This post kind of goes along with my post from yesterday. This is one of those passages that helps you understand the rest of the bible and helps put everything into perspective.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
I love this. Jesus makes it so simple and clear. The most important things are to love God and love people. Everything else is based on these two things. We must love our Lord and the One who laid down His life for us. And it’s equally important that we love our neighbor as ourselves. When we love the beautiful humans that God created, then we are loving God. We can love God by serving one another.
Some people think Christianity has so many “rules.” Or they wonder why God gave so many laws to Israel in the Old Testament. Well, Jesus gives us the answer right here. In verse 40, He says the entire Law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Anything that God asks of us deal either with loving Him or loving people. This is Christianity at its core.
Following Christ is not complicated; it’s simple. And it’s all about love. God is love. And I love Love. What God asks of us is love. What the world asks of us is complicated and it’s the opposite of love. Don’t be fooled. The world may disguise itself as love but real love is of God.
Since love comes from God, we cannot love without Him. We need Him even to show love to Him. And when we love others, we can love them with the love of God. We can let God love our neighbor through us. Everything good comes from God alone.
So go love
I heard a great sermon on these two chapters at church this morning, so I wanted to blog about it and dig a little deeper into them. It’s a long passage today, but it’s so good. Amos has a lot of good lessons for us to learn here.
What sorrow awaits you who lounge in luxury in Jerusalem,
and you who feel secure in Samaria!
You are famous and popular in Israel,
and people go to you for help.
2 But go over to Calneh
and see what happened there.
Then go to the great city of Hamath
and down to the Philistine city of Gath.
You are no better than they were,
and look at how they were destroyed.
3 You push away every thought of coming disaster,
but your actions only bring the day of judgment closer.
4 How terrible for you who sprawl on ivory beds
and lounge on your couches,
eating the meat of tender lambs from the flock
and of choice calves fattened in the stall.
5 You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp
and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David.
6 You drink wine by the bowlful
and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions.
You care nothing about the ruin of your nation.
7 Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives.
Suddenly, all your parties will end.
8 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his own name, and this is what he, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says:
“I despise the arrogance of Israel,
and I hate their fortresses.
I will give this city
and everything in it to their enemies.”
9 (If there are ten men left in one house, they will all die. 10 And when a relative who is responsible to dispose of the dead goes into the house to carry out the bodies, he will ask the last survivor, “Is anyone else with you?” When the person begins to swear, “No, by . . . ,” he will interrupt and say, “Stop! Don’t even mention the name of the Lord.”)
11 When the Lord gives the command,
homes both great and small will be smashed to pieces.
12 Can horses gallop over boulders?
Can oxen be used to plow them?
But that’s how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison
and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness.
13 And you brag about your conquest of Lo-debar.
You boast, “Didn’t we take Karnaim by our own strength?”
14 “O people of Israel, I am about to bring an enemy nation against you,”
says the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
“They will oppress you throughout your land—
from Lebo-hamath in the north
to the Arabah Valley in the south.”
7 The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. 2 In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.”
3 So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.
4 Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. 5 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.”
6 Then the Lord relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the SovereignLord.
7 Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. 8 And theLord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”
I answered, “A plumb line.”
And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. 9 The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”
10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. 11 He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’”
12 Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”
14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one.I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the Lord:
‘Don’t prophesy against Israel.
Stop preaching against my people.’
17 But this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city,
and your sons and daughters will be killed.
Your land will be divided up,
and you yourself will die in a foreign land.
And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile,
far from their homeland.’”
Look at the beginning of chapter six (verses 1-8). The Lord hates arrogance. He hates it because it is contrary to His nature. Just think about what Jesus did for us. He became a slave. He humbled Himself and died for us. In all His power and might and glory, He humbled Himself for us. If that is who God is, then how could we, as sinful humans, ever be arrogant and think highly of ourselves when we are nothing compared to the One who gave His life for us?
Yet, this passage talks about the arrogance of Israel. The pastor of the church I attended today described narcissism as a fascination with oneself, an excessive self-interest, an inability to show compassion, and a refusal to hear the truth. This describes Israel, but it also describes out society today, don’t you think? The Israelites were arrogant because all they cared about was living in luxury and being “secure” in their wealth. God blessed them with so much but they only wanted to use it for their own pleasure. They didn’t care about the poor who were starving near by. Often times, they even exploited the poor in order to get richer.
