Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Use a Nobody like me?

I remember reading the account of a humble Sunday School teacher who had a young man visit his class. This young man worked as a shoe clerk in a local store. The teacher went to visit him at work. He walked back and forth in front of the store getting up his courage to go in and speak to the young man. Finally, after praying and walking, he developed the courage and went into the store. There in the back stock room, the Sunday School teacher shared the love of Christ, and that young man received Christ into his life. This young man went on to be a great soul-winner and led thousands into the presence of a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

We never know when God might use a "nobody like me" to do something.  We are quick to let the enemy silence us, to cause us to shrink back, to stay out of the fray - and God only knows what opportunities we have missed. We may not be like the young man in the above account, however we have the message of hope in us and others need to hear it. we need to be like that humble Sunday School teacher and share with those we come in contact with.

The humble Sunday School teacher - his name was Edward Kimball. Most people even today have never heard his name. But, I know that God told him "Well done, good servant...." His faithfulness on that day opened the door to Eternal Life to thousands. The young man, you have no doubt heard of D. L. Moody.

Today, who would God have you speak to? Look for His leading.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Worship or Service

The Bible gives us the account of Mary and Martha - friends of Jesus in Bethany. In the account Mary set at Jesus' feet and Martha harried herself to prepare the hospitality. One was worshipping and the other serving.

We often find ourselves debating over whether a person should serve or worship - as if we could divorce the two things. They cannot be separated and still be of any value. If we worship without serving, or serve without worshipping - we are creating an ineffective belief system.

Some will pride themselves over their faithful service, they are there whenever the "doors are open." They attend to every committee and every call for a need in their church. They work and work and work..... Yet they feel deflated and "burnt out." Why? Because they are only seeing half of the picture. They are relying on their own power and ability.

Others will spend their time piously praying, singing, listening to the Word. They keep on acquiring more and more. They "sit, soak, and sour." They are like the Dead Sea in Israel - the water keeps coming in, but never goes anywhere. Jesus doesn't want us to just "sit, soak and sour" - He wants us to also "go, grow and glow" for Him. It is pretty well established that the Pareto Principle is alive and well in our local churches - 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. 

We need to find the balance between worship and service. Today, muse over whether you are lop-sided in your life. Do you run around busy, busy, busy or do you cram, cram, cram more knowledge What changes do you need to make? How can you start making a change?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Prayertime

Dear Lord, Today I want to pray and lift up all the backsliding Christians in the world. Reach down and through their circumstances, other people, and Your Holy Spirit, prick their hearts and stir their consciences that they would be drawn back to You. May You receive their praise as they see Your hand at work through their repentance and receive glory and honor through their repentance and renewed lives. May Your will be done. If there be any way You want to use me to touch the life of a discouraged or out of touch Christian, then please use me to impact a life for good. Give me the words and the way and the unction to know who and what. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Prayertime

Lord, I commit my works unto you, and ask you to establish my thoughts and direct my steps. Let my heart beat with your desires. Deliver me from all wrongdoing and fleshly desires. Keep me under your faithful, loving, and warm wings of love. I praise you, Father, Savior, Deliverer. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Body facts

Continuing to think about our body - yesterday I mentioned I am on a rigid diet - unity in the body.think about three vital things dealing with the body of Christ (the Church). First, because it is Jesus' prayer (John 17:20 - 21), there should be unity in the body. He prayed that we would be one the same as He and the Father are one. That is a lot of oneness. Paul spoke about it in 1 Corinthians 12:12 - 13 (HCSB). Read what he says, "For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Paul also reminds us in the writing of this chapter, that we are one - yet diverse. Each of us are gifted to be what God wants. As we use our gifts in our local church, we see the body work in a healthy way. Finally, the third point in this chapter is that of maturity. We are to use our gifts in the bonds of love. We need to remember today that the Fruit of the Spirit is more important than the Gifts of the Spirit.

So, let us ponder whether as a part of the body of Christ are we: in unity, understanding our gift, and using it in love. As we each do our part, we will see the body of Christ represented to the world as a healthy, mature group.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rosh Hashanah

Last night at sundown, the nation of Israel (and Jews around the world) began the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. It will continue until sundown on Friday of this week.

