Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics



 



Hot topic of the week


Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

What do YOU think?


Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus


Miranda Writes: Spiritual Physical, Part 1




by by Omar Miranda



When I was a kid, I hated to have alcohol put on my cuts. It stung! But I knew that in the end, it was for my own good. I endured it because I knew that if I didn’t do it, I might get a serious infection and the intervention would have to be more severe (also, my father had me in a hammerlock!). Now, get ready for these “Spiritual Physical” articles to sting some. Read, reflect, pray, and change if you need to! Hopefully God won’t have to intervene in a more serious way to get your attention (remember King Nebbi?).

Second Corinthians 13:5 says: “Test yourselves and find out if you really are true to your faith. If you pass the test, you will discover that Christ is living in you. But if Christ isn’t living in you, you have failed” (CEV).¹

Straightforward, isn’t it? So have you failed? Do you pass the test? Here’s the bottom line: if Christ is in you, then you’re a Christian, and if Christ is not in you, then you’re not a Christian. So how do you know that Christ is in you and you’re in Christ? Well, that’s what we’re talking about for the next several weeks. In my own life and in the lives of many other Christians, I have noticed a tendency to relax our collective love and devotion to God. When we first come to Jesus, we are fervent, fiery, and focused. But as life, sin, the devil, and the world take their toll on us, it can be easy to get lazy. So, just as it’s important to get a physical examination on a consistent basis, it’s even more important that we take a spiritual physical!

So are you ready? Get ready for Jesus to cut deep . . . and when you’re in the middle of it all and you’re wondering when the pain will end, remember, God is doing it for your own good to give you an authentic, lasting, and eternal relationship with Him.

There are four key questions that you need to keep in mind as you read for the next several weeks:

Are you really saved?

Have you truly been converted?

Can you lose your salvation?

Are you daily remaining converted and saved?

Also, I have observed that in my experience, a true conversion—aka “salvation experience”—is marked by four distinct attitudes and behavioral habits:
Obedience to the precepts and principles of right living that God has clearly laid out in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy (the writings of Ellen White) and to what God’s Holy Spirit impresses upon your mind.

A changed life as observed by confession and repentance of old sinful patterns of living and a replacement of them with right thoughts, motivations, speech, interests, and behaviors.

A genuine and sincere motivation and struggle to turn away from those things that would make God sad and to live a life that is marked by obedience to God and a genuine and sincere hatred of the things that God hates.

When an individual does sin, he or she has a sober, sorrowful, and broken attitude toward that sin and an immediate confession and repentance in order to minimize hurt and pain toward Jesus and that intimate relationship that He has built with that person.

In Psalm 119:9-11 the psalmist says: “Young people can live a clean life by obeying your word. I worship you with all my heart. Don’t let me walk away from your commands. I treasure your word above all else; it keeps me from sinning against you” (CEV). The only way we can stay on the “straight and narrow,” so to speak, is to be obedient to the precepts and principles found in God’s Word, the Bible. How do we do that? Through serious Bible study and Bible memorization. Are you studying and memorizing the Bible every day? A little every day goes a long way. You don’t need any weird or expensive plans, just a 3˝ x 5˝ card or a sticky note with a verse or a passage of Scripture on it that you can look at when you have down time. For example, when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to see the doc, or just brushing your teeth (I hope you’re brushing your teeth every day . . . eewwwww).

The psalmist continues this focus by saying, “When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders” (Psalm 119:59, 60, Message).² Someone who is truly wanting to have a deeper relationship with Jesus will do two things:

They will think deeply about what God is saying and examine their thoughts, motives, and behaviors in light of that.

If they or God finds a problem, they will seek to make it right with God ASAP.
David explains in Psalm 51:16, 17: “Offerings and sacrifices are not what you want. The way to please you is to feel sorrow deep in our hearts. This is the kind of sacrifice you won’t refuse” (CEV). Remember, David wasn’t asking forgiveness from God because he stole someone’s iPod—he slept with someone else’s wife, orchestrated a cover-up, and murdered her husband in the process! David was serious about asking for God’s forgiveness and being sorry, aka repentant. God wants us to be deeply sorrowful when we injure Him with our sin. He wants more than words and actions; He wants the motivations of our hearts to be pure and right. He wants us to apologize for how we’ve injured our relationship with Him, not to be sorry just that we got busted!
We’ve just begun to introduce this topic. Next week we’ll look at what God has to say about the importance of not playing with cold-blooded sin, and the importance of carrying the Christian cross. 

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,

Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

    ¹Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
    ²Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

 





Top | Home