Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Myth: There Isn’t Much We Can Do

So maybe you have been hearing and seeing of the news now 2 weeks after the earthquake in Haiti and you’ve thought “I should do something.  I should send money.  I should donate something.”  Maybe you have spoken about it with someone close to you about the best way you could help.  But then maybe life got busy again for you.  Maybe your desire to think-through the best way to help has led you to do nothing because you’re just not sure if it will do any good.  Afterall, you can’t give enough to make the pain all go away – so then why do anything at all?

Here’s why that is problematic – I know someone who can give $100 to help people in Haiti and I know 20 people who can give $5 to help people in Haiti.  The one who has $100 really believes that their gift can help – so they give.  The 20 people with $5 don’t think that their gift can make a dent in the huge number of need – so they don’t give.  So rather than $200 going to help from 21 people giving, only $100 gets sent and 20 people buy a Venti Carmel Machiato at Starbucks that’s gone in 30mins.

I’ll be honest with you – I don’t know the best place for you to give.  Perhaps some Christian organizations help in relief efforts and do so with a heart of Christ – some governmental or non-profit organizations have more resources to get to where the greatest needs are.  I just wanted to highlight the fact that many of us have thought about doing something but then done nothing because the little we could do we thought wouldn’t help.  Below are a few articles that might help ease your concerns and enlighten us to what is going on in light of people helping:

Disaster Relief Myths: Busted

7 Myths of Disaster Relief

Christianity Today’s Haiti Help Blog

7 year old raises $200,000

Why not take some time today and pray about what you can and should do to help – rather than almost giving, which is actually not giving. And take some time today to pray for the people who live in Haiti – many of them devoted to the Christ – who have lost loved ones, lost homes that they would turn their eyes to the One who seeks the lost.  How wonderful it would be if Christians would be known as the most generous and compassionate people on earth.

James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

For those of you who have encouragment on how to help, please leave a comment below.

Evangelists Target Unreligious New England

CBS News: Evangelists Target Unreligious New England

In New England, we battle the hard hearts of skeptics while enjoy the open-mindedness of those searching.  Engaging our neighbors and communities is important – and there is a way to do it right.  Forget the marketing strategies or membership drives, get into conversations with the people you’re around.  I think that the challenge facing New England in regards to evangelism and outreach is not in the people who need the gospel, its found in the people who supposedly don’t.

Best line of the article – “That means outreach must be deliberate and personal.” And those reaching out need to move out of the comfort of our church building’s four walls and away from the safety have having our pastors teach those who don’t know the gospel.

Maybe if we stop the excuses – fear, busy-ness, selfishness, ignorance, newness, etc – and seek the LORD’s help, there can be some change.  I don’t know if there is going to be a revival in New England widespread (that’d be nice), but I know that there are people hurting and broken and self-deceived and searching and praying right in this city.  God is waiting for some willing hands and hearts.

There is no one like our God.  He’ll help us.

John 13:36 – Peter Following Jesus

John 13:36  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”

I received an email recently with the following question:

Can you provide me a good explanation of Jesus’ words in John 13:36 – I’ve looked up all my resources & can’t find a worthy explanation for that one. My Christadelphian source says it is speaking of the type of death Peter will experience… not sure? maybe. “where I go, you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow later.”

I would imagine that some would agree with the thoughts of my friend above.  I think that this explination may be just what Jesus was speaking about. I am sure othesIn light of the context of the disciples loving each other as Christ loved them (v34 &35) Peter says that he will follow Jesus wherever he goes – and Jesus says that he cannot follow Him where he is going – maybe it isn’t so much he he cannot die like Jesus will, but Peter will later, but the steps Jesus is going to take are not steps that Peter because of his lack of faith, but will be restored later.

I only say this because the next verse is in regards to Peter not following Jesus to the death but denying him. Compare this section to what Peter says in the other Gospels:

Matthew 26:33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.”

Mark 14:29 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.”

Luke 22:33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”

I think Luke gives us the best picture to what I think John 13 might be talking about – He wants to follow Jesus, but because of the fear that Peter has in his heart (which will be evident in the 3x denials that are about to take place), he cannot follow Jesus – but as we know, he will later.

What do you think?

A More Beautiful You (Part 5)

Proverbs 31 is it too outdated for us 2010 modern day women???   I think not!  When I go through this proverb and dissect it line by line for my own personal understanding I say wow up before dark to make food for my family? Buy things of great value? Sew my family’s clothes? Bring my husband good and not harm?  Open my arms to the poor and needy? Walk around with strength, dignity, wisdom, confidence?  These do not sound like a woman of today.  No I think  fast food, prepared meals, nannies , store bought clothes, disgrace and dishonor to husbands, the needy are gross, dirty  people who they tell their children to avoid at all cost, women who are arrogant and prideful  who think they too are a man and must be treated equally as one or else!!

