Memorization

On Wednesday night, I volunteer at AWANA at our church.  I work with the Middle School aged kids.  Part of AWANA is memorizing verses.  As leaders, we are asked to memorize verses as well.  This year, we’ve been asked to memorize 1 John, Chapter 1.  I’ve been a bit lax on my memorizing, I usually have it done by the time we get back from Christmas break. I’ll get it done, just need to focus.

So, when I memorize, I try to determine the meaning of the verses.  I find that that helps me memorize them.  So, the first verse in the chapter is:

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

Before I go into what I believe this verse is saying, it helps to know who wrote the book and to whom.   It is believed that this was written by John, one of the apostles.  It is believed that the purpose of the book was to encourage true fellowship, and to warn us of false teachers.

So, with the understanding that this was written by John, this first verse is talking about his first account of what he is telling us.  This is from the first person.  “Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.”  So, he is saying he/we (the other apostles) that have heard, seen, look at, and touched.  That is a direct reference to personal experience.  You know, think about that, a personal account to go by.  How awesome is that.  And finishes that part of the verse with “of the Word of life;”  John referred to Jesus as the Word of Life in the Gospel of John, so it is reasonable to surmise that John is referring, here, to his personal experience with Jesus.  Isn’t that just awesome?

2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

Let’s look up manifested on Dictionary.com, shall we?

man·i·fest

verb (used with object)

3.

to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding;show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh.
4.

to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidencemanifests the guilt of the defendant.
I skipped the noun definition because it’s being used as a verb here.  So, to make clear or evident, or to show plainly.  Their life is to be made evident to all.  The apostles were not to keep their experience to themselves, but to share it, and prove it.  To show all that eternal life is through Him, through Jesus.  They are to express this through their experience.
That’s all I’ve memorized at this point.  I’ll get to the next verses soon.  Need to memorize first. 😀

Control

Part of today’s reading plans included Genesis 4:6-7.

6 “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

This is after Cain and Abel presented their offerings and God rejected Cain’s.  Many believe that God didn’t approve of the fruits and vegetables that Cain provided, but God was actually unhappy with the intent behind the sacrifice.  His heart wasn’t where it was supposed to be, that was why it was rejected.  This leads to the what the verse is about.  Sin and evil is everywhere, ready to control you.  For some, this is in the form of addiction.  I’ll leave it at that because that is, in my opinion, the most common control that we see around us.  I, admittedly, have my own addiction, chocolate.  It’s one I fight on a regular basis.  Most people don’t think that enjoy chocolate is a big deal, well, when I’m having a rough day, I grab the chocolate.  I should not do this.  Will this addiction kill me, as a drug addiction might?  Probably not.  But it doesn’t help my weight.   So, this is one of the things that controls me.  Some would not consider chocolate a sin, but since it has a tendency to control me to a point of going to it when I’m having a rough day?  It’s something that needs to be controlled, by me.  I will need to work on that in the coming year.

Four reasons to not have fear

I’m taking this directly from biblestudytools.com.  My comments will be the non-italicized portions.

God’s Word brings us a comforting promise, along with an insightful command as we face a new year: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

I love this group of verses.  It’s a reminder to be content with what we have, not to want what others have.   When we want and covet, we become unhappy with what we have, and it quickly can make us quite unhappy in general.  Now, we’re human, and it’s natural for us to want and to want what we don’t have.  It’s overcoming that want that is what we need to do.

We can live this coming year without fear if we apply these four incredibly wonderful truths to our lives and root them deep into our hearts.

The Contentment of His Provision

Contentment is not getting what you want, but it is wanting what you already have. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” If you know Jesus Christ, you have contentment. If you’ve got clothes on your back, something to eat, and Jesus Christ in your heart, you’re rich!

