Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category

In Memory – A Memorial Day Re-posting

Wisdom is found in reading the thoughts from Proverbial Thought!

I am posting this a little earlier in the week than usual, because I wanted people to start seeing it on Memorial Day.

I originally wrote this for Veterans Day 2012. I liked it enough that I felt it could be shared again.

May we remember those who have sacrificed everything for the sakes of freedom and life.

Remembrance of Veterans

This past weekend saw celebrations in many nations for those who have served in the military. Whether it is called Veterans’ Day, Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, this is a time to recall those heroes who have served, fought, and even died in the service of country and/or freedom.

This is good. We should remember those who have gone before and fought for freedom.

But, dear Christian, there are more who are at least as deserving if not more deserving of remembrance.

Hebrews 11 reminds us of some heroes:

  • Abel
  • Enoch
  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Gideon
  • Barak
  • Samson
  • Jephthah
  • David
  • Samuel
  • the Prophets

These were people who stood firm for God and laid the framework for the coming Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Yet, there are more!

The New Testament has a list of heroes:

  • John, the Baptizer
  • Simon Peter
  • Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother
  • James, son of Zebedee
  • John, James’ brother
  • Philip
  • Bartholomew
  • Thomas
  • Matthew
  • James
  • Thaddeus
  • Simon the zealot
  • Matthias
  • Mary
  • Paul
  • Stephen
  • Barnabas
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • Philip
  • Procorus
  • Nicanor
  • Timon
  • Parmenas
  • Nicolas
  • Lydia
  • Priscilla
  • Aquilas
  • Phoebe
  • And many, many more!

Notice there are even women listed! If we dug through the Old Testament we would find more women, such as Ruth, Esther, and Deborah, to name but a few.

We need to also remember history since the end of the First Century, those who have carried the Church forward:

  • Augustine
  • Eusebius
  • Tertullian
  • Jerome
  • Origen
  • Pelagius
  • Francis of Assisi
  • Martin Luther
  • John Calvin
  • Loyola
  • Joan of Arc
  • John Wesley
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mother Teresa
Just to name a very few.
We need to remember these names and so many others for the work they have done to push the Gospel further into the world, deeper into our hearts, and on into the future until the return of our Lord.
Church history is important. We need to know about the ancient past, the past 2000 years, and recent leaders. We need to know why so many things are important.
Too much of recent Church history was resolved in the first few hundred years of Church history, but we have turned our backs on these giants of the faith.
Many recent Church problems have arisen largely due to an ignorance of what has come before.
Some of the time our ignorance of what has been discussed leads to problems.
Some of the time our ignorance of what has been done and why leads to problems.
Most of the time our ignorance of each other leads to problems.
Every time our ignorance of God leads to problems.
We get so focused on our differences that we lose focus of what has come before and who God is.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Hebrews 12:1-8

Marriage Submission: My First Wedding Ceremony Message

Do not forget to find wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

This past weekend I performed my first wedding, and it was for my wonderful sister-in-law and her new husband!

Because I know tiredness and exhaustion is big after a wedding, especially when the ceremony and reception last eight hours plus all of the prep-time before and clean-up after, to save myself some time this week I am posting the message from that wedding!

Now all of you beautiful readers get to feel like you were there! (It really did end up being a wonderful ceremony!)

I hope you enjoy:Marrying my in-laws

JP2 – The Wedding

Ephesians 5:21-33 tells every married couple:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

To submit to each other means to live life together.

The greatest examples of living life together can be taken from Jesus and His disciples.

John 2

In John chapter two, we read of Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine. This is also the time Jesus first went with His disciples somewhere, and it was a wedding! Working together with each other and those around them made life more enjoyable.

As you start your marriage, learn from Jesus and His disciples: start by having some fun. This is why we are all here! Take this as a reminder to have fun with each other throughout your marriage. It is also a reminder to have fun with your loved ones, your family and friends.

Matthew 14

Speaking of reasons to celebrate, Matthew chapter fourteen shares the story of Jesus and His disciples feeding dinner to about 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. That would be cause for celebration! (Perhaps another reason we are all here: to be fed!)

Instead, as soon as everyone was done eating, Jesus sent His disciples across a choppy lake in the only available boat while he went off to pray. Before the sun came up, Jesus walked out across the surface of the lake – with waves and all – to the boat.

The disciples were scared at first, but Peter yelled out to Jesus. Jesus called Peter out onto the water, and he went and walked on the water with Jesus!

Peter soon remembered the wind and waves, and he began to sink. And Jesus reached out to grab his hand, pulled Peter up, and the two of them walked back to the boat.

As you build your lives together, you will encounter those times when life is hard. Yet, when one of you gets distracted by the troubles you face, the other can be the support. You can take turns lifting each other up as you walk together.

You never face this life alone. The good and the bad will come in varying degrees, but when you face them together you may find the good in the bad. Submitting to each other is listening to and helping each other continually, that you may grow deeper in love and happiness.

