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Friday, August 26, 2016

Discipleship happens in flesh-and-blood relationships.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
 1 John 4:19

In speaking about the burnout of pastors, J.D. Greear says, in every case he’s seen, there’s one thing in common —isolation. “The difference between those who persevere and those who fall often comes down to this: close community around them.” But it's not just pastors that need to be cautious of isolation, we all need godly community, and godly community near us. Solomon said, “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away” Proverbs 27:10. “Your ‘brother’ may be your closest friend, the guy you can share anything with. He gives incredible counsel and always looks out for you. But if he’s 100 miles away, he’s actually not as valuable as a guy you met six months ago in your small group.” Rev. Greear says, that God never intended any of us to live alone. Deep friendships with people you live and work with, and go to church with, is a part of discipleship. Nothing can replace the insight of someone who knows you.

 The people in our sphere of influence are how Jesus reaches out to us. They give us love and wise counsel, and encouragement when we need it, and offer comfort when we’re hurting. These people who are close to us can apply the gospel like no other. Christian friends are so vitally important to our relationship with God.




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Judging: the Balance Between Grace and Truth

I am currently reading Breaking the Islam Code by J.D. Greear, and WOW what a book! Greear is Pastor at The Summit Church of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Greear completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary concentrating primarily on Christian and Islamic theology. He is also currently a faculty member there. He lived and served with the SBC’s International Mission Board among Muslims for two years, and he offers a profound insight into the way Muslims think and feel. His web site contains blog writings, sermons and videos. I wholeheartedly recommend spending some time reading and learning on this site http://www.jdgreear.com/

I spent a lot of time in the last year struggling to balance what the Bible teaches about some moral/social issues and how to recognize that without judging. After reading one of the sermon discussions on Greear’s website, I am finally clear about that balance.  The article is 7 Signs That You’re “Judging” Others and you can check it out at: http://www.jdgreear.com/?s=7+signs+that+you%27re+judging+others.
In it, Greear points out that ‘Judge not’ is one of the most popular Bible verses in our society. He says “people love ‘judge not’ because it seems to be a handy way of saying, ‘You can’t tell me I’m wrong.’” He points out that if you make a public assessment on just about any moral issue, your likely to see this verse used as a deflective weapon. Greear points out that in John 7:7 Jesus told his disciples that the world hates him “because I testify about it that its works are evil.” So, Greear explains, “Jesus couldn’t have meant that we’re all supposed to just throw up our hands and say, ‘Hey to each his own. Who am I to judge?’”  There is a balance between grace and truth Greear relates, “so don’t judge others by withholding the truth. But don’t judge them by speaking the truth without grace.” I totally get this. 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004G6066W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


Monday, August 15, 2016

Today's To Do List



Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.


Today’s To Do List

1.      Practice kindess
2.      Let go of what I can’t control
3.      Count my blessings
4.      Listen to the Holy Spirit
5.      Walk with God
6.      Live like Jesus
7.      Pass this on to encourage someone else.
 



It is not fancy hair gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear, and it is worth very much to God.
~1 Peter 3:3-4

29 Habits of Extremely Considerate People

This list of good habits from extremely considerate people reminds me so much of my Mom and my Grandma. They taught these things to us while we were growing up. I need to be reminded of them often. I'm not as good at being extremely considerate as Grandma and Mom were, but I keep trying to improve.
  1. They put themselves in other people’s shoes.
  2. They recognize their own imperfections—and embrace them!
  3. They open the door for people instead of barging through it first.
  4. They try to make people feel comfortable in awkward situations.
  5. If someone looks great, they tell them! Why not?
  6. They think first and speak second (and avoid plenty of foot-in-the-mouth situations because of this).
  7. They perform small acts of kindness, just because they can, not because they feel they should.
  8. They avoid judging other people.
  9. They try to keep things positive, even (or especially) in difficult situations.
  10. They’re good listeners.
  11. They share what they have, even if it’s not much.
  12. If someone is sad, they try to cheer them up.
  13. They throw in a few extra dollars if the bill comes up short at a group meal.
  14. They smile at everyone.
  15. They try to leave people better than they found them—not the opposite!
  16. They put other people first.
  17. They are patient with other people, even if they’re frustrated.
  18. They remember birthdays and special occasions.
  19. They give up their seats on public transportation to people who clearly need them more—or maybe just to be nice!
  20. They always say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
  21. They don’t interrupt or talk over people.
  22. They do favors for people without expecting anything in return.
  23. If someone skips them in line, they let it go. Maybe that person is just having a bad day!
  24. They make a point to include everyone in the conversation.
  25. They apologize when they mess up.
  26. They’re on time for things.
  27. They anticipate other people’s needs and wants.
  28. They ask people about themselves.
  29. They consider the “bigger picture” beyond themselves and their own lives.
This was originally posted on POPSUGAR.



