Monday, December 30, 2013

Rather Than Living and Dying in the Fast Lane

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Galatians, Chapter 6, verses 7-10.

This reminds me of the rock stars who have gotten caught up in all the fame and money and end up has-beens because of drug, alcohol and counterproductive choices they make in their lives.
Then I think of Mother Teresa and all the wonderful, selfless things she did for others during her life.  Although, I wouldn’t be the envy of all my neighbors, I would rather work toward having similar attributes as Mother Teresa, with my focus on God’s Will for me rather than living and dying in the fast lane.

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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Hate to Think of How Spiteful I Had Been

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.  Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 25-26.

In high school, I remember running for Sophomore Secretary.  (I always remember how to spell secretary, because I spelled it incorrectly on every banner I displayed throughout the school.)  My opponent was also a member of the Drill Team.  I had tried out for the Drill Team but wasn’t selected.
My envy of my opponent led me to tell others that she really didn’t deserve the Sophomore Secretary position that I coveted.  I told them that her other obligations were too time consuming for her to do a good job for the Sophomore Class.
It was a very humbling experience for me when she won the election for Sophomore Secretary.  I hate to think of how spiteful I had been, because I let that position become too important in my life.  I definitely wasn’t being a very good example to others.

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, December 23, 2013

Not Watching Shows with Witchcraft, Demonic or Satanic Themes

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;  Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no Law.  Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 19-23.

When others react to my not wanting to watch shows with witchcraft, demonic or satanic themes, I feel vindicated when I read this passage.  When it says people who demonstrate those negative choices won’t inherit the kingdom of God, it doesn’t sound like God is just mildly annoyed if people do the things listed in this passage.  My desire is to stay committed to what I know God wants rather than to buckle under when I know they disapprove.

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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Propose Beliefs That Sound Good but Will Lead Many Astray

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  2 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 12-15.

This passage reminds us to be careful to not be deceived.  There will be people who say they are Christians, proposing beliefs that sound good but will lead many astray.  It goes on to say that Satan transforms himself into a minister of righteousness to mislead people.
I always remember Jim Jones who was a minister years ago.  He took a group of “believers” to Jonestown, Guyana.  These people must have been very devoted to their “beliefs.”  I’m not sure that if push came to shove that I would leave my home and family to go to another country just because someone told me this is what God wanted me to do.  Anyway, they must have been very dedicated to leave everything and everyone behind.
Jim Jones either convinced or tricked these “believers” into committing suicide when the authorities got too involved.  Well, although these were very committed “believers” who gave up all for their faith in God, it was for nothing.  They gave up all their things, friends, family and lives for a very disturbed minister who led these people to believe he was doing the will of God.  (If you want more details; look up the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana during 1978.)  Did these people find Salvation?  I can’t speak to that, but it’s highly questionable.
We don’t want to find ourselves misled by others who profess to be followers of God.  I think it’s very important for all Christians to check things out in the Bible.  Don’t take things for granted just because someone else says them, whether it’s a minister, a devoted Christian, me, someone on a Christian Channel or Radio Station.  It’s very easy to take a verse or two out of the Bible and make it support just about anything.  That’s considered using the Bible passages out of context.
Reading a chapter before the passage and after the passage is beneficial.  Each chapter is about a page or two.  This gives you a better idea of what the quoted Bible verses really mean.  That’s why I always tell you where I get the Bible passages.  I want you to be able to look them up and verify them.  It’s a very important thing to do.
You need to look at the people who have an influence on your religious life.  What type of lifestyle do they lead?  Are they running in the fast lane?  Are they preaching something that has become very popular or a fad type of belief?  Are they taking too much credit for things rather than keeping the focus on God?  Are they putting an undue emphasis on giving money?  Be cautious about who you give ultimate control of your religious life.  Check things out.  Passages like this one remind me that very dedicated believers can still be misled by others as in the Jonestown Massacre.  It pays to check things out.  It may have a direct impact on your Salvation.

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, December 16, 2013

Our Faith in God Gives Us a Lot of Freedom

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 13.

Our faith in God gives us a lot of freedom.  I know I don’t have to worry about my kids starving because I know that God will provide food for my family since He says so in the Bible.  Realizing things like this has freed up my life so much that it’s difficult to explain.
Recognizing this, we have some choices.  We could say, “Well, I know that God won’t let us starve, so I could take the money I used to set aside from the budget for food and go out drinking with my friends who have been asking me for some time.  In the past, I had told them no because I couldn’t afford it.  Now, I can go out and party with them because God will make sure the kids don’t go hungry.”  I’m not sure that God would be pleased with this decision.
It’s a choice that God gives us.  Instead, I could say, “Since I don’t have to spend so much time worrying about my family having enough to eat the way I used to, I can spend my extra time helping the elderly neighbor across the street by cleaning her house or watering her plants.”

