Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions: we all make them, but do we keep them? Almost every year I have vowed to lose weight and by January 7th, I am knee deep in Doritos again. In 2011, I am swearing by it  for medical reasons. At the stroke of midnight, new resolutions begin with the new year. Other years I have tried to "lose weight" or "work out more" or "spend less money". But why do we make New Years Resolutions? Part of me thinks it's simply superstition or kind of like checking your horoscope (which don't do, research it and you'll see why). However, new years bring new promises. We're not guaranteed tomorrow but every new day allows for opportunity to change. I know I've changed this year, there's been some dark times and good times, but God is always faithful and worth being faithful to.

I believe that self-motivated resolutions belong on the bottom of the list, for those who love the Lord. Read His word more, get involved.
Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy said it best in his song New Year's Eve, from their final album apporpriately titled The End is Near/Here. I leave you with his lyrics, Happy New Year and God Bless
J

It's New Years Eve and I'm full of empty promises, I half pretend to keep this time, just like last year. The band is loud and I'm wandering the shadows, wishing I was never here. I persevere. A crowded room, these whitewashed tombs, they raise their glasses high, they kiss the past goodbye.
This New Years Eve, I'm waiting for tomorrow. My heart is on my sleeve, and yes I still believe, this New Years Eve, will turn out better than before, I'm holding on, still holding out, until they close the door... on me.
It's New Years Eve and I feel my insecurities, are haunting me like ghosts, this sinking quicksand. And then with thunderous praise and lofty adoration, a second passes by, yet nothing changes. I hate my skin, this grave I'm standing in. Another change of years, and I wish I wasn't here.
A year goes by and I'm staring at my watch again, and I dig deep this time, for something greater than I've ever been, life to ancient wineskins. And I was blind but now I see.
This New Years Eve, something must change me inside, I'm crooked and misguided, and tired of being tired. This New Years Eve, I'm waiting for tomorrow. My heart is on my sleeve, and yes I still believe, in You.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas back in the day

Hello my friends, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas! I have a couple more blogs to put up around the New Year continuing my series in Kings and then into Job and others. Also: JTI begins a teaching series on the book of Psalms in the new year, notes to be blogged.

2000 years ago God became a man in order to redeem humanity from the curse sin. We celebrate the birth and the arrival of the Messiah on December 25th. This time of year had always exited me ever since I was a kid. Although, now as an adult I can almost feel the pressure of a shopper even though I finished weeks ago. It breaks my heart to see grown ups acting like kids to fight over whatever big toy is selling. Despite the Christmas happiness, this is also a very sad time of the year for some people. Especially those who have lost loved ones. It has been 3 years since my Grandmother passed away. Four years since there was a big family deal at the house. Some family still gathers and visits but it's never the same without Grandma. She had over 25 grandchildren and great grandchildren and knew all their names, birthdays and interests. Truly an amazing woman. But life moves on. As a child, Christmas Eve was a big deal at the Hubbert house. Just about every child and grandchild got to Grandpa and Grandma's house for a huge dinner, gifts and some fun. My grandpa used to own a farm a few minutes outside of town and going to do chores with him became a nice tradition. We used to secret santa among the cousins and buy gifts accordingly. One year my baby cousin (at the time) got me Goofy Movie!! How awesome is that?

Someday I really want to have a family of my own to have similar traditions with. God willing that is not far down the road. Cheers to you this Christmas. Have fun and PLEASE be safe! I celebrate the day where you (Jesus) were born to die so I could one day pray for you to save my life.