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri in the Jewish calendar. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." We would call Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game. It is a very holy day for them.

The Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday was instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. The traditional greeting on this day is "L'shanah tovah!" (For a good year!)

Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh ("casting off"). The observant walks to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empties their pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom. Tashlikh is normally observed on the afternoon of the first day, before afternoon services.

Today, ponder the significance of a new start. Muse over the release of sins that we have from our Lord Jesus Christ. Seek to cast off that which does so easily hold us back (Hebrews 12:1), and pray to walk forward in a new and refreshed life in Christ. May I wish you "L'shanah tovah!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Comfort Food

Everybody here knows that I am on a strict weight-loss program. And, one of the things that I have had to let go of is pure "comfort food." I can have some, but not like I used to. But, one source of "comfort food" that I have been able to keep and increase in quantity is ------ the Word of God. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3 - 4 (HCSB) speaks of this comfort when he says, "Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

We all need comfort at some point in our lives. We often are faced with afflictions. This word in the Greek carries the meaning of pressure, tribulation, dire straits, distress. It is at these times in our lives that we need to remember and lean upon God - "who raises the dead." (2 Corinthians 1:9, HCSB)

The word used for comfort here is the same as the word Jesus used when referring to the Holy Spirit. It literally means one called alongside of. When we are faced with the issues of life, we need to remember that God has sent the Holy Spirit to walk us through these times.

Today, ponder what are you going through? Maybe the issues seem more than you can handle - realize that the Holy Spirit is there to walk through them with you. He is comforting you and delivering you. Count on Him. He is the ultimate in "comfort food" in your life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Forgiveness - Grace in Action

2 Corinthians 2:7 (HCSB) - "As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, this one may be overwhelmed by excessive grief."

Everybody knows that living means that we will suffer hurts. Being hurt by someone is going to happen - and it usually is from someone who is very special to us. That hurt is even more painful.

Paul is admonishing the Church at Corinth that they needed to forgive a person in their midst (there is divergent interpretations of who this person is) for a sin that hurt the church. He is making a point that if someone is truly repentant and demonstrates godly sorrow - we as the body of Christ are to forgive them.

The word used in verse 7 and 10 here for forgive is a verb form of a the word usually translated as grace in the New Testament. He is telling us that forgiveness is really grace in action. Forgiveness always costs somebody something - and it is the one who is doing the forgiving that must pay the cost. So, when we forgive it should bring to mind the sacrifice that Jesus made upon the Cross (He paid for our forgiveness), and that should remind us of the grace we have received from God.

Today, ponder who do you need to forgive? Upon who do you need to practice "grace in action." As God has poured out His grace upon us - we need to pour out on others what we have received. Today - Do Grace!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Level Ground

The old song - "The Foot of the Cross" by Stephen Phillips chorus says - "The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Anyone may come there for there is no cost, Rich man or poor man, bonded or free. The ground was leveled that day at Calvary."

When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, all distinctions were swept away. All places and person were shown to be equal before God. No one is singled out due to race, gender, economic status, political affiliation, intelligence, educational level, - well, anything you can think of as a divided. We have discovered that all persons are equal before God - We are all sinners.

I am a sinner. It is vital that I hold that truth in my thoughts. Because, it is because I am a sinner that the Lord Jesus Christ stepped out of heaven, was born in a barn, laid in a feeding trough, and was beaten, scourged, and crucified. He did it all, because it was the only way to be both Just and the Justifier. Does it hurt my self-image to say I'm a sinner? Yes, and that is good - because it reminds me of how bad I am and how good He is.

Today, I am going to muse over the fact that I need a Savior. I need my sins to be removed. Not just the day (April 1962) that I professed Him, but daily. I am a sinner in need of grace. I have a Savior who gives me that grace.

