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Marriage & Relationships / The Worst Betrayal of Marriage
« Last post by Shadow Rider on November 17, 2017, 09:20:58 pm »
https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/312134-worst-betrayal-marriage-gary-thomas.html?utm_source=outreach-cl-daily-nl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text-link&utm_campaign=cl-daily-nl&maropost_id=729722000&mpweb=256-4854815-729722000

The Worst Betrayal of Marriage
By Gary Thomas - October 23, 2017

My wife loves to play Boggle and she’s really good at it, which is why few people want to play her. But on her birthday and Mother’s Day, and usually at least one evening during a holiday, her family joins her. Our love for her calls us to join her in her great love.  Lisa also loves to bike, which is why I bike a lot more than I probably would otherwise. I prefer to run. But Lisa’s love for biking makes me much more of a biker.  That principle we do what our spouse loves and likes to do is fine when it comes to hobbies. It is spiritually deadly and poisonous when the same principle is unleashed by our sins.  If you hold on to a sinful attitude, there will come a time when you will want your spouse to join you in that sin.  Marriage contains within itself the power of glorious good encouragement, support, enthusiasm, love, service, loyalty. It gives us the tools to bless one particular person like we can bless no one else. But this potential comes with a sinister side it also offers a platform from which we invite our spouse to enter into our own temptations. From this vantage point we can do great and serious evil.  In an old, old sermon Clarence Macartney warned that while Satan is “the ultimate source and author of temptation, yet it is sadly and fearfully true that men deliberately tempt other men.  One fallen person has a diabolical delight in bringing another down to the same level.”

Once we give in to sin, we can’t contain its spread any more than we can immediately confine an oil tanker spill. Sin spreads widely and chaotically by its very nature; it multiplies beyond our control (the more we give in, the stronger its hold on us) and therefore makes those closest to us most vulnerable.  The challenge is that no one not a single soul is exempt from sometimes fierce temptation. To live is to be tempted. To breathe is to be lured toward a fall. Sometimes we will fall, and we will be grateful for God’s grace and Jesus’ remedy. But one aspect of temptation, particularly as it relates to marriage, that we need to be especially careful about is not dragging our spouse into the temptation.  Macartney writes, “However much we have been marred and scarred by the tempter’s shafts, let us at least see to it that ours shall not be the guilt of tempting another soul. If in hell there are gradations of punishments, as the words of Jesus about few and many stripes would seem to indicate, then hell’s severest retributions must surely fall upon the souls of those who have deliberately and malignantly tempted other people.”

How do we tempt our spouse?

If you are a liar, you will eventually ask your spouse to also lie in order to cover up your initial deceit. You may even ask them to lie to one of their dearest friends or nearest relatives. Perhaps you’ll ask them to lie to a government official. When you do that, you have entered a new level of evil and are abusing the intimacy of marriage.  If you cherish a sexual sin, the time will likely come when you will ask your spouse to join you in that weakness. It will no longer be sufficient to merely get lost in a fantasy of thought you may want to live it out. And your spouse, predisposed to please you and enjoy you, will feel more intense temptation even though the weakness may be something they never would have thought of on their own. This is a serious betrayal of the marital bed and the marital bond.  If you are negative or a gossip, you will try to draw your spouse into speaking critically of others, or make them feel less than thankful for the good things God has given them. Instead of leaving church satisfied by the worship, you will remind them that the pastor said one sentence that could possibly be taken the wrong way. Instead of making them grateful for how God has provided, you will be a constant drip of negativity for how everything in your house or car or life isn’t quite “perfect” and you can’t be content until everything is, in fact, perfect.  These are just three examples you can supply many others on your own. But the possibility of tempting our spouse and maybe even unthinkingly inviting them to join us in our sin should be enough to make us pursue holiness for the sake of our spouse. I hate my sin and I hate how I am tempted I’m sure you do as well. The last thing I want to do is to take something I hate and make it a part of my precious wife’s life as well.  You cannot accommodate sin without endangering your spouse. Your apathy toward growing a heart that is a bulwark against sin is tantamount to a man who, out of laziness, refuses to even close the door of his house while he is away, inviting all to enter as they wish.  One of the reasons we bought our particular house in the Heights is that it has a locked wall around it. The outside gate is a stout door surrounded by brick; the other side is protected by a tall barred fence (the Heights is in the urban part of Houston, so crime isn’t all that uncommon, unfortunately). We have video cameras on both entrances. Every time I leave the house in the morning while Lisa is still inside, I lock the inside doors, and I lock the outside door and gate. I have no peace of mind until I know my wife is safe behind at least two formidable barriers.  But how foolish would it be to lock physical doors while leaving spiritual ones open?

