Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots."  Frank A. Clark

How true, this statement is.  There are times, when we must point out things that are wrong, or even suggest a better way.  Winston Churchill said "Cristicism may not be agreeable, but is necessary.  It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.  It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."  Many times we are focusing on those things, verses the person.  I know that I am not the expert in this, but having been the receiver of some negative criticism, it makes me more aware of my words to others. 

Remembering the golden rule is so important in instances like this.  We never know "where" the person we're talking to is in their life.  We don't know what they have going on at that moment, and sometimes in the heat of a discussion, we forget that they are a sweet, tender person with problems just like us. 

Think before we speak - so many times we've heard this, and so many times we all forget to do it.  Let's remember to keep that criticism gentle and loving and then be willing to help. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Faith like Moses

I had an opportunity to teach about one of our Heroes of the Faith this past summer, and several things just jumped out at me. 

In Hebrews 11:23-29, we can read a recap of Moses' life and why he is listed in the "faith hall of fame" in Hebrews 11.  Ultimately when you read these verses, we can see that Moses chose God no matter what the circumstance.  Are we choosing God daily?

Moses first chose God over Pharoah.  Moses refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter.  Do we understand what that means?  It took a lot of strength to walk away from a life of riches and power, being part of the ruling class of a strong national power.  Moses chose to live differently than his adoptive family. 

What does our walk show about us, our strength and our faith?  Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Paul is reminding us here that our daily walk is to be presenting our lives to God as a sacrifice.  I John 2:15 "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Can the world see our faith?  If the world looks at our behavior, can it see our faith?  If the world listens to our language, can it hear our faith?  If the world views our dress, can it see our faith?  If the world views our Facebook page, can it see our faith?  Everyday when I'm on Facebook, I see comments made by Christians that make me shake my head.  I see pictures posted by "proud" parents of their daughters wearing low-cut, super short fancy dresses as they had out the door to an immoral dance and see their comments about how beautiful they are.  I hear Christians tell off-color jokes, hear them use euphemisms or down-right curse words and wonder.  It makes me sad because I want everyone to be living the life that God wants for us with the reward God has promised for us.

Moses chose persecution over pleasure.  Hebrews 11:25 "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin".  What passing pleasure of sin do we avoid?  Are we saying no to the "fun" of a girl's night involving alcohol?  As we saying no to the school dances where lewd behavior is happening?  Are we saying no to the popular way of dressing?  Are we avoiding the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 10:19-21 and working towards the fruits of the Spirit?  Daniel is another faithful person of the Bible and when faced with some tough choices at a young age, he "purposed in his heart" not to defile himself.  (Daniel 1:8) 

Are we suffering because of these choices?  Are we being persecuted?  If we're not, what does that really say about us?  Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for My name's sake."  2 Timothy 2:12 "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."  Do we count it as joy to be ridiculed, excluded and hated?  Luke 6:22-23.  Christ suffered for us, and endured hostility from sinners.  We cannot allow our difficulties to discourage us (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Finally, Moses had his eye on the eternal prize.  Hebrews 11:26 "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward."  Are we looking towards the reward of heaven?  Our reward in heaven is great (Luke 6:23).  We need to be working daily to perfect our faith and keep our faith alive, choosing God daily despite the difficulties and be a living example to others. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Loving Fervently

I Peter 1:22 "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart."

I really like this verse.  It speaks of that brotherly love (phileo) we have for each other as Christians, however it goes deeper too.  It speaks of the agape love we are supposed to have for each other, and as this verse says, fervently. 

We can like people, we can have brotherly affection for them ... but do we agape?  Are we really willing to lay down our lives for them, fervently?  Peter says here that SINCE we have purified our souls, we have agape towards our brethren.  Because we are a Christian, because we have put on Christ in baptism, because we are who we say we are we have such a fervent love for our fellow Christians. 

I'm not a Greek scholar, and clearly need to learn more about the words and meanings of love ... but to me, this goes beyond just a golden rule, do unto others type of love ... it's fervent.  Having or displaying a passionate intensity.  Not a sexual passion, but an intense, ardent love with a pure heart. 

I John 4:12 "If we love one another, God abides in  us, and His love has been perfected in us." 
I John 4:20-21 "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him:  that he who loves God must love his brother also." 

I'm going to work harder at this, and hope you do too.  Loving our Christian family fervently. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten Ways to Love

Someone sent me this, so I cannot take credit ... and I really don't know who to give credit to, but it was really too good not to share!

This is one of those great things we should print out and put on our refrigerators!

1.  Listen without interrupting.  Proverbs 18
2.  Speak without accusing.  James 1:19
3.  Give without sparing.  Proverbs 21:26
4.  Pray without ceasing.  Colossians 1:9
5.  Answer without arguing.  Proverbs 17:1
6.  Share without pretending.  Ephesians 4:15
7.  Enjoy without complaint.  Philippians 2:14
8.  Trust without wavering.  I Corinthians 13:7
9.  Forgive without punishing.  Colossians 3:13
10.  Promise without forgetting.  Proverbs 13:12

Listen, speak, give, pray, answer, share, enjoy, trust, forgive and promise.   Good things to think on, right?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You deserve it!

My thoughts aren't completely together on this one yet, however I'd love to hear other's views too. 

So often in today's world we hear people say to each other - go ahead and do that "whatever" ... you deserve it!  Go ahead, take that trip away from your husband and children to hang out with your girlfriends;  you deserve it.  Go ahead, and spend that extra money you really don't have on that dress that isn't really decent; you deserve it. 

Everytime I hear those words, I think of "me, me, me, me, me" and that is just not how I am supposed to be.  To me, this phrase just reaks of selfishness. 

These statements don't mean that I am against a mother or wife having some time alone, but I guess what I'm thinking of is at the heart of the matter.  If we are seeking something extra in our lives that just isn't there, we need to consider what we fill it with. 

When Jesus went away alone, He was communicating with His Father.  Jesus took time for rest for His body and soul and for prayer and meditation.  Perhaps, instead of craving a worldly solution to our emptiness, we seek the holy.  It will make us a much better wife, mother, sister, friend anyway.