(BTW - I hope I am not breaking any new thought to you - but - you are a sinner too. Muse over the grace He has for you.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Prayertime

Great are you Lord, and most worthy of praise. You are a mighty fortress. I clap my hands and sing praises of joy before you, most awesome Lord on high. I know that you, God, reign over the nations and you, God, are seated on your holy throne. And from that throne you may speak words of vengeance or words of protection, and it is done. May you be exalted. Please protect your people and help us to be united for you as we live and minister to one another in this world. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Prayertime

Dear God, When I look at the state of the world, the complacency of my neighbors, the lifestyles of sin that so many are involved in, and the attitudes and actions of young people today, I just wish I could do something to fix everything and make it good; something to help people, to point them in the right direction, to lead them to experience Your love, protection, and freedom. Please work through me; use my life to be a mighty witness and worker for a cause greater than myself. Please guide and bless my efforts and bring glory to Yourself. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Honor His Name

Matthew 6:9b (HCSB) - "Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy...." 

Honoring God's name isn't about having some fetish about speaking His name, talking only in hushed tones, being afraid to say His name. This has been an awkward embellishment that people have put upon the Mosaic Law's statement in the Ten Commandments - "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7 KJV).

Honoring the Name of God is about honoring all that He is. The word honor in the Greek used here (hagiazo) means to make holy - to be sanctified or set apart. In the King James (which is what we basically recite in the Lord's Prayer) it says "Hallowed be thine name." we are to set apart as holy all that God is - His qualities, attributes, and character. We are to focus upon Who He is - all that makes up the One that we worship. when the Psalmist stated in Psalm 102:15 (HCSB) - "Then the nations will fear the name of Yahweh, and all the kings of the earth Your glory..." he was not saying that the peoples of the world would fear the letters in the name, the pronunciation of the name, the very speaking of the name - the Psalmist was saying that they would fear God Himself.

Today, pause and muse over the Name of God - Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, God - however you think of it - and consider it holy - and that it is holy because the One it is speaking of is Holy. Join me in pausing to worship Him today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reading too fast

I heard Dr. Robert Smith say that we read our Bibles too fast. what he meant is that we hurry through the reading without stopping to consider what is being said. One example he gave was the passage in Genesis 22:2 - 4. The account of God telling Abraham to offer Isaac up as a burnt offering. Read it with me - slowly -

“Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance."

Now, did you notice something important here? Not the instructions. Not the images given. Consider the last sentence - between verse 3 and 4 is three days. God does not disclose to us what took place in this painful journey that Abraham was taking. What was he thinking about? Did he have discussions with God about the promises He had made? Could he smile and enjoy Isaac?

Often God allows a time space in our lives. He promises something, He tests us, He seems to vacant and quiet. Time that we appear to suffer in our own loneliness. Yet, as we continue into this account we see that God was there all along. Abraham does all that God had commanded him to do - and then comes verse 11 - "But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven...." I have always loved God's Divine conjunctions - "BUT."

When it looked as if God was asking more than could be handled - "BUT."

Today muse over this passage of Scripture. Is God silent today? Has He promised and it seems that there is no answer? What time space are you going through today? Trust Him. He is always faithful.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Believe and Receive

John 15:16 - "Whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you."

Can this be true? Consider what John said in 1 John 5:14 - 15 - "Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for." Is this too good to be true? Can we just sashay up to God and place an order as if He were our personal short-order cook?

Consider some principles in this statement -
  • Confidence - "the confidence we have before Him"
  • Conversation - "we ask anything"
  • Condition - "according to His will"
  • Conviction - "we know that He hears whatever we ask"
  • Consequence - "we know that we have"
If we have confidence in the character of God, His veracity and faithfulness, we will be able to come and ask Him to fulfill the request that we make. When we have that conviction, then we know that He will give what we ask. 

That is the way that most people understand this passage - however, if you go back and look, we left something important out - "according to His will." we need to live in so close harmony with God that we know and understand His will - and in this knowledge we can be assured that all our prayer requests will be in keeping with His will for us and for the situation. The only condition attached to the passage that insures reception of our request is that it must be in His will.

