Christ. These are very strong words and they add depth to an already interesting character in Paul.

Imagine turning over your entire life to Christ as Paul did though. What would you go through and see as loss for His sake? This is what Paul did, as his conversion was no small feat. This is what Christ asks of us when we fully commit to Him and His cause. It is not an easy sacrifice, nor is it to be taken lightly. It truly is a spiritual circumcision, cutting off a part of us inside as a sign of our covenant to Christ. Why must we do this though?

"10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." – Philippians 3:10-12

This is why we must perform this dramatic separation in our spiritual lives. There is no other way that we can restore ourselves to the righteousness in Christ except through faith in Him. I know I continue to repeat myself on this point but it is the most important message we can take away from this life. Absolutely nothing else matters except this, and Paul sees that here in the third chapter of Philippians. It takes a benevolent and loving God to cleanse us and forgive us because in our very nature we fall short of His glory. Only Christ's blood can perform that cleansing as it is like Formula 409 for the soul.

This is not to say we are perfect once we accept Christ's gift of salvation, and that is where many people and even many entire churches error. We are FAR from perfect even when we have Christ in our hearts because we are still human. Remember, we are saved by grace through faith, and that grace extends to even after we accept Christ's gift. We must be fully confident in our salvation because of that faith and because of Christ's promise, but the beauty of grace is that we are protected even we do (and we will) screw up. We are to strive to better ourselves and cast off that which we know is wrong, but we're still going to screw up and fall short of the glory. That is why Christ is there and his grace is boundless.


  1. What do you consider profit in your life that could be considered a loss in the case of Christ?
  2. What does it mean to share in the sufferings of Christ?
  3. Why do we have to throw off the things of this world if we are already made perfect in Christ when we accept Him?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Philippians, Chapter 2

Humility is not limited to those embarrassing moments when everything seems to go wrong and we are brought low before everyone. In the context it is used to begin chapter 2 of Philippians it is viewed more as an attitude of servanthood and humbleness that was exhibited in Christ's example. It is incredible to see what he accomplished based on these first few verse in chapter 2.

"3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." – Philippians 2:3-7


Consider this for a second: Jesus was both fully God and fully man. He was more powerful and could be raised in station above every person that has ever lived. He had power beyond reason, but lowered Himself to the level of a servant. He did not just do this by dying on the cross, but He also did this on several occasions throughout His ministry. He was just not the most influential man who ever lived, but He was also the most humble.


Now imagine that You are Christ and You have all the power that the God of the Universe has. Facing what Christ did in His life, how would you react? Even better, imagine if you had this power to do ANYTHING that you ever wanted. How would your human nature prevail? Would you be able to do the same that Christ did and use your power for the good of mankind? This makes Christ life even more incredible considering that He was fully human, yet he was able to avoid this trap of humanity. It is because of this that we can be saved.


"14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." – Philippians 2:14-16


Once again here we see the posture of servanthood and humility that we must take in regards to out walk with Christ. As human being this is hard to do because it is our natural inclination to try and raise ourselves above others. We must remember Christ's example, as He put others before Himself in order to serve a grander purpose.


I would much rather serve some grander purpose than to accomplish my own petty goals. Even as I am struggling through a current period of free-floating lack of direction I am doing my best to remain faithful and realize that I may not be furthering myself, but I may be furthering Christ's cause in all that I do. Sometimes it takes something as simple as spending the first few waking moments of each day in prayer asking the Father that He uses you to glorify him and accomplish what He needs to accomplish each day. Even though I may feel empty in my own life, I know that I am here and ready to serve if I am asked.


As I have stated before, it is the most wonderful feeling I have ever had when I know that I have been used by my Creator to accomplish some task for Him. I urge you to try out for just a week the prayer mentioned above each morning. Take an attitude of humility and servanthood in your own life and see how it changes your perspective. Remind yourself that the same man who could have called down the heavenly host and climbed down off of the cross stayed and suffered because of humility, and He asks that you serve His cause to the same end if necessary. Remember also that many in the early church died for their faith, and that you can serve just as well as they did.




