Tag: spiritual

Jesus on the big screen

Why Jesus shouldn’t be on the big screen

(I wrote this post a few years ago when the movie “Son of God” was playing. I was scroslling through some old posts and after I read it, I still felt the same way. I like what I wrote so I decided to post it again.)

Majesty

Majesty

Long post warning!

OK, here’s where I get into trouble. A lot of you are not going to like what I say.  But I promised to be honest. This is about as honest as it gets. It is not my intent to discourage anyone from seeing the movie, the Son of God,  but just to get people to think before they jump on board. If you’ve seen the movie, then please read no further. I don’t want to rain on your parade.  Continue reading “Why Jesus shouldn’t be on the big screen”

How God rescues us when we’re depressed

“I waited patiently for the LORD;  And he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay.

And he sert my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm.

He put a new son in my mouth, a song of praise to my God:

Many wil see and fear, and he will trust the LORD.” Psalm 40: 1-3

Yesterday I shared a post about how I love collecting stones. I’ve collected them everywhere we’ve traveled.

stones

Well, that got me to thinking about the verses in the Bible that reference stones and rocks (apparently people often use the two words indiscriminately).

Bible verses using the words “stones” and “rocks” are some of my favorite.  If you’ve ever suffered depression, Psalm 40:1-3 is likely one of your “go to” verses. It has been for me.

I used to read this verse and picture God lifting me out of the pit of depression. Then I would imagine him gently placing me on that rock. And no matter how the waters surrounding that rock churned and splashed, they never touched me. I was safe.

I was safe because:

God is my rock. He’s solid and immovable. He provides a safe place for me to stand until the waters calm down.

Another verse:

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 (New International Version)
For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. (Psalm 27:5)

I believe in imagery. I believe this is what God intended when he provided such images as these. Our imagination is as much a part of our spiritual life as is any other part of our being.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed imagine yourself being lifted out of the clay that is sucking you into the pit;  imagine strong arms lifting you up and carefully placing your feet on a hard, solid surface. This isn’t some “puny” rock; it’s a BIG rock. There’s no danger you will fall off.  Imagine how safe you now feel.

set my feet upon a rock

Stay on that rock for as long as you need. Wait for the waters to calm down before you step off and if you don’t get too far before you feel the ground giving way beneath you, imagine this picture again.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

grace

How to be a “grace deliverer”

IMG_3949

I heard a sermon today that really quenched my thirst.

The sermon was about grace. Because we Christians have been ‘graced” so much, we need to be “deliverers of grace” ourselves. How many people today can you show undeserved grace? Remember, grace wasn’t ours to demand. It was given freely.

Grace is ours to give freely as will. May you have a day today of giving away as much undeserved grace  as you can.

God bless and I hope you have a really good day.

what kind of friend are you

How we should respond when friends fail us

I’ve been cleaning up my computer files and found some sermons I downloaded from Charles Stanley. I thought I would share them with you over the next few weeks. For some reason, this one on friendships caught my eye. I am fortunate that I have close friends that have stood the test of time.

friends 3

friends are precious

But I know that not everyone has, so maybe this message will help. I have changed the formatting a little but not any of the words.

KEYPASSAGE: 2 Timothy 4:9-18 | SUPPORTINGSCRIPTURE: Psalm 57:1-4 | Isaiah 43:1-4 | Matthew 27:46 | Luke 23:34 John14:16-18 |Acts1:8; 7:60 | Philippians 2:13 | Colossians1:27 | 2 Timothy1:15 | Hebrews13:5 |1 Peter 5:10

“You’ve probably experienced the sting of rejection and desertion. Sometimes they are caused by people whom you spent hours with, encouraging and building them up in the faith. Other times, a spouse or close friend leaves— despite your best efforts to be loving, faithful, and selfless. And if you haven’t experienced rejection or betrayal yet, you probably will some day. What is the best way to react when others disappoint you?

We can learn how to handle abandonment and disappointment by examining the apostle Paul’s response to painful relationships.He knew what it meant to have strong relationships. And he experienced betrayal as well.Amazingly, Paul forgave others for their failures and reconciled with them when appropriate. Let’s discover how he dealt with betrayal and abandonment by trusted friends.

Friends sometimes fail us.

 friendships

friendships

Paul experienced pain from unfaithful friends. He wrote,“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm;the Lord will repay him according to his deeds .Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me”(2 Tim.4:14-16;see also 2 Tim.1:15).
The apostle wrote these passages near the end of his life. He had spent years establishing churches in cities such as Thessalonica, Philippi, and Corinth. He was beaten, stoned, and thrown in prison numerous times because of his missionary efforts. But despite his faithfulness to the Lord, his friends failed him. They weren’t reliable when he desperately needed them.

What are some reasons why friends desert us in times of trouble?

  • Sometimes they feel inadequate— unsure of how to help.
  • In other cases, they don’t want to be identified with the loser in a conflict.
  • People also leave because they are jealous, so they hope to see us fail.
  • Others are selfish and don’t want to sacrifice their time to support you and me.
  • Lastly, friends abandon us because they judge us for our mistakes. Rather than being available to help, they can excuse themselves from any responsibility.

In other words, when friends disappoint us, it’s often because of a deficiency in their character, not necessarily because we’ve failed them somehow. (My comments: We should always consider our own failings  first though.)

Forgiveness must prevail.

(My comments: Remember forgiveness does not excuse bad actions. There are still consequences, whether ours or theirs. Forgiveness means we simply refuse to let someone else’s actions or words destroy us. Forgiveness is something we really do for ourselves.

