Thursday, December 28, 2017

Freeloader Christians, Highest Regard, and Are We Different Outside the Church? 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

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless.  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.  Matthew, Chapter 22, verses 1-14.
I guess I’m on a party theme.  This passage is about a wedding, but when I went to explain this, the thought in my mind is to compare it to a surprise birthday party for your boss.
This is a black tie affair and you’ve sent out invitations to all your co-workers, asking them to R.S.V.P.  It’s several days before the party, but only a few people have called to say they are coming.  You have reserved this big banquet hall and have paid for the caterers.  Getting nervous, you call the people who haven’t responded.  Well, you get one lame excuse after another.  You overhear a couple of co-workers in the restroom saying that they are going to a golf tournament that day, but they told you they had a sick family member.  You decide very quickly that you can do without friends like that, but your boss will be embarrassed if the banquet hall is almost empty.  You don’t want him to be humiliated, so you think of a plan, fast!
You decide to go invite the people who work in the stock room and the mail room.  They hardly ever interact with your boss, but it’s better than having an empty banquet hall.  You give them the invitations, with directions to the banquet hall and busy yourself with all the last minute preparations. Now you can relax, because you know the banquet hall will be full of people.  You start to realize that these lower status people are more dependable and more deserving than your so-called friends who gave you lame excuses.
On the day of the surprise party you welcome all the loyal stock room and mail room workers.  You thank them for coming and tell them where to hide to surprise the boss.  Just then, some guy comes in dressed in khaki shorts and a Polo shirt.  You ask him what he could have been thinking about when he decided to come dressed like that.  You tell him to leave, because he’s not welcome at this black tie affair.  Those who put some effort in and did what they were supposed to were welcome regardless of their financial or social standing.  You don’t want a freeloader who doesn’t even put the effort into properly getting ready for the party.
Well, sometimes I’m a “Freeloader Christian,” too.  Jesus asks all of us to put some effort into being one of His chosen few.  He even gave His own life for us, so we could be invited to His party in heaven on the Last Day.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have qualified for an invitation of that magnitude.  Some of us will do our part, although we can never truly earn admission to such a swanky affair.  Jesus did that for us.  We have a free ride on His coat tails, provided we aren’t being an ungrateful freeloader.
Well, Jesus calls each and every one of us, but how many of us come up with reasons why we can’t go to church, why we are too busy to pray or too embarrassed to let others know that we are Christian?  Well, if we don’t respond when He calls us, He will invite others to take our place in Heaven with Him.  That’s not what I want! Click on the Post title to read a related Bible passage.

But be not ye called Rabbi: for One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.  And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ.  Matthew, Chapter 23, verses 8-10.

God wants us to hold Him in highest regard and no other.

(I read this before I posted it and wondered if I should add more than the one sentence I have in the book. I think that, sometimes, God wants things simple to make a point.)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matthew, Chapter 23, verse 23.
Of course we don’t give spices when they pass the offering plate around at church.  This passage reminds me of some who put large sums of money in as an indicator of their faith in God, yet their daily actions show quite the opposite.  Outside of church, they may be critical and judgmental of others, not generous to those less fortunate or unforgiving of others.  The thing that matters to God is how we live our lives as examples of His positive influence on us, not how much we put in the offering plate. Click on the Post title to read some related Bible passages.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Holding on to Petty Grudges, Are People on Welfare Rich?, and Dragging Your Feet Christians 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

Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.  Therefore is the Kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at this feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me.  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother his trespasses.  Matthew, Chapter 18, verses 21-35.

God forgave us all our sins by sending His son, Jesus, to die for us and to arise again.  Just think of all the humiliation Jesus had to go through for us.  After all of that torment, Jesus asked God to forgive everyone involved in His crucifixion.  I have a lot of nerve holding onto petty grudges against other people.  It makes me feel like I am the first servant who is forgiven his large debt (all my sins) and I’m not showing the same forgiveness to others who have done so much less.  This reminds me that I need to be more forgiving and tolerant of others because I don’t want to be delivered unto the tormentors on The Last Day. Click on the Post title to read a related Bible passage.
And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  and He said unto him.  Why callest thou Me good?  There is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.  He saith unto Him, Which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.  Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.  Matthew, Chapter 19, verses 16-26.
Now, it can be easy to ignore this passage and think that this just doesn’t pertain to me because I’m not rich.  Being rich is a relative thing.  (I wanted to say some corny thing about all your relatives coming around if you were rich.  Forgive me, but I couldn’t resist!)  Don’t you think those from a Third World Country would think that American’s on welfare are rich?  We have so much, but don’t realize it when we compare ourselves to others who seem to have so much more.
I think it’s about how all our stuff and the desire for more stuff, money or wealth interfere with our total focus on God.  Everything we couldn’t bear to put in a Salvation Army, Goodwill or other charitable bin has some control on us.  Its importance has worked a very subtle wedge in our relationship with God.
I was trying to think about which things might be excluded from this.  First, I thought about my toothbrush, because it seems like an essential item.  Then I thought that the disciples didn’t have toothbrushes when they followed Jesus.  If Jesus told me I needed to follow Him and be willing to give up my toothbrush I would need to, no questions asked.
Next, I thought about my shoes, because I thought they were essential.  I realize having 27-35 pairs of shoes in my closet right now for casual, work or dress wear throughout the year is highly questionable.  Well, I looked in the Bible and found this passage:
And the people asked Him, saying, What shall we do then?  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.  Luke, Chapter 3, verses 10-11.
I think this is a good rule of thumb.  I don’t know much about the philosophy of those who write books about simplifying your life by giving up things, but it seems this passage would support the general principal of how things become too important to us.  There is no way I want the extra pairs of shoes I own to become a wedge in my relationship with God.
I was just thinking that if I could get my shoes down to one pair of tennis shoes instead of five different types, a pair of dress shoes, etc. and give the rest to a charitable organization, I would be more in-tune with what God wants for me. Click on the Post title to read related Bible passages.

This is the reply of Jesus to the chief priests who were asking Him questions, trying to trick Him.
But what think ye?  A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son go work today in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise.  And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of his father?  They say unto Him, the first, Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him:; and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  Matthew, Chapter 21, verses 28-32.
Jesus makes a pretty bold statement here, saying that the commonly despised tax collectors (publicans) and the prostitutes will go to heaven, because they believed in Jesus when John the Baptist told them.  I’m glad God is no respecter of status, but I’m concerned about the second brother who is a “Dragging Your Feet Christian.”
When his father asks him, he spouts off (paraphrased), “Sure, I’ll help you, Dad,” but he never did what he promised to do.  Actually, that seems worse than being honest and saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t do it right now,” because at least people can plan accordingly and not depend on that person to accomplish the task.  I do this when I read how we’re supposed to share our love for Jesus with those who might not know Him.  I say, “Sure I will, God.  I really love You and I want to do whatever it is that You want.”  Do I do it?  Nope.  I just plan to share my faith with others, but I’m still dragging my feet.
Well, the father in this parable forgave the son who said he wouldn’t do it but changed his mind and did it after all, but that wasn’t the case for the other son.  I don’t want God saying, “Debbie said she’d share her faith, but did she?  Yeah, she wrote this book, but she never went out of her comfort zone and really took any risks.  What would have happened if Jesus never took the risks to be humiliated, crucified and rise from the grave?  He went through all of that for her and she thinks she can fool Me.  She says that she’s only too glad to help out, but doesn’t do a single thing.  I’ve got her number!”

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Not Giving Up Easily, The More the Merrier, Hiding Behind My Fear of What Others Will Think of Me 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

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Matthew, Chapter 18, verses 15-18.

God doesn’t want us to give up on people easily, but we are to follow a progression from approaching them privately to publicly, if necessary.  First, we are to have a confidential talk with the person who is going down the wrong path.  If that doesn’t work, we are to get others to help.  It reminds me of something that I’ve seen on TV where loved ones gather together for an “Intervention” to tell a drug user that they need to go through drug rehab for their sake and all those who care about them.  If that doesn’t work, we are to turn to the church for support to confront this person.  If nothing works, we have to cut our losses, disassociating ourselves from that person so that we don’t inadvertently get caught up in their lifestyle.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.  Matthew, Chapter 18, verses 19-20.
This reminds me of the saying: Two heads are better than one.  Well, in this passage two people praying are better than one and it’s a situation of: the more the merrier.  So when I’m concerned about someone’s health, I call my church’s prayer chain and raise my hand during the Joys and Concerns portion of the church service.

