Monday, March 31, 2014

Are We Back-Seat Christians?

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  James, Chapter 1, verses 26-27.

It’s easy to be a “Back-Seat Christian,” becoming complacent in our relationship with God.  In doing so, we are letting everyone else take care of God’s work while we focus on ourselves.  God says He wants us to take an active role as Christians.  He wants us to visit the fatherless, those grieving and we are not to get caught up in worldly values.
With so many single parent families, visiting the fatherless could be a relatively easy thing to do.  If we each took the time to touch the life of one child, we could make a major difference.  Some might think that they don’t have the time, but you could include neighbor kids in your game of basketball with your child.  Family board games are nice to invite other kids to play.  Even if you don’t have children of your own, you can take a child you know with you to the library.  You can invite them over to bake or BBQ.  Even doing routine chores seem special when you’ve invited a child to help you.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and helps them feel like they are contributing.  When you take your child to a scouting, church or school activity; include a child who wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.
Going to a school once a week for 30 minutes, can positively impact the life of a child.  (When I was a teacher in a low income school, I tried to get volunteers to come and read for 30 minutes a week with my students who had behavior problems.  Within days, I would notice a positive change in the behavior choices that these children made.  Interestingly, I wasn’t having the volunteer focus on teaching the child to read or anything else academic.  The vast majority of these kids are quite capable of doing academic tasks.  They just have so many other things going on in their lives that it’s often difficult for them to focus on academics.  The time with the volunteers was really meant to be a positive time for the adult and the child to spend together.  Isn’t it amazing that 30 minutes of contact with a child each week could make such a difference?)
I’m not suggesting that everyone should volunteer to spend time with kids who have behavior problems, although that’s not a bad idea.  I’m using this as an example.  If we each took the time to be with a child for 30 minutes a week, just think of the positive impact we could have on the children of our country.  It has the added benefit of making us positive role models of our Christian values to our own children.

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, March 27, 2014

An Erroneous Quote From the Bible

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  2 Timothy, Chapter 4, verses 3-4.

This passage has special significance because I first got interested in the Bible due to the erroneous quote from the Bible that really was from an Aesop’s Fable (god helps him who helps himself.)  I did not capitalize the “g” on god because the god they are talking about is a Mythological god, not the One True God.  I try to always capitalize the “g” on God out of respect for our Heavenly Father.

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, March 24, 2014

People Who Try to Confuse Us...

Who concerning the Truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.  And, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.  2 Timothy, Chapter 2, verses 18-19.

I think this passage speaks to people who try to confuse us by saying things like, “Heaven is here on earth, right now,” or “You can make your life a heaven or a hell by the choices you make.”  Your choices do bring about logical consequences.  If you make poor lifestyle choices, you usually have a life that reflects those choices.  If you make lifestyle choices that reflect your faith in God, you won’t have steak on the table every night, but God will take care of you.
My concern is that people can get confused by others and lose their focus on God when they engage in philosophical religious debates with them.  Even though some profess to be devout Christians, reading the Bible is one of the best ways to find out God’s Will for us.
God wants us to leave behind our sinful ways and to live a life that reflects how He has influenced us.  We don’t have to get public notoriety as a Christian in order to have Salvation.  God knows who the Christians are and who just says they are.

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, March 20, 2014

Trusting God When I'm Afraid of What Others Might Think

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the Salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us.  2 Timothy, Chapter 2, verses 10-12.

Boy, this passage always makes me sit up and take notice.  It makes me think of all those times when I have the opportunity to say something to someone else about how God works in my life and I don’t.  I’m afraid of what they might think of me, but I’m really denying God.  I would sure hate for Him to deny me in much the same way.
This is something I have to continue to work on.  Yeah, I’m typing this book right now about how God works in my life, but I’m not taking any big time risk.  For me, risking is when I need to share my faith personally with someone else, taking the chance that they may reject me for standing up for my beliefs.
Actually, whenever I have taken that risk, I haven’t had people reject me.  Most everyone I’ve talked to has been very respectful of my beliefs.  Most of them have even shared situations from their lives that have ended up strengthening my faith.  I think the point is that we need to be willing to stand up for God if the situation arises, instead of leaving it to someone else.

