Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Training For Success - (a devotional I wrote that was published in Sports Spectrum)

Every professional athlete knows it. To reach his highest potential, he must train his body for success. Did Kobe Bryant, Albert Pujols, or Adrian Peterson get where they are by sitting on the couch eating potato chips? No, of course not! From an early age, these current superstars began training their bodies and minds for success.

Whether they were building up their stamina or toning their muscles, they knew that by training themselves they would dramatically improve their chances of being successful.

Are we taking the necessary steps of becoming successful Christians? Are we reading the Bible and praying? Are we spiritually toning our minds by attending Bible studies and memorizing verses?

A couple of weeks ago, an older friend gave me this analogy. Picture your relationship with God as a milking stool. Each leg on the stool plays a vital part. Take any leg out, the stool will fall. If we don't read the Bible, pray or attend church every week, our relationship with Christ will suffer.

Strive to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ. For in the end, all that will matter are the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

-- Joshua Magnuson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Truth Is...

The truth is that young men of this age are no longer striving to serve God.  They have taken a turn on the straight and narrow path.  Eventually, they will have to lead a younger generation.  Will they be prepared and capable of completing this task? Thoughts For Young Men By J.C. Ryle is written to help young men see the whole picture about eternal things.
Are the ones in leadership now taking the time to encourage and direct the this growing generation?  A vast majority of our youth have not truly accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.  It is imperative that we witness to this age group. So often they disregard the fact that they will stand before an Almighty Maker who will judge them for each and every decision they make.  Without their conversion through Jesus Christ, they will be the same lost generation in forty years as they are right now.
If you do not destroy common dangers, they will destroy you. “Pride is the oldest sin in the world.”  Many well-known people, such as Adam and Satan have fallen prey to this hazardous sin.  They were not willing to release their selfish desires, therefore God punished them for their disobedience.
To a young person, death is a lifetime away.  They live in the moment and only for the moment.  If you decide to give the party life a try, remember every action has a reaction.  These small, unfulfilling pleasures will last for only a short moment.  Ask any victim that has fallen to the love of pleasure, “Did it really satisfy you in the end?”
Countless times in a young man’s life he does not use the three pound brain that God gave him.  God will judge us for every thought, decision, word, and action that we think, decide, say, or do.  For the most part, we sin because we do not think.  Satan cleverly disguises sin and weaves it into our hearts because we are off guard.
When a person does think, sometimes he can overdue it.  Another problem with today’s youth is that they are constantly fearing man’s opinion.  What will people say if I read my Bible or pray in public?  Satan has implanted in the majority of youth the lie that if I act contrary to what God’s Word says, then maybe I will not be accepted.  God wants you to be yourself.  Just obey God’s Word and then you will not have to worry about what other people think.  In the end, it only matters what God thinks of you.
Make sure that you know that there is sin on this earth and that it is more than a small matter.  Sin has plastered a dark covering around this world from top to bottom.  Thankfully Jesus Christ died for all of the sins that we have committed.  It is vital that you begin or maintain a close relationship with our Holy Savior.  If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, I urge you to do so.  Do not grow old and weary, regretting the days you lived on this earth.
If you start serving God when you are young, you will find it much easier to serve God when you are older.  Use God’s Word to guide and instruct your life. Avoid the opportunity to sin and constantly pray asking God for help.
An important lesson that was noted in this book that I struggle with would be, fearing man’s opinion.  For example, it was my first official baseball practice/conditioning of the 2009 season.  I had not thrown all winter, so I knew that I was not supposed to throw hard.  Well, soon it was time to loosen our throwing arms.  I was afraid of what others might think of me including the coach. Instead of throwing softer like I was supposed too, I started throwing very hard (like the other players) so I would be accepted.  I learned that day and was reminded a few days afterwards (by a painful, sore arm) that it doesn’t matter what others think. God is only concerned with the fact that you are trying to please Him.
Throughout the ages God has seemed to notice people like Daniel, David, Samuel and Moses, who decided to serve God at a young age.  Proverbs 14:24 states - “The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.” The ungodly will most assuredly pass on like the seasons that come and go.  But those who have trusted Christ, followed His commandments and tried to live by His standards, will surely live forever.