Missing – leather bound Bible, last seen?

dreamstimefree_175096By recognizing we are ignorant on how to show up in the lives of single parent families, or any other “neighbor” for that matter, a deeper truth appears.

We, the believers of North America have lost our Bibles.  God is not relevant anymore.

With our Bible buried underneath some stack of magazines, God becomes far away and forgotten.  If we get stuck we can pull out a scripture or two or maybe some popular tweet.

Besides, we all have our own problems, and we really shouldn’t be helping anyone else until we get our own lives together, right?

We’ve also become so smart.  Who needs Jesus, who needs to read the Bible?  Look what we can create on our own.

Oops, that’s when our condition is glaringly revealed.  Mankind might look intelligent on the surface, but God sees the heart.  Look out because history is repeating itself.  Contrary to popular belief, we are not getting better.  Society is digressing.

If we desire to be relevant in someone’s life today, first of all be very happy Jesus planted that seed in the first place because it certainly didn’t come from our own self-righteous hearts.  If we want to be relevant in someone’s life, Jesus needs to be relevant in ours.  We need Jesus and we need to know what He is saying to us.  Only through Him will we be able to move past our own flaws and embrace others.  Only by embracing others are we able to really get the big picture!  The Bible, God’s Word is the only place you find the “big picture” and we can hear His voice and see His plan if we read it.

We can stay where we are if we want to, with our techno toys and our busy lives and our own pain, but we’ll miss the miracle – the miracle of love.

And although the “miracle of love” might sound light and fluffy and sweet, it isn’t.  Love is bloody and sacrificial and hard work, and miraculous.  Just ask Jesus, He knows.

John 19:17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull

Luke 9:23  Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Romans 15:4 NIV  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Below is just one website I found with a list of verses that talk about the importance of reading God’s Word.  There are many other resources that can help you dig into scripture.

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Reading-Gods-Word/

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Cindy Palin
Break of Day (practical break for the single parent family in our community)

www.firstbaptistolds.ca

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To Understand, or to Love?

I’ve been praying about a mystery in our family, seeking the Lord for answers with regards to specific pain.  But do I need to understand or am I commanded to love?

Faith always requires action, so after a time of prayer I acted but received a different response than what I expected.  

This was both exciting and heart wrenching.  Exciting, because in faith I expected a miracle.  Heart breaking, because the answer I received was predictable and no miracle was apparent.

Right away my heart groaned inside of me, it rolled around on the floor like a body who had been stabbed in the stomach.  The answer I was given hurt so much I felt my whole body begin to spiral downward into a black hole where I finally curled up in the fetal position.  The next stage of grief found me paralyzed, unable to think or move.  My first emotional reaction was to conclude I had been wronged.

My spiritual reaction with the help of Jesus was that someone expressed their opinion and it was different than mine, that is all.  Of course it isn’t that simple, but it is – if we allow Jesus to do the work.  When we try too hard to figure something out we can tell ourselves we are trying to understand the situation or we can be honest and recognize we are merely trying to make someone else into someone we can tolerate. 

Is it understanding we should seek or the ability to love?

I stuffed clothes in the washing machine and folded the dry items on top the dryer.  My arms and hands worked methodically while my emotions were hosting a wild bucking horse rodeo.  Their little fits tried to assure me my pain was justifiable but my lips refused to join their charade and in the following silence I heard the Holy Spirit speak instead.  “Although your initial act of faith is commendable, your response to the outcome is selfish.” Ouch.

When someone disagrees with you, they are giving a different opinion than the one you were hoping to hear.  Do you think you have the right to decide whether their reply was correct or not?  Besides, if you do –  how will you determine that?  Are you immediately attaching their answer to something in the past because you see a pattern and that pattern helps you make sense of it all?  Who are we to know?  Even if we had a PHD in Psychology, only God can see the heart. Why do we continually hold our friends and family in a constant state of limbo?   God doesn’t!

When we hear a person’s answer (opinion) and we don’t like it, one of the first things we do is base the outcome on their past reputation?  Our past and their past is only important for one thing and one thing only – what God has done for us!  If we have been redeemed, never should our focus be on who we once were, or who they once were!  Our focus should always be on who He is!  

This truth must be applied every day of our life.  When people disappoint us, even hurt us, even to the point of death, we do not have license to justify our pain through judgement.  We do not need to understand, we are commanded to love. 

Our natural, sinful approach disguises itself as justice but is really self-righteousness and the outcome can only be retaliation.  If we are new in Christ, our response is grace with an overflow of love.

Interesting… how we struggle to accept His grace.  Generally speaking, it takes the human race a long time to grasp the truth that we cannot earn God’s grace and even longer to see that grace is given out in the same measure to everyone!  It is that bent that explains why we always expect others’ to earn acceptance.   

We are moved to the core when we begin to embrace His grace and yet still so slow to offer it to others – especially family. 

Somewhere deep inside where a speck of darkness still resides, we continue to expect them to earn our approval.

Ultimately our relationships on this planet will only grow and flourish if we live a life focused on Christ.  As we get to know Him we are transformed.  He does not require understanding but that we love Him with our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbors as we love our self.
Luke 10:27