Of course, God answers prayers in whatever way He determines is best.  Sometimes it isn’t always the way we had hoped things would turn out.  Although it may be difficult to understand, I ultimately need to have faith in God’s decisions and timing for everything.

And while He yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him.  But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?  When they which were about Him saw what would follow, they said unto Him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?  And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far.  And He touched his ear, and healed him.  Luke, Chapter 22, verses 47-51.

I don’t know if I could do something nice like heal a person who was part of a plot to kill me.  I’ve been known to remember situations for over twenty years where someone has been rude or hurtful to me, yet I am dependent on Jesus’ forgiving nature.  If He remembered all my sins the same way I have harbored resentments toward others, there’s no way I would ever make it to heaven.  He forgives me over and over, even when I don’t deserve His forgiveness.  He is there loving me when I find it difficult to love myself.  I’m so fortunate to have Jesus as my Savior and Redeemer.
I write these things and find I’m very two-faced.  I say things like Savior and Redeemer in my writing and realize that I would never be caught dead saying these things in public.  I think that’s because I don’t want to sound like a religious fanatic to others.  I might say that I love Jesus, but that’s usually as far as my profession of faith goes.  I need to pay attention because I could be faced with Jesus saying, “I love Debbie, but I can’t allow her to have Salvation because she is afraid to risk the condemnation of others.  She is afraid that if she says I’m her Savior and Redeemer, others will think she is a religious fanatic!  What a shame.  She had such potential, but if she can’t acknowledge Me, I don’t feel obliged to acknowledge her.  Such a shame!”
Actually, this reminds me about the passage I had just written where Simon Peter denied Jesus three times.  Well, Simon Peter still received Salvation, because he learned from his mistakes and realized how terrible it was that he had denied Jesus.  Simon Peter turned his life around where he became someone who readily proclaimed his love for Jesus.  Now I need to be able to do the same.  I need to turn my life around and not hide behind my fear of what people will think of me.  I’m still very weak in this area and need to ask that God gives me the willingness to let Him guide my actions and my words, now and always, not just when it’s comfortable.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Letting Go of the Big Clothes, I've Been a Back Seat Driver Christian, and Have We Become Desensitized? 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

This Bible passage is when Jesus walked on the water to meet the boat with the disciples on it.
But straight way Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.  And He said, Come.  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying Of a Truth Thou art the Son of God.  Matthew, Chapter 14, verses 27-33.
After God allowed me to experience the miracle of losing 80+ pounds of excess weight, my church was having a garage sale.  I looked at my big clothes and thought I probably should keep them in case I gained all the weight back.  The thought was in my head that I didn’t trust God to take care of me.  I was virtually saying, “God I’m going to keep these big clothes just in case you don’t continue to take care of my weight problem.”  This realization made a major difference in my life.  I decided to get rid of the big clothes immediately.  I definitely don’t want to start sinking like Peter did when He wasn’t trusting Jesus to take care of him. Click on the post title to read a related Bible passage.

While He yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a Voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  Matthew 17, verses 5-6.
You know how famous football players and movie stars are on commercials endorsing particular products they like, so others will come to know how good they are?  Well, this is an endorsement from God so the disciples of Jesus would know how good He is.  His is an endorsement that defies all explanation.
It makes me wonder what God’s endorsement of me would be.  “This is one of my supposed followers, Debbie.  She is a ‘Back Seat Driver Christian,’ telling others how they should live their lives as Christians, unwilling to do the same.  It would have been nice to count her as one of My flock, but she backed away from opportunities that I have given her to share her faith-so sad!”

