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Saturday, November 1, 2008
Yet the Holy Bible, which should be considered THE authority on the subject of God and eternal life is often not considered the authority at all.
Isn't our world strange?
Friday, October 31, 2008
Get together a group of Christian moms and ask them about Halloween and you'll get as many different answers as there are women. Some adamantly are against it as the devil's day. Others don't trick or treat, but do alternate "Fall Festivals" complete with costumes and candy. Finally, there are some that say "it's all in fun" and anything goes.
I don't know where I fall. On one hand, I trick or treated as a kid. I loved it! I love Jesus a lot and don't see how I was scarred by trick or treating. At the same time, the bible says to avoid every kind of evil, and that witch craft is evil.
This is one of those gray areas. Another is shows like "Wizards of Waverly Place" and books like "Harry Potter." They are about witchcraft, so I don't let my kids watch them. But I watched Bewitched as a kid, loved it, and played wiggling my nose to create magic spells. It was fun and pretend. Of course, we also pretended to smoke, complete with candy cigarettes! But today I am a non-smoker (and have never smoked). So where do you draw the line?
Some churches recommend using Halloween as an evangelism tool, giving out Christian tracts along with candy. Remember what is meant for evil, God can turn for good. Another idea I got from Susan at Learning for Lifetime was a reverse trick of treat. You can read about that here.
Finally, I encourage all of you to read Romans 14. It is an excellent example of folks believing different things in Christ (some eat meat, some don't). I believe you could insert "celebrate Halloween" in these verses to get the same result. Verse 13 sums up the chapter when it says "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
This is a controversial subject. I'd love to hear what your family does in conjunction with Halloween. What I encourage everyone to do, it not to judge their neighbors decisions to participate or not. Listen to God's prompting for your family life, and make your decisions accordingly.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 -- Avoid every kind of evil.
Galatians 5:19-21 -- The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:37 -- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Bloggy friends Truth for the Journey and My ADHD Me were also there. Patterson 5 was on the guest list, but was home with a sick little one. Two non-bloggie friends (Stacy & Gwen) were there with us as well. We wish YOU could have been there too.
I am a social gal and thrive on friendships and fellowship. God created us in his image, and I see that I am like him in this regard. God created Adam. He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). So then came Eve. Throughout the bible we see the importance of relationships.
David's best friend was Jonathan. The bible shares of their close friendship in 1 Samuel 18 - 20. Jonathan loved David "as himself." (Love your neighbor as yourself.)
Even Jesus who was perfect desired fellowship with his disciples. He didn't go through his ministry alone, but had close friends. Simon was one of his closest friends, whom Jesus called "the rock I will build my church on." (Matthew 16:17-19) John was another good friend. John called himself "the disciple Jesus loved." (in John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7 and 21:20. I picture John wearing this shirt.)
But even in a relationship with Jesus, there were troubles. Many times Jesus' disciples didn't understand what he was saying. In John 6, they say "this is hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Yet, they admit there was no where else to go, Jesus had the words of eternal life. Other times, they let Jesus down...sleeping when he asked them to pray for him before his crucifixion, and of course Simon denying Jesus three times.(Matthew 26)
I know I've let my friends down at times, yet they are still still my friends. They've stood beside me in bad times and in good. I am so thankful to have them to help me celebrate the good times this week.
So today my encouragement for you is to make a friend, be a friend, and have fun with a friend! I had fun with mine! Since you bloggy friends couldn't be there, I leave you with this quote from 3 John 1:14, "I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name."
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
The funny thing is, when writing about the text, Edie skips over the text "Therefore, I urge you, brothers." My pastor once told me whenever you see the word THEREFORE, you need to stop and ask "What is it THERE FOR?" To do that, you must read what comes before.
Romans 11 tells of God's mercy. God originally came for Israel. He did not reject his people, rather they rejected him. So now gentiles were offered grace, "grafted in" Paul says. We were not part of the originally plant (or plan). But because of the rejection by the Jewish people, gentiles were included. My study bible further explains that God's merciful plan to include the gentiles in his great salvation plan should humble them, not fill them with arrogance. Israel's hardening to Jesus is partial, not total; and temporary, not permanent.
In 11:22 it tells of the kindness and sternness of God. My study bible says "Any adequate doctrine of God must include these two elements. When we ignore his kindness, God seems a ruthless tyrant; when we ignore his sternness, he seems a doting father." This seems like the perfect example of God, kind yet stern; loving yet just.
"THEREFORE" - in view of God's mercy ...God has been merciful to us gentiles by grafting us in, where we don't belong, so much more so we should be changed because of it. "Transformed by the renewing of our minds."
So, have you been transformed? Or do you take this merciful gift God gave, (a gift meant for Israel, but given to us gentiles because of mercy,) for granted? I admit, I do. I take for granted that Jesus died - a horrible death - for ME. For YOU. We so readily accept the grace that we forget the price. So today I urge you to focus on God's mercy.
We have been allowed where we don't belong. We have "all access back stage passes" so that we can go where others can't. We can be with God in heaven. We can have eternal life. We aren't groupies, we are invited guests. Because of the mercy of the host...the Heavenly Host.
Dear God, thank you for your great mercy. Forgive me for so callously accepting the gift of eternal life. Let my life be transformed by you, so that I may be able to know your will and apply it in my life. In Jesus name, amen.