How stupid would it be to protect our house from physical theft while leaving Satan a highway into my wife’s heart and soul through my own uncontested weakness?

Don’t accept in your own soul that which could poison your spouse’s. It’s not just about you. It’s about your spouse, your kids and others.   If you ask, how can I grow out of my particular sin and confront my particular temptation, let me suggest N.T. Wright’s After You Believe. It’s a bit academic, but the teaching is gold. It’s my favorite “go-to” book on sanctification. If you want a less academic approach, you might consider one of my old books The Glorious Pursuit, about practicing the virtues (I talk about how the best defense is often a good offense grow a virtue that is opposite the vice and thereby suffocate the vice).  Perhaps you could list some other books (or sermons, with links) that have helped you pursue a life of holiness in the comments section below, so that we can encourage each other.  It’s a sober thought, but one we need to take seriously: If we consistently fall to temptation, our beloved spouse (and kids) will likely be the first casualty.
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Teenagers / How to Help Teens Deal With Difficult Situations at Home
« Last post by Shadow Rider on November 17, 2017, 09:00:47 pm »
https://churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/162011-how-to-help-teens-deal-with-difficult-situations-at-home.html?utm_source=youth-weekly-nl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text-link&utm_content=text-link&utm_campaign=youth-weekly-nl&maropost_id=729722000&mpweb=256-4916489-729722000

How to Help Teens Deal With Difficult Situations at Home
By Rachel Blom - October 15, 2017

There’s no such thing as a perfect family, but some of our teens face a more difficult situation at home than others. Their parents are divorced, they’re growing up in a single parent family, they’re part of a complicated family structure with step- and half-siblings, you name it. Or they have to deal with unsupportive parents who are not doing a good job in raising them, who take their own frustrations out on their kids.  How do we help our teens to deal with difficult situations like this with their parents?

Is there anyway we can help them, equip them?

Can we in anyway compensate for what they miss out?

Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Help them understand

While it’s certainly not their task to be the adult in the relationship, it does help if teens understand their parents better. That means we may need to take the time to explain difficult family dynamics, or educate them on the effects of, for instance, divorce or loss.  We need to be careful not to condone any negative behavior, but we can try to make the teen aware that there are reasons for it. Also, it’s important to realize that this is especially tough for younger teens who have a hard time understanding abstract concepts and emotions, so make it as clear and concrete as you can.  If we can help teens understand their parent(s) better, it’s a good first step in coming up with a constructive approach to the situation.

2. Help them respond

It’s tough for teens to respond well to difficult situations, especially when they feel they aren’t in any way responsible. That’s why it’s good to make teens aware that they may not have a choice in the circumstances, but that they do have a choice in how to respond to them.  What we need to realize is that as Christians we have a tendency to set the bar extremely high in these situations. We tell teens to respond in love, with forgiveness, we tell them they need to be the least, to turn the other cheek. It’s not only impossible to be that perfect, it’s also very abstract.  Instead of giving teens lofty advice, help them find a good response in situations they face regularly. Ask them to name a few difficult situations they have to deal with daily or weekly. Talk these really through with them and then help them come up with a constructive response. Practice it with them if necessary and keep asking how they’re doing. When they’ve ‘mastered’ these situations, help them come up with good responses to other situations.