 And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them.  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in My Name receiveth Me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offences!  for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!  Matthew, Chapter 18, verses 2-7. 
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.  Matthew, Chapter 18, verse 10.
Usually, I interpret this passage to mean that we should have the faith of a little child in order to go to heaven.  This time, this passage was saying to me that the people who abuse children physically, sexually and emotionally better beware because God doesn’t want anyone hurting children under any circumstances.  I noticed that there are exclamation marks used in this passage a couple of times and I don’t see them used much in the Bible.  I take it to mean that Jesus is emphatically telling people to beware not to harm children.
It’s so sad.  The court systems are full of children who have been neglected and abused in one form or another.  What’s even worse is that some of these children have been abused by their own family members who are supposed to love them and protect them from harm.
What can we do as Christians?  We can make an effort to not become so desensitized to the needs of abused children because we see it so frequently in the news.  We can support legislators to enact laws to make it more difficult for the court system to let out pedophiles, rapists and aggressive criminals.  We can mentor a child who appears to need a little extra attention.  Going to read or play games with children in the Women’s Shelters can be beneficial, because these children need someone in their corner. 
We can encourage our children to include others who appear to be loners.  This helps not only the isolated child, but it teaches our children to be sensitive to the needs of others instead of being “I”, “Me” focused.  The list of things we could do is endless. Click on the Post title to read a related Bible passage.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Covering Our Ears, Making Popcorn, and Influence on Others 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

Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.  Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 13-17.
I’ve walked up to a child who was upset.  I had planned to distract them from their anger by telling them the class was going to do something fun like cook or do a craft, but they were so angry that they couldn't hear what I was going to tell them.  When they saw me approaching, they covered their ears and started making sounds to block out anything I might say.  I usually walk away thinking that it’s their loss, because they miss out on the fun activity that I was going to tell them about.
It’s a shame that there are still some who aren’t open to hearing that Jesus is our Savior.  They are the ones who will miss out on the opportunity for Salvation, which is sad.  It’s difficult to get through to people when they have deliberately closed their minds, eyes and ears to what we have to share.

Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares [weeds] among the wheat, and went his way.  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared tares also.  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.  The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 24-30. 
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.  Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 36-43.
This is also like when you make popcorn.  Pretend all the fully popped kernels are those who believe Jesus is their Savior and try to lead their lives accordingly.  The unpopped kernels or “Old Maids” are those who have fallen prey to Satan’s enticements to live a worldly life.  After you pop the popcorn, you debate whether to pick out all the “Old Maids,” since there are quite a few, or to leave them in.
Some of the popcorn kernels are partially popped, but you decide to count them as “Old Maids,” because they really aren’t the same as fully popped popcorn.  This is similar to people who know Jesus is our Savior, but don’t put any effort into praying or leading a life that reflects their love for Him.  You think about it and decide to dump all the popcorn into a paper bag to eat rather than pulling the “Old Maids” out.  That symbolizes both Christians and non-Christians living together on earth.
The fully popped popcorn is chosen and is removed from the bag, representing the Christians who will be chosen and will have Salvation in heaven.  All the “Old Maids” and partial “Old Maids” will be discarded when you throw the paper bag into the garbage can.  This represents those with a worldly focus who will be going to hell.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want be discarded like an “Old Maid Christian,” so I need to live my life accordingly. Click on the Post title to read a related Bible passage.

Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.  Matthew, Chapter 13, verse 33.
I’m not really sure what this means but will explain what it makes me think of.  It reminds me of an office that I worked in for the government, some years ago.  When I first started working there, the group of ladies I had break with, spent a lot of time complaining and harping about unproductive issues.  After I felt more comfortable and mentioned my faith in Jesus, I found that some of those ladies opened up about their faith, as well, and the tone of our breaks seemed to change.  They seemed kinder to each other and our discussions weren’t focused around unproductive issues and griping.

I think Christians have the ability to be a positive influence through their example, even though it may seem insignificant at the time.  This may set the foundation for spiritual growth in someone, similar to how the flour grew from a little bit of yeast.

