Challenge

Tonight, I challenged the Jr. High kids.  I also challenged my daughters.  The challenge to my girls was a more difficult challenge then to the Jr. High kids at AWANA.

For the TREK (Jr. High) kids, I challenged them over the next two weeks to take one person that they don’t get along with, dislike, etc., to smile and say hello to them.  They don’t have to engage in a conversation, just say hello with a smile.  And yes, they were to mean it.

For my girls?  When someone is mean to them, to say thank you and walk away.  If it is their sister that is getting to them, say thank you and give them a huge hug saying that they loved the person.

Why did I offer up this challenge?  Because the Bible tells us to love all.  We are to have brotherly love for all, no matter what our differences.  This is not an easy task.  Specially when you feel that you’ve been wronged.  It is difficult when another person has done wrong and it impacts you.  It is even more difficult when that person doesn’t realize they have done wrong.  So, what do you do?  How could I possibly propose that you ‘love’ that person that was so horrible to you?  Because that is what Jesus instructed us to do.  To paraphrase, Jesus stated that if you hate a person, you have already committed murder in your heart.  So, we need to get past that hatred and love.  This is not an easy task.  I know first hand.  I went for years hating a particular person for what they did to me.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that I was wasting my energy and putting myself in a bad position with that hate.  It was so much easier to be complacent about the situation.  I no longer hate the person.  I also don’t have a need to shower this person with love.  And honestly, should I come across this person, I would fear my safety.  But I would do my best to be civil with this person.  So, yes, I know it’s a difficult thing, and one that I struggle with as well.  But I will continue to do my best.

 

Will you?

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Sadness

Today the Supreme Court started hearing arguments for and against same-sex marriage.  I will not express my views, as that is irrelevant to my post.  What is relevant is what I saw being posted on Facebook all day.  Hatred on both sides of the issue.  Yes, BOTH sides.  Though, I will say that I saw less hateful posts from those against same-sex marriage than I did from those that are for it.  This saddens me.

I saw some people posting ‘verses’ of the Bible trying to prove how racist and full of hate the Bible is, thereby implying that anyone that follows must be full of hate.  Here’s the problem with that; they are not reading the entire passage, and therefore taking it completely out of context.  That is one of my pet peeves.  If you are going to criticize a book and make accusations about it, at least read the whole thing and study it.  That way you can at least know what you are talking about.  Otherwise, you are going to sound like someone full of hate and animosity because you just don’t know.

There are very few beliefs that I will counter, because I don’t know enough about them.  Besides, it is not up to me to judge those beliefs or that person.  I’m only to present the truth, according to the Bible, to strive to live as Jesus lived, and to love all.  These are not easy things to do.  I struggle with one or more of these items constantly.  I am tested consistently and there are times that I fail.  But I do try to learn from it and move on.

Those that hate, or try to incite me to anger and hate them, honestly, I feel sorry for them.  I occasionally pray for them.  I probably should pray for them daily, however, I tend to forget because in my prayer, I spend so much time thanking God for all that he provides for me.  I’ve been so blessed, and God continues to bless me, that I cannot thank him enough.  God has given me a wonderful job, a house, a wonderful family, a fantastic church family, wonderful friends, and has provided everything that I needed.  Why wouldn’t I be thankful for that?

Even hubby’s migraine for the past 19 months is a blessing.  I have no idea how, yet, but it will reveal itself at some point.  When God has deemed it time for the migraine to go away, it will.  I have complete faith in that.  And yes, I say that knowing that we are trying to get him approved for a surgery that is supposed to help him.  It is still in God’s hands.

So, sadness is my word for the day.  I am saddened by the hatred I see around me and many that don’t think it is hatred, they think they are ‘educating’ those around them.  Instead, they are trying to bully those with a different point of view.  I feel for them, and I shall pray for them.

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.