Today, ponder over the requests that you make to God - ask, are they His will or mine?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joy - a reason for second place

Galatians 5:22 - 23 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law."

The second Fruit of the Spirit as listed by Paul is joy. It is not an accident that "joy" follows "love." Joy is really a by-product of love. Focus on getting joy - and it will escape you. However, focus on love and joy will find you. In fact, you will automatically be joyful.

As we read the nine qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit we are instantly aware that it is naturally impossible to develop these qualities. They are only possible through the supernatural intervention of the Spirit of God in our lives. I read of one Christian who said that the basis of our faith is the Cross - therefore we should spend our time weeping  instead of laughing. 

Yes, the Cross is the basis - and that is exactly why we should be laughing - yes, there is suffering in Christianity, but because of Christ and the Holy Spirit we have the supernatural gift of joy. The empty tomb takes away the gloom, the Resurrection restores the rejoicing, Easter gives us the earnest joy of the future given us through Jesus.

Today, ponder the fact of the joy given by God - and look for ways to give thanks for His great grace and gift.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Putting Others First

1 Corinthians 8:12 (Php) - "And when you sin like this and damage the weak consciences of your brethren you really sin against Christ." 

We are so self-absorbed that we rarely ever see the effects of our sin upon other people. We look only at ourselves. However, we are challenged by God to be aware and concerned with those around us and how we affect them. The second greatest commandment - as given by Jesus - says that we are to love those around us as we love ourselves. If we truly kept this commandment we could never be content to put a stumbling block in the way of others.

In the chapter from which our verse for today comes, Paul was telling the Corinthian believers that their choice to eat meat offered to idols was not sinful in and of itself, however - and this is the important point he was trying to make - their choice to eat this meat was harming those who had a weaker level of faith and understanding. He told them that this was a sin against Christ. What we choose to do affects others - sometimes to their detriment. If it does, we are called to not do what we can see as being harmful.

One commentator said that this could be brought up to the 21st century in the realm of social drinking. While some will make a case that their drinking was permissible, Paul would remind them that "And when you sin like this and damage the weak consciences of your brethren you really sin against Christ." What a strong statement.

We need to muse today over what we do that is hindering others, and make a commitment to Jesus that we will stop doing whatever is a stumbling block or hindrance to others.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Prayertime

Dear God, You are in control, even when life seems so out of control. Please help me to keep my focus on you and your will. I want to trust in you even in the midst of circumstances I don't understand. Keep me honest and humble. I pray you will provide my needs and provide the ability for me to help those who are so spiritually, and physically, needy...in my family, my community, and around the world. Guide me to work together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish great things for you. Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Prayertime

Dear Father, Thank you for the comfort You provide through Your Holy Spirit, through my brothers and sisters in Christ, and through dear friends. I pray that You will help me to carefully and mindfully show grace and love to those who are hurting. Please give me insight and wisdom for ministering to people who have serious illness and who live day to day with the affects of incurable disease; to people who have addictions that I may not understand or identify with...or to those who have issues with which I can identify; to people who are grieving over the loss of a loved one, a pet, a job, a home; to people who are struggling to overcome and live with life-altering disabilities. Thank you for the health You have given me and for all the many blessings You have bestowed upon me. In Jesus' name I come before You and pray. Amen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Domestic Violence - Scriptural Applications #3

Today we will muse over a few final Scriptural Applications - I encourage you to search and develop other passages dealing with this issue.

Safety for the abused is a priority and is a validated concern of those who are aware of the issues. The writer of Proverbs 27:12 said - "A sensible person sees danger and takes cover; the inexperienced keep going and are punished." It is ALWAYS a reasonable action to remove the victim(s) from the abuser to a place of safety. A counselor should never instruct a person to return and place herself under subjection to one who is abusing them or their family.

Many times an outside authority is needed to intervene for the victim(s). If the abuser is a member of a local church, they should follow Matthew 18: 15 - 17. It should then become a responsibility of the Church leaders to respond in a timely and competent manner to the issue.

