Honor . . .Righteousness . . .

 

One of the challenges of memorizing versus of the Bible is the wording, it does not seem natural.  However, this does depend on the version of the Bible one is memorizing.  I chose the ESV because it is more of word for word translation.  The NIV might be closer to our today’s vernacular.

Ephesians 6:1–4 (ESV)

Children and Parents

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 (NIV)

Deuteronomy 5:16 (ESV)

Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV)

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

16 “ ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord
your God is giving you.

16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord
your God is giving you.

 

 

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One Question, Three Different Answers

 

Three times in the book of Acts, Luke the physician recorded non-Christians asking what they needed to do to be saved, and three times a different answer was given.

Acts 16:25–32 (NIV)

25 About
midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other
prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a
violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all
the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The
jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and
was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But
Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The
jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He
then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you
will be saved—you and your household.”
32 Then they
spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

Acts 2:36–39 (NIV)

36 “Therefore let
all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified,
both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When
the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the
other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter
replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of
you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you
and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God
will call.”


Acts 22:12–16 (NIV)

12 “A
man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and
highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood
beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment
I was able to see him.

14 “Then
he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see
the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will
be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And
now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Explanation . . .
The reason these sinners were told three
different things
regarding salvation was because they were at different starting
points when given the various answers. It is as if the jailor were in Jackson,
Tennessee, the Jews on Pentecost in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Saul in Fort
Smith. All wanted to go to the same place, but
were at different starting points when they asked the question, “What must I do
to be saved?”
The unbeliever was told to believe. The believers were
told to repent. And the penitent believer was told to be baptized. The three
statements may be different, but they are not contradictory. For a person to
become a child of God, he or she must do all three (see John 8:24; Luke 13:3,5;
Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).

 

 

I am part-time at best . . .

My first wake up duty is to have a duty, to take care of this other person.  Regardless if I am sleeping, eating or doing anything personal, when I hear the call for my assistance, I am to drop what I am doing and immediately find out what the request or need is, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.  In the time I have been a service provider, I have not done much, or maybe had the opportunity, to do much of the things I would consider to be a major part of my life.  For example, see my children, even talk to them on the phone, work out at the gym, go to the store, library, park.  I have dropped my life in order to live for this one.

When this epiphany I had another one.  Realizing I was sacrificing “this life” for delivering service to another, isn’t that what Jesus has asked of us, as his disciples?

This made me look at my life I lived before this servitude, how much of my life was dedicated to the service of Jesus.  I realized, very little, very little, very little.  I spent most of the time focusing on me and wishing Jesus would step in and make this life, my life better for me so, so I could give Jesus the credit for my good life.

At best, I was a part-time Christian, at best.  The question to becomes, how do I serve Him more.  But from the heart, not the head, not a task, but to walk in the light of Christ by simply being, being a disciple, not having the role.

 

 

 

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

Reposted here from the link : How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

Take a moment right now to think about your closest friends — the people you spend the most time with. If you were to be really honest with yourself, are they all life-giving relationships or are any of them toxic? How do they affect your faith and relationship with God?

Your friends aren’t just the people whose photos you like on Instagram. They’re your inner circle, and they actually shape the trajectory of your life. As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Let’s take a look at what Scripture says about the people we walk through life with:

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Great friends sharpen you, encourage you, and are there for you through thick and thin. Fake friends pull you into sinful decisions, tear you down with their words, and are MIA when it matters most.

So, how do you know if the friends you have are worth keeping around? Let’s see how the Bible describes a great friend:

  1. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT

Great friends share wisdom and help each other grow deeper in their relationship with God.

  1. The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

Great friends lift you up in prayer and provide authentic support when you need advice.

  1. In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery. Proverbs 28:23 NLT

Great friends lovingly confront you when you’re out of line and provide accountability to help you live a God-honoring life.

  1. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV

Great friends don’t disappear when life gets tough. They’ll be right there, carrying your burdens and walking through the fire with you.

  1. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV

Great friends spur you on toward loving others and putting your faith in action. They pull you into biblical community instead of drawing you away from it.

Here’s the bottom line: If your friends don’t look like the friends described in these verses, it might be time to reevaluate who you’re allowing in your inner circle. It also might be time to do some honest self-reflection. Ask yourself: Am I this type of friend too?

Will it be painful to let some of your friends go and to focus on healthier relationships? Yes.

Will it require some difficult conversations that would be easier to avoid? Yes.

Will it be worth it for you to have God-honoring friendships with people who truly care about you and want to help you grow in your faith? Absolutely.

