Friday, September 29, 2006

I wonder

I was just glancing through my notebook of Bible study notes and came across Ephesians 6. It makes me wonder…

I wrote that I saw chapter 6 as a progression from child to parent to bondservant to warrior. I wonder if God folded the Tuesday night Bible study that I was leading so I could become less “parent” and more “bondservant.” The reality is this: in order to have a more fulfilling Christian life, we MUST grow and progress… Not only are we at war RIGHT NOW, but a much greater battle draws nearer everyday.

I take that back. The greatest battle is NOW! We need to win souls!!! The battle that is coming has already been WON! Hallelujah!!! We do need to prepare for war. But everyday we allow to pass without growing in spiritual strength is another day that the enemy gains ground…

We must stop making excuses – we’re weak, we’re shy, we don’t know the Bible…

BAH!

Do you know Jesus? If so, you have direct access to God, The Father, The King of the Universe. So quit making excuses and start praying…

…for strength
…for courage
…for knowledge of the Bible
…for every soul currently bound by the enemy to be freed and become ravenous for God. Pray that these lost souls would find no satisfaction in worldly pleasures, but come face-to-face with someone who knows Jesus who will share the Gospel in an understandable way and that this lost soul will come home. Pray that the lost souls won’t waste another moment, but accept Jesus as Lord and Savior immediately, then proceed to spread the Good News like wildfire!

If you don’t know Jesus, yet, but you managed to find your way to this place and read this entire post, I know that you’re meant to know Him! It’s time to pray. You can say the prayer I’ve included below:

Dear Jesus, I admit that I’m a sinner.
I am sorry for my sin, and I want You to forgive me.
I thank You for dying on the cross so that I can be forgiven.
I ask You to come into my heart right now and change me.
Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Now, you should find a Bible and read the Gospel of John a few times so you can really know how much Jesus loves you. Stop by a Christian Book Store and ask someone there to help you find a Bible that you can enjoy reading. Then find a church you can attend. Don’t be afraid to talk to the Pastors. Ask questions. Look for opportunities to be with other Christians so you can learn about Jesus. Welcome to the family!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Forgive me? Forgive me not...

Forgiveness… How difficult is it to do? Before you answer, consider this:

The Bible doesn’t say we should only forgive certain offenses!!! WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO FORGIVE EVERYTHING!

Think about that…

Murder robbery torture rape betrayal incest cruelty lies infidelity treason assault battery Slander abuse neglect sabotage defamation

I would have a hard time forgiving some of the above. Jesus doesn’t have a hard time with that. It breaks His heart, but He forgives it all.

I recently read “Presumed Guilty” by James Scott Bell. It’s about a mega-church preacher accused of murdering a porn actress. As the story unfolds, you learn that he has had affairs with two women…

Could I forgive? I don’t know, but Jesus can.

…and he’s been addicted to pornography…

I think I could forgive (as long as it wasn’t children…). Don’t misunderstand. I am certainly no saint! I need forgiveness, too…couldn’t live without it.

Are you waiting for a “but…”?

There isn’t one.

As a human being, tainted by sin, I’m incapable of bestowing forgiveness upon any individual whose sins I have the audacity to label “unforgivable”. Thank God that Jesus lives in me!

His death on the cross forgave all sins. Say that aloud a few times…until you really believe it. ALL SINS!

It doesn’t change the fact that I hate being lied to; or that I’d be tempted to divorce my husband if I found out that he’d had an affair. But I hope that the Lord would remind me that, even though these things injure my pride, they can be forgiven. We just need to allow Jesus to do the forgiving through us.

Hallelujah!

After all, if He can forgive me, who am I to deny forgiveness to anyone else?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blameless Life - Psalm 15:4

Today’s world doesn’t lend itself to the behavior spoken of in Psalm 15:4. We do what is considered politically correct. We are silenced in the name of tolerance. Jesus wasn’t cruel when He spoke the truth to the people He encountered. He genuinely loved them. He didn’t belittle them based on their sin to make Himself feel better. He knew who He was. It’s time we realize who we are:

We are princes and princesses. My Father is the King of the Universe! What does your Daddy do? If you’re reading this, I would venture to say He is the great I Am!

Loathe, Despise and Hate

Are we really supposed to hate anything as Christians? I was plagued by this question a few years ago. I struggled with some very serious “hate” issues. One of the women in my Bible study group suggested I do a word study on “hate”. I did the same with the word “despised.” I found 50 verses that contained the word. Here are a few of them. Look up these verses and note the context of each use of the word “despised.” Remember that the version of the Bible you are using may not translate the original Hebrew as “despised,” but it will be something close. (Genesis 25:34, 2 Samuel 6:16, Psalm 15:4, Ecclesiastes 9:16, Isaiah 53:3)

Alright, back to my original question: are Christians really supposed to hate? Look up the word despise. It doesn’t mean “hate”. After looking up several words to clarify the meaning of “despise,” I’ve come to the following conclusion. It means to look upon as inferior. All of this research can seem pretty complicated and time-consuming, but I did say earlier that you’ll get more out of your study time if you’re willing to put more into it.

To continue building on this, we are to despise that which is vile. What does vile mean? It is something disgusting. So we are to look at disgusting things as inferior. We’ve already established that despise doesn’t mean hate. But we are instructed in Psalm 15:4 to look down upon that which has been rejected by God. It has no place in our lives. It doesn’t deserve our time or consideration. I think this is summed up pretty well by Psalm 101:3. Look up this verse.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The word “honor” is mentioned 161 times in the NIV Bible. It means respect and esteem. When we respect God, He honors us with blessings. He shows us respect by giving us great responsibility. When we chase after what is right, we find respect. Being humble is a prerequisite for obtaining respect.

I hope you already have a healthy understanding of respect. I pray you give it to your spouse, your pastor and your boss. I pray you get it from your kids. What are some ways people have honored you? How have you esteemed others?

Don’t forget that the key to success in this area of blameless living is humility. Can you see a pattern? We gain respect by being humble. As God’s chosen people, we should be truly humble. Humility comes with wisdom. Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord brings honor. The key to being truly humble lies in honoring, esteeming and respecting God.

So, let’s evaluate ourselves. Do you currently obey Psalm 15:4 and respect those who fear the Lord? Why or why not?

It’s all about love. The command to honor those who love the Lord goes hand-in-hand with loving your brother. The Word says that we will be known by our love for one another. So, if we’re not honoring each other, we’re not only disobeying the Word of God, we are not recognizable as Christians! I don’t know about you, but I want people to see Jesus in me and be drawn to Him.

A Promise Is A Promise

Do you know anyone who kept their word, even when it hurt them to do so? Hello, McFly. (That phrase kind of gets lost if you can’t imagine me knocking on my own forehead!) Jesus did! Duh…the cross!

How would you feel about someone who made a promise to you, then failed to keep it? Would you have a difficult time trusting that person to do what they say in the future? Would it have made any difference if they had communicated their difficulties to you better? Have you ever let someone down in this way? If so, what could you do to change your behavior and become more reliable?


Memorize on… Psalm 15:4.