Finally, it is imperative that abusers experience the consequences of their actions. They should not be protected for their sinful behavior. God tells us in Galatians 6:7 that we reap what we sow. God has placed civil and religious authorities in place to protect victims of abuse (Acts 22: 24 - 29). A person with violent tendencies will continue as long as they get away with it. The writer of Proverbs stated in 19:19 - "A person with great anger bears the penalty; if you rescue him, you’ll have to do it again."

Finally, consider that Moses reacted in anger when he struck the rock twice and it cost him - Numbers 20:10 - 12. Listen to what God told him in verse 12 - "But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.”

Over the last week we have looked at a hard and very unpleasant situation - Domestic Violence. It has grown in our country and is evident from celebrities to the homeless. It is something that all believers should be aware of, pray over, and seek to be voices to end the suffering of the many silent victims of this sinful behavior.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11 Prayer

Most Holy God, on this, the 13th anniversary of that dreadful day, we come to you. Father, we seek restoration for our nation, restoration to a committed view of Who You are, of what You teach, and of our reliance upon You. Father, as individuals and a nation, we have sinned, we have turned our backs on You and Your teachings. Father, we seek forgiveness and pray that You will place your loving, gracious Hand of protection back upon us. May we never forget, or take lightly that horrendous day - the acts of terror inflicted upon our nation. May it be a reminder to place our trust, our faith, our hope only in You. May we come humbly before You today - and every day - seeking your face and favor. We ask this in the name of Your blessed Son, Amen.

Domestic Violence - Scriptural Applications #2

Ephesians 4:26 - "Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger...."

Yesterday we pondered the Scriptural application that Domestic Violence is always a sin and abusive speech is never an acceptable way to communicate according to God's Word.

Today, we will consider two other truths that the Bible wants us to understand when it comes to Intimate Partner Violence.
First, let us realize that the Bible makes it clear that violence is never justified - even when it is provoked. We are responsible to respond with wisdom, clarity, and restraint. Paul reminds us in the Ephesian passage above that we are allowed to be angry - but we are not to sin in this anger. Jesus in Luke 6:45 spoke these words - "A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart." When we react with violence we show what is inside of us - what is on the shelves in our storeroom. The old adage - "What is down in the well comes up in the bucket" is based on this. A person who reacts with anger is in actuality an angry person.

The second muse today is that the Bible teaching on leadership in the home does not give the husband unlimited power over his wife. He does not have the right to remove her choices, or to have his own way with her at any time. Consider what Jesus taught His disciples as far as power and authority - Mark 10:42 - 45 - "Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many." To be powerful - one must be a servant or slave to the ones they are around.

Paul spoke to this in Ephesians 5. In verses 1 and 2 we read - "Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God." And Paul makes this application to the husband/wife relationship in verses 21 - 29 - a passage often misused to describe male domination over a woman - "submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church...." Notice - it says to submit one to another. Also muse over the fact that wives are to submit to the husband like the church submits to Christ. Husbands are to love their wives to the point of dying for them. what woman wouldn't submit to a man who is will to die for her.

Tomorrow we will muse over the final Scriptural Applications we are going to make dealing with DV and IPV.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Domestic Violence - Scriptural Applications #1

Psalm 11:5 (HCSB) - "The Lord examines the righteous and the wicked. He hates the lover of violence."

The Bible makes it very clear that any form of domestic violence is a sin before God. The author of the Psalm above - believed to be David - speaks out that God hates those who loves (is a friend to) violence is hated by God. Now, this is not speaking to a person's salvation, it does speak to the fact that anyone who is a friend to violence is at odds with God. Their relationship is one that is strained. The word in Hebrew for violence is châmâs and means violence, wrong, cruelty, or injustice.

Other passages that point out that domestic violence is a sin and cannot be condoned or accepted in any fashion would include (all HCSB):

Malachi 2: 16 - 17 - "“If he hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel, “he covers his garment with injustice,” says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously. You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

Colossians 3:19 - "Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them."

And in this vein, abusive speech is never an acceptable way to communicate - consider these verses -

1 Corinthians 5:11 - "But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person."

Colossians 3:8 - "But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth."

