Like A Chess Board

Like a chest board

 

My daughter Eliana (who is 11) came to me with a post idea.  She shared what she wanted to write about; as her father, I said it sounded great. The next morning she had written what you see below; her post, her idea, and done with almost no editing. May you find this as much of a blessing as I did. 

Hi guys! This is Eliana, Richard Hartian’s daughter. I have just a couple of thoughts I would like to share with you.

You are probably like most of us and just plain dead sick of this world and how much farther and farther away it’s growing from Christ. Well, you aren’t alone in this at all. I’m only eleven (don’t know half of what’s going on in this world) and am already pretty disgusted (and I’m not disgusted easily).

But we must not get discouraged; we have eternal life to look forward to!

Think of life as a chess board with God the Father being the King, God the Son being the Queen (please no remarks;-)), and the Holy Spirit being the Knight, Who is the tiny voice in your head warning you against things that might harm you.

We, the Christians, are the pawns leading the other side’s pawns to Christ (capturing).

The one who only goes diagonal (sorry, don’t know chess terms) is the one with a disability or problem, but still ends up being one of the most important in the team. The castle is the new christian that is so fired up about Christ and ready to do anything! He/she runs ahead to get done what the Lord wants them to do, hits a trial, and gets led astray.

I think I’ve covered most there. So, now we’re going to take a quick peak at the opponent’s base.

The Devil is the king for that side – he has his demons be the queen and knight.

All the pawns are the people on earth who aren’t Christians. Their job is to lead Christians astray (capturing).

The chess board is the world, our life is like a chess board – sometimes we’re feeling on top! But other times we’re feeling like we’re getting beaten really bad.

To wrap this up I would like to say if you aren’t a Christian, pick your side – to follow God the Creator, or Satan, who has no chance against the almighty, infinite God. If you chose God, then great!

Just one more thing you need to know. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus was born and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” So, that means if you chose God, then say this prayer out loud.
“Dear God, I recognize that have sinned and need a savior. I am sorry for all I have done. Amen.”

There! It’s done! You are a Christian and my sister/brother in Christ! You are now a member of God’s wonderful family!
You will have eternal life in heaven with no pain or sorrow!
God bless.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please leave your questions and comments below.

How Do I Know God Better? A List of Ways To Know Who God Is.

How Do I Know God?

Who is God? People come to be aware of God in many ways; but how do you really know God better? There is a difference between merely being aware of God and knowing Him.

God promises us that if you seek Him, you will find Him. So, if you truly want to know your Creator, search for Him.

  • I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. – Proverbs 8:17
  • This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:3-4

God’s Word tells us in the first chapter of John, verse 1, “In the Beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” In verse 14, we are told that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

So if you want to know God, you have to spend time with what God gave us to know Him.

But first, let’s take a look at a list of ways that we try to know God that fail apart from the one way God Himself gave us to know Him. Don’t get me wrong, this list is filled with wonderful things and what we consider “godly activities.” As a Christian, this list represents things that we have in our life because we already know God and have accepted His Son as our Savior. They come naturally as a result of who we are and who we are becoming.

Sadly, for those who want to know God, this list represents works; things we do because we often feel like we “should” do them. They do not reveal God to us apart from daily reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word. All too often we confuse these things as ways God reveals Himself to us. Take a look at the list and notice that many of them are things that we do “to God,” “for God,” or “about God.”

  • Listening to godly music
  • Talking to or about God
  • Singing songs about God
  • Singing songs to God
  • Donating time to help others
  • Volunteering at church
  • Belonging to a church
  • Socializing with godly people
  • Reading books about God
  • Leading a small group
  • Having the title of pastor, elder or deacon
  • Tithing to a church
  • Donating to a Christian group

When a person truly knows God, this list takes on a new meaning and becomes worship to the God we know. It then has a different affect on our spirit and relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit, who lives in a believer (2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 3:16).