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, March 17, 2014

God's Reminder to Stay Away From People With Corrupt Minds...

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the Truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  1 Timothy, Chapter 6, verses 5-12.

God is reminding us to stay away from people who have corrupt minds or those who distort the Word of God.  There are some who feel the proof of being a good Christian would be having all the worldly possessions they want.  Actually, there are people who believe that way today.  They feel God would want them to have all types of nice things (possessions) and they actively pray for them.  I know someone who looks at a picture of her dream car each day and then visualizes God giving it to her.  I know God said that He would take care of our every need, but I don’t think that means we are going to eat steak and prime rib every night because we are Christians, and we aren’t guaranteed we’ll drive fancy cars.
In fact, a big portion of this passage talks about how a lot of Christians get caught up in trying to attain money, status and worldly possessions which corrupt them.  He says we are to be content with the food and the clothes we have, not visualizing ourselves being given fancy cars, high level jobs and lots of money.  The desire for these things could very well lead us astray.

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, March 13, 2014

They Care for Their Own...

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.  1 Timothy, Chapter 5, verse 8.

I remember hearing this over the years, “They take care of their own.”  Well, God is telling us this is exactly what we are supposed to do.  There is a big difference between empowering and enabling, though.  So, our help should be supportive in a way that maintains the person’s self-respect, encouraging them always to make positive choices 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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not Beholding to Anyone...

Now we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.  For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.  And if any man obey not our Word by this Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.  Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  Now the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace always by all means.  The Lord be with you all.  2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3, verses 6-16.

Apostle Paul was talking about how the followers of Jesus didn’t want to be beholding to anyone or to be perceived as taking advantage of others.  When they stayed with people as they went around spreading the Word of God, they worked for their food.  Paul was saying that this is the way it should be and those who didn’t work shouldn’t eat.
He was into “Reality Therapy”.  Those Christians who didn’t work and let others do all the work while they found time to be busybodies and visit, shouldn’t be given food.  He thought this would motivate them to talk less and to work more, that is…if they planned on eating.
He said that Christians shouldn’t hang around people who were not obeying the Word of God.  Maybe this shame might motivate others to change their behavior, but goes on to say that they shouldn’t treat that person like their enemy either.  They are doing these things to help motivate the person to make changes in their behavior choices, in the same way you might treat a brother who was going astray.

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, March 6, 2014

The Bible Provides Guidelines for Our Lives

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.  But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only deceiving your own selves.  James, Chapter 1, verses 19-22.
But whoso looketh into the perfect Law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  James, Chapter 1, verse 25.

This is of special importance to me right now, because a minor matter has worked a wedge in my relationship with someone I care about.  God didn’t put these words in the Bible to be something nice for us to read.  He had the Bible written to provide guidelines for our lives and to remind us how things like anger, resentment and hatred can subtly interfere with our relationship with God and others.  I can read this passage and just say, “Yeah, God is right.  I shouldn’t let wedges develop between others and me,” and then do nothing further about it.  Or I can be an example of how God works in my life by taking the first step, however awkward it might be to set things right.  The choice is up to 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, March 3, 2014

Don't Just Believe that Something Is in the Bible Just Because Someone Says It's There: Check It Out for Yourself

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole Spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verses 21-23.

I think the “Prove all things” is good sound advice.  We aren’t to believe everything someone says is in the Bible just because someone who sounds knowledgeable says it’s in there.  It means we are to check it out first. 
This passage also says that we should make sure we are in situations that are good for us and to stay away from anything that is evil or could lead us astray.  Sometimes when I’m angry with someone, I ask God to take care of it, but in reality I still really want to be angry a little longer.  When I ask God to take care of my willingness to let Him take my anger away, then I’m surrendering my need to stay angry.

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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