Faith Hope Coffeebreak



My favorite devotional is One Year At His Feet by Chris Tiegreen. Rev. McClendon told me about this book and wow! was he ever right. I can not adequately express what an impact this book has had on me. Chris Tiegreen also has a free daily devotional that is emailed to you each morning. It’s called Faith Hope Coffeebreak. You can sign up to receive it here: https://www.chris-tiegreen.com/devo-subscribe They are short but very powerful. Here are a couple of snippets from recent coffebreak messages:

“He has made us in his image and is relentless in his desire to restore us to his image. He wants his people to be like him. That’s why he shares his authority, power, wisdom, and love with us.”

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17. “We can live in a lightness of spirit and without the pressure of conforming to unreachable standards. Our hearts can be at rest.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Patience



“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.”
~Charles Stanley
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
~Isaiah 64:4

God is working in your life, right now in ways you cannot understand.
 

7 Keys to Life

The other day, I wrote about doors and windows.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
~Ephesians 4:32




7 Keys to Life

  1. God first
  2. Love one another
  3. Never hate
  4. Give generously
  5. Live simply
  6. Forgive quickly
  7. Be kind always


Asking and Receiving



In Mark 10: 46-52 The blind man asks for Jesus to have mercy on him. Did you ever wonder why Jesus asked him what the man wanted, when He already knew he was blind?  It was important to the blind man, and is to us to ask for His help. By asking, we take the time to be in relationship with God. He doesn’t just want to be our Savior and Provider, he wants more. Because he loves us so much, He wants an intimate relationship with us.

In Matthew 7:8 Jesus says, “Everyone who asks receives.” Jesus tells us to be persistent in pursuing God. Knowing God takes faith, focus and follow-through, because it is the process of being in relationship with Him. Many of Jesus’ parables are about bold, specific asking. Even though He already knows our needs before we ask, He insists on specific requests. Why?
  • Maybe it is so that when the answer comes we will recognize it.
  • Perhaps it is so that when the answer comes we will see how it is different from our own limited view.
  • Maybe it is so that we will better remember having voiced our request.
  • Or perhaps it is so we will give thanks when our request is answered.
  • Maybe the asking and receiving is a way to better witness to others in our world than by simply granting unspoken requests.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Koinonia



I recently learned a Greek word, Koinonia.  Because the word has a multitude of meanings, no single English word is adequate to express its depth and richness. It is a derivative of "koinos," the word for "common." Koinonia is a complex, rich, and thoroughly fascinating Greek approach to building community or teamwork. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ. There is a special New Testament application of the word koinonia that describes the Communion that exists at the celebration of the Lord's Supper. I think that it is such a lovely word for those of us in the family of Christ, like Sisters.

It appears 19 times in most editions of the Greek New Testament.
Acts 2:42
Philippians 2:1-2
First John 1:6-7
Romans 12:10
Romans 12:10
Romans 12:16
1 Peter 3:8)
Romans 15:7
Galatians 5:13
Ephesians 4:32
Colossians 3:16
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Hebrews 3:13
Hebrews 10:24
1 Peter 4:9
1 Peter 1:22
1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7 ; 4:11-12