Do you consider yourself rich? If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out globalrichlist.com. It will tell you how your income compares to income earned by everyone around the world. I make less then $5,000 a year (I’m a student), and I’m still the top 20% of richest people in the world! That’s so crazy to me! Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, God has blessed us with so much! Are you grateful or are you self-obsessed, always wishing you had more? I’ll admit sometimes I stress out about money and forget how incredibly blessed I am that I have everything I need and most things I want and I don’t even have to pay for my own college. God has provided me with the intelligence, work ethic, and resources necessary to be successful and wealthy. So what am I going to do with this blessing? There is so much more to it than just being thankful. These blessings come with responsibility to our fellow human beings. There are so many people suffering around the world that need our help. God longs for justice for these people. Does your heart ache for them the way His does? Do you want justice for the oppressed as much as He does?
You don’t have to feel guilty about being rich. That’s not the point of this passage. The point is that you can do something to help the poor and the starving all around you. You can love God by loving His people. Do you have space in your life to share the love of God with those around you in practical ways? Jesus told us that the two most important commandments are to love God and love people ( I love that. I have it written on the background of my phone as a reminder). How can you show God’s love to the people in your life who are hurting or suffering?
Jesus showed us with his life what it truly means to love God and love people. Jesus is the plumb line that is discussed in Amos 7:8. Do our lives line up with Jesus or are we out of line? As a society, we definitely don’t line up. We are incredibly arrogant and narcissistic. God hates arrogance. Remember that part of narcissism is an inability to show compassion and a refusal to hear the truth. Don’t ignore the truth of God’s Word. And please remember to show compassion to your neighbors. Love them the way God loves them. Ask God to break your heart for His people who are suffereing. Ask Him to help you long for justice the way He does. For religion to be true and genuine, it must be shared with the most need in society. Who in your life needs the love of Jesus today? Go share it with them!
And we all need to remember humility. I’ve heard it said that those who are the most aware of their sins are the holiest among us. We have no reason to believe we are better than anyone else. If we were all that great, we wouldn’t have needed a savior. I try to live my life for Christ, but I will never ever ever live up to the life of Jesus. Everyday I wake up and I still need a savior. I will always still need a savior. If we are humble and admit that we are out of line, Jesus will take our unrighteousness and replace it with His righteousness. I will never get over how amazing our God is!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’m so glad to finally have internet access again, so that I can hopefully begin to post regularly again. I really enjoy doing this blog, because it helps to keep me accountable in my relationship with Christ.
Something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is patience. I know that God has a plan and that His plan is unfathomably better than mine. But it’s still so hard to wait. It’s hard to not know what the future holds. It’s hard to wait for an answer from God when I just want to know what is going to happen. I want to know that everything will work out.
But there is a reason that the Lord has asked me to wait, so I need to trust Him even though it’s hard. To help me through this time of waiting, I’ve been looking up bible verses on patience to see what God has to say about it and to see what His instructions are for me during a time like this. My favorite verse on patience is Romans 8:25. Romans 8 is such an amazing chapter in general.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
I found a really interesting explanation of this verse in a commentary in Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible: “Where there is a strong desire for an object, and a corresponding expectation of obtaining it – which constitutes true hope – then we can wait for it with patience. Where there is a strong desire without a corresponding expectation of obtaining it, there is impatience.” As Christians, we know that we will receive from God what we are expecting to receive. Therefore, we can wait patiently. If we are impatient, then it shows that we do not actually to expect to receive what we desire. I had never thought it it that way before, so I really liked that explanation.
I don’t wait to be impatient, because that would show that I don’t trust God. If I am impatient, then I do not really expect God to come through. God is my provider, and He has always provided. He has never ever left me or failed me or let me down. What reason could I ever have not to trust Him?
God does amazing things. He never ceases to amaze me by all the ways He continues to work in my life. Sometimes I just want to cry from happiness at the wonderful ways God can turn what I thought we bad situations into awesome opportunities . He keeps showing me that He can bring good things out of painful situations. All I have to do is pray and wait for Him to work in His ways in His time. And at the end of it all, I’m left wondering how I ever could have worried as much as I did. My God always comes though for me. He has a reason for every hard time, every period of waiting.
I cannot wait to see what God will bring from this difficult time. I know that He can do amazing things through this period of waiting that He has given me!!
I absolutely love the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament. It’s an amazing story of how God’s people abandoned Him, but He loved them anyway. We have never been able to live up to a perfect God and we will continue to fail Him. But God still loves us unconditionally.
To preface this passage, the Book of Hosea is about the prophet Hosea and how God commanded him to marry a prostitute. The prostitute represented Israel and how she was unfaithful to the Lord, her husband. Gomer, the prostitute, ran away from her husband Hosea just like Israel abandoned her God. Take a look at what God tells Hosea to do after his wife leaves him.
3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”
2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. 3 Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.”
4 This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! 5 But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.
This is such an amazing illustration of God’s love for Israel and His love for us! Even after we abandoned God and turned away from Him and sinned against Him, He stilled loved us, and He bought us back for a price. In Gomer’s case, it was fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. In our case, we were bought with the precious blood of Christ!
Earlier in Hosea, we can see that it is already known that Gomer would be unfaithful to Hosea before it has even happened. Hosea married Gomer knowing that she would leave Him. The same is true with God and humanity. God already knew that humans would be unfaithful to Him, He knew that Isreal would be unfaithful, and He knew that we would be unfaithful. But He chose to love us anyway.
Verse 5 says that the people will devote themselves to God and to their king, David’s descendent, who is Christ Jesus. This is yet another great prophesy from the Old Testament that points to the coming of Jesus! It’s so cool how Jesus is found throughout the Bible. God knew that we needed the sacrifice of a savior. So when we left Him, he bought us back for a price. He bought us with the highest price that could have ever been paid. We were bought with the blood of the Son of God! How amazing is that!!
Happy April Fools’ Day! Today I thought I would share some verses on what God has to say about fools and being foolish.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. …
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, …
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
So don’t be a fool this April Fools’ Day!
I’m obsessed with these verses. They’re so so great. Today was kind of hard, so I needed this little pick-me-up from the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I love this, because it contains three commands. I think it’s great when the Lord tells us exactly what to do and what not to do so then we can better understand how to live like Jesus did. It’s not always easy, but we know how.
When you look at these three commands, given to us through Paul, do they seem difficult? To me they seem like things that should be easy. We can see that we are given these commands because the Lords wants good things for us (and remember that anything good comes from God). So God gives these simple commands that will result in good for us. Yet can you say that you are truly following all of these commands all the time in your life? I wish I could, but I can’t.
I want to, though. I want to follow His commands in order to truly serve Him and be able to enjoy all the good things He has in store for us!
He wants us to be joyful. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always be happy, but that we will have genuine joy that comes from rejoicing in the Lord.
He never wants us to stop praying. He wants us to be in constant communication with Him at every moment of the day. When we are happy, when we are sad, when we are angry, when we are frustrated, when we are tempted, when we feel guilty, when we are stressed, when we are relaxed, when we want to, when we don’t, no matter what, all the time we should be praying. I don’t know anyone on Earth who would be able to have me talk to them every second of the day and not get sick of me really fast. It amazes me that the Lord can no only tolerate hearing from me that often, but that He really wants to! He cares for me so much that He wants me to be in communication with Him all the time! I love that!
He wants us to be thankful in all circumstances. God has plans for us. And we know that God’s plans are SO much better than any plans we could come up with for ourselves. This means that whatever God is doing in our lives, whether it is something we like or something we’re not too sure of, God is doing it for our benefit. Therefore, no matter what we are going through, we should be thankful for it. What is there not to be thankful for? God has given His Son to bridge the gap between God and man that we may truly know and have a relationship with our Father without our sins getting in the way! I could spend my whole life thanking God for that and it still wouldn’t be enough time to thank Him for giving me what I never deserved.
And Paul tells us that these things are God’s will for the ones who belong to Christ Jesus. Just writing about this verse has made me so happy and joyful. It is so amazing what God does for us and the fact that He always wants the best for us.
Let’s try to live out these verses today. Today, no matter what happens, let’s remember to be joyful, to be thankful, and to never stop praying.
Thank you very much to Carol Lyn for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. She has a wonderful site called Forget Me Not that you can check out here: http://caroldeforestshinde.wordpress.com/.
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements
Today I was looking at this wonderful passage on the persecution and hatred of followers of Christ. This passage offers us comfort, but I think it can also be misunderstood and misapplied. I know it seems kind of straight forward, but I’ve looked at some commentaries to try to understand it better after hearing it used when it didn’t seem appropriate. I will share my insights and experiences relating to this passage, and you can comment and do the same.
