Tag Archives: action

Ecclesiastes 3:3

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Ecclesiastes 3:3

Good Morning! Today in our Ecclesiastes 3 blog post series we are going to focus on verse 3…

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up. Eccl. 3:3

OK…i understand that this is a passage that can be a little controversial. Especially with what is happening in our world in terms of guns and mass killings. The politics in our country, and all over the world, are fighting over this very subject, among others things. A time to heal, tear down then build back up again…those are more acceptable, but the real kicker is a time to kill.

I have had to take a great look at this one and decide for myself which view I hold… is it OK for Christians to carry guns for self-defense? For me biblically I have decided that this is permissible. Don’t worry, this will NOT be a blog post about persuading you to be pro conceal and carry. I would not push my views on this, or any subject, onto anyone. I am just writing how I believe God wants us to read His Word.

A time to kill…

Obviously there are times it is permissible by God to kill. God gives us those examples in Scripture… in times of war would be one. To understand this myself I had to do a lot of questioning, a lot of searching Scripture for the answers.

There is a distinct difference between killing and murdering. God tells us in His Commandments in Exodus that we should not murder. The original Hebrew word for murder literally means, “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice.”

I read in another blog post called Cold Case Christianity about this distinction and it says this…

Malice is a form of evil intent that separates “murder” from “killing”. Even today there are acceptable forms of killing that lack this kind of evil intent, and these forms of killing exist as exceptions in the murder laws of the United States. In California, for example, a homicide is justified (according to Penal Code sections 187, 196 and 197) if one of the following conditions is met:

A person kills someone accidentally
A person is trying to defend him or herself and prevent his or her own murder (self-defense)
A person is trying to prevent someone from entering his or her house to commit some violent felony
A person is trying to prevent the murder of someone else (protecting an innocent)

In all these situations, killing is actually legal and justifiable, and exceptions of this nature exist in the Penal Codes of every state in America. Even those who don’t accept the existence of God or the authority of the Bible recognize the necessity for laws like these; laws that allow for deadly force to be used to accomplish some greater good.

With all that is happening in our world today, I am a conceal and carry proponent. After all my studying, I see that it really isn’t the guns that make the distinction between killing and murder, but rather the person’s intent behind the gun.

What are your thoughts? Ultimately you have to make decisions like these based on what you interpret God’s Word to say… and God’s word does say there is time to kill.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

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A Time For Everything Under Heaven

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A Time For Everything Under Heaven

Hello! I am glad you have decided to embark on this journey of discovery with me, planted in chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Over the next 14 days I will be writing blog posts on the verses King Solomon writes to us in this chapter of this great book. At the end of this post I will include a study map of which verses I will be covering each day. That way, you can read them ahead of time and if you have questions or want to start a discussion on things that stood out to you, we can do that! I want this study to be interactive and I encourage you to keep a journal handy for writing down your thoughts and observations. I also encourage you to write ways that you can apply these verses to your life. A lot of people tell me that in no way is the Bible relevant to today…to that I say, YES WAY! BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! All you have to do is open your heart and mind for what God wants to reveal to you while you are reading His Word and I guarantee you He will! If you haven’t already read the blog post to introduce this bible study, please do so, you can find it here on our blog titled… A Time for Everything!  by livingwaterdesigns

So, are you ready? Here we go! Today we are going to dive into verse 1…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Eccl. 3:1

God is the keeper of time. As hard as it may be to think about sometimes, we are only limited in how much control we have over our time. We can control it, to a point, what we do with the 24 hours God gives us each day but we are not promised an hour from now, sleeping through the night, or even tomorrow. God controls when it is our time to leave our earthly bodies. But until then, God gives us a time and place for everything under the sun, everything under the heavens.

This verse reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King. This movie has a special place in my heart because it was the first animated movie my husband George took me to see, and I was pregnant with our first daughter, Kimberly. My favorite part is when Mufasa is doing his morning lessons with Simba about the circles of life. The scene starts by Simba waking his dad Mufasa in the wee hours of the morning. Like any parent, Mufasa wakes groggy, not wanting to get up, but Simba looks at him with that look kids give their parents and says, “You promised!” So Mufasa gets up, yawning, and sets out at sunrise to teach his son valuable lessons about life.