Your friends are more important than you know. Choose today to walk with the wise and become wise.

Written by Austin Taylor.

MISSING MAN TABLE & HONORS CEREMONY

Of all things, I was watching a TV show, “Night Shift” and heard the term “Missing Man Table” as it was related to our veterans.  I was interested in learning more and proceeded to look it up.  Wow, what an awesome tribute and so heart wrenching too.  So powerful, so emotional, so . . . perfect.  Please read the document below and learn more about it, maybe you are like me and never heard of it before, or never knew what it was, now we can appreciate it and what it stands for.  God Bless You!!

MISSING MAN TABLE & HONORS CEREMONY
As you entered the room, you may have noticed a special table; it is reserved to honor our missing men.

Set for six, the empty chairs represent Americans who were or are missing from each of the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – and civilians, all with us in spirit.

Some here were very young, or not yet born, when the Vietnam War began; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our Nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a special way.

Let me explain the meaning of this table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer. The table is round – to show our everlasting concern. The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve. The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continuing uncertainty, the hope for their return, and our determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith, to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one Nation under God.

The glass is inverted – symbolizing their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (moment of silence) Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the safety of all now serving our Nation!

Don’t do it . . .

1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Don’t need to absorb yours . . .

Opinions . . .

The effect of an opinion on our lives, how we feel about ourselves and even each other is amazing. I have to ask myself, why does an opinion of someone I truly don’t know have such a profound effect on me. You know the opinion you often get through the rumor mill. Then when we hear it, it bothers us, so much we have to talk about it and then maybe talk bad about the person who was said to spread it, and we have to continue talking about it to others.

An example of how we let opinions bother us, I will use me as an example. Most often, when I am in a store, a mall where there is a lot of people, one might yell out: “Hey stupid . . .”, and for some reason I will turn around and see if they are talking to me! Why!!?? Now, if someone is in the mall and yells out: “hey good looking handsome man with a great smile . . .”, I am almost positive they are not talking about me.

I was glancing through the TV channels one day and landed on this elderly lady speaking to a group of, I believe it was just woman, and she was speaking about how her husband had absorbed an opinion from the neighbors. She questioned, when did our neighbors get onto our board of directors for running our household. That statement just caught me, it made sense, it helped me understand that I have been placing opinions of people that really don’t know me, but even if they did, on a higher level than my own.

So, where does this come from, this automatic upscale of someones opinion higher than our own. I truly believe it starts in our home, as it should. We have parents who tell us their opinion about everything we do as we grow up. We have siblings, most often older ones that chime in on those opinions too. Then we go to school and we get opinions from other adults and now from our class mates. What makes things worse, is when different people say the same thing, then reinforces that opinion, makes it more right and we begin to sink from the weight of opinions, especially the negative ones. Funny, the negative ones seem to be the most often given. I don’t hear around the store or families: “hey, come here, I need your help, you are so smart at these things.” Not a lot of constant positive reinforcement in the house – usually.

Again, my own experience. I was at home doing a chore, and typically I was probably getting some negative feedback. I stopped and asked my parent, why is it at work, the bosses and people there are always telling me what a good job I am doing, but when I come home, I never hear the same opinion? This parent was dumbfounded and thought he should drop it on the other parents lap. The topic was never brought up again, even though there was some very heavy hitting on the negative side during my growing up.

So, we are vulnerable to others opinions for a couple reasons. We grow up believing the opinion of our parents of us is the correct opinion. We don’t hear enough of a counter opinion, a positive reinforcement, to form another opinion of ourselves. So, we carry around this opinion of ourselves and sometimes, we carry it on the front of our shirt announcing how we feel about ourselves. Bullies, mean people, seem to pick up that quickly and are the ones to fire at the target. They find something which makes you flinch, then it puts them into the driver seat of your feelings, they can manipulate you by finding those bulls eye and keep hitting them.

Bullying is a big issue in schools, or it was. There was this emphasis on the kids not to bully and I can see that, however; where do kids learn their behavior. For the most part, they are not born with all of it, some is instinctive. Wildly, many, many, many parents use bullying as a way of manipulating their kids. So, the older child bullies the younger child and so on right. Then it gets taken to school, the playground and friendships. I heard as I grew up, a child beaten growing up becomes a child beater themselves. It did not make sense to me, but it does now. Why, well let’s say you are beaten every time your guardian thinks you made a mistake, even though you hate it, you have only been taught one way to react to the same situation. Without being taught an alternative way, what is the way the child will react when his child makes a mistake, the default.

