Thursday, October 2, 2014

~ "Rejoicing..."

"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer..." (Rom 12:12)

This is twice in one week that the verse speaks directly to me.  Today, my friend will be undergoing surgery to remove both breasts.  Her cancer was diagnosed through a mammogram this past summer and treatment began immediately.

Here in the United States, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We sport pink ribbons and make donations to cancer research.  We encourage everyone to have their yearly mammogram.  We stand up and take notice!  Far too many people have died from this dreaded disease.

This verse reminds us to be joyful, rejoicing, shouting our longing to be cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit; to spend eternity with our Lord and King! In our times of trouble, we are encouraged to be patient, for God's plan truly is one that will be revealed to us in his time.  And finally, continuing to pray - for courage, for strength, for peace - without ceasing!

Take a moment and thank God for all the things you have - both your blessings and your blights.  They both come from God and are intended to be positive, not negative.  Take what you are given in joy, be patient and pray!  God has brought you to it - he will bring you through it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

~ "Divided..."

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."  (1 Cor 1:10)

WOW!!!  I was speaking with a young woman yesterday while at work about how you can read a verse one day, but the next time you read it, it takes on a whole new meaning.  I'm in awe of this verse.  It's not the first time I've read it, and it will not be the last.  When I read the commentary in my Bible, I almost fell off the chair...
"Paul founded the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. After he left, 18 months later, the people began arguing, divisions arose, and some slipped back into the immoral life-style prevalent in the city. Paul wrote this letter to recommend that immediate corrective action be taken to clear up their confusion about right and wrong and to remove the immortality among them. The Corinthian people had a reputation for jumping from fad to fad; Paul wanted to keep Christianity from degenerating into just another fad." (Life Application Study Bible)
This one verse sheds a bright light on our society.  We can see the divisions in the Church - their different doctrines.  The immoral life-styles practiced in this country, condemned by certain denominations and each of their "right and wrong" beliefs.

Paul's message was to the Christians.  The focus of his letter addresses those who accepted Jesus as the Savior sent by God to redeem their pitiful souls. Their reflection of love and forgiveness should have been the appeal for non-Christians, not their self imposed rules and open judgement of the other sinners.  They tried to complicate Christianity - we complicate Christianity without even realizing we are doing it.  We place conditions on who can attend our church, who can become a member of our church, who can hold a place of importance in our church.  Some have added how to pray and who to pray to revisions.  Some are forbidden from entering the doors of certain churches. Some even have rules that are so warped it causes one's eyes to bulge from their head in total disbelief.

Bottom line:  Christ welcomes ALL people into his Church!  He leads by example, not by a stringent set of ridiculous rules that exclude.  He forgives ALL sin regardless of the sin or how many times that sinner stumbles and falls during their lifetime.  He asks that we treat ALL people as he would treat them.  He does not look down on those who are destitute or on those who have given in to their inner temptations.  He loves the sick, the poor and the lowly.  He loves the beggar and the thief.  He loves the murderer and the rapist.  He loves the homosexual, the transgendered and the politician.  He loves them for who they are, not what they are.  He says "come" - do we?