Monday, December 11, 2017

I Don't Want to Be Going in Different Directions, The Situation in a Whole Other Ball Park, Have I Become Apathetic? 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

 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.  And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.  And they asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse Him.  And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.  Matthew, Chapter 12, verses 8-12.
This was of special interest to me.  I had read in several different sections in the Bible that we aren’t to do work on the Sabbath.  This isn’t something my particular church promotes, but it’s written in the Bible in so many places that I figured God wants people to pay attention to it.  I don’t really think it matters to God whether people choose Saturday or Sunday to worship Him, as long as we choose one of the days to abstain from work while focusing on Him and relaxing.  My impression is that God realized some people are workaholics and need some down time.  If people worked on the Sabbath and didn’t have a family day to relax and worship together, each family member might be likely to go off in a different direction.
I had a dilemma a few years ago that relates to this passage.  When I went to visit my elderly grandparents after church, I wanted to do household jobs that they couldn’t do but didn’t want to go against the Bible by working on the Sabbath.  This passage solved that dilemma, because Jesus said that it was alright to help someone on the Sabbath.  After realizing this, I was able to help my grandparents and not feel like I was compromising my beliefs.
Sometimes the related passages that I list below the main entry refer to the same general topic.  Other times the related passages that are below the main entry sound almost identical.  I feel it’s important for the reader to see these even though they may sound redundant.  Many of the disciples were with Jesus and got an opportunity to see and experience some of the same things.  They shared these observations from their perspective as God led them to write portions of the Bible.  Although these accounts may differ somewhat in wording, they are especially significant because they show that Jesus really did exist and is not a figment of someone’s imagination. Click on post title to read related Bible passages.

Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and the dumb both spake and saw.  And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David?  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This Fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.  And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?  therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?  and then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Matthew, Chapter 12, verses 22-32.
I found that my students had their limits.  They may have tolerated someone calling them names and teasing them, but once someone said something hateful about their Mother, it put the situation in a whole other ballpark.  Well, I think Jesus is responding in a similar fashion.  I think He’s saying something like, “O.K. I may have put up with you saying stupid things like I must be Satan, because I am able to heal the deaf and dumb.  It really doesn’t make any sense to start with.  A house divided against itself will fall, so Satan couldn’t cast himself out.
“You’re just looking for things to confuse people and discredit the miracles that I do to prove that I’m your Savior.  Well, I may have tolerated you belittling Me, but I sure won’t tolerate you belittling the Holy Ghost.  I’m warning you now; if you continue to do that, you will live to regret it because it’s intolerable!  Although you don’t know it yet, I’m here to save you from your sins, but people who say hateful things against the Holy Ghost won’t even get a second chance.  They will lose any hope for Salvation.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

Have I Become Apathetic?

And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull. They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots. Matthew 27, verses 33-35.

I realize that I have stated on the Bible-Passages Blog that I was posting on Monday and Thursday mornings. I would be remiss as a Christian Author and Blogger if I didn't make note of this special occasion. Am I speaking of the hunting of eggs with baskets? Of course not.

After walking all that way with His cross, whether He was carrying it or had help, He had to be exhausted, but Jesus denied the drink they offered Him. I had never really thought much about this particular passage before, but Jesus didn't do anything that would have made His suffering easier. He was dedicated to giving His life for us and our sins, not minimizing the experience, no matter how painful and gut-wrenching it may be. Jesus knew in advance what was going to befall Him, yet He chose to do it anyway.

The thing I have to ask, "Do I show the same dedication for Him?" I am saddened to say, "No." I was sitting during the Good Friday service which was very moving, thinking of a purchase I want to make. I would bring myself back to focus on what Christ has done for me, only to be drawn back to the thought that maybe I could buy this thing at a local thrift shop.

I had originally planned to stop by the thrift shop after the noon church service in order to see if they had the object I wanted. I decided not to, because I had let something worldly get in between my relationship with God. I decided to go home, read the part of Matthew that related to Christ's crucifixion in order to better focus on this meaningful event.

As I read, instead of being moved as I normally am, I was just reading words. I don't want to become apathetic, feeling indifference when I'm reading how Christ gave His life for me. I want to focus on how He chose to give His life knowing that friends would betray Him, He would be spit upon, hit, taunted, and disrespected. They even cast lots for His clothing. He sacrificed His life, even for someone like me who let something worldly get in the way of embracing the gift He so freely gave me and chose to do nothing to minimize the true experience of providing for my salvation.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trying to Have My Cake and Eat it Too, I'm Saying, "Wait in the Wings, God", and Picking My Timing 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

