How easily shocked are you by the lives of others who are different from you?
When we continually surround ourselves only with people who have similar belief systems and values, it can result in fear, judgment, and distancing ourselves from others who are different. But this is not Christ-like. In fact, it is more like the Pharisees in the Bible. The Pharisees were the religious ones, the rule-enforcers, the ones who lived a separate life. They judged and condemned others while being blind to their own sinful ways. In contrast, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:11) and touched untouchable lepers (Matthew 8:3). He didn’t withdraw from them. He drew near to them. John Burke, the author of Unshockable Love: How Jesus Changes the World through Imperfect People, challenges us to examine our hearts to see whether we are more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees.
Why should we accept this challenge?
Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Unshockable Love How Jesus Changes the World through Imperfect People”
I grew up going to church practically every time the doors were opened. In fact, my dad was one of the holders of the church keys, so we were often the first ones there or the last ones to leave. I have many fond memories of that church building. It was there I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was there I made my public profession of faith in Jesus as a child and was subsequently baptized by the pastor and my dad (a deacon) in a local pond on a church member’s farm. It was there I was asked to serve as the church pianist at age 15 because there was no one else to play. It was in that little building I committed to live the rest of my life with my husband at age 22.
Church. A place where a congregation of about 120 felt like a big extended family. A place where I learned about Jesus and His Word. A place around which our entire lives seemed to revolve. We didn’t belong to a country club or civic group. We had family and we had church. But is “church” merely a place to attend? Or is it more than that?
Recently, I had the opportunity to read The Jesus Paradigm by David Alan Black. In his book, Dr. Black challenges us to take a hard look at the way we “do church” and compare it with the example Jesus gives us in the Bible. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: The Jesus Paradigm”
Consider this a book review. My personal opinion.
I just read Vance Pitman’s book: Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live Through You and it is a life-changing read! So many of us, as followers of Christ, feel that we have to follow rules and be perfect to be sure of our salvation. In essence we say we are saved by faith but kept by works, saved by grace, but sanctified by works. We can get caught in the trap of focusing on the works we do as Believers, rather than focusing on Christ Himself.
In his book, Pitman challenges us to abide in Jesus through simple and pure devotion to Him. He teaches that the life of a Jesus-follower ought to look like the life of Christ because as we abide in Him, He lives through us. Pitman’s study of the Gospels of the Bible revealed that Jesus’ life was centered on relationships with God the Father, with His disciples, and with the world. Relationships, not religion. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live Through You”
I was driving in the rain and noticed flashes of light out of the corner of my eye. At first, I thought there was lightning accompanying the rain, but then I realized there was no thunder. The flashes of light were always in the same spot, and they continued even after I was back at home and inside the house. These flashes were happening within my right eye. The eye doctor confirmed that this is quite common among people my age, and so far my eyesight has not been impaired.
Eyesight is something we can take for granted. If we lose it, our lifestyle is impacted in every way – no more driving, and we have to learn new ways of doing practically everything from reading to cooking to walking without injuring ourselves or someone else. Eyesight is precious for our physical lives, but also vital to our spiritual lives.
It’s February and love is in the air! Red roses and heart-shaped boxes of candy greet shoppers as they enter the stores. Bright reds and pinks flood the aisles of greeting cards. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and about taking the time to express love to the special people in your life.
All of this reminds me of my childhood and the love notes that kids passed to each other in school. A scrap of notebook paper, folded into a tiny wad bore this simple message: “I love you. Do you love me? Check one box (yes or no).” The one writing the note was putting himself out there to be accepted or rejected. It took guts to put his name on a note like that and pass it to his beloved, watching with great anticipation or trepidation as she discreetly unfolded the note, read it, and checked one of the boxes. What would her answer be? Continue reading “A Love Note From God”
At this time of year, nearly everywhere we go we see signs of Christmas. We like to drive through our community, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy the decorations that adorn the yards and houses. Twinkling lights of various colors hang on bushes and trees and outline the houses. There are evergreen wreaths embellished with red and gold ribbons, candles glowing in the windows, and Christmas trees overflowing with gifts of all sizes and shapes. Yards are filled with large plastic or inflatable characters, from Santa and snowmen to the Nativity with Baby Jesus at the center – the baby who was also known as the King of the Jews.
Continue reading “Gifts for the King”
Food will put our willpower to the test. As soon as we hear that we should not eat something because it’s bad for us, we begin to crave it! Food was given to us for our nourishment and to enjoy, but God also uses it to test us and to teach us. Continue reading “The Bread of Life”