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
16 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. 2 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. 3 This is because they have never known the Father or me. 4 Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.
At first glance, this looks great. If anyone hates us, we have God on our side. The world hated Jesus as well. But it doesn’t necessarily work like that. We must be careful to pay attention to exactly what Jesus said and the context in which he was saying it. If we don’t want to misrepresent or misapply Scripture, we must be careful to pay attention to the context behind the words. Scripture has one meaning-the meaning that God and the author meant to convey. We cannot take their words and apply them without knowing the true meaning.
In this passage, Jesus is talking specifically to His disciples, His true followers, the ones who left everything they had, who gave up their old lives to have new lives with Christ. Do we really live this way today? If we did, the world would hate us. My favorite part of this passage is when Jesus tells His disciples that they do not belong to this world. He called them out of the world, and He calls us out of it as well. I absolutely love that because the things that go on in this world sometimes make me so sad. If we really had a heart like God’s, it would break our hearts to see the things that happen here. It would break our hearts to see people being used and abused and not being cared about or taken care of. I’m so glad we don’t belong to this world. We belong to our Savior and to our Father.
If we really lived like Christ did and like the disciples did, we would be hated by the world that we don’t belong to. And Jesus says we would even be treated worse that He was, because He is greater than us. As His servants, we are not greater than Jesus, our master. I wish I could say that I’m living out my faith enough to be hated for it. I think part of the issue is that at least in America, it seems like Christianity is the majority. But it’s not. Complacent Christianity is. Being “christian” will be accepted by the culture. Dropping everything you have to follow your Savior will not be. Would be we persecuted the way the disciples were if we live for Christ the way they did?
Jesus said all this to his disciples very soon before He was arrested and killed. He was preparing them for what the would endure after His death. But He reassured them, telling them that the Holy Spirit would be sent to testify about Jesus.
One of the things we need to be careful about is applying this verse to all situations where someone is hated or not agreed with. Jesus did not say that all people who are hated are doing right in the eyes of the Lord. He said to His true followers that the world would hate them. One of the major ways I’ve seen this verse used is when someone is being criticized by fellow believers, they use this verse to convince themselves that what they are doing is right and that they do not need to listen to listen to others or ask for prayer or Godly wisdom.
Right before this passage, Jesus commands His disciples to remain in Him and to love each other. I think that’s important to integrate into this idea as well. As followers of Christ, we need to love each other. The world will hate us, but we need to show love to each other. Therefore, I believe this verse should only be applied to being rejected by the world, not being disagreed with by fellow believers. However, we also have to keep in mind who is a true follower of Christ? It’s a fine line.
The main thing I got out of this passage is that I need to make sure that I am not loved by the world and that I do not belong to it. I would much rather belong to Jesus. What are your insights on this passage? How will you apply it to your daily life?
If I had a favorite verse, this would probably be it. God knows exactly what we need. He constantly amazes me with how much He truly cares for us.Take a look at these amazing two verses.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Just reading this gives me so much comfort. I know I’ve mentioned this a lot, but worry is my biggest fault. However, God commands me not to worry about anything! How crazy is that….that we have absolutely nothing to worry about! Can you imagine and entire day where you literally don’t worry about a single thing?
Paul tells us that instead of worrying, we should turn our anxieties to prayer. It’s so great to constantly be in communication with my Heavenly Father who provides me with everything I need. There is no greater love than the love He shows to us. What more do I need in life? God’s plans are perfect, which is something I need to remind myself of on a regular basis. Even if my plans fail, His won’t. So there is nothing to worry about. His plans are so much better than mine anyway. God knows what we need. All we need to do is have a little more faith and talk to him about our needs instead of worrying about them. Whenever we start to worry, we can just stop and pray.
And we can’t forget to thank Him! There is no thanks I could give that is worthy of what my Father does for me. I could never thank my Savior enough for laying down His life for me. His love is perfect!
Verse seven calms my heart so much. We must remember that God’s peace is different from the world’s peace; it’s better. Nothing that the world can offer us can even begin to compare to what God offers us. True peace comes from knowing that God is in control of everything! God’s peace can guard our hearts against anxiety.