Do you know why we have fear? Because we think our needs or the needs of someone we love are not going to be met. Or we fear that the things we think are meeting our needs are going to be taken away from us. The deepest need of your heart can only be met in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I already touched on this above.  Being content is what it is all about.  He is always faithful and always provides.  My husband says about the house we built and then lost to the bank, that that was the house R built, and this is the house God provided, regarding the house we now live in. Yes, we feared what would happen when we were losing the house, but we had faith that He would provide, and he did.  He provided a much more usable parcel for us.  We’ve been blessed.

The Companionship of His Presence

I don’t know what I’m going to face next year. But there’s one thing I know, He will never leave me. Are you a child of God? He will never leave you either. Isn’t that wonderful!

What’s another reason we may fear in the coming year? Because we’re afraid we’re going to have to face something we don’t understand, and we’re going to have to face it alone.

When God’s Word promises that God will never forsake you, it literally means that He will never abandon you. He will not give up on you. We need to practice the presence of the Lord this coming year. When the devil comes and knocks at you heart’s door, you can simply say, “Jesus, please go answer the door.”

At work, we are constantly dealing with change.  And all of it is out of our hands, meaning my teams hands.  We have no control on what is going to happen.  But I can tell you that He has been faithful and helped me, at least, work through it and do pretty darn well.  It’s because of Him, that I still have my job and do it well.  He gave me the ability and motivation to keep going.  I thank God for this.

The Confidence of His Promise

We’re going to zero in on a little phrase in our verses in Hebrews, “He hath said.” A promise is no better than the one who makes it. Who says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”? It is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. This is the confidence of His promise.

In the coming year, when you say, “God, I just don’t have the strength.” The omnipotent God will answer, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” When you say, “God, I’m afraid of what is going to happen.” The omnipresent God says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” And when you say, “God, I don’t know what to do.” The omniscient God will respond, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He himself hath said it.

This will be one of the most important things for me to remember this coming year.  My husband has suffered from a migraine for 19 weeks now.  No break from the pain.  There is no reason that can be seen for the migraine, but wow, it’s put more on me than I can really do.  I’m still having to do my chores and taking care of the elderly lady that lives on our property, but now I’m doing more of the taking care of the livestock and animals, more of the housecleaning and laundry, more meals.  You see, I’m blessed to have a husband that does most of the cooking, laundry, and cleaning.  He was a stay-at-home-dad for the 3 years.  So, now, me taking on more of it has been difficult.  Now, before I turn into a completely whiny brat, you have to understand that I’m still dealing with my health issues.  I stand at the sink for 5-10 minutes and I hurt so bad that I can hardly breath.  My foot tingles to a point that it hurts to have anything touch it, including my socks and shoes.  Being on my feet too much makes my foot feel heavy to a point that I can barely walk with it.  Cleaning up causes my pain level to go up.  So, yeah, I do what I can, but I need to remember that God will never leave me, nor foresake me.  He is there for me and I need to remember to trust in Him.

The Comfort of His Protection

Hebrews 13:6 promises, “So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Now, put that with verse 5, which says, “He hath said.”

Like I said earlier, I don’t know what you’re going to go through this coming year. But I know you can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, so I will not fear what man shall do to me.” When you find your contentment, companionship, and confidence in Jesus. Then, you’ll find your comfort and courage in Jesus.

And really, our contentment really is our comfort.  I am thankful that God sent His son to pay my debt.  I can never thank him enough for all that he has given me and I can’t even pretend to do so.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me, from my life to my job, from my family to my friends, and yes, my health, or lack of it, is a blessing.

Pleasing

Today’s devotional was as follows…

Genesis 1:25 –

25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

Additional comment –

God saw that his work was good. People sometimes feel guilty for having a good time or for feeling good about an accomplishment. This need not be so. Just as God felt good about his work, we can be pleased with ours. However, we should not feel good about our work if God would not be pleased with it. What are you doing that pleases both you and God?

I agree with most of what this says, except the last statement/question.  To me, it doesn’t matter if it pleases me AND God, only that it pleases God.  I’m irrelevant in the equation.  Anyone remember Jonah?  Ummm, yeah, if I’m pleased, it’s a bonus, but not what I strive for, and honestly, if I’m pleasing God, shouldn’t I be pleased by that?