  1. What do you think it means to be humble and to serve?
  2. How does Christ's example of humility reflect on your own heart?
  3. Are you merely serving a purpose or purposely serving?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Philippians, Chapter 1

It's Thursday and that takes across the halfway point of the God Eats Potato Chips Journey. That, of course, means it is time to dive headfirst into the book of Philippians. Philippians is a book that deals with faith and how it works in our everyday lives. Like the last two books, it was written by Paul, but this one was written while he was under house arrest in Rome. The first chapter shows Paul's conviction for the message and mission he was on. Even though he was under arrest he was still concerned with preaching the gospel of Christ.

"7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus." – Philippians 1:7-8

Imagine being so focused on a task and so sure of what you are supposed to do in this life that you will suffer through imprisonment and, in Paul's case, later execution for what you were doing. He knew all he was facing for Christ, yet he still went through with it. We see this not only here, but throughout the New Testament from Paul. He was rarely concerned about his own well-being, only that the message be reached. As I stated earlier in the look at Galatians, he was also a results oriented guy and cared rarely about the method.

"15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c]
18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." – Philippians 1:15-18

I find this funny, because Paul sees that even those who are trying to cause him trouble are still carrying on his mission and the message of Christ by spreading the gospel. I can certainly picture Paul sitting under a Roman guard chuckling as he wrote this, knowing that even his enemies were doing his work. He was the type of guy that cared only for Christ. Anything that was done to advance that message, regardless of the motive, was good in Paul's eyes. Can you imagine having such conviction and focus toward anything in your life? Imagine having this kind of focus and desire for your job. What could you accomplish? What if we each had this desire and devotion toward our families? How would out lives be improved? Paul's strength here and courage inspired many in his day and further to go out and spread the gospel amidst great hardship. Living in America we have it easy, yet many struggle to keep their faith private. If only every Christian would boldly proclaim his or her faith as Paul did.

"22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me." – Philippians 1:22-26

This is what we are torn to do. I admit there are days where I long for this life to be over and be with Christ, but I know that He has a purpose in me being here. In serving that purpose I get no greater joy, so I move forward. We long for the reward, but the thrill of being used by Christ to do His work is a lure that is also very enticing. It is in the moments immediately after Christ has used me to do some small part for His kingdom that I pause and sit back, wondering in amazement at how I could be used for such glory. It's something I never get tired of, and Paul certainly did either. This is a lesson that we must carry over to our lives and strive to accomplish for Christ all that we can before He calls us home.


  1. What is Christ calling you to do today for His kingdom?
  2. How are you encouraged by Paul's sufferings?
  3. When have you plainly seen that you have done Christ's work and have been overcome with gratitude for it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 6

Today we will finish the final chapter in the book of Ephesians, and with that comes a list of advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of a fallen world. Up to this point we have been told what not to do, but not really given a way to avoid these evil things. Chapter 6 ends with advice on how to prepare our hearts for all that is wrong in the world. First of all there is a message for parents and a message for those in bondage. We may not think of being in bondage of the conventional sort, but we are still slaves to Christ.

"4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Ephesians 6:4-5


We see that children should obey their parents, but as a parent we have a responsibility to raise our children correctly and in the Lord. One of the things that bothers me the most about society is that children are hardly raised to respect and follow discipline anymore. Parents cause more harm than good when they raise their child and give them everything without allowing the least bit of hardship to come into their lives. An example is a group of parents who won't let a sports league keep score because it will make the child feel bad if his or her team loses. This is going too far, and we need to teach children early that there are difficulties you need to overcome in life. It is how you react to them that makes your character.


In the very next verse we see that we are to obey our earthly masters. While this rarely takes the form of slavery now, we still have early masters in the form of parents, bosses, etc. They are far from the full authority in our lives, but it is still important to follow the rules. You won't get farther than a prison cell if you break some law because you aren't following the ways of some earthly master.


"11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." – Ephesians 6:11-13


Paul shifts gears here at the end of the chapter and gives us tactics that allow us to go on the defensive against the schemes of Satan. His armor of God speech is a powerful treatise and gives us a list of tools in which to arm ourselves against Satan. It's a fact that Satan still has much influence on this world, and that the world hates those who stand against it. If we rely on our own strength we will quickly be overwhelmed by a world that will tell us what to believe and why to believe it. With the truth of God shielding us, however, and the strength that only Christ can provide we can stand against this world and be an example unto the Father and the Son. It is also important that we put on the full armor each day, because each piece of the armor is reinforced by the others, making us strong and fully prepared.


