Monday, July 30, 2012

Giving to Those We Don't Care For

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?  for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye?  for sinners also do even the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?  for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Luke, Chapter 6, verses 31-36.
God is telling us He wants us to be nice, considerate and giving to everyone, especially those who aren’t nice, considerate and giving to us.  He says it’s easy to be giving to people who are nice to us, so that’s not very difficult.  We are really doing a bigger thing when we are giving to those we don’t care for, those who aren’t nice to us or those who don’t look like people we would ever associate with.  I can’t say I always do this, but I pray that God gives me the willingness to be the example that He wants me to be to others, especially those I’m reluctant to interact with.

This noteworthy conversation is with Annie, a blogger friend.
(Debbie) You often say God is Sovereign. I'm not exactly sure what that means when you say it that way. Would you mind explaining it to me? 
Annie: "The sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God's rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission.  If you read the first two chapters of Job you will see that God allowed Satan to test Job (God knew Job would remain faithful).  Even though God allowed Satan to test Job, God also put limits on Satan as to how far he could go.  In other words, God has Satan on a leash.  He can go no further than God allows.  In Psalm 139 we see that we can go nowhere to hide from God. God sees us not only in the present, but has knitted us together in our mother's womb and planned every single day of our lives before we were born.  He also numbered our days and even determined the places we would live (Acts 17:26-28).  He knows when we get up and when we sit down. He knows the number of hairs on our head. (He must also keep track when we lose some) as I am getting thin in one spot.  He knows what is best for us because He can see the end from the beginning and everything inbetween.  Even in answering prayer, we wonder why some things take so long to see an answer?  God is probably arranging all the details to bring His answer together.  We know He often uses others and even certain situations to answer some prayers.  Just think how amazing even this little bit of information is!  There is so much more to His sovereignty that is in the Bible and probably even more to get to know when we get to heaven.  It is amazing enough that Jesus is keeping the Sun from getting to close or too far away from the earth. Too far away and we freeze. Too close and we burn. This is not to even mention keeping planets, stars, and all that the universe is filled with from crashing into each other.  I don't think our minds are capable, in our human body, to even come near to fully understanding all the amazing attributes, the sovereignty, the omnipotence, the omnipresence, and omniscience of God. 
   Just think of all the languages in the world and people praying from all over the world in all different languages at the same time and God listening to them all at the same time in hundreds of different languages.  This is while holding the world and the universe together and watching us.  Boggling...I cannot even wrap my mind around it, can you?  To look at a medical pictures of the human organs and the vessels and the systems of the body etc., and not see an amazing, intelligent designer?  Impossible!  How can anyone believe in evolution or any of this happening by accident?
             Even more amazing is the fact that God knows I will mess up down the road but He doesn't stop loving me, nor does He give up on me.  He knows I am but dust, so has given us the Holy Spirit to empower and enable and direct us.  On top of this He has given us the throne of grace (Hebrews) to go to, to confess and receive forgiveness for daily sins, encourages us to "press on" walking by the Spirit.
 What I have told you about the sovereignty of God is very little compared to what the entire Bible holds. And what the entire Bible holds is probably very little compared to what we will find out about one day in heaven." You can see Annie's blog at:

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections below under comments. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Little Respect and a Smile or Two

Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. Luke, Chapter 6, verse 30.

I think God wants us to give freely to those in need.  I’m not sure about the interpretation of the second part of this passage.  I have taken it to be an answer to a dilemma I have with giving to others.  I think there is a fine line between empowering and enabling.  There are times when a person gives to others and it empowers them, giving them a hand-up to be the best they can be.  Then there are times where you give to others and it creates an enabling dependency that is counterproductive and isn’t healthy for that person.  So I don’t give to people I think are going to use the money to buy another bottle or to people who are deliberately trying to take advantage of me or scam me.
I’m not sure that’s what the second part of this passage was really saying and I apologize if I’m misleading anyone, but that’s the way I have taken it.  A good rule of thumb is to trust the instincts that God gives you.  I try to let those instincts guide me in giving.  Don’t forget giving isn’t only of our money.  Sometimes giving is by treating others with respect or taking the time to listen to their story whether you’ve heard similar stories a million times over.  Giving of your time by being there for someone else when they need someone in their corner can be a much more powerful thing than any monetary gift.  Sometimes people who are down and out just need a hand-up, a little respect and a smile or two.
(As I read this passage while I’m editing the book, I wonder if God doesn’t want us to give even if we think someone is going to buy another bottle.  Who are we to say whether our kindness might leave a positive impact on that person which goes far beyond anything we might ever realize.  As I said originally, trust the instincts that God gives you on this subject.  Those will be right for your situation.)