Take some time today to muse over the fact that DV is a sin in God's eyes. God has never - and will never - condone any form of IPV or DV.

Tomorrow, let us ponder and muse over the facts that violence is never justified and that the husband is the head of the household - but not with unlimited power.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DV - IPV Statistics

We are musing over the vital issue of Domestic Violence - Intimate Partner Violence that has been in the news, and has garnered attention recently. Yesterday we considered the fact that it traces back to the first family - Cain and Abel and the fratricide that was the first sinful result listed following the fall of man in the Garden. Today, I would like to share some stats on the extent of this sinful act.

  • Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted of beaten in the United States.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Domestice Violence is the leading cause of injury to women - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestice violence annually.
  • Evry day in the United States, more than three women are murdered by their huisbands or boyfriends.
  • Domestic Violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the United States alone - the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
  • The costs of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States alone exceed $5.8 billion per year, $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services. The remainder is productivity losses of nearly $1.8 billion.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents' Domestic Violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
As we ponder these facts today, let us lift our hearts and voices to God on behalf of those caught up in this horrible sin. We need to pray for the victims - and their abusers. We need to seek God to intervene in the many situations going on around us. Join me in prayer today for the many who are hurting, the many who are causing the hurt, and those who are forced to watch this hurt.

Monday, September 8, 2014

DV - IPV Background

Recently I have been reading and hearing a lot about domestic violence. Domestic violence appeared shortly after sin entered the world. Cain murdered his brother Abel in Genesis 4:8. Until the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, marital therapists and mental-health professionals generally ignored the problem of domestic violence. 

Domestic Violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pattern of rage and violence used as a means of control and conflict resolution by one spouse against the other. It often follows a three-step pattern – 
  1. Tension builds until the abuser loses control 
  2. Battering occurs. Often the batterer feels that the victim deserved it and needs to be taught a lesson. 
  3. Remorse. The batterer is sorry and asks for forgiveness and reconciliation. This looks a lot like repentance – usually because the tension is gone. When tension returns, the battering can and probably will return. (Clinton & Trent, 2009) 
Domestic violence is fueled by the batterer’s need to control. Biblical headship as taught in the Bible is based on love and servant leadership, not on a husband’s control over his wife or on physical coercion. 

Many Christian women have been taught that they should never leave their husband at all. They are taught that this is not being submissive to him, and therefore disobeying Scripture. Scripture does not teach that a Christian woman should continually submit herself to an abusive man - separation for safety is a must.

Over the next couple of days, I would like to share some statistics and Scriptural Applications dealing with this important issue. I hope that you will prayerfully muse over this information, and pray for those who are involved in this. 

Clinton, T., & Trent, J. (2009). Marriage and Family Counseling -quick reference guide. Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Books.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Prayertime

Dear God, Today I want to ask for your protection and blessing upon Christian leaders around the world. Please give wisdom and guidance, and surround them with guardian angels. I pray for pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders; for Christian heads of governments; for teachers and parents; for social and relief workers; for every kind of leader that is out there doing your work, your will, your ministry. I lift them up to you, for their tasks are difficult. Block Satan's attempts to harm them or sidetrack them. Help them stay focused on the tasks and the missions to which you have called them. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Prayertime

Dear God, Sometimes I get really frustrated and even angry when I believe someone has wronged me, not lived up to their promises, let me down. But, people are not perfect. I pray that I will be someone who is always dependable, ethical, and honest. I pray that You will help me to always do what is right, even when wronged. As the old saying goes, "two wrongs don't make a right." So when I'm tempted to react in the flesh, move in me through Your Holy Spirit that I will remember to stop, take a deep breath, and pray so that I may respond in a Christ-like manner. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Top Ten Fears

I was thinking about fear. I had just opened an older book of mine that I had written notes in, and there was a list of the top ten fears of people. Curious, I thought I would Google this idea and see how the lists would compare. I was surprised to find that in under 30 seconds, Google had produced 12,600,000 different selections.

