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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Redeeming that which is Lost

I came across this quote on Facebook, and wanted you, dear reader, to think about its significance. 
"Many, in seeking to discern right from wrong, inadvertently become judgmental toward other people. Yes, we need to discern sin, but we must also discern how to represent Christ in seeking redemption. Thus, our first reaction should be intercession. As John wrote, we are to "ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin . . ." (1 John 5:16). God does not want us to be judgmental, but prayer-mental."
I thought it was an accurately biblical response to how we treat those in our fellowship and those who are not. i think too often we think we can turn away from that which we believe is sin. Although i would never advocate someone to become steeped in sin, but Jesus never turned away from having fellowship with that which is sinful. Take the temptation by Satan for example. Or the passage in the Old Testament where Satan is allowed to approach God's throne and petition him, as depicted in Job. We want so easily to point the finger at someone and label them as a false teacher, yet Jesus calls us to redeem that which is lost. 
How does this quote change how you will strive to redeem that which is lost in the future?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Better to Give than to Receive

Many times as a child i heard these words" It is better to give than to receive." I never believed them, because the anticipation of Christmas Day overshadowed any gift I picked out at the church bazzarr. But, not I understand,it really is more about the joy of giving than receiving during the Christmas season.
I know I have gotten way more joy wrapping little surprises for my kids on Christmas morning, or helping out a co worker who has no money for gifts, or giving a token of appreciation to the women at the local shop that I see throughout the year than on any gift that come wrapped under the tree. Perhaps because Isaiah 58:10-11 speaks on this topic:
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, 
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 
 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry 
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, 
then your light will rise in the darkness, 
   and your night will become like the noonday. 
The LORD will guide you always; 
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land 
   and will strengthen your frame. 
You will be like a well-watered garden, 
   like a spring whose waters never fail. 
Yes, the joy lies more in the giving than in the receiving. After all, didn't God give us His son?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jesus' Christmas Letter to You

My husband received this from a worker at a local coffee shop. it was so powerful, I had to share it with you.

Letter from Jesus about Christmas
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably most be understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own, I don't care what you call the say. If you want to celebrate My birth, just get along and love one another.
now, having said that let me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting my birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put a small nativity scene in your own front lawn. If all my follower did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that there are people calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made the trees. you can remember me anytime you see any tree. decorate a grape vine if you wish. i actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look it up John 15:1-8. And please, quit complaining about Xmas- remember the fish symbol early Christians used to interact with others. Xmas can actually be a conversation starter since it tells so much  about me. IXOYE, Jesus Christ God's Son, Savior! It's not taking Christ out of Christmas, just including my name in another way!
If you want to give me a present in remembrance of my birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way my birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him you are praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts toy can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of my birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday season, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there in Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day with their families.
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary- especially one that takes my love and good news to those who have never heard of my name.
9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy dome food and a few gifts and give them to a Salvation army or some other charity which believes in me and they will make the delivery for you.
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief and loyalty to me, then behave like a christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in my presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one if mine.
Don't forget; i am God and can take care of myself. Just love me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work. time is short. I'll help but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember.
I love you,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Love You to Death

I was just watching the show Intervention on A and E, and was struck by a statement one of the parents said to their daughter who was struggling with an eating disorder. She said "It is not my job to love you to death." It is interesting to think about in terms of the Christian walk. I have always had difficulty understanding why grace and Christlike character are characterized by non-confrontative encounters and random niceties, as if merely being a nice person is enough to further the gospel. 1 timothy 5:20 says "Those who sin should be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."
Please don't misunderstand me. I 'm not saying we drag every congregation member in front of the church so that we can throw stones at them. But, I do think we seriously downplay the role of the church in our lives. Sin affects a community, if it is functioning the way it was intended. We should all be in prayer for one another and helping each other "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." If we are not close enough to each other to be able to speak
into each others' lives, we are doing ourselves a disservice.Confrontation does have its place within the church body. Every time we don't gently correct each other in love, we are actually not bringing life, but death. Confrontation, if done in the right context, creates love. Love creates character.  Love creates new life in Christ.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My birthday gift

Today is my birthday.
You want to know what my favorite part is?
I enjoy the gifts
The cards
The cake
The pictures.
But, my favorite part is
thanking each and every person who writes on my Facebook wall.
It reminds me how much I have been through,
all of the people I have met
and all of the people that make up my friends and family.
You are all so special to me.
Every year the number of posts goes up,
which tells me I am making a difference in the world.
I like to write you all back a personal message
Because it is my way of giving back to you
a little of what you have given me.
It proves yet again
that in God's family
No one is excluded,
but all are welcomed.
May Jesus become as real to you as he has become to me
As we approach this Christmas.
That's one great birthday gift.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grace isn't Cheap

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said ""Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."  In a blog post I did a while ago, I talked about forgiveness not being cheap. similarly, grace is not cheap, either. So, why do we dispense it so freely? I know I have often thought being gracious meant just letting people get away with whatever they want, and I simply turn a blind eye, especially when it was being done to me. But, how does that help the offender come any closer to repentance? Sometimes the only way someone will change their behavior is if you firmly assert yourself and tell them how you feel. Actually, without a person understanding who God is and his work in their life, grace is not only cheap, but worthless. It would be like Christians counseling someone without mentioning Christ. If the Holy Spirit is the true counselor a without him we are nothing, then are we doing people a diservice by giving them a raw deal? Redemption is not possible without a redeemer. Grace is cheapened without emulating the one who bestowed it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still Waiting...

It has been 3 months now since I sent out my book proposal to David C. Cook publishing and I have not heard anything yet. I'm hoping this is good news because I think I would have heard by now if they did not like the proposal.  I cannot give it to the self-publishing company until I hear back because once they accept it, the own the rights to it. I'm trying hard not to get impatient, but the self- doubt is slowly creeping in....=)