Friday, June 6, 2014

Consider: Why We Follow Jesus-RJD June 2014

Journal entry 4/15/2004
Based on John 6:60-71

The disciples found Jesus’ teaching hard to understand. Many fell away. Those who left had been following Him for what He could do for them. When he spoke of things they couldn’t comprehend, they left.

Jesus watched as more and more left. He turned to the twelve and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter said it so well, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Do we follow Jesus, calling Him ‘Lord’ because of what He gives us or does for us? We shouldn’t. To follow Him because we get blessings and our needs met is selfish. We need to worship him for who He is.

If we have a bad day or we don’t feel well, God is still in control. If we hear distressing news, God is still with us.

We need to have God in our lives, although we won’t always get His blessing. If we learn this lesson, we will gain a lot toward becoming Christ like.

UPDATE: As I sit here I often have to look inside my heart and search for my motive for worshipping Jesus. This is a good habit for me to have. I have to stay in tune with Him or I could get conceited, even selfish. I have learned that sometimes God, through Jesus, will tell me things that are hard for me to understand. I have to examine these things and pray about them. This is how I learn the things of God and grow in the faith.

linking to enthusiastically dawn

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

News of Great Joy

“But the angel of the LORD appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
 and they were terrified. Buy the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
 Luke 2:9-11 (NIV)

The shepherds were afraid. They had not seen anything like the light that appeared in the night sky. It even enveloped them. They saw an angel; they didn’t know what to think. Their hearts raced, the color went out of their faces. They couldn’t move. All they could do was listen.

The Angel spoke words of comfort; then shared the joyous news with them.  It had been 400 years since God sent a prophet to them. No one came to tell them of God or to help them find a way to Him.

The angel called this news a message of a joyous nature. It was for all people- those living in palaces as well as those living off the land.

In our 21st Century world, we see people who need the Lord. People living in our neighborhoods and those we pass as we travel in our towns, as we go about our daily errands. Those who hold cardboard signs as they stand alongside of the roads we travel elicit conflicting emotions in my heart. As I initially write this, I remember seeing two men, less than a city block apart-one man had a woman and a baby sitting in the shade of a nearby business sign. I felt torn as I surveyed the scene. We have food pantries and agencies whose ministry is to help those in need. I remember the stories of people being taken in by those who do this and have been caught in their misrepresentation. And yet, if they are truly without the basics, I am caught by the fact that God loves them and Jesus died for them, just like He died for me.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: Hope Quotient

(Measure it, Raise it, You'll Never Be the Same)
By Ray Johnston

Ray Johnson has extensively researched this topic, pouring seven years into this endeavor.One of the thoughts that stands out from this book and makes me stop and ponder is,

               “In the last twelve months, I’ve been amazed to discover that the secular  world’s expectation for what could be possible seems much higher than that  of people living in the Christian world.”

He realized the secular business community has started believing that things thought impossible are possible at the same time the Christian community has stopped believing in the impossible. Later on in this chapter, he gives his readers attitudes and actions to help us become people of hope.

A stepfather, a Christian leader, had concerns about his stepson. Mr. Johnston told this gentleman to be sure to ask the right question.
At one point in his life the author learned the right question was, “What can he become?” The Christian leader called a few weeks later and told Mr. Johnston that one question freed him and opened the door between him and his stepson.

Mr. Johnston tells his readers that asking this question in appropriate forms has altered his way of looking at events and circumstances and the way he does life and revamps how he approaches his Christian faith.

The author spells out the way we can utilize the concept of ‘becoming’ for ourselves and for children- our own and those we have influence over.

I enjoyed this book. I gained a lot of good information from it. I would recommend it to anyone in a counseling position-either clerical or secular. I also see how this could assist youth pastors in interacting with problematic young people. The information in this book tells us how to strengthen seven factors that, when taken together; enlarge out capacity to a stronger hope.
The author and the publisher have created an online assessment for the readers. This idea has merit except, as I understand it, the access information to a survey that is supposed to give the reader a score for his or her hope quotient-embedded under a scratch-off on the unprinted side of the dust jacket is only good for ONE use. I share the books I review-either with another individual or by donating them to our church library. I understand the concept of one time usage but I wish it were a different arrangement.

I received this book through Thomas Nelson Publishing via their BookLook Bloggers program. All they ask me to do is read it and give an unbiased review. 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...