Saturday, April 28, 2018

Let Us Endure

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

Who makes up that cloud of witnesses? The writer of Hebrews has listed the persons in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in chapter 11. Also, those saintly people, living in heaven, with whom you have worshipped comprise a section of our cloud of witnesses.

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,

 What does this mean to us as children of God? It could mean that we have to give over to God the heartache and the heaviness we feel about our sin and the sin done to us. Sometimes the heartache is intense and we feel as if we will crumble under just because it happened.

let us run with endurance the race that is before us

Have you watched some running? We used to have a neighbor who took up running. Every night, He would sprint down our street and around the corner. A few minutes later, he would return. Anyone watching him knew he was concentrating on what he was doing. I admire runners, they have to stay with the program in order to excel.  

looking to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith,
As children of God, we have to look to the LORD in order to gain ground when we an issue vexes us. When we look to those around us to solve the problem or try to fix it ourselves, we don’t allow Jesus to work in the circumstance.

who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,

Jesus looked beyond the cross, enduring its agony for you and for me. He knew He would return to His home in Heaven.

and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Our Savior resides in heaven, assisting His Father. He intercedes for us when we sin and seek God’s forgiveness.

As we walk through our Christian lives, Jesus walks with us. The witnesses in heaven, those who have gone before us, as well as those saints Paul mentions in Hebrews 11 all watch as we make decisions and learn how to overcome the bad issues we face.

I am taking a break from blogging. I will be back on Monday, May 14.




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

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The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:11-14 (ESV)

The Pharisee: Full of himself, prideful, smug, our pastor calls them “the ‘look-at-ME’s.’” This man by tooting his own horn showed no respect before God.

The Tax Collector: Looked down upon by the community, humbled himself before God. He recognized he was a sinner. He asked for God’s mercy.

Luke tells us that the tax collector, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified.

Have I been a Pharisee? Yes, at one time or another in my life, I believe I have been. Have I admitted I was a sinner? Yes, when my words do not please God. When I have bad thoughts about another person or a situation.

Why did Luke say the tax collector, considered by the community as a thief, go home justified? God saw his heart and heard his pleas and saw him ‘just-as-if-I (he)’d’ not sinned. God forgave him--the tax collector.

God forgives each of us our sins when we humble ourselves and ask for His mercy. He does this because of His grace for us.

Abba Father: Please help us to humble ourselves when we come before You. Please forgive us our sins and speak words of kindness into our ears. Guide us as we strive to live for You in this fallen world. In the name of Jesus’ I pray. Amen.    



Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: The Psalms of Asaph:

The Psalms of Asaph: Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, and Unpunished Evil
Amazon.com

Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, and Unpunished Evil
By James N. Watkins

Publisher: Bold Vision Books
Page count: 209

            James Watkins from Hope and Humor blog has explored the writings of Asaph in reference some hard questions of the Christian life.

Jim gives scriptural evidence that Asaph, a chief musician in David’s court, experienced times of doubt (Psalm 73.)

He uses his expertise to explore the writings of Asaph with examples from the Bible, from well-known Christian writers, from his own life experience, and from people he knows personally.

This book would benefit anyone who searches for answers to the deeper issues of prayer that seem to vex them.
The Psalms of Asaph is well-written and thoroughly researched. I believe it would be an asset to anyone’s personal library.

I found a study guide for small groups on his website, Psalms of Asaph study guide

I purchased this book myself. I chose to review it and give an unbiased review.


                             

Interview with Simon Peter

redefinedandlivingdivine.files.wordpress.com Quiet Spirit: Hello, today we have as a special guest Simon Peter. He has some interes...