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Three words of gratitude, six words or sentences to tell a story, social media posts, pics, pins, hashtags, tweets...let's see: who do I want people to think I am today? I can't say I don't care or it doesn't matter; I wouldn't be typing if I didn't feel the need to connect to someone, somewhere on some level. I suppose I'll use today's three tags: "choice", "praise", and the combo tag of "mental health and faith". Who am I - REALLY - when the labels, expectations, familial roles and everyday tasks and duties are stripped away either by circumstance or by choice? I am surely a product of both NATURE and NURTURE - both exquisitely, purposefully designed and orchestrated by the ONE who chose to call me into existence, calls me to himself in repentance and faith, and calls me to remain continually on my face at His feet. I am to PRAISE HIM ("point to Him in all things"). Faith and Praise are both gifts and choices. The sometimes daily struggle to stand boldly and firmly in that faith and praise is a choice. Life's hard. Changes happen. Broken, hurting, sinful people sin, hurt others and break things all the time. Pain, illness, disease, and the rest of the consequences of the fall of man wear us down physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Even warriors can be brought low to the point of despair. In a state of exhaustion it can be hard to remember why you're fighting, why it's important to keep swinging, where to find solid ground to stand on and why it's important to choose to get out of bed in the morning. ON THIS FINE DAY, my choice is to open my eyes, sit up on the edge of the bed and take the Outstretched Hand being offered me. As I place my tired, bunny-slippered feet on top of His I choose to accept His gift of truth, promise, hope and love. What a privilege... to be chosen and and to choose. ON THIS FINE DAY, I pray you too will be free to dance the dance of a well-loved child.
It has occurred to me that some individuals using the club and following the links on the daily reading pages to go to read the passages online, are confronted with the question of which Bible version they should use. I have created a webpage that can help one make that decision, if one has not yet done so. The page is not super-informative, but it does offer some basic information to get one started. There are version abbreviations, reading grade level, type of translation, some notes on what the textural basis of the versions are, and links to get one further information if desired. There will be information there also, explaining some of the terminology used in the page as well, but for now, the page is incomplete, to be completed shortly. The grade level rating, is not there to suggest that you choose your grade level, but is a guideline that indicated a level of reading ease or difficulty. Those who have difficulty understanding some version or for whom English is a second language, may want to choose a version which is a lower grade lever, and thus easier to read.
The seeker-friendly churches are growing by leaps and bounds.... the ones holding to the pure simplicity of the Gospel and the unadulterated Word of God are shrinking. Not to mention, the love of many has grown colder and colder.... one cannot tell the "church" from the world. When they look in from the outside, do they behold the love of God in action, or do they see anything at all to be desired? Can they truly look into this place, even, and say, "I want what these people have" .... or do they look and walk away to search elsewhere? John 13:35 ”By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 1 John 4:7-21 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. If we say we love God who we've not seen, and yet we hate and treat with disdain our brothers and sisters who we have seen..... what does that make us? Liars..... liars.... how sad is that? 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.” It's a choice .... to let ..... it requires a purposeful act of the will. Love will flow .... if we let it. It's not a chore or hard labor.... just let! Love is a wonderful thing!! Not the weak "everything goes" love, but Godly love that is kind, gentle, meek, preferring others before ourselves... slow to anger, slow to speak... continuing in prayer, abiding in His love. Can we do it? Where is the Church?? Because if we have trouble walking in brotherly love.... we aren't truly lovers of God. Scripture bears that out. Listen... the law of Christ is love! IF we love others, it is proof to the world that we are different and we are followers of Christ. IF we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments! What are His commandments? Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” The law of Christ is love... Mark 12:28-31 28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Matthew 22:34-40 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets ____________________________________________________________________________________________ What does love look like? How does love conduct itself? 1 Corinthians 13 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 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. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. What about you? Are you up for the challenge? What would happen if the envy, bitterness, strife, hatred, and debating ceased in this place.... and in our personal lives... families, workplaces, churches... or when we visit the supermarket or mechanic shop? We might be witnesses to something miraculous... and that miracle might be within our own hearts....
Our freedom ends where someone else's rights begin. Do you agree or disagree? For those more eloquent: "The beauty of one's freedoms wilts when the exercise of choice tramples on the rights of others."