3. Help them cope

Kids deserve better than dealing with difficult parents. They need our help to come to terms with what’s happening in their home. So give them a chance to talk about it, to be sad about it, to grieve about it even. They have a right. Even when the circumstances are out of control for the parents (like an unwanted divorce), teens need a place to be angry about this. Often they can’t show this anger at home, because they don’t want to upset mom or dad even further. Give them a safe place to work through it.

4. Help them find truth

One of the most difficult situations is when teens only hear negative messages at home, when one or both parents are systematically undermining their self-worth. This is when they need you to speak the truth and God’s truth into their life. You’ll need to give them the messages they need to hear, but don’t get at home. You’ll need to affirm them and so counter the damaging influence of what they hear at home.  In these situations, finding a mentor for the teen who really has the time to share life with them is a great idea. These teens are extremely vulnerable and you need to pour love into their lives as much as you can, so if you can find anyone willing to do that (maybe even someone who can be a ‘parent’ or ‘grandparent’ to them), that could make a huge difference.

5. Help them find help

There’s a fine line between facing a difficult situation at home and neglect or abuse. When you have teens who are at risk for this, do keep a close eye on their situation to make sure it stays on the right side of that line. Talk to these teens, make sure to win their confidence so that they know they can come to you if they’re in trouble. Communicate that they have a safe place with you, that they can come if they need to, that you will help them.  And help them find help when necessary. If things get out of hand, help them report it to authorities. Help them make the right choices.  In all of this, pray for these teens. Pray that God will protect them, their hearts especially, that they will not only survive but thrive. Pray for lasting changes and improvements in their circumstances. Pray for wisdom for yourself, that you may win their trust and do the right thing. Pray that your heart will be overflowing with love for them, so that God may use you to bless them greatly.
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/september/searching-for-christian-heroines-from-history-look-to-early.html?utm_source=todayschristianwoman&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12978409&utm_content=536064758&utm_campaign=email

Searching for Christian Heroines from History? Look to the Early Church
How women were instrumental to the rise of Christianity.
LYNN H. COHICK AND AMY BROWN HUGHES

I, Amy, am often asked why I became a historical theologian of early Christianity what it was that gripped my imagination and pricked my desire to contribute to the 2,000-year-old conversation by Christians speaking about God. For me it was sitting in an undergraduate class and hearing about the controversial second-century prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla. All of a sudden my charismatic tradition, which before had seemed to me to be a novel force for mobilizing the church, had a history beyond the New Testament.  Almost 15 years later and on the cusp of doctoral work, I was approached by Sarah, a 20 year old pastor’s daughter, after a service at my small urban church in Aurora, Illinois. She asked, “What is my role now in the church as a single, young adult woman? Where do I fit?”

I knew Sarah well, and her earnest question confirmed that part of my journey as a theologian was to answer her question and to tell some stories about women in early Christianity and how they were instrumental in constructing the church and its teachings.  In graduate school in the 1980s, I, Lynn, read Julian of Norwich’s Showings; I was pregnant with my first child. The juxtaposition is important, for Julian’s vision includes a rich reflection on Christ as our Mother. This 14th century anchorite gave me my first glimpse of women’s influence and authority in the life of the church. I wanted to investigate more and plunged into the church fathers’ work. If reading Julian’s Showings was like a walk in a gentle summer rain, then Tertullian’s hateful comment, “Woman is the devil’s gateway,”

