Thursday, September 27, 2012

Planting Seeds of Faith...

Then said He, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.  Luke, Chapter 13, verses 18-19.

This reminds me of when I mention to someone else about how God looked after me in a particular situation.  It’s like planting a seed that has the potential to grow and to continue to grow into a full-fledged belief in God.  It’s just like the mustard tree that grows from that tiny seed that is planted.

It makes me think that we never know how the little things we share might make a difference in someone else’s life.  My being fearful of sharing my relationship with God may not be giving that person the opportunity to come to have a relationship with God.

Here are some related passages:

*Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.  Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 31-32.

*And He said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.  Mark, Chapter 4, verses 30-32.

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting Faith Off Until the Last Minute

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?  And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.  Luke, Chapter 13, verses 6-9.

If a person stole from stores and then said to God, “I’m sorry I am not the Christian You want me to be; please forgive me,” but neglected to try to change anything, God would be patient with him up to a point.  This passage makes me think that there comes a time when God says that He’s given enough chances for the person to change their actions and if they haven’t, then He cuts His losses.
Fortunately for us, God is very forgiving.  If that person finally turns his life around to be the Christian that God wants; all will be forgiven.  God doesn’t want us to put off our faith until the last minute.
Here are some related passages:
*And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 10.
*Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.  Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 12.
*Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew, Chapter 5:13.
*Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of My Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? And in Thy Name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.  Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 16-23.
*But He answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not plaed, shall be rooted up.  Matthew, Chapter 15, verse 13.

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, September 20, 2012

Alarmed about Using God's Name in Vain!!!

Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, O God; depart from me therefore, ye bloody men, For they speak against Thee wickedly, and Thine enemies take Thy Name in vain.  Psalm, Chapter 139, verses 19-20.
It doesn’t sound to me that God takes it lightly when people curse Him or use His Name inappropriately.  That’s why I am very concerned about people casually using “God” and “Jesus” in their everyday speech.  I don’t think people realize how strongly God feels about it.
All the passages that say we aren’t to profane God’s Name or to use His Name in vain really made me stop and think.  It has become very common these days for people to say “God” or “Jesus,” without really any thought.  You hear people say things like, “God that was a great game!”  “Jesus Christ! I ran out of bread again!”  “Oh, good God, get off your high horse and give me a hand around here.”  
Of course, I can’t mention all the possible ways I’ve heard people use God’s Name inappropriately.  The point of great concern is that these people really aren’t focusing on God when they say these things.  They aren’t praying or genuinely telling other people about God or glorifying Him either.  God states very clearly throughout the Bible that we aren’t supposed to use His Name in vain.
Reading many passages about this in the Bible has caused me to become alarmed about this issue.  I don’t think people realize how often they’re saying “God” or “Jesus,” in their everyday language.  It’s on TV and it’s in the movies.  Almost everyone seems to be doing it, even the little kids and people we respect.  Some people who are doing this consider themselves to be good Christians.  I don’t think these people even know they are using God’s Name in vain or that they are being a poor example of their faith in Jesus.
I realize that some people may not like hearing this.  Most of us like thinking we are pretty good people.  This may hurt our self-perception of the type of Christian we think we are.  I’m hoping that we will get beyond this and become much more aware of the words we choose to use.
Using God’s Name in vain has become just casual slang, like, “Shucks” used to be when I was a kid.  I hope one of the things that you get out of this book is a deeper awareness of this issue.  Listen to people talk.  What if each and every person who used God’s Name in vain as slang was to lose their Salvation?  That would be a pitiful thing. 
Maybe that’s what my job is.  Maybe I’m supposed to make people aware that they are doing this.  Maybe I’m supposed to draw their attention to the possible repercussions of using God’s Name in vain.  I have no idea.  I just know I felt led to write this book and God will take care of the rest!
Fortunately, God is very merciful and will forgive us if we ask Him to, provided we make the necessary changes to only use His Name in ways that glorify Him. 
Here are some related passages:
*Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.  Exodus, Chapter 20, verse 7.
*And ye shall not swear by My Name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God: I am the LORD.  Leviticus, Chapter 19, verse 12.
*And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.  And he that blasphemeth the Name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the Name of the LORD, shall be put to death.  Leviticus, Chapter 24, verses 15-16.
*And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God: I am the LORD. Leviticus, Chapter 18, verse 21.
*Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, verse 11.

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Taking Advantage of God's Forgiving Nature

