Posted 12/9/13 at 1:44 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
John 11:35 is one of the most confusing verses in the Bible to me. For most of us who were raised in the church and in Christian homes, it was probably the first verse we could quote, since it is notoriously the shortest verse in the Bible. But for me, it is a very difficult verse to explain.
I’ve heard preachers speak of Jesus’ great compassion and his deep love for Lazarus that he would weep for him. But my question is this: WHY would he weep for Lazarus? Did Jesus not know He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead? Was Jesus weeping for His loss, even though He knew Lazarus’ resurrection was imminent?
Or was He actually weeping for all those friends of Lazarus that just wasn’t getting it? Was he actually weeping for Mary, whom he loved deeply, when He saw her great suffering and loss? But if so, why? If He knew He was about to resurrect Lazarus, why did He not say to her, “Stop crying! I’m here and all is well! Start rejoicing!”? FULL POST
Posted 12/8/13 at 11:51 AM | June Samuel
Give thanks unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
.....who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:3
Let us read the account of the ten lepers who were healed by our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 17: 11-19
In this event, ten lepers called out to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on them. In verse 14 our Lord tells them to "Go, show yourselves to the priests". As they went, they were all cleansed of their leprosy.
If any of those lepers or all of them had said, "we cannot walk the streets in our condition, people will heckle us". They would have stayed where they were and they would not have been cleansed from their leprosy. They obeyed the Lord Jesus and they were all cleansed.
Verse 15 reads: "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God." Spontaneously, that leper ran back. He was overjoyed. He was overcome with emotion. He was a leper and he was ostracized because of his condition. Now he was healed, his life will change. He is thankful. He is happy and everyone sees it. He expresses his thankfulness with a loud voice, and he falls down on his face at Jesus' feet in worship.
Were the other nine lepers thankful for their healing? We do not know. They did not show it if they were. The Lord Jesus told them to go and they went. They were obedient. They did as was required of them - nothing more.
We must do as our Lord requires of us. He will take care of any negative possibilities that our minds, or people may tell us can happen along the way. However, when we see the results of our faith in action. STOP!! Give thanks to the Lord our God. If you are excited? By all means--- Show it! Worship Him!!
Posted 12/6/13 at 6:43 PM | Victoria Osteen
Have you ever thought about the fact that one of the ways God wants to bless you is through your relationships? He uses the people in your life as an avenue to pour out His favor on you. He works through your friends, family, coworkers and even your spouse. Men, it says in Proverbs 18:22 that "he who finds a wife finds favor from the Lord." Your wife is an avenue of favor!
We should always be thankful for our relationships and not take our loved ones for granted. We should do our best to seek peace and choose love.
One of the ways we can choose love is by giving each other room to make mistakes. Ladies, the scripture says in First Peter to "enjoy your husband." It doesn't say that you are to "remodel" your husband. No, let him be who God made him to be and learn to enjoy him for who he is. He may have weaknesses. He may do things that you don't care for, but don't focus on that. Focus on his good qualities and don't fall into the trap of comparing your husband to someone else's! FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 6:27 PM | Joel Osteen
One time Victoria and I were at Disneyland with our children. It was ten o'clock at night and we'd been at the park all day long. As we were leaving, Victoria wanted to go into the gift shop with our son, Jonathan, and pick up a few souvenirs. I was carrying our daughter, Alexandra who was two years old at the time and was asleep on my shoulder. I was hot, tired, and had been walking around all day. I said, "Victoria, no, I don't want to stop at this gift shop." She said, come on, Joel, it's just going to take me a minute." I said, "All right." And I went out and sat on the bench at the entryway to the park.
It just so happened there was a big clock up in front of me. I waited five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. When you're the one waiting, things seem to take so much longer. And the longer I waited, the more frustrated I got. I not only gave away my joy, I gave away my peace, my strength—everything I had! I was hot and Alexandra was making me more hot as I was holding her. What was my big problem? Did I have a major accident? Did I lose my job? No, I just had to wait an extra half hour at Disneyland. FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 3:09 PM | Justin Buzzard
I recently overheard a middle aged woman ask a middle aged man a profound question:
Would you love me if I was fat?
It immediately struck me that this is a theological question, a question at the heart of what it means to be human.
