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Ruth Also

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  1. It is an awkward place when the churches don't speak about the things that are purely Scriptural. There is a place for behaviors (we can't start stealing, lying, and carousing and consider it a Scriptural standard, right?) and there is a big place for encouragement. Both the positions of warning and encouragement are founded. But the fellowship - that is a tough one. Repose offers the solution I've been trying. If you are in a large congregation, here are some options I'd consider if you want to reach out to the people in that congregation. Talk to the pastors/leadership about your hopes for increasing fellowship opportunities and see what happens with this. For one thing, this isn't just YOUR need. You aren't going there to complain about the ache in your heart but rather the real and scriptural need for people to interact. The small groups concept is usually well received and promoted by the large congregations. If you get a negative response, that will also tell you what you need to know. At this meeting, it would be good to develop a plan, and the leadership can speak to this initiative from the pulpit. One plan to reach people quickly in that hectic between services change-out is to greet people with a something in your hand to give them so they can follow up once they are home, like a business card, flyer, or invitation in an envelope. Or you could stay for both services for several weeks for the opportunity to meet more people. Or the leadership may want to bring others into this idea and have several of you as leaders for the fellowship groups. If it doesn't go over well with the church leadership, you can always run an ad on places people look (newspaper, radio, free spots, www.meetup.com or the like) and see what could happen outside of the church walls as a non-church affiliated place for people to gather. Maybe a Bible Study, maybe a social forum of some kind, in your own area. One idea around here lately was called "Raw Scriptures," and the idea was to just read through the Bible at weekly meetings. It has formed the basis for a sense of community, but be prepared for it to go slower than you'd like. I don't know if this reply fits your situation, but it's the answer that came to mind. If you find other good ideas out there, feel free to add them. I'm in much the same place. I hope it goes well with you, HikerMom!
  2. I hear you, Jayne. It's a hard read in places. Our hearts have been so hard. But it was the same Eternal and only God who lovingly gave those stern rules. Jesus followed that law of love when asked about the woman caught in the very act of adultery, showing us how it was intended. (I've always wondered why they let the man go free and only brought the woman, but I've also wondered if that detail of the story speaks volumes.)
  3. The odd thing I found is that when Jesus broke the bonds and set me free, what was happening in my heart was a desire to do what He said - not for the sake of earning this wonderful salvation, but as a joyful response! There are so many of the laws that make sense in some way or other, if we just look. Like women wearing that which pertains to a woman and a man wearing that which pertains to a man. I mean, who can't do that? Why even say so? Well, fast forward to today and you can see where the confusion of the precious roles of gender can really create chaos in our minds. No matter what transgendering surgeries can do, every DNA molecule is right there telling the truth. We'd have been better off just celebrating our gender, and there is much to celebrate! What we wear as male or female is not mandated, but that we present publicly as what we are is mandated, for the good of all. I really like the building of a safety fence around the top of your house so nobody can fall off. Or returning your neighbor's animal. Those things work. Who *can't* keep those? They demonstrate that there is indeed a right way to behave. And they reinforce that to a degree we often want to shirk, we are our brother's keeper. Love works no harm against his neighbor. Are we "saved" by the blood of the ONE obedient Son in order to worship idols, tell lies, sleep with our neighbor's spouse, murder innocent people? Well, obviously not. So we really are "saved" from our past sins in order to finally from the inside out want to serve God acceptably and with the reverence of obedience that shows we trust Him.
  4. Hi Jayne, Having been close friends with a public health person and hearing the enthusiasm for population health, I found it interesting that God set up a national department of health to help isolate contagious concerns among His people and declare which was clean and which was unclean with the authority to make the unclean separate from the masses. For some of those concerns we have public and private labs now (such as mold), and although they may not know it, I know it's the same God behind the concern (mold can be dangerous!) whether they know it or not. I'm glad you mentioned it.
  5. I feel for you, Melinda. Many congregations today are like fast food eateries, a source of inadequate substitutions for what should be there as we meet together to encourage each other not to be hardened by sin's deceitfulness, to feed on His Word together. Frankly, online forums like this often do a better job than the local building assembly. The structure is run like a business, too. It's a set up for failure, although I'm always glad when something good happens there. I heard the gospel message there, for instance. Work with the ones that are working, try to get the ones working that aren't, don't get embittered from unmet expectations (they don't all work), and remember that the congregation God seeks is us collectively and not the building. Thoughts that come to mind as suggestions to consider include: Is there another congregation already established where you can both give and get? Are you strong enough in your faith to help a congregation that has large needs even if it doesn't fill your need and would they allow you to work with them? Is it time to consider opening your home or finding a local spot to encourage a non-church type setting for people to study the Scriptures? God is certainly able to lead if any leadership needed to be established. I hope things go well for you!