God’s peace sounds so much better than living with worry and anxiety. Today, let’s try to have an entirely worry free day. Any time you notice yourself beginning to worry, just stop and pray instead to the God who cares for you!
I honestly cannot believe that I’ve been nominated for another award. It means so much to me that people come to my blog to learn from God’s word with me. I want to thank Joseyphina for nominating me for this award. She has a wonderful blog that you should check out.
So, the rules for this award are simple: thank the blogger who nominated you and link the post to their page; state 7 random facts about yourself and nominate those you feel are deserving of the award.
I’m finding it hard to come up with more random facts about myself. I’m really not that interesting :p but here goes:
1. I only own four movies and I only bought one of them myself.
2. I have never been out of the United States. Hopefully, I will finally get to on a study abroad next May.
3. I have never broken a bone.
4. I have never had wisdom teeth and according to the dentist I never will. Thank you evolution.
5. Although I like people and I like being around people, I can be really shy.
6. I have expensive taste in food but cheap taste in most other things.
7. I know I already said this, but I just want to reiterate how much I appreciate everyone who reads my blog and is willing to be a student of the Bible with me.
And lastly for some nominations:
Today I have for us another wonderful promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we don’t deserve it, He says we will grants us the rest that we all so desperately need.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
The words of Jesus in this passage are music to my ears. I so need this rest that He offers us. We all need it. Although we don’t deserve it, Jesus offers us so many wonderful amazing promises. When we are weary, when we cary heaven burdens, all we have to do is go to Jesus and he will give us rest. For me this isn’t every once in a while when I’m going through a hard time, I need Jesus. I need Him every single day, every hour, every minute. I need Him constantly. I need to remain in Him constantly in order to constantly receive the rest He offers to me.
People who know me know that I have a tendency to take on way too much and try to do it all by myself. I stress myself out trying to be perfect, especially when it comes to my studies. I’m slowly learning to depend on God for everything. He’s not asking me to get perfect grades. Although He does ask us to work hard in everything we do, He’s not asking me to stress myself out over things that could be taken from me at any second. The Lord grants rest to those He loves.
So what kind of burdens does He free us from? A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of oxen. It’s attached to the equipment that the oxen are to pull. A person many be carrying the heavy burdens of sin, earthly demands, religious leaders, oppression and persecution, or weariness in the search of God. Jesus gives us rest from all of that.
Something to consider especially is the demands of religion and legalism. That would have been common in the time of Jesus. The religious leaders were putting so many demands on the Jewish people. But Jesus came to set us free from that. We don’t have to live under the oppression on religion and legalism. Jesus grants rest for our weary souls. Sometimes even today Christian leaders put heavy burdens on people. But let us be taught by Christ. He is humble and gentle. His yoke is easy to bear and His burden is light.
So let us remember to go to Jesus when we need rest for our souls today.
“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This is a famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Apparently at one time Gandhi became attracted to Christianity and began to study the Bible. He liked what Jesus taught, so he tried to attend a church in South Africa where he was living at the time. However, the church did not allow him in because of his race. Does that sound like something Jesus would do?
Remember in elementary school when you would go on field trips and your teachers would tell you to behave because you were representing the school? If your class misbehaved at the museum, the museum employees would think your school is full of children who misbehave. Well, the same in true of everything in life. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are always representing everything you associate yourself with. You represent your school, your employer, your group of friends, your family, ect. And as followers of Christ, we represent Christ. Does the way you represent Christ push others towards Him or away from Him?
Why is it that Christians are not more like our Christ? There are some who genuinely strive for that, but there are others who want salvation and nothing more. Scriptures call us to imitate Jesus, to obey Him, and to live the way He lived. Here are a few examples:
1 John 2:3-6
3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Recently I was nominated by Joyce for these two awards. She has a wonderful blog on raising a child with special needs. I really appreciate the nominations. I am so thankful to be nominated for these awards. I feel incredibly blessed that so many people support my blog.
So as part of the rules of these awards I am supposed to answer some questions about myself and then nominate other bloggers to receive the awards. So here goes some question answering:
Who inspires you? My mom inspires me. She’s the most hard-working woman I know. She’s incredibly smart. She’s beautiful. She’s a great role model, and she worked while raising my sister and I. She’s always there for me when I need her. She’s wise and understanding, and I can always go to her for advice. She’s the closest to a Proverbs 31 woman I’ve ever met.