Notice the list of elements in the armor of God though in verses 14 through 17. All but one of the tools in the armor of God is a defensive weapon. This is a subtle way of letting God do the work of defense for us, because we cannot defend ourselves without Him. The shield of faith is built on our own belief, while the helmet of salvation protects our minds because we are saved. The only offensive weapon is the sword of truth which is the Word of God. As we know the Word of God is the Bible, and we are also to keep it written on our hearts through the memorization of Scripture. In this way it is also a defensive mechanism, but the Word is also a very powerful offensive weapon. Words can accomplish so much, and they are truly a weapon because they have changed so much throughout the course of human history. If you'll remember Jesus Himself often got His point across with words instead of with actions. This is because His words were truth, and that is all He needed.



  1. How does the role discipline play in raising children?
  2. When do we know when we should disobey earthly masters?
  3. How do you put on the full armor of God each day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 5

Yesterday we learned that each person has a calling in Christ's church once we accept Christ's gift of salvation. Ephesians four also touched on what it means to live as a child of the light and what is expected of us. Today that theme continues in chapter five as Paul tells us very plainly what is expected of our news lives and how we should act. Just as he says with the very first line, we must strive to be imitators of God. How is this possible though? God is perfect, and depending on which side of the debate you are on, it is possibly a perfection we cannot attain.

"1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." – Ephesians 5:1-2

How can we be perfect? Do we even want to be perfect when the only perfect person that ever lived was nailed to a cross? This has been one of my greatest struggles in life because it is plainly laid out here in Scripture what God expects of me, yet I personally feel it is impossible for us to be perfect in this life simply because we are human. It is an unfortunate shortcoming that cannot be overcome. Being human means that we are sinful in nature, and because of that we are flawed. Paul goes on to list qualities that we should not have over the next couple of verses, but it is an impossible standard to bean imitation of God.

This is what makes grace so wonderful, since God meets us more than halfway because of Christ's death on the cross. This death made it possible for us to be saved because otherwise we have no shot at it. Does that mean it is okay to have sexual immorality, show greed, make coarse jokes, etc.? No it does not. Grace does not give us carte blanche to continue living the lives we lived before knowing Him. We must imitate the character of God through a pattern of love in all that we do. As we learned yesterday the Spirit of God is a life-changing force, and with that Spirit we can wash out what God doesn't want in our lives and fill it with love. Believe me, I know this sounds A LOT easier than it actually is to practice. That is what makes grace so amazing, because it makes up for our own natural shortcomings. Even in our best efforts to strive and imitate God we fall short, but the grace of Christ is still there to make up the difference and cleanse us to the standard God wants.

The rest of this first section teaches that we should turn away from fruitless deeds and concentrate solely on love. This again is something that is very difficult to practice, but the light of Christ is there to examine our hearts. He exposes that which is impure in us and works to expunge it. Once again, it is hard to be perfect here. I can avoid clearly pornographic materials, but I can still falter by not always making the best use of my time. In this chapter we're commanded to do both, and it is just as wrong to live up to one standard and neglect the other. This is where grace saves the day.

"21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." – Ephesians 5:21

I think this verse best sums up the closing part of the chapter when Paul talks about husbands and wives submitting themselves. Submission does not mean always giving in to what the other person in the marriage says. This does not happen in my marriage even though we are Christians and it is wonderful that way, because I know that I am often wrong and my wife is right. If you read the passage closely and take it literally you will also see that the man in a marriage has it much tougher than the wife. The wife only has to submit to a man's spiritual leadership. The man in turn must be like Christ and be willing to give up himself for his wife. This is a much higher standard and, as a guy, I certainly see where I get the much more difficult deal. Wives must love husbands, but husbands must love their wives as they loves themselves. This shows it is a symbiotic relationship and each partner has a difficult task.


  1. If we can't be perfect though God wants us to be, is it then possible to lose our salvation?
  2. What is your definition of grace based on this chapter?
  3. How do you see submission in marriage?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 4

The fourth chapter of Ephesians hits strongly on the theme of, "Why am I here?" The most important thing for us to do in this life is to accept Christ's gift of salvation. Once we do that, however, more is expected of us. There is a period of infancy in our faith when we first get to know the love of Christ, but after that there comes a point where more is expected of us if we are continuing to grow in our faith.