Keller

Timothy Keller also compared marriage to a journey, saying that it is:

“. . . a journey that includes shared experience, setbacks, challenges, knowledge, and many many things that make you crazy as well as [the] things that make you happy. If marriage is to endure over time, it has to be because both people within it have tacitly acknowledged something that young lovers might find preposterous: it’s bigger, and more important, than both of us. It’s love, sure, and inside jokes and conversational shorthand. But it’s also families, friends, traditions, landmarks, knowledge, history.”

Getting Out for a Walk

Do not stray from knowledge; rather find wisdom through Proverbial Thought!

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Philippians 2:12-18

Needing to Go for a Walk

Last week I wrote about my dog and God’s control over our lives. I return to the topic of my dog this week.

My little puppy is a joy to have around . . .

. . . especially when he begins to make a lot of noise.

. . . especially when he nips at our hands and heels.

. . . especially when he tears at furniture and furnishings.

. . . especially when he destroys things.

Usually, there is a simple fix: he just needs to go for a walk!

When all he does is get fed and hang around the home, eventually things build up inside that must be released. He needs to walk around, meet with others, and “release” all that is locked up inside. Only then does he behave well.

Needing to Go for a Walk

We can get the same way in the Church.

Many people grumble and make a lot of noise about what they do not like or how they think things should run.

Many people complain about others, and they begin to gossip and fight.

Many people tear apart relationships and congregations over meaningless squabbles.

Many people destroy their own or their families lives.

You may already know where this is going:

The biggest problem with many in the Church is that they do not get out of the Church enough.

They sit in their chairs and get fed, and they are surrounded by (and even help) others who are constantly being fed. Yet, they almost never step outside to meet others and share what they have been fed and thus lead them to salvation.

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Jude 1:14-23

When we hold onto all of the good things God has given us, even attempting to keep His Holy Spirit to ourselves, what really builds up inside is our own selfishness and pride. We build our sin instead of righteousness.

Then we lash out and complain.

All we need to is go Walk.

Unwelcoming Jesus

Do not be a fool, and go get some wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50, NIV

Christianity is the most popular religion in the United States of America. In fact, approximately 74% of Americans claim to follow some form of Christianity (found at census.gov).

That is amazing! 74%! That is about three-quarters (3/4) of those living in the USA!

How well do we live up to this?

Welcome or Unwelcome?

Many people look to this passage and Luke and see the love and faith displayed by this woman in Jesus as Messiah.

Most times this passage is used to show how God’s love and grace goes to all people, but those who are painfully aware of their sin are those who are most grateful for the forgiveness they are given.

However, look at what is said about the two people most interested in Jesus here.

“Sinful Woman”:

“she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair”
“this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet”
“she has poured perfume on my feet”

Simon:

“one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him”
“You did not give me any water for my feet”
“You did not give me a kiss”
“You did not put oil on my head”

Simon, a religious leader, comparable to a pastor today, invited Jesus into his home for dinner.

Typically, when you have a guest, you greet them, then you offer something such as a place to put shoes or jackets.

In this case, Simon should have greeted his Guest with a kiss (on the cheek or the lips or, for you Baptists and Nazarenes, with the hands in the form of a good handshake). He then should have offered at least some water to clean His feet and/or some lotion or perfume after having walked around in the sun all day.

Instead, Simon expected his Guest to take care of himself (except for the food, of course). His real intention was to either find out more of this so-called Messiah or to look important for having this great teacher in his home.

Simon disregarded all forms of respect and love to look important. He did not treat Jesus as a welcome guest.

A Land of “Simon the Pharisees”?

How many Americans (or christians from around the world) treat Jesus the same way?

I am sure there are honest people out there who are doing the best they can, and perhaps they are simply living by what they have been taught.

If you look around at this nation, there are a lot of people who invite Jesus into their houses, but they ignore Him most of the time.

We have athletes who thank their Lord Jesus Christ after every game; but they sleep around with various partners, get into drugs and alcohol, or lose all of their money to frivolous and/or dangerous things.

We have politicians who pray in the name of Jesus, but they lie, cheat, and steal from their constituents and government on a regular basis.

We have preachers who use Jesus as a reason for a 501(c)3 status (tax-exempt) and promote a different gospel of good feelings and good intentions.

We have churches as fancy as country clubs where people carry their Bibles to look good and holy, but the only time they spend with Jesus is an hour on Sunday mornings and maybe on Wednesday nights.

We have committees and groups who promote social justice and stopping the liberals/conservatives from destroying the fabric of American society, but they lack love for some of the very people who need love the most.

Remember …

Those who look good or know all the answers tend to be the ones who invite Jesus in to their homes, but it is the people who serve Jesus who are forgiven and accepted by God.

How do you love Jesus? By expecting some of the glory or by humbling yourself and serving others?