He starts out his lesson by telling Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom. A King’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day Simba, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king.” Simba looks at his father, and the beautiful landscape, in amazement and says, “And this will all be mine?” Mufasa replies, “Everything”, and Simba ponders… “Everything the light touches”. Then comes the questioning that all of us parents get from our children… “What about that shadowy place?”. And Mufasa tries to teach him about boundaries, those dark places that are off limits. “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there Simba.”, and the questioning continues…”I thought a king can do whatever he wants?” Mufasa replies, “There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” Simba, still in awe says, “There’s more?”

Then Mufasa explains the circle of life to him. “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” More questioning… “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?” “Yes Simba, but let me explain. When we die our bodies become the grass and the antelope eat the grass, and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life.”

The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, are my two favorite Disney movies. So much life lessons if you really pay attention. Here, Mufasa is teaching his son important truths about life, just like King Solomon is teaching us those same truths about life in this chapter of Ecclesiastes… God has a plan for each of our lives and each season has its time. Each part of our lives is connected in the great circle of life, and in each part we have different tasks to carry out for the glory of the kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

As we move along through these truths, I want you to think about the truths God has revealed to you as you have read and studied His Word. I also want you to think about the season of life you are in NOW… not the one you were in last year, or the one you will be in 5 years from now, but today, this very moment in time. In your prayers, thank God for this season you are in, no matter whether it is difficult or a piece of cake. Humble yourself before the throne of Grace and believe that God is giving you opportunities to discover more of Him and His plan for your life…because apart from God we can do nothing. It is in His timing, His control…we just have to be childlike, with an open heart and mind, to hear His whispers.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

P.S. Link to the study map is below. Feel free to print it out…

LLC- Ecclesiastes Study Map

Photo courtesy of seasonsoflifeproject.tumblr.com

 

 

For Such a Time As This

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For Such a Time As This

I teach our Women’s Ministry Bible Study at church. We are studying the book of Esther. It has been a great study for us to really dig into. I was surprised at the number of women who had not read it before or knew very little about the story of Esther. We have been going through it, one chapter each time we meet. Last night we were rooted in Chapter 4 and as I was preparing to teach this section, verse 14 stood out to me…

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but you have been elevated to the palace for such a time as this.

In this one verse it says the word time twice. When things are repeated in succession in the Bible, pay attention. Mordecai is pleading with Esther to make a choice…risk death by Haman’s plot to kill all Jews, or risk death by entering King Xerxes’ chamber, uninvited, to plead with him for deliverance from their annihilation.

No one knew yet that Esther was a Jew herself, except her cousin Mordecai. She had been orphaned, brought to live with him in Susa, a Persian providence, and brought to the King’s palace as a young virgin in the harem when he banished Queen Vashti. Xerxes was to choose a new queen from these virgins. Esther was elevated above them all, and won Xerxes heart and he made her Queen of Persia.

When Esther first learns about the edict to kill all the Jews, she is deeply distressed but I don’t think she quite got the seriousness of it. She sends out clothes for Mordecai to cover himself instead of his public display of mourning, wearing sackcloth (burlap) and ashes. Mordecai refuses and sends her back a message of the exact details of the plot and pleads with her to go King Xerxes and beg for the lives of her people. I believe he did this to explain to her the urgency of this situation. She feels stuck, not knowing what to do, and says “What do you want me to do, risk dying trying to talk to him when he hasn’t summoned me?”  Mordecai becomes irritated and points out to her “you will not escape the same fate, maybe this is why God has elevated you to the position of queen, for this very thing!”  Then comes Esther’s dilemma… die at the hands of the Persian army when they found out she was a Jew, or die trying to enter the King’s inner court, uninvited, to plead for the deliverance of her people. (Read the rest of Chapter 4 to find out what she chooses if you don’t already know!)

I couldn’t help but ponder, which offers the greater risk? On one hand, she dies like all the other Jews under the verdict carried out by the Persian army, and disappoints God by not defending His people. Or on the other hand, she goes before her husband’s throne, risking death because she was both uninvited and exposing that she had not revealed her true identity to him, but pleasing God in the process because she was willing to die for His chosen people.

We see God’s Provision in Esther’s life because of the importance of her position as queen. We are not queens, nor do most of us hold the high position that would pale in comparison to hers. Most of us can’t even fathom the immensity of the fulfillment of this significant destiny that God places on her life. So how can we apply her situation to our lives?

