A New Perspective

As I sit here drinking my coffee in my humble, but thoroughly middle class American home, I think of all of those people, Christians in particular, who go through hell and back just they don’t fit the mold of their neighborhoods, towns, and countries. Can you imagine being told you cannot remain true to your faith and that if you do, you will be tortured or killed? Can you imagine having to meet for bible study in secret hideaway places, praying as you do that your group of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will come to no harm simply because they wanted to worship God and study His word? I cannot really imagine these things, even though it is undeniably true that these things are occurring in other parts of the world.

I’m currently reading I am N, which is a series of essays about Christian individuals living in Muslim countries and the persecution and dangers they face every day just because they decided to follow Christ. There are two very provocative common themes in most of these essays. First, they don’t hate Muslims, but forgive and pray for their Muslim persecutors daily. They do this even if family or friends have been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Christians in persecuted areas of the world seem to have read the gospel more thoroughly and have absorbed it into their souls so deeply that they would rather die than judge others or let others go without hearing about the saving grace of Christ Jesus their Lord.

The second provocative theme in these essays is that they beseech, seek and even beg for the prayers of their brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. They are doing magnificent work in responding to the Great Commission under horrible, almost unbelievable circumstances and all they ask from their fellow Christians, us, is that we pray that they may reach more people for Christ before they are captured or, worse, killed. They truly have found the “peace that passes all understanding” and taken the Great Commission seriously. The Great Commission came from Christ in Mark 16:15-20 (NIV)

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Oh, that more of us would have the strength of faith and grit found in our fellow believers in persecuted nations! We feel persecuted here in the U.S. if someone teases us sarcastically about believing in “Jesus and all those other myths and fairy tales.” Even though we are uncomfortable in those situations, we don’t ever fear being jailed, tortured, or killed as a result of them. Our greatest persecution here in the U.S. is that someone might find out we’re a Christian and then tease us, openly mock our faith or at the worst, think we are uncool, foolish, and close-minded.

I almost envy those who are being persecuted for following Jesus because they have a faith that is vital to them; so vital in fact that they are willing to die for it. Would you die for Christ? Would you willingly and knowingly subject yourself, your family and friends to danger for your faith? If not, you need to read I Am N. It will change your whole perspective on your faith and your life.

Please pray daily for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith. That’s all they are requesting from us. I expect God is asking us for much more than that. What do you think?

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Let Us Not Grow Weary In Doing Good

Galatians 6:9-10 (ESV)9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

It is so easy to become weary, period. It can become especially tiring and difficult to continue doing good and being good to others, when we don’t allow ourselves time to rest and restore our spirits and relationship with God. I think that’s why God established the Sabbath, to give his children a day to rest and to restore their relationship with Him. If we do set aside time to do that, we find it easier to continue doing good to and for others. The fact of the matter is that once we spend time with God, dwell on Him and His deep and abiding love and goodness to us, we can’t help but share that love and goodness with others. I look at it this way:  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the well which is the source of all love and goodness. I am merely the bucket that carries that love and goodness to others. If, however, the bucket doesn’t return to the well to be filled back up, there is nothing it can carry to others. The bucket runs dry and is useless. Don’t forget to take time to refill your bucket, frequently, in order to carry the love, mercy, and goodness of our Heavenly Father to everyone. 

Here is what happens when the bucket carries that loving, living water out into the world:

  
God bless everyone!  Enjoy Palm Sunday tomorrow!   Peace and love,  Elaine

My Morning Thus Far…Sidetracked Much?

Pocket Full of Sun

A major fault of mine when I’m cleaning house is a tendency to get sidetracked by…anything! This morning is a perfect example: I start laundry, sit down a moment to message some people. Washer finishes. I go and switch loads–towels in the dryer, whites in the washer. Come back, get broom to sweep kitchen floor. Realize I still have a Christmas tin that contained popcorn in the corner of the kitchen on the floor. I pick it up and think, “Wow! This would be perfect to put my current yarn project in! I could poke a hole in the plastic part of the lid and voila! Instant yarn holder. Except the Christmas scenes are a bit much. I think I have some shelf lining paper that I could put on the outside to make it pretty. Where is that? Hmmm, I think it’s in the basement storage area.” 