"1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." – Ephesians 4:1-3

We clearly see here that with a life in Christ we are called to do more. Salvation is just the beginning and is absolutely necessary, but from that point we get Christ in our hearts and he begins to transform us into something wonderfully new. Before knowing Him we may not see or desire to do His work, but through the Holy Spirit we are supernaturally drawn to do more and be more for His kingdom. This is something I personally had a hard time understanding before I truly accepted Christ, but since have come to discover. I am still trying to figure out His will in my life, but some things I can't explain naturally. An example is this blog. I do not know why I am supposed to do it, or what it is supposed to accomplish. I am still working on honing my craft of writing in it. I do know, strangely with all that I am, that I am simply supposed to do it and trust God with the rest. It is an exhilarating feeling, and things in my life are working out that if I dedicate myself to it, I will have time each day for it.

I can think of no great life to live than to serve as I have been called to serve, and at this season in my life this is my calling.

"11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." – Ephesians 4:11-13

There is not a single person that can do everything Christ needs in this life, and because of that we must work as a team with other Christians to achieve His goals. Each person has a calling that when working in concert with others serves an even greater purpose. I know that God has granted me certain gifts of creativity and imagination that others do not have. He has made me a very gregarious and imaginative person, so much so that even my own wife doesn't get me sometimes. These traits are the calling of a prophet. Now I am not going to claim that I can see the future and I know what is going to happen next. I am not going to buy a robe and start saying the end is near. I am still learning what this calling means in the modern day, but I know it means that my wild ideas and strangeness now have a purpose. It is my job to serve that purpose now fully.

Conversely I know that I am not one that falls into the other categories of the body of Christ mentioned here. My wife has other gifts that are used in a completely different way, as she is a much more organized person than I, and is more concerned with details than the end result. All parts of the body are needed, however and I need to work with the other parts in order to make the body whole.

    "22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." – Ephesians 4:22-24

Once again we see that we are called to not only do more, but be completely different from who we used to be once we accept Christ into our hearts. It is not enough to merely change the surface and polish up a few things. It is a complete change of lifestyle and attitude that is impossible for us to do on our own, but it is done by the work of Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit.


  1. What role do you believe Christ is calling you to serve?
  2. How has having Christ in your heart caused you to throw off old ways and become new?
  3. Why are we called to do more if God can do everything?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 3

Paul begins the third chapter of Ephesians with a powerful statement about being a prisoner for Christ. I have never really thought of it that way until, but it is true. When we fully turn our lives over to Christ we become prisoners and slaves, as Paul has often referred to himself, to a cause that is far beyond us. Having Christ in our hearts is the best form of bondage imaginable, as with His direction we can accomplish so much more. He was a slave for the Gentiles as he mentions in the beginning of the chapter, and it was through this slavery and following God's purpose on his heart that we have the gospel as it is today.

Up until the time of Christ much of the Bible is about the Jews and their walk with God. There are moments of prophesy though showing that God does indeed have a promise in mind for the Gentiles. Through the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection three days later there now was hope for all mankind, not just the Jews. Because of that we can all become the children of Abraham that were promised all the way back in the book of Genesis. We, in essence, become heirs to the inheritance of Christ.

"7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things." Ephesians 3:7-9

This is a statement about purpose. Can you imagine having a purpose and focus as clear as this in your life? What we see here in the opening half of chapter three and especially exhibited in the above verses is Paul's purpose. Now consider the context of this statement. Paul began the chapter by mentioning that he was a prisoner for Christ. At the time he wrote this letter he was literally a prisoner in Rome, yet he was still serving his purpose faithfully and with joy. How can we carry this over to our own lives? Many of us are not literal prisoners in the since of being behind bars, but even if you're reading this and you are in prison God has a purpose and can use you. If God can take a man who viciously and ruthlessly persecuted His early church and later was in prison and make him the writer of the bulk of the New Testament and be the foundation layer of His gospel then He can do anything.