Take this to heart. We are royalty in the most literal sense possible because we are daughters of the King of the Kings, the Lord of Lords. We have royal blood in a way that even Esther did not because the crimson blood of Jesus Christ flows through our veins.

  1. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (there is a time and place for all things!)
  2. Have you ever had a “for such a time as this” opportunity in your life? If so, how did you use the gifts and talents entrusted to you by God on the behalf of others?

Four Principles we can learn from Esther…

  1. God has a special plan for each of our lives.
  2. Sometimes you have to go against your own common sense, against what other people advise, even against what you want to do, in order to follow God’s plan.
  3. Don’t wait to follow God’s plan for your life. The time is now! At some point you have to gather up the courage to move forward, one step at a time. Otherwise you stay stuck and complacent.
  4. Trusting in God completely and wholeheartedly brings great rewards but it takes radical obedience! Be sold out for God, living to please Him above all else.

 

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

 

Photo courtesy of theadoptshoppe @ etsy.com

The Five Solas, pt One

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This Saturday St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Maryland is going to have a workshop on the Five Solas that came out of the Reformation.  I’m really glad about this because I have to let you know that I haven’t had a lot of teaching on these subjects.  I’ve had teachings on the topics of the Solas, but not the Five Solas all together and how they fit together.  Here are the Solas:

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Earlier this year I couldn’t tell you all of the Solas off the top of my head, but now they are not only getting into my head they are starting to work down in my heart.

Faith Alone

Only by faith are we saved by Grace (that would be Grace Alone, but that’s next!).  So, what is faith?  We all have faith.  It goes hand in hand with trust.  We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning, that we will wake up, that most people will follow the driving laws.  We have trust in our banks, our schools, our government…  at least until that trust is broken.

Sometimes I struggle with this.  Faith and works, works and faith.  I’m not saved by what I do.  I can be the best person I can be and still, I am a sinner.  All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  I can do works all the time, you know the stuff…  feeding the poor, helping the homeless, but if I do it out of a sense that I have to do this to be a good person, then I’m doing it for the wrong reason.  Right thing; Wrong Reason.  People will say “Oh, what a good person you are…”.  That is not the right way to go about it.

If I put my faith in God First and then I feel compelled to serve others (and you should) then that is the Right Thing; Right Reason.  We don’t go out to do works so everyone will say “You’re so good, let me pat you on the back!”.  In fact, we shouldn’t let anyone know of our works.  “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

My struggle?  Just writing this blog is a struggle.  I don’t want people to pat me on the back because I have the “confidence” or “skill” to write on the internet where anyone and everyone can see it.  It’s not me.  I don’t write because I want praise.  I write because I feel compelled to help others understand.  I don’t go to church so others will see me there, I go to church for me.  I need church more than the church needs me.  I don’t do the things I do for praise.  I do them for the Lord.   Only by Faith Alone am I saved….

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian Freedom

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While imprisoned by the Nazis at Tegel military prison, and shortly after learning of the last failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned a short poem for his friend, Eberhard Bethge.

Though we must be careful to appreciate the time and place from which it sprung, it brings with it plenty of implications for the ways in which we order our lives and allegiances. Indeed, in his prodding toward obedience, discipline, and submission to God — features many would find contradictory or in opposition to freedom — Bonhoeffer’s embrace of this profound paradox dovetails quite nicely with Lord Acton’s statement defining liberty not as the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”

 

Stations on the Road to Freedom by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

DISCIPLINE

If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all things to govern your soul and your senses, for fear that your passions and longings may lead you away from the path you should follow. Chaste be your mind and your body, and both in subjection, obediently, steadfastly seeking the aim set before them; only through discipline may a man learn to be free.

ACTION

Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.

SUFFERING

A change has come indeed. Your hands, so strong and active, are bound; in helplessness now you see your action is ended; you sigh in relief, your cause committing to stronger hands; so now you may rest contented. Only for one blissful moment could you draw near to touch freedom; then, that it might be perfected in glory, you gave it to God.

DEATH

Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal; death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish the walls of our temporal body, the walls of our souls that are blinded, so that at last we may see that which here remains hidden. Freedom, how long we have sought thee in discipline, action, and suffering; dying, we now may behold thee revealed in the Lord.