What is the hardest part about blogging, if any? Finding the time to do it every day while being a full-time student
What is your favorite quote? The entire bible? That’s one long quote but I don’t know if I can pick a favorite verse. It’s all so good!
What is your favorite dessert? Cake batter ice cream with Reese’s cups
What skill do you wish you had taken the time to learn when you were growing up? Dancing. I was in show choir in high school, so I danced, but it’s always been something I wished I was better at. I wish I had started in elementary school, but back then I was such a tomboy and hated anything girly.
What is the one activity you wish you had the time to pursue? There are so many. I guess I’ll go with cake decorating.
If money was no issue, where would you like to travel? The entire world. But not by myself. I’ll need to find a traveling buddy first
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas. I love making a huge breakfast on Christmas morning and spending time with family
What is your favorite pastime? I’m not really sure what a pastime is. I’m assuming it’s like a hobby. I guess I would say cooking although I don’t really get to do that at the moment since I live in a dorm.
What book are you currently reading? The Bible, all my school books, Radical by David Platt, and The Untold Story of the New Testament by Frank Viola
Do you play a musical instrument? Not really. I’m a singer. I’ve been in choir and voice lessons since I was young. I can kind of play guitar and piano. I’d like to learn guitar better.
Now I get to nominate other bloggers for these awards. To the winners: I am nominating you for both awards. If you’d like, you can make a post accepting the award and answer the above questions that I answered then nominate others! Congratulations!
If you don’t know this passage, I’ll start out by warning you…it’s a difficult one. Some people avoid the difficulty by using the same passage in Luke which doesn’t have the ending that the passage in Matthew does. This passage was brought up in bible study tonight, and after discussing it and reading a lot of commentaries, I feel I have a better grasp on it than when I first read it. It can be confusing, so you may want to read it a couple times. I had to.
22 Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
That last verse is what really confused me at first, but let’s start at the beginning. It was customary in the culture at that time for two wedding invitations to be sent. The first one asked the guests to come. The second let them know everything was ready. In this instance, the king invited his guests three times, but they still refused to come. Who wouldn’t want to come to the banquet of the king?
I believe the servants represent God’s prophets that He sent to Israel (and God is the king). The prophets were rejected, treated badly, and killed for their messages. So God not only sent the invitation to Israel, he invited the whole world to His banquet. Anyone who accepts His invitation is His guest.
I think believers today can also be the servants in this parable. God calls us to go out and invite everyone to the banquet. We may be rejected, we may be treated badly, we may even be killed for inviting people. But we want others there at the banquet with us, don’t we? We can invite the poor and the marginalized. God’s invitation is extended to everyone.
Now for the last section. The commentaries I’ve read tell me that it was customary for wedding guests to be given wedding clothes to wear to the banquet. The man was given everything he needed, but he still hadn’t prepared himself. He had no excuse. Jesus offers the clothes of righteousness to everyone, but not every person will decide to put them on. Only those who properly prepare themselves for the King will be able to enter His banquet. Many are invited to the banquet, but few will actually be allowed in!
So here’s the scary part. Are you properly preparing yourself for the next life in this life? Are you following the commands of Jesus and putting on the clothes of righteousness that He offers to you? Are you living your life for Him, making Him the center of everything you do? Are you trying to become more like Jesus everyday?
If we properly prepare ourselves for the wedding banquet by putting on the clothes of righteousness, then we won’t have to worry about being thrown out. I don’t know about you, but this is one party I definitely don’t want to miss!
I need this today. I need God’s promises. I love to read His commands and His promises. He always encourages me when I need it. He’s always there for me. I feel His love when I read His word. Listen to this awesome promise that God gives to His people.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
Wow. How amazing is that! I am in awe that even though we are sinners, God promises to always be with us, to always be there for us. When I have no one else, He is the one I can turn to. When life gets hard, God will not let me drown. All I need to do is have faith that He will save me. Even though one door in my life is closing, I have faith that God will open other doors. Even though my plans for the future are falling through, God will show me His own plans for me. And I know that His plans are far better than anything I could ever come up with. God is so so good!
Life is hard, but God has never ever failed me. I constantly fail Him, every day in fact. But He sent His Son to die for us anyway, even knowing how badly we would fail. God is so amazing! He keeps all of His promises.
Thank you, Lord, that you never leave us and that you will always be with us when life gets hard.
