Monthly Archives: August 2016

Developing Spiritual Habits

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Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.

My husband and I are in real estate together, and he is currently taking a training course that I took a few months back. The other day, he came out of the class and was so excited to tell me about something that I had learned a few weeks ago. Funny, though, how I had completely forgotten about it until just then. That is what happens when you only look at something once. For it to become a part of your daily habits and routine, it has to be studied, re-visited, and discussed on a daily and weekly basis. This is how I see spiritual study as well. The more time that is spent in daily meditation and learning, the more likely one is to reflect those qualities of love and good spirit within their daily life. Your spirituality is a muscle that requires constant learning and growth. In this way, studying the bible for spiritual growth is no different then exercising to retain strength and health. The Bible is not a nice book to be read once and then put in the stack with the other used books. It is a manual and a guide for life that must be read, re-read, and discussed daily to have any real meaning. My goal for the year is to take at least 15 minutes daily to turn off the TV and reflect on God’s word. Anyone else want to join me in this?

The Book That Matters Most

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I guess by now regular readers know that I read a lot.  I’m currently reading a novel by Ann Hood, called The Book That Matters Most.  It’s about the members of a book club who have decided that the theme for the year is “The book that matters most.”  Each member gets a chance to choose a book that changed their life, or that was especially significant to them.  Most of the choices are classics:  Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, etc..

Of course, this made me think, what is the book that matters most to me?  I’ve read many, many books in my life but not one of them stands out this way for me except the Bible.  It has something to say about every aspect of human life:  being young or old, married or single, Jewish or Christian, slave or free.  It addresses every human emotion: anger, grief, love, compassion, joy, anxiety, and more.  It teaches history and theology.  It has biographies, adventures, sermons, poetry and practical advice.  It uplifts, it inspires, it challenges.

Here’s a quote from The Catcher in the Rye (one of the books selected by the club):

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.  That doesn’t happen much, though.”

Guess what, with the Bible that does happen.  It’s God’s love letter to you and me.  We can talk to Him about it (or anything else) whenever we want.  There’s just no contest — what book could matter more?

 

 

What Stands Out?–Hebrews Chapter 4

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“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4: 12-13

My daughter has a timid cat–if he hears a noise while he is out on the balcony of her apartment, he will run behind the wheel of her bike, thinking (mistakenly) that nobody can see him there.  These verses remind me of how often we act just like that cat.

We may try to avoid God by staying home from church, or by letting the Bible we own gather dust.  It doesn’t work.  We can’t hide from God.  He knows not only what we do, but what motivates our actions  He hears the things we say out loud and every thought that crosses our minds.

As for God’s word, we can’t ignore it, it isn’t passive, it’s ACTIVE, and it will change us.  Here’s another quote from Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

This is what stands out for me in chapter 4 (maybe because we’re thinking about study)– the power of God and His word.  It reminds me to stop hiding from Him.

Have you read Chapter 4?  What stands out to you?

 

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 4

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Here we go folks – Chapter 4 – Thank you for taking this walk with me. I look forward to your comments below.

This chapter opens with God’s promise of rest, but the rest referred to is not a rest from our physical labors, but rest of our soul through His salvation. The writer is telling us that there is still time for us to receive His grace of salvation. We go on to learn that God knows all, sees all and hears all – So, that means when we do things we think we are hiding from everyone – guess what – GOD KNOWS. If, at any time, we think we are pulling the wool over His eyes, we are only fooling ourselves. We may be able to hide things from our fellow humans, but we cannot hide anything from our Father. We are also reminded that Jesus was appointed the Great High Priest and is uniquely qualified to be in this position because He was able to resist temptation and show obedience to His Father. Jesus can provide us with not only immediate spiritual help but can be sympathetic to our problems. Now just to make this statement understood better – Just because Jesus can be sympathetic DOES NOT mean He likes it – Big Difference.

I feel that this chapter shows God’s amazing and gracious love for us.

Thank you God for all your amazing gifts, but especially for the gift of salvation through your Son, Jesus Christ.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

More Disturbing Words

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“Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

We think of God’s words in many ways:  comforting, encouraging, inspiring.  It is those things.  However, this verse from Isaiah tells us something very different, and a little scary.  God’s word can be destructive.

Most of us have a lot of preconceived ideas.  We think certain things because a parent, teacher or other authority taught them.  We think other things because it’s convenient:  thinking in a certain way justifies our actions, helps us to fit in, or advances our position in the world.

When we compare some of these ideas to God’s word, what happens?  They are destroyed, blown away.  We find we can’t hold onto them.  It’s painful and unsettling.  Sometimes we’re tempted to accept the parts we like, and ignore the ones we don’t.