Here are the ways given to us by God to know Him:

  • Read from a Bible that is a literal translation of God’s Word. It must be translated from the original Hebrew and Greek.  I tend to prefer the English Standard Version (ESV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the Amplified (AMP) translations of the Bible. I also have the Holman Christian Standard that was given to me by Ravi Zacharias.
    • Jesus said that God would send the Holy Spirit to help you remember what He said. You have to know, (read and memorize) God’s Word in order for the Holy Spirit to help you understand and remember God’s Words –  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
    • “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
    • “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – 1 John 2:3-4
    • “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63
  • Memorize God’s Word – When we memorize God’s Word we are hiding it in our heart (Psalm 119:11); where it helps to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), heal us (1 Peter 2:24), keep us from sin (Psalm 119:11), and allows us to be ready (1 Peter 3:15) to share God’s salvation message (John 3:16).
    • “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
    • “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11
    • How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9
  • Ask God to reveal Himself while you spend time reading and memorizing God’s Word.
  • Taking God’s Word and allowing it to change your life by actively changing what you do and how you respond to life’s situations –
    • “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

When you think about it, God really has made it easy for someone to know Him. He wrote everything He wanted us to know about Him in the Bible. He reveals His plan for us and tells us who He is.

If you really want the life changing message that God has to offer, I challenge you to try the following in your life; I can say from experience, God will show up for you.

  1. How can I really know God better?Start and end your day in God’s Word – devotionals do not count.
  2. Pray to God what you are reading. As an example, using Proverbs 8:17 Pray, “Dear heavenly Father, your Word says that if I seek you diligently that I will find You. Lord please help me to know how to seek You in the way You would want me to.  God, I ask that the promise You give in Proverbs 8:17 be realized in my life and that I find You in such a way that it changes me to be more like the person You created me to be.”
  3. Don’t watch more TV than the time you are willing to read, study, and memorize God’s Word.
  4. Take notes (journal) about what God is revealing about Himself, His character and desires for you. Spend time thinking about what affect this has on your life, and work towards making changes in your life based on what you are learning.

Be blessed by how God works in your life as you diligently seek Him by reading, studying, and memorizing His Word.

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I believe in God our Father

I believe in God the Father, I believe in Christ the Son

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in One
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe In the Name of Jesus

Lyrics credit This I Believe (The Creed) [Live] – No Other Name (Deluxe Edition) [Live]

 

What Does Seeking First The Kingdom of God Look Like?

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you

When Jesus says to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you,” He is in the middle of instructing us (Matt 6:25-34) about worry and anxiousness.  Jesus goes right to the root of what we worry about – life, food, clothing, shelter.  It is the daily struggle of survival and what we tend to put before our relationship with God and His Son. Often times those things drive me.

For me, Jesus’s statement (some would say it is a commandment) to “seek the kingdom first and His righteousness” tests the level of my faith. I am constantly asking myself, “Do I really believe this? More over, do I really believe that if I put seeking God’s kingdom first, that God Himself will take care of these things in my life?”

Can I (and you) change what we consider important to actually put seeking the kingdom of God before work, family and ourselves? Do we have that kind of faith?

What does that look like?

  • Reading and memorizing God’s Word
  • Taking what we have read and memorized and asking, “How does my life need to change based on what God’s Word says?”
  • Being on our knees in prayer with God
  • Seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt
  • Actively sharing the gospel with those that are lost

Christ tells us that if we seek the kingdom of God first, and His righteousness, that He will provide these things. Christ tells us that God does this for the birds of the air and that we are more important than they (Matt 6:6). Christ tells us that being anxious cannot add a single hour to our life (Matt 6:27). Christ tells us that God clothes the lilies and grass of the field and that He will clothe us; He questions our faith in God (Matt 6:30).

And lastly, Christ tells us to not be anxious (Matt 6:31) and that God knows what we need (Matt 6:32). Christ says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” and ends with a wonderful memory verse – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:34)

Where are you at with seeking the kingdom first? Do you struggle with the faith to believe that God knows what you need and will provide it?

Additional Scripture:

Luke 12:31 – Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Matthew 19:28 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Proverbs 10:3 – The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked

 

Bible Verses for Dealing with Anxiety and Fear – My Journey

Just over three years ago, my life changed dramatically. Up until that time, I was unaware that stress and anxiety were boiling inside of me. I was one of “those guys” that didn’t believe I could be affected by anxiety. I thought I was too tough or strong for something like anxiety. I never saw it coming; truth is, when it did come, I didn’t believe it. My wife saw it, but neither of us would have guessed the magnitude of what life can become when anxiety takes over.

