Monday, May 13, 2019
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Introduction and Definition
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, KJV).
“Know that Jesus is Lord… Cease striving” (Based on Psalm 46:10, NASB).
“In Christ alone my soul finds rest…” (Based on Psalm 62:1).
"My help comes from the Lord…" (Psalm 121:2)
"Here I am." (Isaiah 6:8)
"Show your power." (Based on Psalm 80:2)
"Not my will, but yours." (based on Matthew 26:39)
"Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20)
Monday, September 24, 2018
- Saving Noah and the animals on the ark through the flood
- Calling Father Abraham to leave his homeland and go start a new people in the Promised land
- Paving a way to redemption through Moses, King David, and the prophets
- And He fulfilled His plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus
God has been so merciful to you and to me. We also, ought to show mercy. Be merciful. No, that’s not enough! It say, love mercy. That's much stronger, isn't it? Look for ways to be merciful. Let your first thought not be how to punish or get back at soemone, but be: "How can I apply mercy in this circumstance?" Ere on the side of mercy. Now, I must say, mercy is not pretending there isn’t a fault. It means, there is a fault but you will forgive the fault anyway. In order for the to be real forgiveness and mercy, you must recognize that an offence has occurred--sometimes a very devastating and despicable sin--but you are going to show mercy and forgive anyway. So, do what is right, love mercy, and...
09/05/2018Sara BrookerMy Dear Grandchildren
As I reflect over the 92 plus years of my life, I vividly see God's hand shaping and guiding my life to the present day. All of you are gifts created by God and deeply loved by me. You are a constant in my prayers as you grow and assume responsibility for the decisions in your lives. My most fervent prayer is each will chose a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the most important and wisest choice you can and will ever make in your lifetime.
l Timothy- 1:19
Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences, as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
A live and growing faith is the legacy I wish to leave you. A faith that grows through life, daily trials and struggles, with the knowledge that our God will never forsake us. His love is steadfast and everlasting.
It is not only a Grandmother's love that I leave to you, but foremost the love of Jesus Christ.
My prayer is each one of my beloved accepts "His" love personally and fully. That you live and grow in that love. For even before I knew or loved you, God did.
Loving you always,
Monday, March 26, 2018
On Sunday, we had a confirmation ceremony at my church. Three young "confirmands" completed a six-week course on the basics of Christianity and then chose to publicly confirm their faith in Jesus Christ in front of our congregation on Palm Sunday. I was so proud of these three young people between the ages of 11 and 12. They were very attentive throughout the course--listening and learning.
Jesus said we should emulate the faith of a child (like my confirmands who were so attentive to learn and accept Jesus by faith). Their attitudes are quite a contrast to the religious leaders when Jesus rode into Jerusalem the week before Passover. You can read the full Palm Sunday story here in John 12:12-19. Although crowds of children and ordinary people were amazed by Jesus' teachings and the miracles (even raising Lazarus from the dead after he'd been in a tomb for four days), the religious leaders scoffed. They couldn't or wouldn't believe in Jesus. Even though they espoused to worship and serve God, they dismissed God's Son as a fraud.
Jesus knew there would be many who scoff at our faith. It doesn't matter to them that we have experienced the life changing power of God or that our faith in Jesus has changed our lives forever for the better. They will still scoff and dismiss us and our beliefs. Many will even labor to destroy us because they feel threatened by how we live and what we teach. Always remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16-20; we are sheep living among wolves.
16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.[a] 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
There always have been and always will be those who feel threatened by true Christian faith and just want to explain it away. Even today, when a passionate church or Christian movement grows rapidly, there are scoffers who try to blow it off saying, "There's nothing to it. It's just a fad and it will fade away." When John Wesley led a revival of the Church of England in the 1700s, people dismissed the early Methodist movement as a bunch of religious fanatics. However, people's lives were truly changed. Drunks put away their liquor, thieves became honest men, Christians gave to the poor, visited the sick and dying and those who were in prison. The whole fabric of society in England and America was changed for the better as Christians took their faith in Jesus seriously and loved God and their neighbor with their whole hearts. Yet even then, there were people who scoffed; and there are people who scoff at vital Christianity today too.
