Category Archives: Religion

Love Only

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (KJV) ( Matthew 5:46-47 )

As God’s people, we are representatives of the difference He has made in our lives.  If we behave the way nonbelievers do, how does this glorify God?  It’s often difficult and ironic to love those who have hurt you in some way, whether it’s a coworker or even your father or mother.  However, it’s amazing how much peace comes to you when you learn to replace resentment with love.


Walk with the Wise

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. ( Proverbs 13:20 )

We can all learn a thing or two from who we spend time with.  The question is whether the person we spend time with is making us a better person in turn.  When we are around others we begin to see different viewpoints, attitudes, and behaviors.  Over time, our minds embrace these thoughts which can make us either a healthier person or lead us down a foolish path.  Are you walking with wise people who share their wisdom to you?


Whoever Pursues

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. (KJV) ( Proverbs 21:21 )

In our excitement, we try to push people to do things we want them to do. We cheer, goad, and even manipulate them into taking action or performing better. Despite our great efforts, they may not move an inch. It is in these times, it’s most important to love and value that person, especially if they do not take action in the way we want them to. It’s more meaningful to love them with an unfailing love. Are you showing unfailing love to those you are persuading to joining you?


Give You Rest

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (KJV) ( Matthew 11:28-30 )

With so much going on in today’s world, we take on more stress and anxiety than ever before. While we should always perform our best and make a difference where we can, there are many areas where we don’t have control. Instead, leave those worries to God and put all of your trust in Him.  Make a choice today to trust God with all your might and He will answer with peace and love that you can pass on to your family.


Everything You Do

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (KJV) ( Titus 2:7 )

It’s easier to tell someone what to do than it is to lead by example. Modeling our beliefs is much more impactful and makes the value ingrained deeper in all who see our example. Telling others what and how to react takes the choice away from them. God will speak to them and show them the error of their ways through your behavior alone. Set the example and let all you do be a reflection of Him.


Was Completed

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (KJV) ( Genesis 2:1 )

How does it feel to complete a project, assignment, or case? That sense of accomplishment and productivity is very inspiring. Yet, if we find ourselves in the middle of an overwhelming project, it’s easy to drop it and move on to an easier task. However, lots of loose ends result and nothing ever gets finished. If you find yourself discouraged and about to give up on your work, try focusing on the satisfaction of accomplishment when you are finished. This will give you the endurance you need to complete.


A Loyal Spirit

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (KJV) ( Psalm 51:10 )

Depending on where you are in your walk with God, sometimes you just feel distant from God.  Usually the distance occurs when we walk towards sin.  It begins to grow and if we let it proliferate our loyalty to God begins to thin out.  You begin to lose your heart for God.  If this describes how you feel, be assured that one step towards honoring God is a step back to the right path.  Spend some time walking with God, thinking about Him, and asking Him to renew a loyal spirit.

This remind me of the song In the Garden:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
I’d stay in the garden with Him
‘Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Songwriters: Ed Bruce
In the Garden lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


Satisfy

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (KJV) ( Proverbs 18:20 )

Usually, after dinner time, everyone leaves to clean up or return to their previous activities.  Although, there’s nothing quite like sitting around the table and talking, enjoying one another’s company.  Maybe it’s remembering the same old stories or laughing about the day’s events.  After lingering around the table, there’s nothing more satisfying than being with those you love.  Try sticking around the table this evening and taking part in the satisfaction of table talk.


What does the Bible verse Jeff Sessions quoted really mean?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.– Romans 13:1-7

(CNN) — It’s been called one of the most important and most misunderstood passages in the Bible: Romans 13:1-7.

“The most historically influential paragraph Paul ever wrote,” in the words of one scholar.

Likely written by the Apostle Paul around 57 AD, Romans 13, including the snippet cited by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, instructs Christians to submit to “God’s servants.” That is, the government.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established,” the passage says. “The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

Romans 13 has been cited by Nazi sympathizers and apartheid-enforcers, slave owners and loyalists opposed to the American Revolution. Modern Christians have wrestled with how to apply the passage to issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and taxes.

Thursday, Sessions cited Romans 13 to defend the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” prosecution policy on illegal immigration. In a speech addressed to his “church friends,” Sessions said:

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Sessions, saying, “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

In some ways, Sessions’ citation of Romans 13 makes sense. Many of the “church friends” to whom the attorney general addressed his speech had quoted scripture to criticize current immigration policies, particularly the separation of children from their parents.

The Southern Baptist Convention, for example, passed a resolution Tuesday that cited Scripture six times to make the case for immigration reform. (Some Southern Baptists also cited Romans 13 in the controversial decision to allow Vice President Mike Pence to address their annual meeting.)

But what did Paul really mean when he wrote his letter to the Romans? Should Christians be expected to obey all human laws and cooperate with all regimes? And why would Paul counsel submission to a state power that had executed his savior?