… For They Know Not What They Do

Give yourself something: get wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:26-34

You may know where I am going with this, but I am going to continue, anyway.

Jesus had to endure some pretty bad stuff. He went through some of the most torturous agony a person can.

And he forgave His murderers and haters.

Keep in mind, it is our own sin that put Jesus on the cross. Jesus was forgiving you and me with that sentence, as well!

Jesus said other words to us about this subject, as well:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25

And I’ve Never Been to Boston in the Fall

For over a week now, as of this posting, people have been dealing with the bombing at the Boston Marathon. On Thursday, those responsible were found, and they caused more damage and took the life of a police officer. It left one of them, the older brother, dead, and the younger is now in custody.

I have heard many people, understandably angry, calling for the death of this young man. Some have said torture is justified. Still others have prayed for these brothers to be joined back together in Hell.

What have you said about these men? What thoughts and words have you allowed through your mind and out your mouth concerning these men?

Regardless of the various parts of belief systems within major (and minor) world religions, specifically Islam, their family and friends say these two brothers were twisted in the beliefs by a radical form of Islam.

The point?

These young men were convinced that God’s love for them would grow if they killed infidels. They were led to believe they were doing God’s will.

Do you know what this means?

They did not fully understand what they were doing!

Regardless of what arguments you want to make about their understanding of what they were doing:

Have you ever been so angry with someone (say, these to men, your parents, siblings, friends, that jerk on the road) that you wished ill-will upon them?

Have you ever lusted after another person?

Have you ever desired something so much that you would do anything to get it?

Have you ever loved someone or something more than God?

The short answer is “Yes!”

As I stated above, it was our sin which put Jesus on that cross.

A “yes” to any of those questions above shows your sin (and, yes, we have all sinned: Romans 3).

This means we are all guilty of murdering God.

If He can forgive us for killing Him, our Creator and greatest Lover …

Pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that he may come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the family of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that they may be drawn to Christ and learn to cope with their loss and this atrocity committed by their family members.

Pray for each of the families and friends who were killed or injured during the bombing and chase a few days later.

Forgive and repent of hatred.

Love.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/07/2013

Storms may come, but the wisdom can help you get through! Get some wisdom today from Proverbial Thought.

This may be a poem more geared toward the Lenten season, but I think it is especially fitting for the Easter season (leading up to Pentecost). Lent is a time to deny ourselves to prepare for our coming Lord. Leading up to Pentecost, we must prepare for service for our Lord.

You could say we must live in a period of Lent … for the rest of our lives.

That is the theme of the poem for today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my spirit cries out to You

my heart aches for You

i feel the pride and arrogance

that tries to well up inside me

that could turn me from You

O gracious and loving Father

let us remove these feelings

make me truly Your saint

humble me more

as i humble myself before You

make me aware of

whatever is not of You in me

make a willing servant to this world

that all may know You are God

All praise the Almighty

the Creator of All

praises resound from the mouths

of those who seek Your righteousness

without You we are wicked

praise the Lord

the Lord of our salvation

The Hard Knocks Life: Choosing Trouble

Choose to find some wisdom through the commentary over at Proverbial Thought.

We have been looking at why we may experience difficulty in this life. Last week I discussed how God puts us through things in life and even allows our horrors to persist for a time so that we may show His mercy, compassion, and love to others going through similar circumstances. Two weeks ago I started off with describing how a life following God can bring troubles, through persecution or, like last week’s post said, circumstances to grow our faith and understanding.

This little post is about when we bring about our own troubles. It really is quite simple.

Each moment of each day we have a choice. It is basically the same choice offered to the Israelites after taking the promised land.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15, NIV

More Simple Than We Think

Here is how simple it is:

Every morning we are faced with a decision. Every time we have to make a choice, we have two options (though those two options may have multiple choices, as well).

Do I serve God or my own selfish desires?

Do I act in love or for personal comfort and gain?

It is our own selfish choices that lead to fights and arguments.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to loss and confusion.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to pain and difficulty.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to sin and death.

Yet even these God can use for His glory and redeem for good, when we choose Him daily.

Ask any (ex-)con, any thief, any adulterer, any violent or gossiping or lying person who has been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and they will tell you the same.

This is not that all our troubles simply go away. Many times, we must still live with the consequences of our decisions.

We may not get our money returned to us.

We may not get our health returned to us.

We may not see justice served (at least, not they way we expect).

Though we can find peace.

We can learn to love.

We can become wise and compassionate.

We may even see our lives restored to greater than they were.

It will certainly be greater in the next life, which is what we earn through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After all, it was all of the selfish choices of each and every person who ever lived who put Jesus on the cross.

It was also shows that God chose to go to the cross for us.

Then Holy Spirit empowers us with strength, faith, wisdom, and grace to change, to choose God.

Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve: God or your own selfish desires.