stung like hail in a thunderstorm. I decided to abandon the exploration for a time, for lack of a suitable guide to help navigate the unfamiliar terrain.  Recent scholarship, however, has provided important methodological insights that allow today’s readers to navigate the early Christian texts’ rhetoric concerning women and the category of female. Greater attention is now paid to the role and influence of women in theological conversations and controversies. In this context, I have since resumed my journey into the world of Christian women in the early church.  The Greek myth of Pandora gives us some context for understanding women in world history. According to the myth, not only was Pandora created as a punishing “gift” after man had stolen fire from Prometheus, but also she, the first of womankind, opened a jar out of curiosity and released all kinds of evil. This story not only denigrates the creation of woman but also blames her for the ills of the world. Pandora introduces difference into a homogeneous world by her very presence, her femininity a dangerous enigma that brings catastrophe. Pandora serves as the archetype for the dangerous female, and women have been trying to revise or reconstruct (or at times embrace) this myth ever since.  Feminists have shone the spotlight on history and literature, demonstrating how the oppression of women is deeply entrenched, systemically permeating political structures, domestic life, and religious devotion. Of course, Christianity is not immune to the charge of denigrating women and in fact has often been the appropriated force behind the subjugation of women and even the instigator of atrocities against various groups of women. Our approach stands over against both those works of modern scholarship that simply lament and dismiss the church fathers as hopelessly misogynistic, as well as those that take a naive, pious perspective on the evidence, for both approaches fail to deal analytically with the sources.  Within these early Christian writings, we find disparaging comments about women or the female sex as well as active engagement and genuine conversation with learned women. We have examples of women living their lives with creative energy and mobility, taking opportunities as they arise, owning agency and demonstrating religious conviction in ways that surprise modern sensibilities, and contributing to the variegated story of early Christianity. We are fortunate enough to have accounts of some of these ancient and modern women.  Thecla was a protomartyr whose story in the Acts of Paul and Thecla reverberated from the mid-second century well into the Middle Ages and was used as a meme for theological and philosophical reflection and ethical direction. Perpetua, an early martyr whose testimony, “I am a Christian,” sealed her fate, was memorialized in the yearly liturgical cycle of the church.

Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, declared her Christian identity by opening the imperial coffers to build imposing basilicas in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Both Helena and Egeria, a wealthy woman from the western edges of the empire, set out on pilgrimages that were much more than personal quests for spiritual renewal.  Another influential mother, Monica, the mother of Augustine, is remembered by her son for her tireless commitment to prayer for his salvation, her bright mind for philosophical dialogue, and her maturity in faith that drew them both into communion with God. A woman named Macrina embraced the monastic life and guided her brothers, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesarea, in spiritual and philosophical teachings. Melania the Elder and her granddaughter, Melania the Younger, along with Paula and Marcella, give us examples of aristocrats-turned-ascetics who abdicated their wealth and powerful societal positions in order to establish monasteries, promote scholarship, and participate in key doctrinal discussions of their day. We also know of two empresses of the Theodosian court, Pulcheria and Eudocia. Pulcheria was the powerful sister of the Christian emperor Theodosius II who influenced two of the most important councils in church history; Eudocia became Theodosius’s wife, as well as a poet and pilgrim who was often at odds with the imperial house.  Historical accounts tell us that these women contributed to the lively contemporary philosophical discussions surrounding human nature, the human body, and the future of humanity. Women like Paula and Melania the Elder participated in these debates and helped shape early Christianity with their intellectual acuity and their desire to live lives marked by devotion to God. We do not have nearly enough of these accounts, but what we do find is that Christian women often had to navigate the tricky congress between their femaleness and the faith, tradition, and Scriptures that they held so dear. Women of various regions, backgrounds, situations, and temperaments from the earliest centuries of Christianity assumed authority, exercised power, and shaped not only their legacy but also the legacy of Christianity.  The point of highlighting these connections is not to show direct cause and effect or to identify some line of “orthodox” women that preserved a “pure” Christianity. Instead, we want to show how women were right in the thick of everything, how their participation and contributions were vital to the construction and maturation of the early church, and how men and women depended on one another for the sake of their love for Christ.  By telling the stories of Christian women in the patristic period and taking seriously their Christian beliefs (doctrine, worship, Scripture, and community) we can remember a fuller and richer Christian history and engage in our own communities with a stronger, sharper, and sophisticated appreciation for the Christian women of the past. Simply put: Reading texts about and by early Christian women helps us expand our understanding of what the Christian story is.
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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on November 16, 2017, 11:18:36 pm »
Friday, June 02, 2017   

A Powerful Tool
Lisa-Jo Baker

Today’s Verse
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  James 1:19 (NIV)

I’m always staggered by how fast my reflex is to defend myself or justify my position. Or to talk back fast before anyone can get another word in. Or to respond in anger. But James advises: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (1:19).