One sight called the Phobia List - listed over 530 different identified phobias out there. People are afraid of a lot of things. I hope that none of you have Didaskaleinophobia. 

God has often in His Word encouraged us not to fear. (The following sampling is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Psalm 56: 4, 11 - "...in God I trust; I will not fear."
Psalm 112: 7 - "He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the LORD."
Isaiah 35: 4 - "Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God"
Isaiah 41: 10 - "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God."
Zephaniah 3: 16 - "Do not fear; Zion, do not let your hands grow weak."
1 John 4: 18 - "There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear."

So, God wants us to live a life free of fear. Stand up, step out, and trust Him who cares for us.

By the way, that fear I mentioned earlier - is the fear of going to school.

Have a good day in the Lord.

[The website for the Phobia list is - http://phobialist.com/index.html]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Have you Forgotten Something?

A German man put his luxurious 20-foot yacht up for sale on an online auction site, hoping to get at least $18,500 for it. He made one minor mistake: He forgot to set a minimum bid. In the end, the yacht was sold for $34.65. Ouch!

John 3:16 - "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

That yacht was sold cheap. However, we are not. The cost of buying us back from the "slave market" was a very high price. It was the price of the death of God's Son. I for one don't want to take it for granted.

Still, we often look at our fellow-man as being cheap. Don't we know that they are bought with that price - if they will except it. God didn't set a minimum bid - He set the ultimate bid. So, when you come in contact with others today - consider their worth. And treat them that way.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Hundred Years

It is interesting to stop and think that 100 years forms now most of what we think, do, say, or worry about will not matter. Especially to us. You know - the meticulously manicured lawn, the money in the bank, how new (or old) your car is, the latest golf game (or tennis, baseball, bowling, etc.). Yet, we spend countless hours, thoughts, and money on them.

Now, in and of themselves they are not bad. But, have you considered what in your life will remain when God remakes Heaven and Earth? Paul challenges us about this in 1 Corinthians 3: 12 - 13. Here he writes - "Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is." (NKJV). The wood, hay, and straw are an analogy for the things we worry over, get stressed out about, and spend all our energy on that will dissolve. Many people are spending their entire lives working for temporary non-lasting things.

Today, muse over what you are living for. What will last? What will remain? What is eternal? What can you take with you when you leave this life? Paul went on to say - "If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward." (1 Corinthians 3:14, NKJV). Today, if your entire position is one that will not outlast you - let alone be around 100 years form now - maybe we should seek God for ways to serve Him to make a lasting legacy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Lost Art

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" Romans 11:34 (KJV)

I write some of these blogs ahead of time. This is one that I have pondered in the past, and I am now sharing with you today.

People today in most churches focus upon the study of anthropology - the study of man. We seem to be more concerned with subjects such as church growth, the end times, signs, gifts, miracles than what should be our main focus. The main focus of a Christian should be the Theology - the study of God.

The other topics are important, but our main thing that should stay the main thing is to study God. As we grasp the majesty and magnitude of the Creator God, the One who spoke everything into existence - all other things fall into place. Theology humbles the mind, expands the soul, and consoles the heart. When our mind spends time on other subjects we feel self-contentment and think about how wise we are. When we truly study God, we come away realizing that there is nothing that can equal Him. We begin to see ourselves in proper perspective. 

In an age that promotes human wisdom and human supremacy, it is not a bad thing to muse over the fact that there is One who is far greater. Today, focus on God - not on man.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day is an American Federal holiday which is observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. Many friends and families will gather together for this last holiday that marks the end of summer. Celebrations today will include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other various activities. 

Although Labor Day is a day to celebrate workers, we must keep in the mind that we are co-laborers with Jesus Christ. “Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NASB) We should always be ready to serve God in any situation, whether or not it is convenient. Be sensitive to the opportunities God gives you.“Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2 (NASB)

The word “Preach” also means teach, to share the love of Jesus Christ that is in you with others around you. 

Ponder today how you can tell them of how good God has been to you. Invite someone to church. Pray and ask God for the opportunity to offer someone the love of Jesus Christ for you are a co-laborer with Him. 

May you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

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