We use child beating as the line of wow, but it’s in all behaviors. If a child grows up in a family where hugs, love, respect and positive feedback are given, there is a higher chance they will also teach this to their offspring.

Back to opinions, we are weakened by how we are raised. We develop opinions about ourselves with how we are treated both physically and verbally. So, how do you take a young child just entering school and put them into the pits of vipers and tell them, what they said is not for you, is not meant for you, don’t take it personally?

If I went up to Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps and told them they were not any good at their sport? They’d laugh right, why. Because there is substantial evidence to the contrary. No different if I told Wilt Chamberlain he was short, evidence undeniable to the contrary. So, how does this fit in with helping our children enter the pits of the sharks and survive. Give them enough evidence about themselves that they know, when bully are being bullies, they have enough evidence within themselves to squelch the attack.

Secondly, I believe we have to teach them an opinion is only an opinion, it is not a truth – and even if it is – so what, be strong with who we are. Example from me. I have been extremely overweight for the last 10 years or more. If someone came up to me and called me fat, should I be offended, or tell them good observation what clued you in that I was? In other words, both ideas are working to strengthen the self-esteem and the self-confidence of the child of the person.

Two examples of my life: I was in shop and we were building these copper bracelets or something with copper. I took mine up to the instructor and asked him if it was ok. He turned and looked at me and said: “It’s almost perfect Lee” he hesitated then said: “Leland, think about this, you came up and asked me is something that was almost perfect, was ok, let that sink in.” What’s funny, I told a good friend of mine what the instructor said, you know what he said, he said “He also tells the kids that are doing crappy the very same thing. . .” It never sunk in, never got reinforcement like that until:

In High School, we were doing the side lateral test, you know where you stand straddling one line and you need to move left to right to cross the other lines, to get an idea of your side to side speed. The football coach was doing the counting/judging. I did my test and when I was done, I looked at him and said, “I know, that was pretty bad . . .”, he said: “You tied the school record!” The next year or later that year, I was playing basketball and the coach and a couple guys came over to play 2/2. In the game, I used my ability to stop and pivot well. The football coach reiterated to me that I was in truth able to put the moves on them. From this, he invited me to come play football for him the next season – I got recruited by the football coach.

One more, I never thought I was smart. From the time I can remember, I could not figure school out. I was pretty good up till we got real grades in the third grade. My mom went to a teacher/parent conference and when I got home, she had the shotgun ready. She pulled out a 3×5 index card with subjects and letters next to them and asked me: “Did I think these were good?”, I knew from her anger and sound of her voice, I should shake my head no, I did. But, even though my parents knew I struggled with school, I never got help on my homework, never a tutor, never tested for a learning disability, it was this or that and guess what, I also did not have any self-confidence or self-esteem – because if I could not succeed in school, I was a failure.

In college, there was this Biology teacher, one of the smartest and best teachers I have ever met. Respected him with everything. He was not just smart but a good student too, he graduated from college with straight A’s and he did not have a photographic memory, like his wife does. He studied and was organized. One day we were talking about something and he looked at me and said: “Leland, you are different, you are smart!”, never heard those words from an adult before, especially in my family.

My points on these are not to rag on family, although it does some, but it to show you that I grew up in an environment where the positive was never emphasized, the good things I could do and did do were not celebrated. Thus, when I heard statements that seemed to mimics the opinion I had of myself, it just made me feel worse and enforced that opinion of me even more – almost unshakable.

I have a friend, his home life was the opposite, I was told that his dad would often compliment him to the point where he was embarrassed. But, this also helped him succeed. Through this life, he has done much better at the elements of life than I have. He proceeds, and I see it with a base of confidence I have only dreamed about. What’s funny, it’s not his talent. I am more talented and smarter, I can see that, but he does not let those opinions of others bring him down, because he knows has a base of success, that make those accusations and opinions not register on his richter scale.

So, I finish. For some reason, I think it is hard for parents to raise kids with higher self-esteem than them, why. Because they were not taught too. Parents suffer from the same insecurities they did when they entered into the shark pit, they survived maybe by bringing others down, but being the bully, but not meaning to be. Some of us find our way out because someone else recognizes our talent, ambition, ability and feeds us the good stuff that helps us grow into strong, stable individuals with a roots of confidence?

Think of a child like a precious plant. We give plants in our garden, sunlight, water, , extra organic food, we spay to keep of the bugs and other things that kill them or damage them, we put coats over them when it’s too hot or cold, we do a lot of pampering to our garden so it will grow wonderful, strong tasty fruits and vegetables, why don’t we put the same effort into those kids?