"16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." –Ephesians 3:16-19

I love how empowering and passionate this prayer is from Paul. Here is someone that could be praise among many, many men who ever lived and is responsible for so much not only in the church, but historically, and instead of taking that praise he gave all the glory to Christ and asked that that glory be reflected back onto His people. Paul was all these things mentioned in his prayer. He was strengthened by power through the Spirit. He grasped the depth of the love of Christ. He was filled to the measure with the fullness of God. He wished only that everyone else feel the same thing because he knew what it could accomplish.

Being filled with the Spirit of Christ is like the most powerful drug ever. Once you have a taste of it the only thing you can think of is getting more. It is this way because we are more than flesh and bone, we are spiritual beings whose souls crave to be with Christ and in tune with His heart. It is my prayer today that Paul's prayer here be repeated and that all be filled with the full measure of Christ this day.


  1. How do you currently see yourself as a servant and prisoner for Christ?
  2. Even if we have Christ in our heart, why do we still sometimes stray from His purpose?
  3. What do you see in your life that You can accomplish if you are empowered by the Spirit of Christ?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 2

As I wrote in the introduction to chapter one, Ephesians does the job of tackling the big question of, "Why am I here?" Chapter two gets underway by giving that reason right from the start. We are here to be made alive in Christ. It is only in that way that we can accomplish our full potential and do what we were placed on this earth to do. When we accept Christ and we keep our focus on Him (going back to the discussion on Galatians here) We are fulfilling our purpose in life. As we go through Ephesians we will see that Paul had an idea for more specialized areas that that focus could manifest itself in, but for now it is important that we see that we are awakened and fully alive when we have Christ.

"4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." – Ephesians 2:4-5

I love this because not only does it show why we are here, but it also shows Christ's boundless love for us. Let's face it: God and Christ do not need us. They are supreme, omniscient, omnipotent beings that can accomplish whatever they want to do. They could view humanity much like we view fish in an aquarium if they so chose. They did not choose to do so though, and because of that they provided away for us to become so much more. What's more as we see in the next verses it is not anything we do on our own.

"8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." – Ephesians 2:8-10

We see here that Christ is the answer as well to the question of why we are here. We cannot save ourselves by anything we do. Writing this blog to spread His message, tithing every Sunday, Giving money to the poor, visiting the sick, or anything else I do means nothing unless I have faith in Christ. Christ does indeed want us to do good works, as that is part of the package once we accept Him, but the important part is that we accept Him. We are not required to do anything else other than that, even though doing those other things can lead to a more fulfilling life and they come about because we have Christ in our hearts. Because of free will we don't even have to accept Christ, but we know the consequences if we don't.

"14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." Ephesians 2:14-16

Another thing I love about the Bible is how it references back to itself, and we see here that Paul refers back to his letter to the Galatians. He references his argument that Christ fulfilled the law and removed it as an obstacle for coming to God. He also shows that God no longer is this high, far off concept that the Israelites once viewed. He doesn't need to live in some temple, but instead He can live in our hearts and transform us because of Christ Jesus. I can't tell you how radical of a view this was in that day. Paul once again shows and brings home his message that we are built anew when we have Christ in our hearts, and once that happens we are prepared for the roles He has in store for us. Later we will see exactly what those roles could be.


  1. If God doesn't need us, why did He provide a way for us to come to Him?
  2. How does being made alive in Christ make gifts such as charity work more fulfilling?
  3. If salvation is all we need in Christ, why are good works still important to having a life with Him in our hearts?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ephesians, Chapter 1

We move on to Ephesians today, as an adjustment to my work schedule will hopefully now allow me more time each morning to update this site. Ephesians is a wonderful book simply because it tackles the immortal question, "Why am I here?" When we accepts Christ into our hearts we gain a totally new identity, and that is also what this letter from Paul talks about.

"4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." – Ephesians 1:4-6

This is what the Father did by giving us the Son for our sins. God had the human race as a perfect race in His mind before sin entered the equation. Once that happened, Christ had to come into the world so we could be made blameless again. This series of verses tells us that we can only be adopted into the family of God through Christ. He is like the ultimate foster father, always seeking more children to adopt into the family of God. If it is predetermined though, where does free will come in? That is something that I don't have an answer for, but I have a theory.