I would like to thank John Shue for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I’m very thankful that other bloggers are enjoying reading and learning from the Bible along with me! I really enjoy doing this blog in order to personally reflect on what I’m reading in the bible every day and I love hearing what others have to say about God’s word as well! John has an awesome blog that you can check out here.
Here are the rules for having such an award bestowed upon me:
- Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
- Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Tell 7 things about yourself.
- Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.
So seven things about myself:
1. I’m kind of obsessed with the color purple (the actual color, I’ve never seen the movie).
2. I’ve lived in Indiana my whole life, but I hope to get out of the Midwest after I graduate college.
3. I’m majoring in financial economics. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, I just know that God has given me passions and talents for working with money, and I’ll use that however He wants me to
4. Despite my wanting to work with money as a career and the fact that the average salary for graduate with my major is pretty high, I really don’t ever want to or plan on having a lot of money. It’s just not something I want or feel like I need in my life. I love the idea of living simply in order to give more away. It’s not easy to do that in college since I’m making minimum wage but that’s my plan for after graduation. (If you’re interested in this as well there are great resources at economicdiscipleship.com)
5. I love experiencing things that are different from what I know. I grew up in a well-off area, but one of my favorite experiences ever was getting the privilege of spending my spring break last year in inner-city Chicago learning from all the amazing people there. I would love to travel the world. If it’s in God’s plan for me to do missions in other countries I would absolutely love that. But if it’s not, I’ll go wherever He wants me (although I have to admit I’d be disappointed if He wanted me to stay in Indiana).
6. I know everyone says this, but I’m really busy. I take a lot of classes in order to graduate a year early, I work part-time, and I’m involved in a lot of extra curricular activities. When I first started this blog, I didn’t think I’d really have time for it, but I think it’s an important part of my quiet time every day, and God still provides time for everything else I need to get done.
7. I love Jesus! Can I say that or is it cheating because it’s a Sunday school answer? Well I said it anyway. :p
And Lastly for my seven nominations:
1. Nick has an amazing blog that I love to read. He just started it recently, and he’s going straight through from Genesis to Revelation blogging about his insights, and he wants others to read with him and share their own insights. http://readthebiblewithme.wordpress.com/
2. This blog is really encouraging to me. I love the creativity of putting Bible verses with pictures. As someone with more of an analytical mind, I appreciate the creativity of this blog :http://faithpictures.wordpress.com/
3. Here is another great blog with a great mission. Check it out: http://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com/
4. This is a really good blog on Godly wisdom: http://solomonbound.wordpress.com/
5. Another awesome blog with a great message: http://christcentred.wordpress.com/aboutblog/
6. I really enjoy reading this blog: http://justacowboyforchrist.wordpress.com/the-poet/
7. And last but not least, I recently was introduced to a wonderful site by a young blogger. Check out her work here: http://garnetismycolor.wordpress.com/ (And a big thank you to Tim for showing me this awesome site!)
So there you have it. Seven things about me and seven blog nominations. There are seriously so many amazing blogs out there. I’m glad I started blogging so I could also find and read great stuff by people doing great things. Thank you again to John Shue!
This passage is about the ‘fruit’ in people’s lives. How can you tell if someone is a follower of Christ or not? How can you tell if you yourself are a follower of Christ? And what are the implications one way or the other? Let’s take a look at what Jesus has to say about it in Luke.
43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Pretend you are a tree for a minute. If you are a bad tree then everything that comes from you will be bad. Trees produce fruit and people produce actions and words. You can pretend to have good words and actions for a while but if your heart is bad, everything else in your life will flow from the bad heart. The same goes for a good tree. I’ve heard it said that good people do bad things sometimes, but that doesn’t make them a bad person. But that’s not what Jesus says. He says if you are a good tree, it is impossible for you to produce bad fruit. Therefore, if bad fruit is growing off of you, you must be a bad tree. Bad thoughts, words, and actions cannot come from a good heart.
God looks past our actions to our hearts, but since we cannot see people’s hearts, Jesus teaches us to identify the hearts by their fruits. How can a person be a true follower of Christ if they do not follow what He says? In this passage in Matthew (Matthew 7:15-29), Jesus says this is how we can identify false prophets. I think it’s also important to turn it around and shine a light into our own lives and ask if we ourselves are true followers before we try to identify if others are.