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon [wealth, riches and possessions].  Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 24.
I have tried to be a “Have My Cake and Eat It Too Christian,” but it just doesn’t work that way.  I thought I could balance my faith like a teeter totter, with Jesus on one side and getting ahead in my job, having nice things and a decent bank account on the other side.  Well, what I have found is that when my focus is on getting ahead in my job, possessions and wealth; the worldly end of the teeter totter goes up.
I was pleased by the growth I saw in these worldly areas, but when I looked back on the other side of the teeter totter, I saw Jesus sitting there at the bottom of my priorities.  Although I’ve tried various ways to maintain a balance to have my cake and eat it too, it just doesn’t work.  I need to make the necessary changes to have Jesus on top as my primary goal.  When I do this, the job, possessions and wealth are at the bottom of my priorities which doesn’t really seem to matter much, because Jesus provides for my every need. Click on the Post title to read a related Bible passage.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?  or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)  for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 25-34.
This passage has been instrumental in a major change in my relationship with God.  Most people have some type of vice.  Various people drink, some have affairs, others use drugs, but mine is my need to be in control.  It’s really difficult for me to not be in total control of all aspects of my life, as well as, other situations that arise.  I remember how I used to plan, calculate and budget every single cent.  I would do this a month in advance, fretting over my finances the rest of the month.  Although, this might be good for someone who spends too much money, it wasn’t good for me because I wasn’t letting God be in control of my life.
I think people with control issues are probably great people to have on committees, because they make sure all the details are taken care of.  It’s not always a blessing to be that much in control of things.  When I’m in total control of everything in my life, I’m not trusting God to take care of me because I’m too busy trying to plan everything.  It’s kind of like I’m saying, “Wait in the wings, God.  Let me see what I can do first and if I can’t figure it out, then I’ll turn to You for help.”  Everything I read in the Bible states repeatedly that God wants me to turn to Him for everything.  That’s why I’m writing this book.  It’s to show people that God doesn’t say, “God helps him who helps himself.” God wants us to turn to Him in all things (paraphrased).
Control also played a part in my eating problem.  I used to be around 70-80 pounds heavier.  I always figured that I could lose the weight if I went on my “good diet” and stuck with it.  I joined about every weight loss group around and several times, at that!  I went on my “good diet” and found it wasn’t productive either.  Then I sat down in my bedroom one day and said, “I give up, God.  I’m always going to be heavy.  God, if you want me to ever be thin, You’ll have to take care of it because I can’t,”…and you know what, He did!
From that moment on, the desire for sweets and great quantities of food were taken away from me.  I didn’t do anything, in and of myself.  God did it all!  This all happened because I asked God to take care of it.  I guess this was probably one of the first times I had really given up my control.  The reason I said this prayer wasn’t because I was expecting God to take all my weight away.  I was just giving up and was turning it all over to God because I didn’t want to worry about being heavy anymore.  He used this miracle to turn my life around and to show me that He needs to be the One in control of my life, not me.
If God takes care of things in nature, He will surely take care of me and all my needs.  I find that when I’m not spending so much time trying to be in control of situations and people, I have much more time to spend focusing on God and my family.  That’s because I’m trusting God to take care of situations that arise.  Now, this isn’t to say I don’t slip into that control mode, at times.  It’s my vice.  I think Satan knows that anytime I’m in my control mode, I’m using the “I’s” and “Me’s” to make things happen.  In other words, I’m controlling situations, which means I’m not focusing on God.  I’m glad God takes the time to keep reminding me that I need to turn to Him in all things.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.  Matthew, Chapter 7, verse 6.
When I was in high school there were lots of different groups of kids.  Well, they called one of these groups the “dopers” mainly because their lives revolved around recreational drugs, losing sight of all else.  As a Christian, I value my faith in Jesus above all else (my pearls.)  I could have walked into the crowd of “dopers” and told them that Jesus has positively influenced my life in ways that I would like to share with them.  Do you think I would get a warm response?  You’re right; they would tell me to get out of there and give me a hard time, not being open to any of the things that I wanted to share with them.
My faith in Jesus is better shared with those who might possibly be open to listening to me.  Now that doesn’t mean that I am not to share my faith with those who use recreational drugs or have worldly lifestyles.  I can choose my timing wisely and approach those people one-on-one, at a time where I think they might be more receptive.  If I really want to share my relationship with Jesus, I will try to maximize my potential of successfully doing this.

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