Monday, October 29, 2018

Living Right and Standing Tall

"In all the years I've worked with people, I've yet to meet someone whose life was all messed up because he or she kept God's commands ."(Joe Stowell)

This quote really struck me because of its truthfulness. Many people want lives that reap the result of God's commands, but they don't want to believe or follow God's commandments.

So we are in a free for all - everyone doing what they want and hoping that they come out fine. Sometimes people look for the easy way out and rationalize, that if it's not explicitly stated in the Bible, then it can't be done.

Monday, October 22, 2018

High Stakes Low Stakes

As a parent, I remember when I first heard the phrase "high stakes testing." It was presented in a pressure-filled manner so that parents would approach state tests seriously. However, because I always took education seriously and knew how my children were doing in school, I approached these tests as low stakes tests - just another test that they would master. I felt that the pressure would be a hindrance, so flipped it on his head and treated the tests as normal, because children are primed to take tests as a way to indicate learning.

We are primed to deal with problems, Jesus told us it would be so. He said, "in this world, we will have tribulations but to be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (John 16:33)." He was letting us know that we should expect problems - no matter their shape, hue or size.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Difference Between Hope and Faith

When my children were younger, I delighted in preparing their favorite meal. Though they had differing palates, whenever I promised to make macaroni and cheese, there was an eagerness that permeated the air. This delicacy wasn’t from the box; each ingredient was assembled into a bubbly, delicious covered dish. They couldn’t wait to sit down for dinner.

Looking forward to their favorite meal was hope. Simultaneously, because my children trusted me, they believed that macaroni and cheese would be ready at dinner time--this was faith.

Hope, in its simplest form, is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The Hebrew word for hope, tiqvah, means something we hold onto. The Greek word for faith is pistis, which connotes faithfulness, conviction, and commitment, a reliance on God. Based on the definitions alone, hope and faith are often intertwined; hope is the soil in which we exercise our faith.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Examine Yourself

Yesterday being the first Sunday of the month was Communion Sunday in many churches. It's a time during the service where the Lord's Supper is celebrated and 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 is read to provide a framework around this symbolic meal.

As this passage was read recently, the phrase "let a man examine himself" resonated with me. It stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take a more in-depth look at myself. I had to take time to examine myself, to self-reflect. There is a thoughtfulness to my approach.  When I understand the significance of this meal, I am grateful. Though solemn, it's a celebration, not a funeral.

Let a man examine himself. This phrase was said in the context of partaking in a ceremonial meal that represented something sacred and holy - the Lord's Supper; A Love Feast; a fellowship with no sense of rush. A unifying event. Though God says to come as you are a heart examination needs to take place in order to partake. We are encouraged to understand the reasons for the Lord's Supper and its implications for us.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Book Review - The Way Back by Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock

As I read this book, I was so convicted that practically every other page is highlighted. The full title of the book is The Way Back; How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back.

The premise is that in America, Christianity is losing its impact and influence on the culture. This is not a new statement and as illustrated in the book has happened in the past; history has a way of repeating itself.

The authors are Christians in the entertainment industry. They see first hand the degradation of our culture, but they are in positions to exert their influence.

I tend to shy away from how-to books because they tend to minimize the process; if it were so simple once shared everyone would change. So it's not so much a how-to book as it is a "how come?" book. This book provides insight into our current cultural state and then imparts suggested steps for navigating to the next level.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Women of the Word - Christina Patterson

When I see someone boldly living out their faith online I take notice. The landscape is cluttered but bright lights shine and that is what Christina does. She is a beloved woman of God and wants you to experience His love. When she speaks, she is radiant. I was encouraged by her words on doubt and I think you will be too. Meet this month's Woman of the Word - Christina Patterson.

Christina Patterson