  6. The Quran is available online, so you can find what is written there regarding how Islam views various Judeo-Christian ideas. And it is indeed different than we would expect.
  7. Human advice: Someone in our family noted that there are people called narcissists and thought she found help reading about them to break the tendency to return to the cycles of relationship that simply don't work. Maybe this applies here as well. But whether or not, I agree with the good advice you've been given. Scriptural advice: already cited by another caring person. No need to return to an abusive relationship - God has called us to peace. My thoughts: I would encourage that you continue to pray only and not interact since interacting has not been beneficial in the past. And please keep us posted. This area is fraught with dangers and several of us have voiced our concerns for you. I feel sure folks are praying as well as writing!
  8. In the sacrificial system there was an atonement sacrifice once yearly. With Jesus, He gave once for all, and now He lives to intercede for you and you have no further need for a yearly sacrifice. Outcast, you may have tried to slip away but in His love He found you anyways! I'm so glad for you! God granted you repentance and you took it and ran as fast as you could into His loving arms! You needn't worry about that verse now, but it's there to remind you Jesus died once for all, a gift not to be ignored. I appreciate hearing your resolve to run this race with patience! He's provided all you need to complete the course.
  9. It does seem that choosing to live those holy days is different than reading about them or listening to someone preach about them. And they make so much more sense than the subsequent replacements. Not interested in going back now.
  10. Welcome. I too have planted in hope. I hope you enjoy the forum.
  11. Welcome, Amanda. We all speak from what we've experienced. When a person experienced such difficulties as you have, I can see where it would create gaps for you. At this point you want to seek the real and living Eternal God but you sure don't want the controlling meanness that you see in the religion that you dad has. As you read through the Bible, you'll see that God isn't like that. Sure, there are lots of places where God warned people, but those people were doing awful things, the half is not recorded. To you, He is offering mercy, saying, if you turn to Him, He will draw you nearer. Repent - leave the wickedness of your past, leave the confusions - and come closer to His love and truth. The way is Jesus - given while you were yet a sinner. See Him in the light of Who He is, walk with Him step by step, and let the ways you've struggled and been confused become a part of your past. He can transform your mind, renew a right spirit in you, cleanse your heart, and give you His holy spirit to guide you closer to Him. You're in a blessed spot, Amanda. Be encouraged and continue to seek. I think Tzephanyahu's list is a good choice, and listening is a good idea if you can arrange it. Faith comes by hearing His Word. The answer is there in that written account because it shows us the Word of God - Jesus. Keep us posted on how things are going - we're family here. And some of us are also nice family who will speak to you from truth and love as best as we can.
  12. Welcome, Theology Student, I can't say I can add to your dissertation when it comes to dreams. Probably for the most part humans were too busy wallowing in their prisons of sin and then running out the door like schoolkids at the dismissal bell to be overcome with guilt at the price of their freedom. On looking back now over several decades of life since that point of being picked up and washed from my own filthiness, I can see that there was established in the old testament times a sacrifice for forgiveness for unintentional sin as well as the annual day of atonement (which is celebrated today, by the way). That blood was required was long established, even from Genesis. The blood of Jesus was that once-for-all sacrifice. If we continue to willfully sin after receiving that sacrifice, what is there to further forgive us? In order to see freedom from the past prisons, we have to place our confidence in Jesus as the Way to the Father, the peace being made by His blood. The crucifixion was a awful way to die, and the events around it point to how Jesus took on every human temptation and carried it all to His death. He was betrayed by his friend, he was mocked and beaten for something he didn't do, he was blasphemed and lied against, he was publicly humiliated and exposed, he was refused mercy. That's not an inclusive list. He experienced all the awfulness of the human experience. He took it all on for us in the great mercy of God. And He rose again after the three days in the earth, as He said He would, and now ever lives to intercede for us. Let us set aside our willful sins, let us be intentional about serving this amazing God who delights in mercy, lovingkindness, righteousness, holiness, and judgement and calls us to walk worthy, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
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