Here are five ways Christians have tried to answer those questions:

1. The Bible is full of civil disobedience.

In citing Romans, Sessions made a small but telling slip. He said Paul commanded Christians to “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them.”

But Romans doesn’t quite say that. It says obey the “governing authorities” — that is, the government, not the laws. You could argue that one implies the other, but the Bible teems with examples of heroes who disobey the law.

Take Daniel, for example, who was thrown to the lions because he wouldn’t obey an edict requiring all subjects of King Darius to pray only to him. Daniel went home, threw open the windows for all to see and got on his knees, defying the edict. It was a blatant act of civil disobedience.

“Whenever laws are enacted which contradict God’s law, civil disobedience becomes a Christian duty,” the late evangelical eminence John Stott wrote in a Bible study on Romans 13.

2. Paul thought Roman spies were reading his letters.

Big Brother wasn’t around in the first century, but life as a Christian, especially a Jewish Christian, wasn’t free from state surveillance.

Just a few years before Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the empire had expelled Jews from Rome for “rioting at the instigation of Chrestus,” according to the Roman historian Suetonius. Some scholars believe Chrestus is a misspelling of Christ.

It’s not too big a stretch to imagine that Paul, writing to a small band of religious subversives in the capital of the empire, would suspect that his letters could fall into imperial hands.

“Paul is probably writing to be read by government officials as well as by the church in Rome,” John Piper, an influential evangelical pastor, said in a sermon series on Romans 13.

“He knows that this letter will find its way into Caesar’s household and into the hands of the civil authorities. He wants them to understand two truths. One is that Christians are not out to overthrow the empire politically by claiming Jesus, and not Caesar, is Lord.”

The other thing Paul wants the Romans to know, Piper says, is that their authority is based on God’s.

3. Paul was talking about angels, not attorneys general.

Who, exactly, are the “authorities” that Paul is urging Christians to submit to?

Oscar Cullman, a New Testament scholar who died in 1999, posed an interesting theory: Paul was talking about cosmic authorities, not civil ones. Or rather, he was talking about both.

As Cullman noted, some early Christians, like some first-century Jews, believed that guardian angels — “the angels of the nations” — sat above the earthly rulers, somewhere between God and man.

In other parts of the New Testament, Paul sometimes using the same Greek word to describe earthly and angelic authorities.

On a practical level, you could understand why Cullman, a Lutheran who lived in Europe during the rise of Hitler, would be attracted to this idea. It’s easier to counsel submission to angels than to Nazis.

But many scholars have dismissed Cullman’s theory, saying the “authorities” in Romans 13 refer to the earthly government. Later in Romans 13, Paul notes that Christians pay taxes to “God’s servants” — and, as we all know, the taxman is no angel.

4. Paul was worried about a Jewish uprising.

Much of Paul’s letter to the Romans is about Jewish/Gentile relationships. This was a time when Christians were divided about whether “true” Christians had to be one or the other.

Some Bible scholars theorize that Paul feared Jewish Christians would rebel against the Roman authorities. He had good reason to be worried. Jewish Christians had just been allowed back into Rome after being expelled. A governmental crackdown could have crushed the small and fractious Christian community.

“Paul was not attempting in Romans 13:1-7 to write out a manifesto for Church-State relations for the next two or three millennia,” writes Matthew Neufeld, a Mennonite scholar.

“His concern was pastoral and local. … Paul was advising against anti-Roman and Palestinian nationalist sentiments among the Jewish Christians in Rome.”

5. Paul was being ironic.

At first glance, writes British scholar T.L. Carter, Romans 13 may look like “an embarrassingly unqualified endorsement of the political status quo.”

But Paul was likely aware of the Jewish expulsion from Rome, as well as other persecutions, Carter argues. So it’s hard to fathom why he would portray the government as divinely sanctioned.

Paul’s praise for government authority so over the top, it’s possible that he meant to be ironic, Carter says. In other words, Romans 13 is not praise, it’s a cleverly disguised critique.

“By using the technique of irony, Paul was able to express his criticism without fear of repercussions from the authorities, who may have been oblivious to the disparity between the ideal he portrays and the reality of their government.”

Carter acknowledges that his interpretation is somewhat idiosyncratic. Many Christians take a more straightforward reading of Romans 13, even as they struggle to apply to modern life.

“It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the history of the interpretation of Romans 13:1-7,” says New Testament scholar Douglas Moo, “is the history of attempts to avoid what seems to be its plain meaning.”


Charity

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (KJV) ( 1 Corinthians 13:2 )

We often think if only I were more witty, if I had more intelligence, if I were more attractive, my life would be much different.  If we actually matched our ideal qualities but failed to grow a love for others, it would all be pointless.  Paul even says if he had all the faith in the world, he would be nothing if he didn’t love others.  Do you spend more time thinking about self-improvement or on growing your love for others more?


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