Monday, March 7, 2016

We Don't Have to Continue to Steal, Getting Caught Up in Repetitive Social Drinking, and Singing Is One Form of Praying posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Ephesians, Chapter 4, verse 28.

When I was about ten years old, I talked a neighbor into going to the local “Candy Store.”  I talked him into stealing some candy, graham crackers and gum ball rings with me.  I even talked him into going back to do the same thing a second time.
I stopped doing that.  No, I never got caught and no one ever told on me.  I just didn't feel right inside.  I knew I had stolen and so did God.  No matter what I did, I couldn't rationalize things.  God knew it and I knew it.  It was as simple as that!  All I could think to do at the time was to stop stealing and to become a better example of how God works in my life.  (I guess I should have gone to make amends to the store owner, but that didn't cross my mind until about 20 years later.)
Now, as a school teacher, I remember this situation when I find one of my students stealing something.  (It’s kind of funny, every year I have a student who takes a big handful of the play money that I use for math.  When I talk to them, they always try to tell me that a relative gave it to them.)  Then, I tell them about when I was about their age and stole too.  I talk about how I didn't like how I felt inside because I knew I stole, so I stopped stealing.  I ask them if I’m a bad person now.  (They always tell me no.)  Then, I ask them if stealing was a poor choice?  I tell them they are right.  Stealing is a poor choice, but we don’t have to continue to steal.  I tell them that I have confidence that they can turn things around just like I did.
Sometimes I get concerned when youngsters do something wrong and label themselves as “bad people”.  I think they sometimes start behaving like they think “bad people” behave.  It’s so important for kids to realize that they aren't “bad people,” but have just made poor choices and are able to turn it around and to make better choices.  This is important to remember the next time a child does something that upsets you.  We want them to realize how to make better choices in the future, rather than staying focused on all the poor choices that they have made in their lives.  I’m so glad that God has been much more forgiving of me than I have been of others.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5: 18.

I know a lot of churches are against drinking.  I’m not especially fond of it myself and I’m very concerned for those who have family members who drink to excess.  I do toast the bride and groom at weddings, but I really just don’t like the taste of alcohol.  Based on this passage and several others in the Bible, I don’t think that having a drink every now and then is against God’s principles.  I think it’s that some people don’t just have one drink every now and then…or their every now and then becomes an all too regular pattern.  I think God doesn't want anyone to drink to excess or, for that matter, to do anything to excess.
I’m not including this verse to support “those who drink a little too regularly”.  That’s not what this is about.  I feel that it’s my privilege in writing this book to be able to convey things, to the best of my ability, that have influenced my life.  Knowing God gave me permission to have an occasional drink but not to do it to excess, has helped be a guide for my life.  I don’t think I have hardly ever had a second drink or a third.  I just don’t see any point in trying to find out just how many drinks it takes to lead to drinking in excess.  Getting caught up in repetitive social drinking would not make me a very good example of how God works in my life.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians, Chapter 5, verses 19-20.

I know that over the years I have heard people comment on music, thinking a wide variety of things.  Some of these comments were less than supportive of music.  While this passage isn't speaking to all types of music for pleasure, it does sound like God likes us to be singing hymns and songs that focus on Him and our love for Him.
I love to sing old familiar hymns from time to time or make up songs which are prayers in my mind when I’m driving somewhere.  There are some songs that are supposed to be religious songs but come from a wide variety of religious beliefs, some of which aren't compatible with my belief in God.  So, I try to be careful, checking out the music I listen to, especially through the media.  I wouldn't want to find myself singing along with some song on the radio only to find out the person who wrote that song believes in Buddha.  That would mean I’m unknowingly singing along with a song about Buddha instead of God.  It pays to check things out.
One of the things to remember is that when we sing to God, it’s one more form of praying.  It’s another one of the many ways that we can glorify God and thank Him for all He’s done.

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

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

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