Monday, May 29, 2017

The Bible Provides Guidelines for Our Lives, Not Beholding to Anyone, and They Care for Their Own 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

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.

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.

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

God Knows When We Are Trying to Manipulate Him, Our Example Can Lead People to God or Push Them Away, and Don't Just Believe That Something Is In the Bible Just Because Someone Says It's There: Check It Out for Yourself 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

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.

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.

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Responding to the Needy, Being More Compassionate to Those Imprisoned, and Does God Tempt Us? 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 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.

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.

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It's Impossible for God to Lie, Listening to the Instincts That God Gives Us, and Blind Faith and Taking Risks 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

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.

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!

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Not Who We Know that Gets You to Heaven, Should We Focus on Angels, Finding Quality Time for God and Our Family 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

That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the Law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  Titus, Chapter 3, verses 7-9.

I remember hearing that some people seem to feel that they deserve a certain amount of prestige because they have followed their family roots all the way back to those who landed on Plymouth Rock.  I know following your family tree can be interesting, but I think God is saying that even if we checked our genealogy and found we were related to the Apostle Paul himself, we would be wasting our time.  It’s not who you know that gets you into heaven, it’s our love for Jesus and trying to lead the life He wants for us.  That’s what makes the difference!

God Who hath at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High; Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they.  For unto which of the angels said He at any time, thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee?  And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to Me a son? And again, when He bringeth in the First Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.  And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.  But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.  Hebrews, Chapter 1, verses 1-8.

This passage reinforces my concern that people might get led astray by focusing on angels rather than focusing on God.  Angels have become popular in the last few years.  There are some shows focused on angels and some catalogs and stores filled primarily with angels.  The thing is, God doesn’t want us worshipping angels or giving them undue attention.  I think some people get confused and think they are really focusing on God when they pay so much attention to angels.  Some people even pray to their guardian angel rather than praying to God, thinking it’s one and the same thing, but it isn't.
If the angel in Revelation forbade John to bow down to him (last asterisk), then I would think we should pay attention to this.  We are to focus on God and not the angels even though they are God’s ministering spirits.  Our focus is to always be on God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; none other.
Here are some related passages:
*But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of Salvation?  Hebrews, Chapter 1, verses 13-14.
*And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.  And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah.  Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD.  For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.  Judges, Chapter 13, verse 15-16.
*And I John saw these things, and heard them, And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  Revelation, Chapter 22, verses 8-9.

For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all His works.  Hebrews, Chapter 4, verse 4.

I like the way that God looks out for my family in spite of our weaknesses.  He knows that I work intensely all week and I spend all weekend either caught up in doing the things I took home from work or I get involved in other projects.  If I spend all my spare time focused on work and projects, then I’m not spending my time focused on God and my family.
I have an aunt and an uncle who don’t work on the day that they go to church.  I always thought it was admirable, but I would come up with twenty billion reasons why I needed to do these projects instead.  When I read the Bible, I realized that God says over and over again (mostly in the Old Testament) that we aren’t supposed to work on the Sabbath and are to have a day of rest, focusing on God and our family.
I got to thinking about this.  If He went out of His way to make sure that this was in the Bible so many times, there must be a good reason for it.  The more I thought about it, I realized that if we are doing things from work or other projects all week, we will rarely find quality time for God and our family.  God wants us to have priorities in our lives.  After God who is our first priority, our families should come next and then our work.  Think of how many children rarely get to spend time with their parents because they are too busy working late or they are involved in work related projects at home.  
God also gives us added benefits for not working on the Sabbath.  Taking this day to focus on God and our families allows us to be refreshed for the new week.  When we stay busy all weekend after a hectic week, we are more apt to become impatient with our family members over the little things that arise.  Additionally, when we get caught up in our work and projects, we are more apt to find excuses for not going to church with our family.
The worst part is that we are poor examples to our children.  If we stay busy working all the time, they won’t grow up learning how to pace themselves either.  Everyone needs to maintain a healthy balance in their lives.  If work becomes the sole focus, then our families are bound to lose out-not to mention us.
Someday our kids will be grown and out of the house.  Will they come and visit us regularly when we are older?  Did we model the importance of family time while they were growing up?  Will they be too busy doing their own projects and work that they have no time for us?  What’s worse is the possibility that they will have no time for their own families.  Are we perpetuating a cycle of super busy people who have little time to interact with others?  That’s something to think about.
As I said, God has this stated and restated throughout the Bible.  I’m going to list some of the Bible passages that support this so you can see the lengths that God went to in order to remind us to have a day of rest to focus on Him and our families.

Here are some related passages:
*Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.  Exodus, Chapter 23, verse 12.
*Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.  Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.  Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.  Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.  It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.  Exodus, Chapter 31, verses 13-17.
*And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the Words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them.  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD, whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.  Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.  Exodus, Chapter 35, verses 1-3.
*Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.  Leviticus, Chapter 19, verse 30.
*Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My feasts.  Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.  Leviticus, Chapter 23, verses 2-3.
*Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary. I am the LORD.  Leviticus, Chapter 26, verse 2.
*There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.  Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.  Nehemiah, Chapter 13, verses 16-18.

*Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.  But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.  And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto Me saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.  And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.  But if ye will not hearken unto Me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.  Jeremiah, Chapter 17, verses 21-27.

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:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Take Time to Pray for Those Who Don't Know Christ, The Lives of the Rich and Famous Christians, and Not Getting Involved in Male Bashing 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

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)  And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians, Chapter 4, verses 7-13.