And He said unto His disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith?  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 22-32.
This is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible.  It has personal significance to me because of my experience with it.  Years ago, I was on a very tight budget.  It was so tight that I had to buy powdered milk in case I didn’t have enough money to have milk for my children’s breakfast.  Now, I know our situation wasn’t as bad as some, but I just want you to know that things were tight and I had to be very careful about my spending.  Now, one of my biggest vices, as I’ve shared, is the need to be in control of my life.
Since things were so tight, I would spend hours making a budget or revising it every time there appeared to be a need.  I lived my life by this budget and tried very hard to not deviate from it.  I spent most of my waking hours trying to plan, scheme and figure out ways to get by through the month.  Then one day, God had me read this particular passage and it totally turned my life and my relationship with God around!
I found out that God didn’t want me spending the vast majority of my time fretting over bills and figuring out ways to make ends meet.  When I was doing that, I was showing that I didn’t trust God to provide for my family’s needs.  I was also wasting a lot of time planning when I could have spent that time reading the Bible, praying or spending time with my family.
It was like I was saying, “God, you know I love you and I think you’re wonderful, but I just don’t think you are going to take good enough care of my family.  I’m going to devise a plan to take care of them, just in case you fail us.”  Well, that isn’t the message I want to be giving God.
I can’t say I don’t ever get caught up in worrying about finances anymore, but quite often God will put the thought of this passage in my mind which helps me refocus.  I need to trust God to take care of my family’s needs and I need to be an example of how God works in my life.
This is a disclaimer of sorts.  This doesn’t mean a person should go out and spend their family’s money on gambling, alcohol, Bingo, possessions, etc. and God will make sure that all their needs are met.  I don’t think He wants us to ever take advantage of Him.
It would be like telling an unemployed relative that he could stay with you for a month or two while he gets back on his feet.  While your relative goes out to look for work every day you tell him, “Don’t worry about cleaning up your room.  I have a little extra time and I’ll take care of it.”  This is a genuine offer and you don’t mind cleaning up the minor things the relative leaves around.
Then the relative starts taking advantage of the fact that he has someone taking care of him.  The relative starts leaving all his clothes on the floor.  He leaves his dirty towels lying around instead of putting them in the hamper.  He leaves his dirty dishes lying on the table.  It’s bad enough that you have to take his dirty dishes to the sink and wash them, but they are hard, crusty and difficult to wash.
To top this all off, the relative is getting used to having someone pay all the bills, cook the meals and clean up after him.  Having a job, getting up early and going to work is looking less and less attractive to him.
Your relative isn’t getting up early in the morning anymore to look for work.  In fact, he seems to be staying in bed later and later every day.  You bring the paper to your relative with some potential jobs circled and find that he has tossed it on the floor with the rest of his dirty clothes, making no attempt to look for work or even call any of the ads you carefully circled.
You aren’t empowering your relative by helping him become the best he can be.  Instead, you realize that you are enabling him and making him dependent on you.  Finally, you recognize that enough is enough and you tell your relative that you aren’t going to be doing things for him anymore.  You notify him that he has to be responsible for himself and if he doesn’t get a job in a certain amount of time or at least make a decent effort; he will be out on his ear.
Well, don’t you think that if we could feel this way, maybe God would get a little upset if we took advantage of Him?  I don’t think He would like it if we spent our money carelessly so that we didn’t have enough for our bills, but relied on Him to pick up all the pieces and work everything out.  So, although I’m saying God will take care of our every need (and He really does, even better than I ever did when I was budgeting so tightly), we still need to be responsible about our finances and choices by not taking advantage of God’s forgiving nature.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Faith Strangled by the Weeds of Worldly Living

And one of the company said unto Him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.  And He said unto him, Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?  And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.  And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 13-21.
Our belief in God isn’t a “Once a Christian-Always a Christian Guarantee” that once you have it, you always have it regardless of your actions.  If it were, people could become a Christian, go rob a bank and shoot someone because they need their next fix, not worrying because they think they have Salvation regardless of their actions.
It’s like planting a garden using seeds.  That gardener’s energy and enthusiasm are there after they have hoed the rows, preparing them for the seeds to be planted.  He carefully plants the seeds and waters them regularly, just as a person who starts a relationship with God has energy and enthusiasm for their new-found faith.
If that gardener were to go on vacation right after planting his garden and expected to find fully grown plants when he returns, he would be greatly surprised!  The garden would be overgrown and the vegetables would be strangled by the weeds while the remnants of the garden would still be there.  This is similar to what happens to the Christian who doesn’t tend to their faith regularly by making it a DAILY part of their life.
That Christian’s faith will wither away, strangled by the weeds of worldly living while the remnants of that faith will still be there.  Our faith needs constant cultivation and care just as the garden does in order to grow and flourish.


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, September 10, 2012

Should I Have Expected any Less of God?

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 11-12.

Jesus is really talking to the disciples and other people, preparing them not to worry about what they should say if they are questioned about their beliefs, because the Holy Spirit will provide the right words for them to say.  Well, I have found this is also beneficial for me to bear in mind in all types of situations.
I found myself worrying about a job I really wanted.  I remembered that it’s all in God’s hands no matter which way it turned out.  When I realized that, I relaxed knowing He would take care of it.
Shortly before I went for the interview, I said a quick prayer and asked God to take care of the words (meaning the words that come out of my mouth) and my willingness to let Him take care of the words.  It was amazing!  When I came out of the interview, I reviewed it over and over in my mind, amazed at how the words just flowed out of my mouth.  I couldn’t believe some of the answers I had given to questions I knew little about or had never thought about before.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so amazed.  God always takes good care of me and hadn’t I just asked Him to take care of the words?  Should I have expected any less?  Now before stressful situations, I try to remember to ask God to take care of the words and my willingness to let Him take care of the words and He always does!
Here is a related passage:
*And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.  Matthew, Chapter 10, verses 18-20.

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

 
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


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Often, I'm a "Self-Serving Christian"

But he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 9-10.

Sometimes I feel awkward talking to others about my faith in God.  I’m afraid they will shy away from me the same way I want to hide in my house when a particular religious group that has a belief that isn’t compatible with mine, comes knocking on my door.  I hate it that God sees all the times I’m afraid to risk on His behalf.  I want to be a strong Christian He can depend on, not the “Self-serving Christian” who is worried about what others think.

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, September 3, 2012

Is This is What You Want Me to Hear?

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the Light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.  And I say unto you My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 2-4.

I think Jesus was probably talking about the people who were plotting against Him.  Those who said all these hateful things about Him in private thought it was private, but God knows all.
I’m not totally sure of God’s message in this one.  What I think about when I read this passage is more directed to me, personally.  It feels like God is saying to me, “You know you profess to be such a good Christian, don’t you?  But I see when you are gossiping with others and saying less than kind things.  You know your actions are supposed to be an example of your faith in Me.  You think those things you say in secret are really secret, but I know everything!  You ought to think about whether this is really what you want Me to hear coming out of your mouth.  Think about it, Debbie, because I care about you.”

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

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