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage. Debbie

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 
Please put your cursor on comments below and click to share your opinions. Thanks! Debbie

Monday, July 23, 2012

Prayers from the Bathroom

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.  Luke, Chapter 6, verses 27-29.

I used to get caught up in being angry and resentful when people were rude or insensitive to me.  I can’t say that I don’t ever get caught up in those human emotions anymore.  Fortunately, these passages will pop into my mind in the middle of those feelings.
I realize that God wants me to pray for these people rather than waste my time being angry with them.  I think anger can be a very counterproductive emotion, at times.  I remember a time when I was working under a very insensitive-demanding supervisor.  I was almost to the point of tears at work when I went into the bathroom because I didn’t want anyone to see me crying.  This passage popped into my mind, so I prayed for the supervisor and for God to bless her.  I was only expecting God to make me feel better so I could leave the restroom without anyone realizing I had been crying.
When I left the bathroom after saying that quick prayer, not only did I feel relieved but the supervisor was much nicer to me.  I really wasn’t expecting that to happen.  Since it happened this way the first time, I have gone to the bathroom to pray many times over the years.  Every time I have done this, the situation was much better afterward.  It’s amazing to see how God is personally involved in our lives.
It’s important that I do not respond to these people in like manner.  Coming back with an equally hateful or insensitive remark isn’t being the example God wants me to be of how He works in my life.  When I pray for these people, I’m putting them in God’s very capable hands.  Actually, it would be wonderful if these hurtful or rude people would have their lives turned around by God who can cause miraculous changes in anyone.
Here are some related passages:
*Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.  Romans, Chapter 12, verse 14.
*Recompense to no man evil for evil.  Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Romans, Chapter 12, verses 17-18. 
*Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans, Chapter 12, verses 20-21.  There is also a similar passage in Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 44.
*And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak, also.  And whosoever shalt compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away.  Matthew, Chapter 5, verses 40-42.
*The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.  If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?  Matthew, Chapter 10, verses 24-25.

Because this an example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 
Share by clicking on comments below. Thanks! Debbie

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Are We Fishers?

And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s and prayed Him that He would thrust out a little from the land.  And He sat down and taught the people out of the ship.  Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy Word I will let down the net.  And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.  And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. Luke, Chapter 5, verses 3-10.

Jesus impressed me when He turned the work of these three gentlemen from being fishers, who supply man’s human needs, to being fishers of men, who supply man’s spiritual needs.  I think Jesus wants us to be fishers of men, too.  We need to each listen to the instincts that He gives us about this so we can do His will.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Living Life in the Fast Lane

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at , or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.  Mark 13, verses 33-37.  There is a similar passage in Luke, Chapter 12, verses 42-47.

This passage helps me realize that I’m supposed to live the life God wants, all the time.  I could have a more self-involved attitude where I wanted to be worldly now, focusing my time and attention on earning the most I could, attending all-night parties, living life in the fast lane, with heavy drinking and recreational drugs, thinking I could focus my attention on my faith later on in life.
I might not ever get a second chance to do that.  I could be in an accident five minutes from now or the world could end.  Who knows?  Only God does and I may never get another chance to turn my life around.
Do you think the owner will continue to employ the servant who fell asleep while he was supposed to guard the owner’s home?  I doubt it.  Well, God wants us to live the life of a Christian all the time, not sometime later, when we feel like settling down a little more.  That time may never come.
This is in no way meant to imply people who have lived their lives in the fast lane can’t go to heaven.  The operative word is “lived.”  This means the person has made a choice to change their life around because of their faith in Jesus and start living the life of a Christian.  None of us knows when God is going to come for us, so we can’t put off these choices indefinitely.  We need to put a lot of prayerful thought into whether we think God would be pleased with the life we are leading?
Here are some related passages:
*Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  Matthew 24, verses 35-36.
*Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Matthew, Chapter 24, verses 42-51.
*Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.  Matthew, Chapter 25, verse 13.

7/22/12 I have some new insights to add to this contrary to the comment that I originally posted:
The recent events in Aurora, Colorado have been on my mind in relation to these passages. I recently read in Romans 7 about what the Apostle Paul said in verses 20-25. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
If the Apostle Paul struggled with trying to live the life that God wants and found himself doing sinful things he wished he didn't do, we should draw hope from this. If Paul has salvation through Christ, because of his belief in the salvation provided by the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus, I would assume that those who live in the fast lane and have an active relationship with Jesus as their Savior also have salvation-not that I can determine who has salvation or not.
My point was that some people living in the fast lane may put off developing a relationship with Christ and may never get another chance.  Does that mean that if we have a relationship with Christ and we smoke, party, do drugs, etc. we won't be saved? Fortunately, we have a very loving and forgiving God, but the previous passages make me prayerful about trying to ensure my lifestyle choices are aligned with God's will for me. Debbie Seiling

Because this an example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not Just a "Holiday Christian"

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke, Chapter 2, verse 7.