I proceed…

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Bono on the difference between Grace and Karma

I’m so thankful God loved us enough to send his son Jesus to die on my behalf and yours and yours and yours…and that all God asks in return is that we believe Jesus IS his son, that we confess our sins, that we profess our faith and be baptized for the remission of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. If I were otherwise relying on my own feeble efforts to be a good, decent, human being who always had a kind word and a sunny disposition, I’d be in deep, deep trouble! After we become Christians, or those who profess Christ and try to be more like him every day, the Holy Spirit certainly can help us be better people, but we still have to let him. No matter how hard we try to live in obedience to God and his way, we can’t ever live up to 100%. Heck, I can’t even live up to 50% or 25%.

Anyway, all of that is to say, I appreciate what Bono says here. I guess the only difference is I know who Jesus is. He is God’s son. As Bono says, “that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.” Although, I would definitely like to try to talk everyone into it because I know what a positive difference it has made to my earthly life to have Jesus and I believe it will make an eternal positive difference in the end.

Peace and love, Elaine

Resistance & Renewal

Bono_on_Bono_Cover“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…

You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one.  Its clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe.  I’m absolutely sure of it.

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff.  Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news…

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There Is No Wind

Pocket Full of Sun

There is no wind,
and the skies are so blue,
as I shovel the deck
and the front sidewalks too.

We’ve been stuck inside,
both in building and thoughts,
it was time to see sun
and get out of the box.

When we stay inside,
of our heads and our homes,
it’s bound to get ugly,
and our thoughts can get glum.

We think to the past,
to those old glory days,
and worry too much
of the future,
which we mightn’t
see anyways.

We need to get sunshine,
Vitamin D, some feel good rays
and fresh air to breathe.

These are good for the soul,
good for our minds,
good for our eyes,
if we don’t go snow-blind.

I feel twenty years younger,
my cheeks are all pink,
my feet are all tingly,
and my eyes are a-sparkle!

I advise for your health,
and much peace of mind,
Get…

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Are You More American Than Christian?

Pocket Full of Sun

Source: Are You More American Than Christian?

Powerful thoughts and words.  I’ve realized over the years that the pursuit of more, more, more wasn’t what I wanted. More than anything else in this world, I love Jesus and people and want to help lift the burden of others. I’m a Christian first. I’m also a sinner who needs God’s grace every day and am not afraid to admit that. Without Jesus, I don’t know how I could make it through this life at all.  He has been with me in good times, through heartbreaking times, and through every moment of my life.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m proud to be an American, but what I try to define myself by more exactly is following the example of Jesus and doing whatever He would have me do.  There’s a song we used to sing at church and especially when visiting the…

View original post 235 more words

Source: Are You More American Than Christian?

Powerful thoughts and words.  I’ve realized over the years that the pursuit of more, more, more wasn’t what I wanted. More than anything else in this world, I love Jesus and people and want to help lift the burden of others. I’m a Christian first. I’m also a sinner who needs God’s grace every day and am not afraid to admit that. Without Jesus, I don’t know how I could make it through this life at all.  He has been with me in good times, through heartbreaking times, and through every moment of my life.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m proud to be an American, but what I try to define myself by more exactly is following the example of Jesus and doing whatever He would have me do.  There’s a song we used to sing at church and especially when visiting the elderly in nursing homes (this was when I was a teen), that seems to fit here.   It goes like this:

I’m satisfied with just a cottage below,
a little silver and a little gold,
but in that city, where the ransomed
will shine, I’ve got a mansion,
that’s silver lined.

I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop,
in that bright city, where we’ll never grow old,
and some day yonder, we will never more wander,
but walk the streets that are purest gold!

Though often tempted, tormented, and tested
And like the prophet my pillow’s a stone
And though I find here no permanent dwelling
I know He’ll give me a mansion my own.

I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop,
in that bright city, where we’ll never grow old,
and some day yonder, we will never more wander,
but walk the streets that are purest gold!

Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely
I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound
I’m but a pilgrim in search of the city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.

I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop,
in that bright city, where we’ll never grow old,
and some day yonder, we will more wander,
but walk the streets that are purest gold!

Words and music by Ira Stamphill

John 14: 1-4

May God bless you and keep you.

Peace and Love,  Elaine