Bible Verses for Dealing with Anxiety and FearLooking back, I can see 3 things that I did right from the beginning that were essential for healing:

  1. I started to journal everyday.
  2. I read and studied the Bible every day.
  3. I prayed all the time, and did not hold back my feelings or thoughts from God.

The stress or anxiety or fear – whatever you want to call it was unbearable and continuous. It completely debilitated me. I could not sleep, I could not work, I could not eat.

Righteous Anger and Suffering, A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I stumbled hard over the last two months.  Consider this my confession.

Romans 12 Ever burn with anger and frustration at the injustice of something or someone?  It’s a feeling that I have become very familiar with over the last 8 weeks or so.  I had gotten to the point of being so frustrated that the situation had consumed a large portion of my thought life. Planning what I would do, how I could be heard, how I could make it right.

Truth is, I have the ability to think about things and carry on entire conversations (arguments) in my mind – if this, then that. Like a chess players thinks 10-14 moves ahead.  I’m sure that you have this ability too.

What Does The Bible Say About Angels?

What does the Bible say about AngelsPeople have always been interested in angels. I can think of three television series with the/a main character being an angel. Many misconceptions about angels are spread through the entertainment industry. I’m not trying to slam them for this because they are in the entertainment business. And entertainment does not have to be fact. We all know this but it seems without knowledge of reality, our entertainment becomes our view of reality.

In movies and TV, angels are sometimes portrayed as former humans, sent back to earth to do good deeds to,   ”Earn their wings.”  Images of angels with wings or halos or harps are common, and their personalities are very human, sometimes with dispositions that exhibit emotional thinking, uncertainty and tempt able weakness. Good stuff for entertainment but not for anything more than that.

Resolve – Our New Year’s Resolution

resolve
For some reason, New Year’s Day has become a time for making resolutions. That is, making a decision to change something in our life for the better. So, this week many of us have started to do something we have been putting off, or are trying to stop doing what we wish we did not do. For a while, gyms will be busier and not as many cigarettes will be smoked and fewer calories will be consumed and many other good things. New Year’s resolutions are always good for us. Well, at least I never have heard of anyone resolving to start a bad habit. But I’ve seen that most resolutions are only for a while.

Why is doing what is good for us so hard and doing what’s bad come naturally? Jesus told us the answer. He taught us that, “The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.” The specific instance was the inability for the twelve, minus Judas, to stay awake and pray. Even though Jesus had just asked them to watch and pray, “Lest they fall into temptation”, they still fell asleep. [Mat. 26:36-45]. The bible often points out that the urges of the physical body, if followed, will lead us to failure.

Hidden Sin and The Way Out

It happened again; the fallout from hidden sin caught up to another friend. This time a wife lost her husband to a 20 year jail sentence.  I’ve broken bread with these people across the globe in places like Oxford, England and Mexico. We have prayed and worshiped together.  We shared life together.  My wife, Bonnie, and I love this couple.  Yet during this whole time, there was hidden sin.

The cost of hidden sinSin is destructive, and when it’s hidden it can grow and consume us.  Sin destroys lives and relationships. It attaches to our desires and leads us to death (James 1:15).

Whatever the sin, there is a cost.  It costs you and those around you.  David’s sin eventually (a year later) cost him his wives and children. It also took the lives of over 70,000 men that directly paid the price with their lives (2 Samuel 12:11-14, 2 Samuel 13:28, 2 Samuel 24:15)

The Christmas Story

 The Christmas StoryOur nation will soon be commemorating the birth of our savior Jesus. I think that whenever our country wants to celebrate something good it is a good thing. And the birth of Jesus is a very good thing. So great is the fact of His birth that it is the central point in time! We count years from His birth, time being reckoned either before or after Christ’s birth. Ironically, the birth of Jesus probably occurred about 3 B.C. according to most scholars.

Mathew, Luke and John all write about the events surrounding the Messiah’s birth but each account preserves different information for us. John’s record is short and sublime, focusing on the amazing fact that God entered the world, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us….full of grace and truth.” Mathew and Luke give us more of the human interest information that we all can relate to because they are very human circumstances indeed. Because both of these writers record different facts, there is a need to harmonize them into chronological order.