PS. If you ever get the chance, go see Handel's Messiah at Center in the Square in downtown Kitchener (or any theatre for that matter). It is a remarkable interpretation of the Messiah. Here is a sneak preview done by the London Symphony Orchestra: Click Here to listen (fyi it is NOT the Hallejuah chorus)
Feliz Navidad!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Social Network Christmas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sghwe4TYY18

This is a social network Christmas, imagine Jesus being born in our texting/tweeting/facebook-ing generation. It's worth a watch, so good.
Feliz Navidad

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

David vs Goliath: Remix

Early in his life, King David had an encounter that's been told by many people, on the green felt board in countless Sunday School classes. 1 Samuel 17 tells the common story of a young shepherd teenager and a 9 and a half foot giant.  Now, when researching this to teach in my Sunday School class some very interesting things.

1. I realized David was READY for Goliath: we're often told that David was this little, lowly, almost cowardly shepherd. However, 1 Samuel 17:32-37 tells us otherwise: But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, he took care of it!

35    I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
36    "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God."
37    And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you."


Think about it: David, as a shepherd was already laying the smackdown on lions and bears (Dwight Schrute would be proud). He showed no fear towards this giant. Seriosuly, knowing God is on your side and protecting you from someone that huge, wouldn't you be the least bit scared?

2. David understood the power of faith: Verses 45-50 give us the conclusion to the climactic story:


45      Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.
46    "This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,
47    and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD's and He will give you into our hands."
48    Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49    And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.
50    Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand.


Say Whaaaaaaat? Yup! David killed the giant! wow! Jesus said in Luke and Matthew that if we have mustard seed sized faith NOTHING is impossible with God.
Goliath made the mistake of underestimating God and David and met his demise.

All of us carry a Goliath in our lives. It can be subtle and it can be obvious. Whatever it is, you can slay it and God will make all things possible. Trust him!!





Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Wisdom of Solomon

King Solomon was considered the wisest man who ever lived, although he had a downfall God was able to use him for great things. Solmon was married to 700 wives and had 300 concubines (basically prostitutes).  That alone can spell trouble. First, being married to THAT many women means you have 700 mother-in-laws (snap) also, poligamy although common back then is just... so wrong and also disputes God's design for marriage. Let'ts look at the dictionary meaning for wisdom:
a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy

Many compare being smart to being wise, but both are very different. Being smart means that you have alot of knowledge, you can be smart and unintelligent.
Wisdom takes action, if we are smart/intelligent then we must prove it. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark,  believing he is going to die decided to celebrate his potentially last birthday in style. He gets drunk in his Iron Man suit, abusing the powers he created. He also endangered lives by using his rocket launcher to impress the ladies (come on guys, would you do the same thing? :P) So, this called for Luitenant James Rhodes don the War Machine suit to battle him. Stark refused help because he was convinced he was dead and had to learn thr hard way after he and War Machine had an epic battle, and later apologized for releasing military drones. Tony had to learn wisdom the hard way.

Solomon ASKED for wisdom in 1 Kings 3, God answered his prayer for it, as long as he did things God's way. There are a few things that is seen in Solomon's wisdom:
1. Wisdom before God enables us to handle the everyday: to understand that life changes. Ecclesiates 3 (written by Solomon)  goes over the various emotions we go through in life.Verses 4-6 tell us that it is actually healthy to let out our emotions (yes guys, it is good to cry contrary to popular belief). When stress enters our lives a chemical called cortisol is released in our bodies in short bursts going to the muscles so we can act and think faster. Nowadays, stress levels are so high that cortisol pumps constantly. One problem: cortisol eats our insides. So... how do we cope with stress? Prayer, finding ways to calm down etc.


2. Wisdom gives us a choice: Proverbs 25 and 26 have little... well.. "proverbs" contrasting life choices.

When God gives us things like wisdom and patience, we are also given opportunites to be wise and patient. So, think of ways we can be loving and patient when we are on the bus, or the person infront of you cuts you off. Think before acting.

Finally (yes, it's been a long blog.... long time since I have been on haha) When it is all said and done, one thing matters to Solomon: Although life and it's pain is temporary, God's love is ETERNAL. We have been put on earth to glorify him and encourage others in the process. I leave you with this:

.Hebrews 12:
1    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3    For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.