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.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Attending Church Isn't a Sole Indicator of a Person's Belief in Christ

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law: for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.  Galatians Chapter 2:16.

There are people who think that if they are good people they will have Salvation, but they don’t actively believe in Jesus Christ.  This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to attend church regularly.  There are some people who attend church regularly that may or may not receive Salvation because of their lifestyle choices.  Attending church isn’t a sole indicator of a person’s belief in Christ.  That is a personal matter between God and them.  Isn’t it neat that God makes all of these decisions on an individual basis?
Anyway, the requirement for Salvation is to believe that Jesus Christ is Savior of all.  Now, this isn’t an isolated thing.  That belief needs to be an active part of our life.  It’s not just something we should think about every six years when a relative dies and you think about them going to heaven to be with God.  It’s supposed to be a daily part of our lives.  That’s what I mean.  This passage is saying that we don’t get Salvation by just following the Law; it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us, but we are still supposed to be examples of how Jesus works in our lives.

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, December 9, 2013

God Will Take Care of My Weaknesses If I Let Him

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians, Chapter 12, verses 8-10.

This is really from Paul speaking about a vision he had from God.  Even though he asked Jesus to take away his burden, His reply was, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
It reminds me of when God asked Moses to talk to the Pharaoh to let God’s people go and for Moses to lead these people to the Promised Land.  Moses told God that he wouldn’t make a very good leader because he wasn’t a good speaker.  God told him not to worry about it because he was the person that God wanted to lead His people. (Paraphrased)
I’m ashamed to say that there have been times when God has led me to be a witness to someone else and I told God through my actions, “That’s not my thing, God.  I’m not the type who is good at confronting people and telling them about You.  Why don’t you save it for someone else from those other religions that don’t mind being embarrassed by going door to door and confronting people?  Now, if You need someone to do a low-risk thing like saying a prayer for someone or giving a little money to the needy, then I’m your person.”
I need to remember that God will take care of my weaknesses if I let Him, and will provide the strength necessary to do whatever He wants, just like He did for Moses.

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.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Everyday We Have a Fresh Start...Thanks to Jesus

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians, Chapter 5, verse 17.

I know my comparison can’t come anywhere close to the impact this passage has on our lives as Christians.  In my second grade class I have a Good Choices Chart.  Those who are making good choices have their clothes pins in a particular area of the chart.  There is another area of the chart where students move their clothes pin if they make poor choices as a reminder for them to refocus.  I like to empower students so that they feel capable of turning things around.  I let them do things to help around the class to earn it off.  Afterwards, they can put their clothespin back in the good choices section.  Students start all over with their clothespins in the Good Choices section each and every day.
Well, Salvation is kind of like this chart.  When we are behaving in sinful ways and are caught up in a self-focused lifestyle, our clothespins would be in the poor choices section.  Sometimes God will have things happen in our lives, drawing our attention to our need to refocus.  Once we ask God for forgiveness and try to turn our lives around, we don’t have to do something tangible to earn off the clothespin.  Jesus did that for us through His death and Resurrection!  We just need to do our best to continue to live as examples of how God works in our lives.  When we slip, just like the chart, everyday we have a fresh start...thanks to Jesus.  God never gives up on us.

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, December 2, 2013

Pure Joy of Doing Something Nice for Another Person...

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3, verses 23-24.

This makes me think about Random Acts of Simple Kindness and Love.  This is when people secretly do nice things for others (this could be for people you know or complete strangers.)  These anonymous acts aren't done for any reward or praise, but are just for the pleasure it brings to do nice things for others.
I think God is saying that because we love Him, we are to have that same attitude in all we do.  We should take pleasure in doing nice things for others, not for any reward or praise, but because we enjoy doing nice things for God.  Actually, it’s exhilarating when you do nice things for others without letting anyone know you did them!  It’s really very special to know that you have been allowed to be an instrument for God by being involved in one of His little miracles for someone else.  If you have never done things like this before, you should try it!  There is nothing quite like the pure joy of doing something nice for another person without getting caught up in bragging to others about what you did.  You do it just because it’s something God would like you to do.  Try it!

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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