Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Example Can Lead People to God or Push Them Away

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verses 14-18.

There are times in our lives when we can share our genuine concern for those who are making self-destructive choices.  You never know if the things you say may be at a time that will help refocus that person.  (I always like to ask God to provide the words when I’m in a situation like this.  He always provides the right things for me to say.)
We are to be patient, tolerant and supportive of those who are mentally disabled, as well as those with any other disability.  We are to be patient with everyone because we are supposed to be examples of how God works in our lives.
Have you ever overheard someone saying, “Yeah, they profess to be a Christian.  You should have seen him out drinking the night away in the local bars-some Christian, huh?”  Or, “You should have seen the way she was yelling at her kids and she says she’s a Christian.  If that’s what Christians do, I want no part of it.”
Did you realize that our example could either lead people to God or push them away from having a relationship with Him?  Well, it can!  Sometimes our example is as close as anyone gets to knowing Jesus and the impact that He leaves on 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, February 24, 2014

God Knows When We Are Trying to Manipulate Him

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  1 Thessalonians 5: 1-2.

We are told over and over again in the Bible that no one knows when the end of the world will be.  It will sneak up on us just like a thief is able to sneak around in the night without anyone knowing.  We need to be examples of how God works in our lives, not just in ten or twenty years from now, when we have finished sowing our wild oats, but always.  God is forgiving but we should not push Him too far, either.  We can’t go around manipulating God and our faith by saying that I’m sinful and God will forgive me anyway, so I will just go ahead and do this sinful thing and ask for forgiveness later.
Well, God knows what is in our hearts.  He knows when we are trying to manipulate Him and when we are genuinely trying to be Christians.  Although none of us is perfect, we need to attempt to be the best examples we can of how God 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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Does God Tempt Us?

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  James, Chapter 1, verses 13-16.

It was very interesting for me to read this.  Somehow, I was under the impression that God tempted us to test us, but I was wrong.  It’s our own sinful human nature that is tempted by things.  Our choice to follow these temptations or to turn to God is what makes the difference.

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, February 17, 2014

Being More Compassionate to Those Imprisoned...

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  Hebrews, Chapter 13, verse 3.

I need to work on being more compassionate to those who have been imprisoned.  It’s easy for me to sit back in my comfortable house and forget about the plight of others less fortunate.  I can rationalize that they have made poor choices and have been removed from society as a consequence for these actions.  In reality, I’m not sure I agree with that philosophy anymore.  Sure, I think rapists, child molesters and mass murders should be kept from returning to society.  Often these people get released from prison on parole after a certain amount of time and some therapy, only to rape, molest and kill again.  This makes no sense when the prisons are full of other people who have done much less and may never get out.  I just don’t understand.
There are people who are in prison indefinitely for stealing food or cigarettes, doing stupid pranks and generally making poor choices.  Are these people a threat to society?  I’m sure there are some sociopaths who pose a threat, but I think there are many prisoners who would be more help to society on the outside than behind bars. 
There is a Bible passage that says: Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.  Proverbs, Chapter 6, verses 30-31.  God is talking about having him make restitution rather than imprisoning him.
With our country’s financial situation, we can’t afford to hire enough people to clean our parks and waterways, assist the aged, work with the handicapped and provide productive services for the community.  These options would allow prisoners to maintain their dignity while making restitution at the same time.  It sure beats having people in a penal system where they are more apt to become corrupted by the quantity of negative influences they encounter than to be rehabilitated.  Many of those imprisoned have the potential to be productive members of society with some assistance and guidance.  (As I said before, I’m not including people who are rapists, molesters and killers in this category.)
It saddens me to think that there is no real equity in the penal system.  There are people who were CEO’s for multimillion dollar firms, who embezzled the funds of their company.  Many of their co-workers have since lost their jobs, their retirements and their livelihoods because of the impact the embezzlement had on the company’s finances.  Often these people don’t go to jail, because they have enough money to hire expensive attorneys.  If they do go to jail, it’s for a short amount of time in a swanky prison.  They write their memoirs and make a fortune.
It’s sad that the system doesn’t make them make restitution to all those who lost their retirements.  Don’t you think it would be an excellent logical consequence if they had to take the royalties from their memoirs to pay for the retirements of those hard workers whose retirement funds had been embezzled?
Then there are minorities who are imprisoned and are doing hard time because they didn’t have a ritzy lawyer defending them for things that pale in comparison.  They end up spending a big portion their lives in prisons that could never compare to the swanky ones of those who embezzled millions.  This just doesn’t seem equitable to me.
I need to remember to keep prisoners in my prayers, but there may be other things we can do.  There are organizations that we could contact that would tell us ways that we could help the families of prisoners.  A monumental way we can help is by being willing to hire someone who has formerly been in prison.  How are they ever going to support their family and become a productive member of society if no one hires them?  We could make a difference in their 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.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Responding to the Needy

Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Hebrews, Chapter 13, verses 1-2.

After reading forwarded emails telling how people’s lives have been changed by reaching out to someone less fortunate, I am more reflective about my lack of action.  When approached by the needy, I have to admit my response has not always been of Christian love to my fellow human beings.  This definitely is something I need to work on, being mindful about how I would feel if people ignored and rejected me.  I only hope God continues to be patient with me and brings me to the level of brotherly love that He wants us all to show to each other.

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, February 10, 2014

Blind Faith and Taking Risks

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  By faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which He condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  Hebrews, Chapter 11:6-8.

You really should read all of Hebrews, Chapter 11.  It tells of person after person throughout Biblical history who did the Will of God based on faith alone.  It makes me think about how these accomplishments would never have happened if they hadn’t listened to God because they were worried what their friends and neighbors would think of them.
It makes me wonder if I would be willing to take these same risks if God asked me.  Would I have the blind faith necessary, trusting God would take care of everything?  Hopefully, God would give me the willingness to respond to His requests.  Where would we be right now if Noah had said to God that he wasn’t quite sure whether he should build the ark because he was afraid his friends and neighbors would be talking about him and he didn’t want to risk the embarrassment?  Food for thought!

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, February 6, 2014

Listening to the Instincts That God Gives Us...

How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  Hebrews, Chapter 9, verse 14.

I remember referring to God guiding us through our conscience at an earlier point.  I just wanted to include this passage because it supports what I said.  Sometimes I tell people to listen to the instincts that God gives them about things, because He guides us through these.
I’m not sure if the instinct He gives us and our conscience are the exact same thing or not.  What I do know is: God DOES GUIDE US if we listen to Him.  Every time I listen, I have been amazed at how well things turn out.  Every time I didn’t listen, I always remember wishing I had.  Well, this has happened enough times that I don’t want to ignore God when He is guiding me anymore.

The other thing I like about this is that God takes the time for me and my problems on a personal level, when there are millions and billions of people in the world.  If God gives of His time to guide me, then I definitely want to listen!

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, February 3, 2014

It's Impossible for God to Lie...

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.  Hebrews, Chapter 6, verse 18.

I just like this passage because it says that it’s impossible for God to lie.  That way I know if it says in the Bible that God will take care of me, He will!

Here are some related passages:
*Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  Hebrews, Chapter 13: 5-6.

*The Words of the LORD are pure Words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.  Psalm, Chapter 12, verses 6-7.

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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