We all live under a sense of judgment. We fear judgment. I don’t just mean ultimate judgment by God, but also the judgment that pervades our everyday lives. Would you love me if I was fat? Do I have what it takes? If people knew the real me, would they still love me? There are judges all around us, in heaven above, and in our own heads.
Life trains us to escape judgment through performance. If perform well enough, stay in good enough shape, study hard enough, etc., then maybe we can receive the gold medal, the A+, or acceptance into the club that would finally remove the fear and the judgment and allow us to rest. FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 12:25 PM | John Dillard |
Posted 12/5/13 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
What do you picture when you read the phrase, "family devotions"?
Well-mannered children sitting around the dinner table listening to Father read the Scriptures?
Mama, Daddy, and kiddos huddled together on their knees by the bed?
Bored faces, even yawns?
Frustrated parents trying desperately to get little ones to sit still?
Maybe you've been that child or are that parent right now—confused, bewildered, clueless, perhaps even a little guilty. Take heart, before you slink off into the shadows, let's consider what the Bible has to say about family devotions.
Or does it? Hmm . . .
You won't find the phrase “family devotions” in the Scriptures, but you can find plenty of instruction on how to bring your family together for worship.
A great place to start is with Christ Himself. If Jesus came to your house and led family devotions, what do you think they might look like? FULL POST
Posted 12/4/13 at 11:17 AM | Stephanie Samuel
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. The hubby and I went to Boston to recharge our batteries and break bread with my grandmother. It was a joyous time.
That break is long gone now. We're back at work, back to waking up early and getting to bed late. Back to traveling to trains to jobs, from jobs to trains, from trains to schools, from schools to schools, from schools to jobs, from jobs to home.
This jumble is our daily grind and every day, ready or not, we put our hands to that grindstone.
This particular morning my husband turned to me and said he was tired. In that moment, I looked at him and made a funny face. He laughed and thanked me for bringing a little levity to his morning.
I thank God for that moment.
My husband's statement could have easily turned into an argument (and has in the past) about who's working the most and therefore more to entitled to be tired. It could have easily become a shouting match (and has in the past) about not letting dishes or laundry or clutter pile up around the house. But arguments drain the human spirit. What we needed in that moment was a little joy, and by divine providence, the Lord lent us a perfect piece of humor. FULL POST
Posted 12/4/13 at 10:24 AM | Victoria Osteen
Scripture tells us that our words contain the power of life and death. You have the power to speak life into your home and the people around you, and you were given that power for a reason. The people around you need to hear your words of encouragement. Your encouraging words are more meaningful to them than anyone else's! They are like little gifts of life that the people closest to you need to hear.
Sometimes we compliment total strangers or people we barely know more than we compliment our own family members. Many times, a person will tell a coworker what a great job they did, but when their own spouse excels, they don't say a word. We need to always make it a priority to compliment and encourage our own family members first.
It's easy to take the people closest to us for granted. You might think, "Oh, I don't need to say anything. They know how I feel." Or, "She knows I think she is beautiful...He knows I think he's great." Maybe so, but a blessing is not a blessing until it is spoken. When you release those positive, faith-filled words of affirmation, they have a positive impact on the lives of the people you love. FULL POST
Posted 11/29/13 at 11:49 AM | Victoria Osteen |
Scripture tells us in James 5:16 that "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." That means we have been given the power through prayer to make changes in our lives, in our homes, in our relationships and in our world.
That's why it's so important to take time to pray every day, especially for your family—your immediate family, your extended family, and even your church family. Every person in your family has been given to you by God. They may not always act right; they may not always treat you right; they may not say the right things all the time, but we still have a responsibility to lift them up in prayer. Even if the relationship is not what it needs to be, God can use your prayers to turn things around. Prayer is God's vehicle for change!
I know that sometimes, family relationships can be the most difficult. There can be pain, hurt and offense; but when you pray, you are opening the door for God's healing in your life and in your relationships. God doesn't want you to go through life carrying a load of heartache and offense. He doesn't want us to be prisoners of pain. I talk to so many people who have been hurt by family members—someone walked out on them, a child's not living the right way—but I want you to know that if you want to be free, you have to begin to pray past the pain. Luke 6:28 tells us to bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us. When we do the right thing, even when the wrong thing is happening, God will turn things around for our good and bless us beyond our wildest dreams. FULL POST