“Family, Friends & Fanatics” February 22

 

Family, Friends & Fanatics - Has your family ever thought you were crazy? Have they ever accused you of being a fanatic? If so, you're in good company! And what do sacrificed birds and leprosy have to do with your walk with God?Has your family ever thought you were crazy? Have they ever accused you of being a fanatic? If so, you’re in good company!

And what do sacrificed birds and leprosy have to do with your walk with God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 14
Psalm 26.1-5
Proverbs 10.6-7
Mark 3.20-35

 

Family, Friends & Fanatics

 

Mark 3.20-35:

Ever been accused of being a fanatic? 

 

Dollarphotoclub mother pointing

Has your family ever thought you were crazy? Have they ever accused you of being a fanatic? Is so, you’re in good company! Look at verse 21, speaking of Jesus:

“But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind'” (v. 21).

This passage ends with a truth we need to remember when our family criticizes our fanaticism or the fact that God has led us to another church or into a deeper walk with Him.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "My Story" - How God took two broken lives and four divorces and did what only He can do.

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for this series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

Last week I talked about the fact that marriage was created in the heart of God (Gen. 2.18-25), but that many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design. I said that because God created marriage, we need to look at what He has to say about it, if we’re going to enjoy it as He intended.

We, also, need to understand what went wrong in the garden and how Adam and Eve’s decision to go against God’s command and eat the fruit had an immediate effect on all of life, including their marriage.

Today I’d like to share some of “my story” and how my story is really God’s story of redemption and grace.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story”

 

My story starts in Maine, actually Dover, New Hampshire, because the small down where my parents lived didn’t have a hospital of it’s own.

My grandparents were hard-working, “salt of the earth” people. My maternal grandparents were good, moral people, but not “church-goers” as they might have said.

My paternal grandfather died of cancer when I was a year old. My grandmother was raised in a Christian home, but didn’t always reflect Christ-likeness to others in the family. I say that only because it had a profound effect on my mother’s view of Christianity.

But I’m profoundly grateful that when my grandmother visited us once or twice a year, she took me with her to church. Seeds were planted. In fact, I remember praying a prayer to accept Jesus when I was about 12-years old.

While I do believe that God was working and drawing me to Himself at that time, I’m not sure if it was a genuine conversion. Only He knows, but I do know that He has had His hand on me.

Mom married my dad, who was five years older, three days out of high school. Their marriage was tumultuous from the beginning. I asked her about it once and whether or not she saw “red flags” before they were married. She said, “It’s just what you did. You graduated, then you got married.”

But my mother was a good mother. She was very devoted to her three children. I think she resigned herself to making us her life early on. She never worked outside the home while we were growing up. Somewhere along the line she decided that she’d stick it out “for the kids,” at least until we were all grown. When my youngest brother graduated from high school, she left.

My parents’ marriage was characterized by drinking and partying, mostly on my dad’s part, and arguments from which my mother tried to protect us.

My dad, in spite of it all, loved his kids. I don’t remember ever seeing him angry or mean, even when he was drinking. But, addictions are inherently selfish in nature and his cost his family in many ways.

Even so, I don’t remember ever feeling I had a bad childhood. I do remember wanting something different for my life.

Consequently, I married the first time at seventeen. Neither of us had any clue about God’s design for marriage. Like my mom, I focused on my children, but unlike her, I decided I would leave as soon as I could support myself. The marriage lasted less than seven years.

The next few years were a struggle: to make ends meet, to have any energy left for my two kids, and to see where my life was going.

I, eventually, got involved with an older man, in part, because I was just tired. This time, there were “red flags” all over the place, but I rationalized them all away. I left again after seven years of his drinking and infidelity. But he was a person who didn’t “lose.” It took me almost three years to get a divorce. Years that included his stalking me, drunken break-ins, threats to burn the house down with the kids and me in it, and on one occasion, kidnapping our young son.  Continue reading

“Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion” July 26

 

Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion - Greed can raise its ugly head in any area of life: in politics, in business, even in the family. Just as ugly is worthless religion. What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?

Greed can raise its ugly head in any area of life: in politics, in business, even in the family. Just as ugly is worthless religion. What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 3-5
Psalm 89.1-4
Proverbs 21.27
Acts 26.1-32

Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion

 

Nehemiah 3-5:

Greed and Selfishness

 

Nehemiah and the people continued to rebuild the wall, but not without opposition. Nehemiah’s response was the same one we should have when we encounter problems. Chapter 4, verses 8-9:

“… and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”

Nehemiah and the people prayed, did what they believed God wanted them to, and left the rest in the hands of God!

Chapter 5 changes focus and talks about problems among the people themselves. Some of the Jews had taken advantage of the hard economic times and had charged high rates of interest and even taken some of the other Jews as slaves to repay their debts. This was forbidden by the law. God takes a very serious view of this kind of behavior and Nehemiah dealt with it accordingly. Verses 11-13: Continue reading

July 26 “Worthless religious activity”

religion, pious What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 3-5
Psalm 89.1-4
Proverbs 21.27
Acts 26.1-32

Nehemiah 3-5:

Greed and selfishness

Nehemiah and the people continued to rebuild the wall, but not without opposition. Nehemiah’s response was the same one we should have when we encounter problems. Chapter 4, verses 8-9:

“… and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”

Nehemiah and the people prayed, did what they believed God wanted them to, and left the rest in the hands of God!

greed, money

Chapter 5 changes focus and talks about problems among the people themselves. Some of the Jews had taken advantage of the hard economic times and had charged high rates of interest and even taken as some of the other Jews as slaves to repay their debts. This was forbidden by the law. God takes a very serious view of this kind of behavior and Nehemiah dealt with it accordingly. Verses 11-13: Continue reading

April 20 “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”

Do you allow God’s Word and God’s wisdom to affect your heart intensely or is it too often “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”?

I've heard that before

Today’s Readings:
Judges 5 & 6
Psalm 49.1
Proverbs 14.20-21
Luke 15.1-10

Judges 5 & 6:

Mighty man of valor

Probably one of the most familiar stories in Judges is the story of Gideon. Those who have been brought up in Sunday school have probably heard the story many times. But God doesn’t want us to come to His Word, going “ho-hum, heard that one before.” His Word is “quick” as the old KJV says. That means it’s “alive.” Think of the “quick” under your fingernails—very much “alive” as you know if you’ve ever gotten a splinter under there!

Remember our questions from yesterday and how we can use them to dialog with the Lord. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? Followed by a rereading of the passage. Continue reading

February 20 “Could you be convicted?”

If Christianity were criminalized, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Could you be convicted?

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 11 & 12
Psalm 25.8-15
Proverbs 10.1-3
Mark 2.1-28

Leviticus 11 & 12:

The daily details of life

Chapter 11 contains all the dietary restrictions God set for Israel. They were being taught to obey God in the daily details of life. That’s a tremendous truth for us, as well.

In Luke 16.10 Jesus is talking about how we use our resources, but the principle is the same. He said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” If we’re not faithful in the little details of life, we won’t be faithful in the big things.

Would there be enough evidence?

Another thing these dietary laws served to do was to help them, and us, understand that as believers in the One True God, we are to be different, set apart from the world around us. Those around us should see a difference in us. Someone posed the question, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Continue reading