If God knows already what we are going to do in regards to the choice of Christ, and it is hard being omniscient and not knowing, then it ruins the surprise element for Him. For us though, we do not know, and that is where the joy of Christ comes from. If we come to him from our own will, through our own choices, that allows us to see the joy that he can bring. Is it more special to discover a great gift than to know for years it is coming only to finally get it? Personally I take more joy in that new discovery and learning, because often time can remove the luster of a promise. Think of the prodigal son in this case. He knew what was coming and asked for it early. What he did not expect, and was far greater, was the love that he received when he returned. This is what Christ's love means in our lives when we come back to Him, even though the father already knows what is going to happen.

"18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." – Ephesians 1:18-21

This is the first part of why Christ came, as he came to provide hope. As we see throughout Paul's other letters in the New Testament Christ provides the only true hope we can have. Without Christ there is absolutely zero chance of us earning our salvation. That salvation is a gift and something that cannot be earned, yet it is so simple of a gift that we need only ask for it.

With that hope comes the new identity that I spoke of in the introduction. I can personally attest that the cross of Christ transforms one's life, often quite radically. I am who I am today because I have Him in my heart, and even on bad days when I feel far from Him I am still a different person than I was before I came to Him. Though I grew up in a strong Christian household I am not sure if I ever truly had him in my heart until a little more than a year ago, but then again, His power to change things probably stirred up the events that turned my life around more than a year ago. Christ does not forget those who are His, and He calls us to hope in Him.


  1. How do you see what some would call predestination as a choice you can make?
  2. If God already knows that which we will choose, then why did He make it a choice for us?
  3. In what way has your own life been transformed by Christ?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Galatians, Chapter 6

Today I am going to Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs play. This will wrap up a summer of baseball that had me visiting six different major league ballparks in six states, including the big three of Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium. It is appropriate then that we wrap up our study of the book of Galatians with chapter six, as Paul caps the entire book perfectly like a visit to Wrigley caps any summer for a Cubs fan like me.

The first half of the chapter is an advisement that we do good to all, as it reflects that Christ is in our hearts. It also carries a warning that if we get involved in helping someone out of sin we need to be careful about not going down that road of sin. It's all good and well to help someone if they have an alcohol problem, but if you are a recovering alcoholic it is a dangerous temptation to delve back into that world to try and bring someone out. That is not to say you shouldn't, but just that you should mindful of your surroundings as you are helping.

"2Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load." – Galatians 6:2-5

It is hard to carry another's burdens when ours seem overwhelming, but it is something we must do. Being a Christians is a team sport, not an individual competition. It is one of the core points of our mandate from Christ that we become involved in the lives of others, share the good news, and assist with the bad news when it strikes. This is something that is very difficult to practice because I often find myself struggling to manage my own slate of problems before finding time to deal with others, especially now. What I find though is that when I reach one of these moment is become closed off to even the good that comes from others, because I feel like I am the only one that can help myself. When we begin to close off to the good, severing that connection with others that makes life so enjoyable, then we are deceiving ourselves. As the verses above state: we must carry our own load, as well as help with the loads of others.

"7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature
will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." – Galatians 6:7-9

We certainly do reap what we sow. For the longest time all I did in my life was feel anger and return it in kind. I was paid back for that with a heavy price, and it is still something I struggle with today. But as the later verse states, we cannot weary of doing good. I consider the greatest accomplishment of my life, one of the few things that has given me true purpose in life, was that God used me to lead my wife to Christ. When I think of that I think of the honor and privilege that was to be used in such a way, and that is why I enjoy getting into His Word and talking about it here in case God so chooses to use me again in that way.

"14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which
the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation." – Galatians 6:14-15

Paul closes his letter by hitting his most important point once again: the way you get there isn't as important as winding up in the same place. Christ does not care how we come to him or what traditions we follow in order to get to Him. He only cares that we come to Him. What counts is that we become a new creation in Him and that our lives are changed drastically because He is in our hearts. I cannot think of any greater thing to do with my life than be changed by Him, and even though many times that change has been drastic and against my will, it has been for the best.


  1. What burdens do you see around you that you can help carry at this time?
  2. How have your past actions come back to haunt you or help you, depending on how they were sewn?
  3. Why did Christ make it so that the details weren't important, just the destination?