So then I ask myself what must I change about myself to line up with this proverb that God gave us women as a guideline to be virtuous and worth far more then rubies?  Isn’t this just what we are looking for anyway to be valued, to be loved, to be thought of as precious and honorable?  I think so.   So I see that it is my heart that must change before I even think about my daily routine and actions.  I must love my God enough to trust Him that what He gave me as a guideline on how to be virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled is what I should strive for.   It is what will make me more precious than rubies to my husband and honorable to society.

So in what some women think of as outdated or politically incorrect we find the very thing that God has given us as a picture of a virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled women.  I am willing to look weird and strange to the entire female population and society at large in order to look right and acceptable to God, how about you?

A More Beautiful You (Part 4)

I have been reading through Proverbs each day this month.  He’s a selection from the reading today.  How appropriate:

Proverbs 31:10-31 – 10 An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels. 11The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22She makes bed coverings for herself;  her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

What a great way to end the book of Proverbs.  Though perhaps it seems as if some of the references are outdated and not clear because of the lives we live today – nonetheless this is a picture of a godly, virtuous and excellent woman and wife.

The qualities of this woman are beautiful.  She is caring.  She is self-sacrificial.  She is giving.  She is diligent.  She cares for her husband and family.

And she receives praise from God, her family, and friends because she fears the LORD.  This is the woman to be praised – the one who chooses to fear God and live a life of love.

A More Beautiful You (Part 3)

Galatians 3:27-29 – For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

There are a lot of reasons to love this section of Scripture.  The picture of being united with Christ.  The truth of being a descendant of Abraham by faith.  But one of the reasons I love these verses is because of what verse 28 says and when it says it.

Paul’s letter to the Galatian church was written during a time where there were not “equal rights.”   Men and women didn’t have the same status in society by any means.  It would be rare to find a woman who had a job other than taking care of the house and the kids.  In the Jewish culture of the time the men could do things that the women couldn’t.  And right in the middle of this Paul says that the Christian – whether a man or a woman – are one in Christ Jesus!  There aren’t the distinctions that are found in the world:

“there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and femail, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

Jesus is into leveling the playing field – through his gospel, barriers are broken that exist in this age.  This is good news!  Christian women, you are the daughters of God and the sisters of Christ!  You are heirs of the Abrahamic Promise!  You are filled with the spirit of Christ!  In just these four points you are given more than women of history have been given for a long time – and from the creator of heaven and earth.

This equality did not come by protest.  It did not come by social action.  It was not granted through legislation.  It did not happen because of the times changing.  It came because God is compassionate.  It came because God is merciful.  It came because God values your life.

God doesn’t have prejudices like the world does.  He is not impartial.  And because He has this sort of character – He values men and women alike.

Even in the Old Testament where some would argue that women are not painted in a favorable light, God used women throughout the narrative for His purposes.  Miriam helps save Moses and leads Israel in praise to the LORD.  Rahab is rewarded and rescued.  Deborah leads God’s people.  Hannah’s prayer is answered.  Ruth is cared for.  I could go on and on.  (Feel free to add more in the comments section)

This is not the story of man (as in “males”).  The Bible contains the plan and purposes of God for the earth and it’s inhabitants – man and woman.

So my beautiful Christin sisters, praise the LORD for imparting this mercy and offering you the chance to be a part of His family!

(and guys, we’ve got a lot of praising to do too for God’s mercy on us…but that’s another post for another day…)

A More Beautiful You (Part I)

I love this song.  I love that a handsome young man is writing a song to young women to tell them that they are beautiful because God says they are.  He sings that they don’t need to work to impress anyone other than the one who loves them already.  God is impressed by faith.  He’s not impressed by your looks, weight, waist, bust, clothes, or any other thing.

My sisters in Christ, I know that it seems to be getting harder and harder in our society for women to find their value in God.  The media is pummeling you with what you should look like, be or do.  Even though the image they present is unreleased and empty, subtly they trick you into thinking it’s worth attaining.

Sisters, Jesus died for you.  You are tremendously valuable to God.  He loves you.  He has planned for you to be with Him in paradise forever.

Don’t try to get your value from anything other than the value that God has ascribed to you because of the cross.

Don’t look for it from your husband.
Don’t look for it from your boy friend.
Don’t look for it from your friends.
Don’t look for it from your classmates.
Don’t look for it from your co-workers.
Don’t look for it from your neighbors.
Don’t look for it from that guy.
Look from it from the God.

What Johnny Diaz is singing is something for us all to consider – but especially for the women of God who are being tempted to thinking that it is the outward appearance which men value, other women value, or even God values.

I Peter 3:3-5b – “Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves”