Tag Archives: religion

Hope

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.

Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
Observation
God redeems us from our sin and its consequences out of an expression of His love which is sacrificial and selfless. That is our hope when all else fails, it is our hope before self reliance, it is our hope in the beginning and in the end.
Application in my life
I read where the United Nations commission on global warming says that human life will be affected by rising surface temperatures, water will not be available to sub saharan areas of Africa and similar lands, millions of square miles of habitats along the coastline will be under water, and crops will not grow in areas where they currently do. People will migrate in order to survive and less food will be available to feed the growing planet’s population. I did not feel very good about our future reading this. The experts predicted violence and unrest by groups of people in reaction to the climate changes.

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Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is an example of the increased harm climate change has already brought into the environment today, which is more violent and deadly weather than ever before. When I think about the bleak picture that this presents, verses such as Psalm 130:7 help to provide a calm that comes with the realization that although I may not be able to place much hope and confidence in governments or corporations or other people, I do have a God with whom my hope belongs. While I believe †he increase in greenhouse gases do to human consumption is partly the result of sinful behavior and unwise choices, I also believe we all have a responsibility to do what we can to fix it.
My prayer
Lord help use providence to deal with the consequences of global warming, provide us shelter and safety from the storms ahead, let us act wisely to minimize the harm that the destructive production of greenhouse gasses has brought upon us. Allow us to see Your vision for a lifestyle that is a blessing and not a curse, Amen

Balanced Living

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say,” If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Observation
James admonishes against the sin of worldliness and is speaking specifically to a certain kind of behavior that people fall into, or find themselves participating in or misguidedly see as the right way to act. It becomes part of the culture and as such dominates the thinking and the lives of many who live within it, including Christians
Application in my life
So our american culture has many Christian aspects to it as it has matured over the years. Christianity has always played a part, however, many people have distorted both the culture and the religion. What I get from this discussion is the idea expressed as Balanced Living. For example, planning and goal setting are good things to do in the proper situation. But what this verse reminds me of is where God fits into all that planning and goal setting. I want to strike the right balance in my life so that I do not plan God out of it. I used to work so much that I did not have time for church. How did that plan work for me?
I like to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who was leading a great cultural movement and died before the movement reached the point of changing American institutions. So he understood the concept of “If the Lord wills, we will live to do this or that.” And  he understood that he was a mist that appeared for a little time and then vanished. But the work can continue on with others who follow the same paths. For me it is summed up in the statement ‘redeem the time’.
My prayer
Lord if You will, let me redeem the time that I have to do the things that You direct me, that You place on my heart and are providing the spiritual force to accomplish. Let me lead a balanced life that places You at the center, and my family around the center, Amen

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Documentary: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Megyn Kelly TODAY

Documentary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

The film portrays the relationship between the educational children’s public television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001), and its creator, writer, composer, and host, Fred Rogers.

The message of the show was simple. However the substance of the show was very deep and highly complex. A subtle irony associated with it developed around the observation that for some, the simplicity of the program may have masked the inherent brilliance from them. So they failed to appreciate the true value it had for children.

I find a parallel with the Biblical account of Jesus of Nazareth. Many of his messages appeared simple on the surface. Yet the substance of what Jesus communicated has astounded countless readers over the generations with its complexity and depth. Personally, I think that the reaction to what Jesus said tells you more about the person who forms their opinion, than it does about Christ. Comparatively, the same applies to Fred Rogers. Your reaction to him and his television show reveals more about you, than it does about the value of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

One of the takeaways for me from the documentary was how important the manner in which Fred Rogers acknowledged the dignity of each individual child was. Another was how selfless his commitment to children seemed to be. And another was the contribution he made to so many lives. There were more for me, but I’m focusing on these three.

Fred Rogers gave his total attention to children. He answered serious questions about life for them. He created an atmosphere where spending time together was more important than mindless humor, and he incorporated music to aid memory, create comfort, and impart joy. His respectful approach was unparalleled, and sadly, has not been replicated to this day.

One unique aspect of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is that while other educational programs focused on teaching reading, vocabulary and arithmetic, it focused instead on teaching kids how to think and mature as human beings, how to deal with the realities of life like friendship, responsibility, kindness. I’d imagine every key concept was covered short of income tax. Fred Rogers did this because he cared that TV could harm children if all it gave them was relative garbage (vis a vis the saying ‘garbage in garbage out’). I think it was his Christian calling, which speaks to his belief in practicing what Jesus preached.

He was determined to counter the mindless entertainment forced into homes and provide quality content for the benefit of children, regardless of the challenging circumstances or misguided critics, which often were too many. My favorite part of the film was when Rogers faced off against the U.S. Senate effort to cut funding for public television in order to put the money into the Vietnam War. The documentary is well worth seeing for just that scene alone.

The contribution Fred Rogers made to the lives of so many people is best exemplified by his statement that ‘you are special just the way you are’. He believed this about himself, and he was aware that so many children struggled in their childhood and later in life because of their lack of self esteem and the emotional and psychological handicaps inflicted upon them as a result. His legacy, generations of well adjusted people, is a testament to what he was able to accomplish because of this belief.

Wisdom

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.
Observation
In the letter the author is explaining the transformation taking place between the old covenant that began with Abraham and the new covenant that exists with the ministry of Jesus Christ. He mentions that people did not know the way into the most holy place during the old covenant. Christ provides this new knowledge through His position as the new high priest
Application to my life 
As a professor I am often reminded that I am most effective when I find ways to help others learn new things. The more new things I am able to learn, the more effective I can be teaching others. Similarly, God continuously reminds us that wisdom is the key to understanding, and the knowledge we gain is a blessing. The knowledge provided by the coming of Christ was good news in one particular way: that it meant the establishment of a new covenant and by that a new way of salvation became available for all who would choose to accept it. This is what God wants Christians to share; to teach, to anyone willing to believe it. There are so many people today – all around the world – who do not have this knowledge and who would choose to accept it, if only someone would teach it to them.
My Prayer
I pray that I may do my part to help others learn about the new covenant and the good news of Christ. I pray that I continue to learn by prayer, and by reading the Bible, so that I can better share these truths and so that I can help others grow while I grow and increase in knowledge about being a disciple. Lord strengthen me in these areas, Amen.

 

Faith

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
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Matthew 16:18
Upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
Observation
Faith is a foundation of Christianity.  An aspect of that faith is the belief that God has given Jesus as the savior of mankind.  Faith in that truth is the basis of being a Christian
Application in my life 
Jesus tells me that this concept is the victory in the spiritual battle between good and evil.  In the next verse Jesus refers to the keys of the kingdom.  For me I understand these keys to be repentance, prayer, praise, service, and discipleship.  Evidence of my repentance includes removal of sinful thoughts and sinful actions and also by my focusing on Godly thoughts and sacrificial behavior (doing things more for the benefit of others than myself).  Prayer is a daily communication where I open myself up to God and allow myself to hear from Him.  Praise is audible exhortation to God when I am alone or with other believers. The purpose is to please Him as a form of worship.  Service is something I do for other believers as exemplified in Paul’s teachings. Giving to and working for people in the world, both believers and non believers, are acts of service.  Discipleship includes witnessing – sharing my life and my beliefs with others, bible study, having accountability relationships where I help others mature as Christians and others help me, fellowship – spending time together, and counseling.
My prayer
Dear God, thank you for providing victorious kingdom living and the abundant life.  Let my gratitude be expressed in genuine repentance, true service to your children, and submission to your will during my daily walk.

Love

Personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
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John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.
Observation
Disciples of Christ are to be identified by the love they demonstrate towards each other.
Application to my life
In my life the best testimony that I will have to anyone else will be the expressions of love between myself and others whom are fellow believers and have the desire to follow Christ’s teachings.  
How are these interactions able to be seen?  
What form do they take?  
Perhaps an example is by helping them out in an area of need.  Or it happens by spending time with them.  Doing things for them.  Establishing a close relationship with them and caring about the things they care about.  But should I cause them hurt or offend them somehow, I need to quickly recognize my fault and express my sorrow and ask for forgiveness.  I also would be quick to forgive them should I be hurt by something said or done to me.
The love that this depicts is a sacrificial love.  This love is not a selfish emotion.  It chooses to place others equal to or above our own interests.  This is something that isn’t human nature.  We are selfish by nauture. That makes this something that is most challenging.  Is that why Jesus gave this command?  Jesus was giving a command that could only be accomplished with the power of God.  By being obedient to God we as fellow believers can express this kind of love.
my prayer
Lord let me obey your command every way possible, Amen.
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Harsh Realities

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Matthew 13:41-42
The Son of Man shall send forth His angels; and they shall gather forth out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them that which do iniquity;
42 and shall cast them in a furnace of fire:  there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Observation
The consequence of sin, the consequence of rejecting God, is described in this passage.
Application
God sends us a clear message.  Jesus speaks clearly of how God regards mankind and what is in store for everyone.  Those that do not accept God will not recognize His authority and will choose to deny the reality that He is just, and that He has a plan to deal with every person individually.
As I work out my relationship with God, I can appreciate why saving grace is a foundation of my faith in God and a source for submitting my will to be under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Just as God’s declarations are clear, my life choices must also be clear.  I choose to practice discipleship and to live a renewed existence that is focused on removing sinful behaviors from my daily life, and replace them with wise behaviors.  My goal is to allow God to be in control of how I go about my daily life.
Prayer
Lord forgive me for the sin which I have thought about or acted out.  I desire to let You guide my thoughts, let You direct my actions.  I desire to let You be the source of my joy.  Show me how and when to express Your love to others, Amen
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The Syrian civil war has displaced thousands of Christians and Muslims, many who have fled to Lebanon. Open Doors
A pastor was quoted in the Gospel Herald saying that more people were becoming Christians after experiencing war in Syria.