"There's nothing to it," they say. "They're just a bunch of religious fanatics and hypocrites."
Proverbs, the book of God's wisdom, teaches again and again that scoffing is the enemy of true wisdom.
We must guard ourselves and maintain a childlike faith and not become scoffers like the religious leaders of Jesus day. So in this blog, I want to examine the difference between scoffing and listening.
No, I'm not talking about scoffing down your food! The Hebrew word for scoffing (Lus or Liys) literally means “to make mouths at.” Scoffing is to speak with a sarcastic tone, to deride, mock, or scorn. Scoffing is like the stereotypical teenager rolling their eyes when their parents give a lecture because, you know, "my parents are dumb and know absolutely nothing." When we scoff, we don't listen. We've decided a person is not even worth listening to. And so, we can't learn from them because we've already decided they have nothing worthwhile to offer.
Listening - Šâma' - שָׁמַע
The opposite of scoffing in Hebrew is Sama. It means to hear. However, it's more than just detecting sound. Sama means to hear intelligently, carefully consider, and to listen and obey. The only way to learn is to listen, deeply contemplate what you've heard, and put it into practice.
If we are to be truly wise in this wolf infested world, we've got to stop scoffing and start listening. So I want to give you some practical advise on how to avoid being a scoffer. Listen to these principles. Remember and put them into practice in your life.
First, always try to think the best of others and be respectful. When you mock someone, you dehumanize them. When you look at someone on the other end of the political spectrum and say (or think in your heart), "They're just a bleeding heart 'libtard' who doesn't know anything!", you are no longer thinking of them as a person. They aren't a child of God to you anymore; they're just a label, an enemy on the wrong side of a war. You do the same if you say (or think), "They're just a backwards thinking conservative clinging to their guns and religion." You are scoffing at someone's deeply held beliefs and writing them off as unworthy of your mental attention and respect. And if we go down that road too far, it doesn't take long before we arrive at genocide and holocaust. Once you stop seeing people as worthy of love and respect, it's a lot easier to just see them as problems to be eliminated.
And here's the thing, mocking people will affect all your relationships negatively—even unintended ones. When you mock your boss, your employees, your co-workers, or anyone you dislike or disagree with, it bleeds over into your relationships with people you really care about. Soon you'll find you're being sarcastically disrespectful with your spouse, your children, and your friends. You just can't seem to help it and you don't know why. When a scornful spirit takes residence in your heart, it poisons everything that comes out even when you don't want it to.
So be humble and empathetic. Try to understand how others feel and why they think the way they do. You don't have to agree with them or condone their actions, but you do have to care about them and love them. You have to respect others if you want others to respect you and take you seriously. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Second, keep an open mind. You can learn from anyone—even those you disagree with and those who are just plain wrong. You don't have to agree with a person or point of view to learn it and understand it better. And if you have learned an idea you disagree with, you have still learned something. I have often found listening to someone I disagree with helps me better understand why I believe what I do. Usually, I learn more from those I disagree with than those I do.
There is a way you can be right and still be wrong. Does that seem like a contradiction? It's true, you can be right and still be wrong. How? Well, how you disagree is as important as why you disagree. If you disagree and do so by belittling, disrespecting, or scoffing, you actions are wrong even if your ideas are right. God doesn't want us to be scoffers--even if we believe the right things.
One example of the right way to disagree is a time Rev. Billy Graham (a Christian evangelist) met with Woody Allen (a self-professed agnostic). They had a delightful conversation about their opposing views on television several decades ago. Graham disagreed quite frankly with Allen and clearly articulates his position and yet also does it with grace and love. Graham makes it very clear that he loves and respects Woody Allen even though they disagree. Allen obviously appreciates and respects Graham for his attitude. You can watch the exchange on video here.