Honesty

Honesty with others will be another post.  This post is about honesty with God.

Taking this from Psalm 6:6:

6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

This was David, talking to God.  In the daily devotion that I had today, which this was taken from, the following was added to the verse:

Pouring out his heart with tears, David was completely honest with God. We can be honest with God even when we are filled with anger or despair because God knows us thoroughly and wants the very best for us. Anger may result in rash outward acts or turning inward toward depression. But because we trust in our all-powerful God, we don’t have to be victims of circumstance or be weighted down by the guilt of sin. Be honest with God, and he will help you turn your attention from yourself to him and his mercy.

I read through it a few times, because the first time, all I could think about was why would I lie to God.  I mean, seriously, God knows our heart, what we’re thinking, our intentions.  Why on earth would we try to lie to him?  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Many of us lie to ourselves and we think that that lie will become truth because it’s what we are hoping will be the truth.  But it doesn’t work that way.

So, in being honest, it can help us to get over anger or despair.  Secular Psychology will tell you that you need to discuss your feelings and work them out.  So, why not save some money and discuss it with God?  Trust in him to heal what is ailing you.  I find that when I’m having trouble, it’s because I’m focused on me, not Him.  When I focus on Him, things fall in place.  This is not coincidence, this is how it’s supposed to be.

So, with that in mind, for the new year, I intend to blog at least a little something, each day, focused on God.  Whether it’s from my daily reading, devotional, bible study, what have you.  Some days might be awesome, others, not so much, but my intent is to concentrate my focus Him, not me.

Unity

I was going to continue on my thoughts on Micah, however last night’s study was so important, and I wanted to get my thoughts out before I missed the whole essence of it.

Unity!

Our series on Sunday nights have been “One Another” and how, as a church family (and not just my church, but all of Christianity) should be.  We started out last night discussing Romans 15:5.

5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

This was written by Paul the apostle and theorized to have been written around A.D. 57.  It was written to a Church in Rome, though Paul had not yet visited Rome.  The book of Romans, is believed to be a bit of a general instruction book on what was expected of Christians.  There are several within the bible, both old and new testament.  This is one of the many from Paul.  So, with this in mind, let’s look back at the verse

“Now the God of patience and consolation…”  Paul is declaring God to be of patience.  Patience is defined by dictionary.com as; quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.  Most of us understand patience, or the lack thereof.  But consolation? Dictionary.com defines it as someone or something that consoles. To console meaning to alleviate or lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment of; givesolace or comfort.  So, Paul is our example of patience and consolation, as is established throughout the bible that we are to learn from him and strive to be more Christlike.  Stay with me on this, I’ll get back to this in a moment.

“… grant you to be likeminded one toward another…”  Grant meaning to give, right?  Likeminded.  This is one of the areas where the secular world starts having issues with Christianity.  Many believe that if you are likeminded, you aren’t thinking for yourself and you are not very smart.  However, that is not the case.  Being likeminded is defined as having a similar or identical opinion.  You know, that pretty much makes even those that don’t believe in God or Jesus as likeminded to those that do, if they believe that murder is wrong.  I’m not saying that all of humanity is likeminded.  Obviously, that would just be silly.  I’m just saying, to assume that because Christians should be likeminded that they are mindless sheep that don’t think.  I can assure you, most do think and consider and are quite intelligent.

“… according to Christ Jesus:”  So, why would Paul say according to Christ Jesus?  Let’s look, shall we? The words from Jesus himself in John 17:11:

11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

How about John 17: 20-23?

20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

   21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

   22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

   23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

That’s just five verses referencing being one, or having unity that Jesus spoke to us about.  Now comes the hard part, having unity.  Why is this so difficult?  It is against human nature to be unified.  Think about it.  Humans have a tendency to think they are right, no matter what.  They know more than the people around them.  We’re all guilty of it.  And if you disagree with me, you are proving the statement. 😉 That being said, unity is not impossible.  It is possible!  That will come in future posts because to get there will take time.

