Saturday, January 21, 2012

Breakfast at sea

I'm taking a break right now. I'm the meantime, enjoy this Navy photo.

ARABIAN SEA (Jan. 18, 2012) -- Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Charles Tudor prepares breakfast in the aft galley aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Instead of giving up, trials teach greater reliance on God

Christians aren’t those who easily "throw in the towel." If there's one constant in life, it's that trials beset us throughout our short lives. God never guaranteed a life of comfort. Instead He gave trials as an opportunity to grow our faith.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials," James said in the first chapter of his letter to the Dispersion, "knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3, NKJV).

James' charge to "Count it all joy" can easily leave a sour taste in our mouths, especially when we look at it from an inward point of view. The hardships of life bring tears, pain (both physical and spiritual) and broken hearts. These ordeals can leave a distasteful view of life in our hearts when we don't guard our hearts.

When I read at this passage, I'm fully convinced that God uses trials to teach us to persevere. God teaches us to endure until the end. Instead of throwing in the towel, we keep at it until we enter His rest. Christians need this endurance because some trials last for years, and on to the end of life.

The joy we experience doesn't grow out of the symptoms. The pain and heartaches are real. Instead, joy comes when we realize that our faith will grow stronger as we work through each trial. God promises to give liberal amounts of wisdom (see James 1:5-8) to counter the effects of the trials. This joy helps us through these ordeals of life.

Out of these trials grows a greater reliance on God. Trials teach us to trust God more and more. Instead of enhanced self-reliance, trials sharpen our reliance on God. Patience has a way of making us complete and ready to serve the Lord.

Are we those who throw in the towel? No way! Trials boost our faith in a way few other events in life can. God uses them mold in us an attitude of waiting. Not all trials are joyful. Joy comes because we realize our faith will be strengthened.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Begin the New Year by worshiping God

Let us begin the New Year by worshiping God each week. It's a blessing that 2012 begins on the first day of the week, the day that the early saints assembled for worship. This article is transcribed from the bulletin of the East Foothill Church of Christ in San Jose. It was written by Lalo Enriquez (my father-in-law).
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-24 (NKJV)
It's the first Sunday, the first day of the year. And Christians are gathered together to begin it by worshiping God -- in spirit and truth, according to His precious Word. Hallelujah! Praise God for His goodness and for this New Year.

To a true Christian, one guided only by God's inspired Word, Sunday worship is not just an exercise in ritualism. It is an occasion of specific obedience to God as outlined in Scripture. Included is fellowship with God and with His fellow children in things such as the Lord's supper, prayer, song, Bible study, sacrificial giving and meditation upon our future home in heaven.

To faithful and grateful Christians, nothing could be finer than to begin the first Sunday and first day of the year by assembling with the Lord and with those of like precious faith. What a privilege! What a way to begin the year! May God bless us all with a happy and prosperous New Year of 2012.