Royalty usually are shown living in castles or expensive mansions.  I think it’s difficult for today’s royalty to move around without lots of Paparazzi following them everywhere.  It’s to the point that they can’t even go for a walk without people snapping their picture.  Customers buy up these magazines, because they are in awe of royalty or celebrities, of one kind or another.
Jesus came into this world in very humble surroundings.  There was no fanfare or notoriety, unless you figure an angel notifying the shepherds and a star guiding the wise men, fits into this category.  Jesus lived a humble life.  He didn’t live in a castle with great wealth and servants even though He could have chosen to.  In fact, He didn’t even own property. 
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.  Matthew, Chapter 8, verse 20.
He could have chosen to lead the good life, but chose poverty and persecution for me.  Do I deserve it?  No way!  Nothing I ever do will be anything close to earning all that Jesus went though on my behalf.  The only thing I can do is make sure that I’m not just a “Holiday Christian,” only focusing on God or only attending church on religious holidays.  The only way I can thank Him is by trying to live my life as an example, so others can come to know Him as I do.

Because this an example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Not Willing to Leave Things for Needy

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  and He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in out of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.  Mark, Chapter 12, verses 41-44.

I get very self-righteous thinking about how I do nice things for people and donate to the needy.  I was on a work mission with our church’s youth group in Juarez, Mexico.  Someone in the group told us how they were going to leave behind their clothes to donate to the people of that community.  I thought about it awhile and decided it was a nice thing to do.  So, I looked at things I didn’t mind donating.  Basically, they were the things more worn and less desirable.  Then this passage flashed back in my mind, and I realized I was only giving to others out of my excess where it still felt comfortable.  I was not giving to others out of my need.  It took me a long time and a lot of prayer with God as I agonized over this-mostly because my favorite nightgown was in my suitcase.
If I had just left a few things to donate to the people of the community, no one would have been the wiser.  If I had donated everything I owned except my favorite nightgown, no one would have even known, but God and I knew.  The thing that bothered me the most was how long it took before I was finally willing to leave all my things for the needy.  It showed me how worldly I had become.  That certain possessions mattered to me, appalled me, because I had always prided myself in being a “Good Christian.”
Obviously, we can fool ourselves.  I’m so thankful that God provided this opportunity for personal growth.  I still find it easier to give to others out of the excesses of my time, money and possessions.  I have to be reminded that I’m not truly giving until I give out of my need, or at least closer to it.
Here are some related passages:
*And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.  And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  And He said, Of a Truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.  Luke, Chapter 21, verses 1-4.
*But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.  2 Corinthians, Chapter 9, verses 6-8.
*And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  1 Peter, Chapter 4, verses 8-9.
*For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 15, verse 11.
*He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.  Proverbs, Chapter 28, verse 27.

Because this example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life only focused on a portion of the passages, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

So Others Think We're Righteous...

And He said unto them in His Doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.  Mark, Chapter 12, verses 38-40.

This reinforces that God wants us to live our faith.  We are to be good examples of this faith in all that we do, not just at church by doing showy things so others think we are righteous.  Our faith in God should be something that is an integral part of our daily lives, tempered with discreetness and humility.
Here is a related passage:
*Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues.  Matthew, Chapter 23, verses 1-6.

Because this an example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just When It's Convenient Christians

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first Commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the Commandments is: Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first Commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other Commandment greater than these.  Mark, Chapter 12, verses 28-31.

I’m reminded that I can’t be a “Just When It’s Convenient Christian.”  I’m to make my faith a priority.  God wants me to treat others nicely, even if…Even if they are rude to me…Even if they get the job I wanted…Even if they have more money than I do and didn’t deserve it…Even if they take advantage of me…Even if they are hateful…Even if they talk down to me…Even if they make really poor lifestyle choices…Even if they cut in front of me on the freeway…Even if they don’t believe the way I do…Even if they are a telemarketer and don’t let me off the phone when I want to get off.  (I really have to work on this one!)  If I get caught up in being resentful, rude or hateful, I’m not being the example that God wants me to be of how He works in my life.
Here is a related passage:
*Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great Commandment in the Law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great Commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the prophets.  Matthew, Chapter 22, verses 35-40.

Because this an example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages. Debbie

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

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