And can we be honest here? Whether or not we forgive someone may not matter to them at all. 

We get too caught up in the “romance” of forgiveness and forget about the harsh reality that some people will never believe they’ve done anything to be forgiven for in the first place.  If we wait for them to ask forgiveness, we might be waiting a long time.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean we continue to put ourselves in hurtful situations. We still need to forgive so we can move on.) 

how to keep friends

how to make and keep friends

Paul’s friends left him to face one of the most difficult situations of his life—all alone. How did he respond? With forgiveness: “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them” (2 Tim.4:16, emphasis added). Our Savior said something similar as He hung on the cross,“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The apostle also may have been influenced by Stephen, who was stoned to death in Paul’s presence.

The young martyr ended his life with the words:“Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”(Acts 7:60). Paul was practicing what he preached—the importance of forgiving. Don’t be a fair-weather friend, interested only in what you can get from another person. Those who mistreat you will often need help later. Will you be available? Waiting for a chance to get them back—to let them down as they did to you—shows you have an unforgiving spirit. The godly response is to refuse to hold anything against those who hurt you.
The presence of the Lord sustains us.

Holy spirit

Holy spirit

Paul could forgive others for three reasons:

  • He knew that God would never leave him: “The Lord stood with me”(2 Tim. 4:17). Even though all of Paul’s friends had abandoned him, he knew that the Lord Himself would always be with him. Christ promises all believers,“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb.13:5). If you are a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives within you to comfort and guide you (John14:16-18). The most faithful Friend is always with you, even if everyone else leaves you.
  • The apostle knew that God would empower him:“The Lord…strengthened me…that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Tim. 4:17). Paul could rely on the presence of God to accomplish his calling—taking the gospel to the world.

He knew that the Lord works within believers, strengthening us to accomplish His will (Phil. 2:13). Despite persecution, physical assaults, and imprisonment, the apostle never abandoned sharing the good news.

People will persecute you;some of your friends will abandon you in tough times. But adversity eventually ends:“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Pet.5:10). If you depend on the power of the Holy Spirit, your life can be fruitful and productive despite the trials that come your way.

Paul was confident that God would deliver him:“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom”(2 Tim.4:18).Listen—sometimes the Father delivers us from something. Other times, He allows us to experience hardship in life.

But He sustains us through whatever we may face (Isa. 43:1-4), and in some cases, He decides to take us home to be with Him. In Paul’s case, shortly after he wrote this passage, Emperor Nero executed him. Perhaps that doesn’t sound to you as if God delivered Paul. But four years later, the ruler committed suicide.

I believe this was a direct consequence of Nero’s persecution of believers. No one can violate the principles of God and avoid His judgment.The next time you face a difficult situation, remember that your heavenly Father stands with you, even if everyone else deserts you.”

CONCLUSION

What kind of friend are you? Are you dedicated to those you love? Or do you often disappoint them?

what kind of friend are you

what kind of friend are you

Perhaps you are faithful, but your friends consistently fail you when trouble comes. They are happy to spend time with you when all is going well. But when their support is needed, they are unavailable. (My comments: I believe that if a friends consistently fails us, then we should move on and trust that God will bring true and reliable friends in our lives.  I agree with what Charles Stanley says below but feels he should’ve added the fact that sometimes we absolutely have to move on.)

I urge you not to hold it against them. Hurt and rejection are painful, but often unavoidable, parts of life. You can’t make anyone love you. It’s impossible to force them to be faithful to you in difficult times. But you and I can always find healing through forgiveness. Without it, you will never develop close, dependable friendships. Focus on becoming a genuine, trustworthy, loyal person—who can forgive when others disappoint—and you will attract reliable friends. Lean on Jesus, the perfect Friend, and you will become the type of person others take delight in knowing.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

Why Christians need to pray for strangers

Jesus speaks some very harsh words in Matthew, chapter twenty-five.

And it’s not about our sins of doing as much as it is our sins of not doing.

Verse 45:” Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did NOT do it (see verses 42 and 43) to one of the least of these, you did not to it to Me.”

If you’re like me, this is the area you fall short.

It’s easy to keep track of the good we do as they are recorded in our memory because they actually happened. They’ve left an imprint. Plus, we always remember when we do something good. Right?

It’s something else to keep track of the people and situations we passed by because they didn’t become an actual experience we can look back on. They didn’t even register in our minds because we never noticed them in the first place.

It’s like trying to remember a non-event. Our minds don’t work that way.

What I try to do to counteract this is to pay attention to people. Not to just walk by in my own little world focusing on my own little thoughts.

This is much harder to do than to write about. It means really living in the moment which is something most of us don’t do very well. We’re busy planning our next activity or at least thinking about it.

How many of us stand in line and never think about the people in front of us, never notice their facial expression, never think to engage in polite conversation that might end up actually brightening someone’s day.

strangers passing by

strangers

A few years ago I was in Brazil and decided to pray for strangers. Not every stranger. But those that struck a response in me. It wasn’t that hard.

For the skeptics out there who are asking what difference one prayer made, especially for a complete stranger, let me ask you this, “How do you know it doesn’t?”

praying for strangers

I believe anytime God asks us to do anything and anytime we respond, God is doing something. Our problem is if we don’t actually witness the results, we become skeptical.

When I taught Bible studies, I often heard the most amazing stories. Stories most would “poo-poo”. But in each case it was a response someone made to God’s specific request in their life.

So:

  • I will continue to refine this part of my life.
  • I will continue to believe God is always placing people in my life to pray for.
  • I will continue to notice the people in my life that need some sort of intervention.

This is what being a follower of Jesus is all about.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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