It is not easy to open your ears and close your mouth. It is not easy to sit at the table and let a friend talk and talk and really try to understand. It is not easy to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  Yet listening is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to defusing a hard conversation. Making someone feel heard helps take the sting out of their frustration and opens the door for dialogue. Defending yourself adds fuel to the fire; listening to someone helps put it out. Are we willing to listen before we defend ourselves, to hear before we justify ourselves, to reflect before we respond?

This is not an easy thing but it is a necessary thing.  When I’ve done all that I believe I can in a difficult relationship, I have been known to tell God, Well, I’m done, as I pat myself on the back for giving it such a good go. But God has consistently insisted that there is no “done” when it comes to sacrificial love. There is only “more.” More changing. More bending. More willingness to be open. More choosing to stay instead of cutting loose and quitting. More listening.
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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on November 16, 2017, 11:14:35 pm »
Thursday, June 01, 2017   

Showing Up
Lisa-Jo Baker

Today’s Verse

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  Romans 12:15 (NIV)

Maybe the most intimate, radical thing we can do for our friends is to show up. To show up like Jesus did in person, willing to experience life with the community around him. When we show up, we are giving our friends the same gift Jesus did: the gift of presence. Like Jesus, we can show up and do one of two things: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).

We can cry the ugly cry with our friends and we can also celebrate with whooping and hollering and confetti.  Jesus models what it looks like to invite God into both experiences. Jesus lived the whole arc of the human emotional spectrum from weddings to funerals. In fact, he announced his public ministry at a wedding an event of dancing, love, laughter, and passion. In Jewish culture, this was often seven days of unmitigated joy, of food, of family, of telling stories, and celebrating.  But he also stood outside the tomb of a friend as close as a brother and wept alongside friends, strangers, sisters, believers, and doubters. Jesus was tied in friendship to Mary and Martha and he entered fully into their grief. Their joy was his joy; their sorrow was his sorrow.  When we’ve run out of words, when we’re beside ourselves with the pain that we’re watching our friends go through, can we follow Jesus’ example and give them the gift of our presence, our tears, and our sorrow?

In joy or grief, may we give our friends ourselves.
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Fun, Games and Silliness / Jokes Thread
« Last post by Hannah on October 21, 2017, 09:19:04 pm »
Facts from the 1500's

Editor's Note: ArcaMax does not attest to the truth of this, however the following is a fun read regardless.  The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s.  Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.  Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence, the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence, the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.  The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence, the saying "dirt poor."

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence, the saying a "thresh hold."

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.  Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence, the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

And that's the truth. Now, whoever said that History was boring!!!
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Fun, Games and Silliness / The Blonde and the Snow Plow
« Last post by Hannah on October 21, 2017, 09:10:42 pm »
A blonde driving a car became lost in a snowstorm. She didn't panic however, because she remembered what her dad had once told her. "If you ever get stuck in a snowstorm, just wait for a snow plow to come by and follow it."