Let’s start with the headship of Christ though.  Colossians 2:10 and 19:
10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

 19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 

This discuss that we should be of one with Christ.  We are complete in him.  That without him as the head of our lives, we are not nourished as the body of Christ and not knit together, or joined closely together.  The oneness increases as we increase with God.

and Acts 2:46, 4:32, and 6:1-7

46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

In Acts of the Apostles, we see here that they were of one mind/opinion.  Look what it shows to the world.  Unity.

32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

I was only going to bold the one heart and of one soul, but look at the rest of that verse.  Everything we have is not ours, it’s God.  We have it because of our work for God, through God, for God.  It’s His, and we must be willing to share and not be selfish.  Now, I do believe that there are things that we cannot share, or more accurately, should not share.  Like undergarments.  Yeah, I really would prefer for hygiene sake to not go there.  But let’s look at what we can share.  We can share are extra food with our friends and family, as we do for holidays and celebrations, right?  We can share are time with those that may need a friend, an ear to listen, a comforting word, an encouraging word, a loving action to help.  Ok, I’m getting too far into it, so I’ll stop there with that verse for now.

 1And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

   2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

   3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

   4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

   5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

   6Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

   7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

This goes over a bit of how to achieve some of the unity that the apostles had. There was talk about those that were unified, blaming them that the widows were not getting all the bread/food that they have been provided in the past before all these disciples had come around.  In other words, they were spreading bad reports, rumors about them.  The disciples here had done nothing wrong, but come by, in unity, to spread the good word.  So, how does one handle it?  It was agreed to appoint honest men to give a true report of what was going on, and resolve it.  They did not speak poorly of others, they worked out a solution.  Here, particularly, it’s important to note that this disagreement was by two different societies.  Both were of Jewish belief, that believed in the Christ, but one was Hebrew, the other Grecian, so there were different societal beliefs.  Yet, in the end, the two groups were able to resolve the issue, without causing harm to the other.  Unity, my friends.  It is possible.

Pastor provided us 4 statements to get us started and to think on:

  1. Recognize unity and oneness are possible.
  2. Recognize it will take effort.
  3. Expect obstacles.
  4. Realize the key is Christian maturity reflected in love.

Pastor asked us to commit to this endeavor, and I commit.  I think that we can, as Christians, unify and show the world that we are not hypocrites and that agape is the love God wants.

More on this in the new year.

Thoughts

In the morning, after I take the kids to school, and before I log in for work, I listen to the bible on my computer.  CDs that a dear friend loaned me that I put on my computer so that I could listen to them as I had time.  Anyway, last week, one chapter came up that caught my attention: Micah 2.  It starts out as:

1Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.

Let’s break it down:

Woe, meaning an exclamation of grief (according to dictionary.com), to them that devise, meaning ‘to form a plan,’ iniquity, ‘meaning a violation of right or duty; wicked act; sin.’  So, bringing that to what does it mean?  It is grief for those that plan a violation of right, or plan a wicked act, or a sin.

That’s what caught my attention.  What an opening.

They work even in their beds, and no, I don’t think bed is literal.  You know the saying “you made your bed, now you can lie in it?”  Same idea.   So, then, we have when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.  Basically, those that plan to practice a wicked act, or to sin, we should grieve for them for they have the power not to, and choose to do so.

 2And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage

We all know covet, meaning, we want something someone else has. Those that devise iniquity, will covet and that will bring them to be violent to obtain what they covet, take away from others, oppress others.  Sound familiar?  It happens all around you, and you may fall victim to it yourself.  I know I have in the past.

 3Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.

Therefore, because of the previous, the Lord will devise, plan, on those, and we will not be snobbish as it is up to God to deal with it and judge, not us.  If we become snobbish, or haughty, it adds to the evil and is against God’s will.

 

I will continue more later this week.