This makes me think about a watch with its back taken off.  There are all kinds of mechanisms and gears in a watch.  Each gear and mechanism looks a little different from each other and does something a little different, but all the gears and mechanisms of the watch work together with one ultimate goal.
I think Christians are like the gears and mechanisms of the watch.  We all have different gifts and abilities, but should all have the one unifying and ultimate goal of being the examples God wants us to be.  We might all do this in different ways.  Some might go door to door sharing their love for Jesus, while someone else does this by asking a friend to go to church with them.  Some accomplish this by giving their money, their time or their talents to do God’s work.  Still others do God’s work through being a good example of how Christ works in their life.
Hopefully all, regardless of their gifts, take the time to pray for those who don’t know Christ in their lives, since they all have the same ultimate and unifying goal.

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect of persons.  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him,  Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?  But ye have despised the poor.  Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?  Do not they blaspheme that worthy Name by the which ye are called?  If ye fulfil the royal Law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.  James, Chapter 2, verses 1-8.

We have become “The Lives of the Rich and Famous Christians,” catering to those with status who look and dress a particular way.  I wish I could say that I didn’t fall into this category, but I can’t.  I think our society falls prey to this, as well.  If we were on a bus, train or subway; would we stand to give our seat to someone who looks down and out or would we stand for someone who was either rich or famous?  I have a feeling I know which answer I would get if people were really being honest.
If you really think about it, our human logic is backward.  Some of the people with wealth don’t do as much physical labor and are not exposed to the weather conditions as much as those who are needier.  Those who are less fortunate probably need our seat more than those with wealth.  Well, the same goes with our kindness.  The wealthy often have others who treat them courteously, but do we extend that same courtesy to the poor?  I’m ashamed to say that I don’t always.  I wouldn’t want God to treat me as indifferently as I sometimes treat those who are less fortunate.  Sure, I give clothes that I no longer want to the needy, but that takes minimal effort.  That is giving out of my excess and I don’t think that’s the same as treating others with the respect and the courtesy that they deserve.

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity.  Titus, Chapter 2, verses 1-7.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is griping about their husband or wife? After a few minutes it seems that the rest of the people in the group start pointing out the flaws of their spouse, as well.  On the ride home, these petty little flaws seem to be magnified because they have been publicly brought to your attention.  God tells us in this passage that we are to be good examples to younger generations and should not get caught up in such discussions.
The younger generation learns by example and so did we.  If their parents, grandparents or elders have a drink every time there is some type of problem, it sets a bad example.  I’m not saying that an occasional drink is wrong, but it can become a crutch for all of the little problems that arise in life.  It sends a real negative message when our children, grandchildren and friends see us turn to the bottle every time we have a problem or we have a disagreement with our spouse.  They think that is the way things are supposed to be handled.
If they see us always complaining about our spouse, they are more apt to do the same with their spouse.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want my children arguing with their spouses or turning to the bottle or recreational drugs to help them escape the problems that arise.  I would much rather be a positive example of how God works in my daily life and in my marriage.

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:

Monday, May 8, 2017

Attending Church Isn't a Sole Indicator of a Person's Belief in Christ, Our Faith in God Gives Us a Lot of Freedom, and Some Propose Beliefs That Sound Good but May Lead Many Astray 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

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.

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.”

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 JonestownGuyana.  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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pure Joy of Doing Something Nice for Another Person, Everyday We Have a Fresh Start...Thanks to Jesus, and God Will Take Care of My Weaknesses If I Let Him 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 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!

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.

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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Going Off on Tangents and Getting Caught Up in Worldly Issues, Reflecting the Way God Has Changed My Life, and Resentful that We Don't Have the Newest and the Best of Worldly Items 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

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 1-2.

I don’t know how you do it, but you should see me clean the house.  I start with one aspect of house cleaning.  I get off on a tangent when I see something that needs to be put away in another room.  When I’m in that room, I am reminded of something else that I forgot to do.  After I do that thing, I try to remember what I had originally started to do, because by that time, I've lost my focus.  Sometimes I remember and sometimes I don’t!  This passage reminds me that I am to continue to focus on God and His will for me instead of going off on tangents and getting caught up in worldly issues which can pull my focus away from Him.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him.  Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 8-10.

They say you can’t tell a book by its cover, but this passage is kind of the reverse of that.  It tells me that people look at Christians to see if they really behave the way they think Christians should.  God reminds me now that I’m a Christian; I’m to behave as a Christian.  I’m not to be hateful, gossip, use vulgar speech or use God’s Name in vain (even though it has become so commonplace that people don’t realize that they’re even doing it.)  When people see me, my cover needs to reflect the way God has changed my life.

Here is a related passage:
*Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in Him: and He cannot sin, because He is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  1 John, Chapter 3, verses 7-10.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering; Forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.  Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 12-17.

Actually, Christians are really fortunate, these days.  You don’t commonly hear of them throwing Christians to the lions anymore.  I think it’s more about us being willing to live as God wants us to by being examples of how He works in our lives, regardless of what other people think or say.
Are we resentful when we are presented with an opportunity to make a donation to a worthy cause or are we giving to others and thankful for what we have?  Do we get caught up in reading the latest fad or do we find time to grow in our faith as we read the Bible and learn more about God?  Do we get caught up in listening to music with a worldly theme or do we sing Spiritual songs and hymns?  Do we respond hatefully to cashiers who seem less than sensitive to our concerns or do we remember all our actions and words reflect our faith in God?  Are we resentful that we don’t have the newest and the best of worldly items like others or are we thankful for all God provides for us?  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.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

How to Know Jesus Is God's Son

Christian Overeaters Past and Present Support Link

Christian Overeaters Past and Present Support Link
Read 100s of Christian Overeaters Past and Present Blog Posts and You Tube Videos


Empower Orphans to Raise Their Siblings


A Gift of an Animal Can Change People's Lives