Sure enough, pretty soon a snow plow came by, and she started to follow it. She followed the plow for about forty-five minutes.  Finally the driver of the truck got out and asked her what she was doing. And she explained that her dad had told her if she ever got stuck in a snow storm, to follow a plow.  The driver nodded and said, "Well, I'm done with the Wal-Mart parking lot, do you want to follow me over to K-Mart now?"
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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Hannah on October 21, 2017, 08:50:17 pm »
Wednesday, May 17, 2017   

Yes or No
Beth Guckenberger

Today’s Verse
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28–30 (NIV)

If amen had an opposite, it would be no. As I begin to fall apart and find I am losing heart, I can always track the start of the downward spiral to a “no.” (No, that’s not fair. No, I can do it myself. No, I won’t admit that. No, no, no, no.) In a mindset of “no,” I am suddenly defensive or overwhelmed. I am anxious or offended. I cut off the flow of the Holy Spirit within me and insert my rights above all else.  Turning any ugly moment around begins softly with an agreement: So be it. It’s the subtle but powerful yes to lay down your life, to trust that God’s life being glorified is better than mine. Yes, you have another way, Lord. Yes, I’ll know it because it looks free and light.  But will I truly pray amen?

The answer depends on which of the two forces battling for my life I give authority. One is the gospel, full of words like redemption and reconciliation. But the Enemy who opposes us has schemes of his own. Instead of redemption, his plot is condemnation. He wants us to be lost. Instead of reconciliation, he wants our relationships broken and wants destruction to rule.  When I knowingly or unknowingly align with the Enemy’s strategy instead of the gospel, I lose hope and I inevitably advance the agenda of the one who wants to destroy me.  But there is another way: I can say yes. Yes, I trust you. Yes, I will offer that. Yes, I was wrong. Yes. Yes.
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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Hannah on October 21, 2017, 08:41:08 pm »
Thursday, May 18, 2017   

Chaos and Confession
Beth Guckenberger

Today’s Verse
“I long to redeem them but they speak about me falsely. They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail on their beds.”  Hosea 7:13b–14 (NIV)

In the beginning, heaven and earth were all living together in perfect peace (shalom in Hebrew). Then the Fall occurred, and the perfect peace of heaven separated from earth, now left in a state of chaos.  That chaos flourished throughout the Old Testament, and God, in his mercy, reached down over and over again to intervene and make things right, ultimately sending Jesus, the perfect shalom, into our disorder. Jesus ascended and left us with the Holy Spirit, and he also inaugurated “the kingdom of heaven on earth” in which the perfect peace of heaven is present even within the chaos of earth. That’s where my citizenship now lies. It is where peace can rule. I am not yet in eternal shalom, but I have also not been left to suffer in the chaos.  Wailing in prayer is noisy. I can make a lot of noise and send it heavenward, but it is a bit like running on a treadmill. I might sweat, but I don’t get very far. In this passage, God asks, instead of wailing, for our hearts to cry out in sincerity. The cry of true confession changes everything. It’s like a jackhammer; it breaks up the ground Hosea will later call “fallow.” Confession gives a chance for healthy things to grow, healing to occur, and shalom to rule.
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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Freaky Friday on October 21, 2017, 08:33:18 pm »
Friday, May 19, 2017   

Spiritual Confidence
Beth Guckenberger

Today’s Verse
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”  1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)

When I read about David’s life and all he built, what makes the strongest impression on me is his acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. David wouldn’t take credit. In our “maker” culture, where we are all busy building our own kingdoms, making sure our business plans are unique and well positioned, our products are perfect, and our homes are worthy of envy, David demonstrated his eyes were not on himself but on the One who made it all possible. He began and ended his ministry by acknowledging the absolute sovereignty of God in the lives of his people (1 Sam. 17:47; 1 Chron. 29:10–14). The passage above are some of his last words before Solomon was appointed king and David died.  At this point in his life, David was beloved to the point of reverence. He could have stood before an audience and taken credit for the kingdom, the treasury, and the peace, and all would have cheered for him. Instead, in every sentence of this would-last-for-eternity speech, he made sure all knew credit went to the Lord. This was the secret to how he slept despite his flaws and danced regardless of who was watching. David knew that everything belongs to the Lord. True spiritual confidence doesn’t come from our own talents or accomplishments. It comes from an assurance that all of it everything, including you and me is God’s.
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