Are we really following all of Jesus’s commands? In my life right now I can say I try to but I’m certainly no where near perfect. There was a point in my life where I thought, ‘I’ve been saved, so I can just do what I want and say sorry later.’ It makes me sad now though to think about that time. Obviously that’s flawed thinking. If that’s where you are, I totally understand. Sometimes as much as we hate to admit it, we have sins that we love, that we don’t want to get rid of. Think about it. You can probably think of at least one.
But a person who follows the commands of Christ, the good tree that produces good fruit, will not be shaken when the storm comes. A person who listens but doesn’t actually follow Christ builds a house with no foundation. They won’t know how important that solid foundation is until the flood comes and sweeps away everything they have built for themselves. Why build up anything in this life if the Savior is not the foundation? Anything worldly can be taken from us in a second. When the storm comes, I want to know that I can rely on Jesus to get me through.
I would like to thank Bishop O.W. Prince (O. W. Prince Ministries) for nominating me to receive the prestigious “Ambassador for Christ Blogger award”. I am so honored, humbled, and thankful to be considered an Ambassador for Christ.
It is awarded to bloggers whose ministries primary objective is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God – providing regular Apostolic and Scripturally based materials for all blog followers and visitors, emphasizing repentance, genuine salvation, holiness, and obedience to the commandments of God.
When I started this blog a little less than two months ago, I never would have guessed that I would have gotten this kind of recognition. I have more followers and views that I ever would have expected. I really appreciate everyone who reads my posts and allows this to be a space where we can encourage each other in life and in our daily walks with Christ and in reading the Word and applying it to our lives. I also appreciate the people who challenge me. I’m not perfect, I don’t get everything right, and I need to be held accountable for what I am saying. I would not want to spread anything but the Truth.
I’m young (20 year old, college junior), so I appreciate the wisdom of older believers. I feel so blessed and so thankful that others are encouraged by what I write. I cannot express how thankful I am that God allows me to be a small part of His amazing plan for this world.
My biggest prayer for this blog is that God would use me however He wants. I pray that His words would fill these posts and not my own. On my own I can do nothing. If I am anything, it is only through Christ.
Thank you again to Bishop O.W. Prince :)
These are the last two verses in the bible (whether you’re reading it chronologically or the standard way). Revelation contains a lot of prophesies about what Heaven is like, about the end times, and about the return of the Son of God. I’m fascinated and confused by this amazing Book. It was written by John, Jesus’s youngest disciple. He was the only disciple who wasn’t killed for His faith. He was exiled to an island called Patmos which is where He saw the vision and wrote the Book of Revelation.
John sees terrible things in the vision from God, but he also sees wonderful and amazing things. He sees Jesus come to restore everything. He sees that in the end, everyone will know God and He will be glorified, and the Son of Man will be exalted. After everything John saw, I love the last thing that He says.
20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.
I love this, because this is how I feel! Jesus says He’s coming soon, and John says, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” We know that Jesus will come back to this Earth and set everything right. He is faithful, and He fulfills His promises. Yet even though we already know He is coming, we are to pray for Him to come back. Do you know what you’re saying when you say Amen? The word Amen literally means ‘so be it.’ I thought it was cool when I learned that.
This is found other places in the Bible as well. In the Old Testament, the Jews knew that they had been promised a Savior, but Daniel would pray for the Messiah to come. Even though He knows God is faithful and keeps His promises, He prayed for His people, because they needed to be saved from their sins. He prayed that Jesus would come soon.
Jesus also told us to pray for His return when He taught us the Lord’s prayer. When we say, “thy kingdom come,” we are saying God let your kingdom come to Earth, we’re ready for your Son to come back.
Are you ready for Jesus to come? Are you praying that God would fulfill His promise soon? Some people think I’m suicidal for wanting the world to end, but that’s not it at all. If it’s not in God’s plan for the world to end any time soon, then I will stay here and be faithful to Him all my life. I want His will to be done, not mine.
It’s just that this world is so messed up. It’s so far from what God intended it to be. It’s so broken. I’m so ready for Jesus to come make it right. I’m so ready for God’s name to be known and praised throughout the Earth. What God has in store for us in Heaven will not be able to compare to anything this World has to offer us.
So yes, Jesus, let it be as you have said. Please come back quickly. We love you.
And may the grace of Jesus, our savior, be with God’s holy people