A devotion I was reading this morning compared the process of sanctification to having braces put on our teeth.  The dentist shows us a picture of how our teeth look before braces –crooked, crowded, etc.. Then the perfect smile he wants us to attain.  The process is not without pain … at first the braces hurt, and we are self conscious because we don’t look like everyone around us. There are things we can’t do anymore –like chewing gum.  Gradually, however, we see the positive changes and the braces don’t bother us as much.

If we take God’s word seriously, it will sometimes sting and hurt.  It may destroy some cherished ideas.  It may force us to give up some things we like doing.  However, if we follow through faithfully, the end results will be worth it.

Solo Scriptura –What Does It Mean?

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Sola scriptura (Latin: by Scripture alone) is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. Sola scriptura does not deny that other authorities govern Christian life and devotion, but sees them all as subordinate to and corrected by the written word of God.

Sola scriptura is a formal principle of many Protestant Christian denominations, and one of the five solas. It was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers, who taught that authentication of Scripture is governed by the discernible excellence of the text as well as the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to the heart of each man. Some Evangelical and Baptist denominations state the doctrine of sola scriptura more strongly: Scripture is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine

What Stands Out? — Hebrews Chapter 3

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“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son.  And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.” Hebrews 3:5-6

Remember that Sunday School song, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together”?  The writer of Hebrews is affirming the truth we learned as children –we are God’s house, we are the church.  Doesn’t that inspire awe in your heart?

What should we do if we are God’s house?  We should welcome others in;  we should worship Him rightly;  we should encourage one another to “hold fast our confidence” and have “pride in our hope”;  we should remain faithful.

The author of Hebrews wrote to encourage Jewish Christians to remain steadfast in their new faith in Jesus.  It would probably be easier to fall back into the Jewish ways they knew so well.  I need encouragement too, encouragement to refrain from falling back into worldly ways.  Going along with what’s around us is always easy;  when I’m tempted to follow the crowd, I want to bring this verse to mind, and remember that I am a part of “God’s house.”

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 3

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Well here is my interpretation of this chapter – Please comment or guide me if you have additional insights.

With this chapter, we find the writer letting us know that Jesus is more supreme than Moses, this leads me to believe that the words were originally delivered to persons of the Jewish religion to let them know that Jesus is the Savior referred to in the Old Testament.

When it tells us not to harden our hearts, I firmly believe that we can apply that to ourselves in today’s time. How often do we, even though WE have the word of God to go by, do things our way and not His way? If we read His word, pray for His guidance and live by His word we could not possibly harden our hearts to all the gifts He bestows on us.

Thanks for reading.
Always remember —

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

What Stands Out?–Hebrews Chapter 2

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“Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control.” Hebrews 2:8b

After reading Hebrews Chapter 2 a number of times, I decided this is the verse that stands out for me, that I want to spend some time meditating about.  Jesus is in control–EVERYTHING is subject to His will.  I should know this, after all He is God:  but do I act like this?  Not really.

In daily life, I act as if I am in control.  There are many things I want to change, and I work very hard to do that.  Wouldn’t my life be much more peaceful, if I accepted my circumstances as God’s will for me right now and asked Him what He was trying to teach me?

If Jesus is in control of EVERYTHING that means he is my master.  But do I live as if He is?  No, most of the time I do what I want or what I think is best without praying or consulting the Bible.  Wouldn’t I make better decisions if I spent more time with Him?

Chapter 2 helps me see myself as the SINNER I am and see Jesus as the PERFECTION that He is.  And yet He came to save me.

Now, what stands out in this Chapter for you?  Send us your posts and comments.

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 2

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Well, this will be the second in a series of 13 blogs – one for each chapter of Hebrews; and already I can see a common thread in all the chapters. The Old Testament tells us repeatedly about Jesus coming as our salvation and chapter 2 brings it home. God confirmed throughout the scriptures that Jesus is the only way to salvation, it took His sacrifice to bring us right with God. This chapter also tells us how Jesus is the future of our world and that is something, I believe, that we can look forward to. Jesus is our salvation and understands the lure of temptation because, he himself, was presented with and resisted the lure. We cannot seem to garner the same amount of strength as He did and resist that lure. I guess it is a good thing we have Him to rely on.

I know that these blogs are not real long, but I feel that the chapters do not require a long dissertation. These blog are only short recap and I want everyone to read the chapter on their own and post comments, this is the best way for us to delve into the chapter more deeply by responding to others perceptions.

I am looking forward to the responses on this. Let me know what you got out of the chapter.

Be ready Chapter 3 will follow shortly.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel