Tag Archives: christian responsibility

Bearing Fruit – A Book Review

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“Bearing Fruit” is the third installment of Robby Gallatys’ Growing Up series. The series presents a biblical plan for spiritual growth.  In this book Gallaty discusses Christian maturity which is marked by the “fruit” it produces.  He rightly divides law and gospel and does an excellent job of defining some important theological terms:

 

We could say that justification frees us from the penalty of sin, sanctification frees us from the penalty of sin and glorification frees us from the presence of sin.”

 

“Bearing Fruit” focuses on the process of sanctification which Gallaty calls “the most misunderstood” concept of the three.”  He explains that no Christian can produce fruit on his own; fruit comes only from abiding in the true vine, Jesus Christ.  Our fruit is not our own and we do not earn righteousness through our good works.  Fruit is the work of God in the life of the believer.

 

VERDICT:  I would recommend this book as a study for individuals and groups and I would be interested in reading the others in the series.  It includes a plan for yearly Bible reading and memorization.

 

 

http://www.lifeway.com/Product/bearing-fruit-P005793617

 

Posting for Joan Culler

 

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Am I Sorry or Repentant?

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A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Culler gave a sermon on repentance. Now being a Christian, this is probably not an earth shaking topic, right? Well, for some reason after listening to what he said I was struck by the fact that I often say I am sorry but did that mean I was repentant? It is hard to look inside ourselves and admit that we are not living our lives like we should, but I am finding out on my journey that it does not get easier, it gets even harder when you realize the huge sacrifice that was made and how little, sometimes, we appreciate it.

To be repentant means that you will turn away and change your life – have I always done that? Absolutely NOT, As a matter of fact, in retrospect I find that I have rarely been repentant, just sorry. Big difference.

However, being a Christian is about learning and growing and being a little better each day, so my next resolution is to actually think before I say I am sorry and instead learn to be more truly repentant and not just give lip service to the situation.

I am sure that I will fall, but at least I know that I can reach for my brother Jesus’ hand and He will pull me back up on the narrow path that I seem to wobble off of, a lot.

How have you approached being repentant on matters? Have you ever found yourself just saying I am Sorry to get someone off your back?

Share with me your thoughts on the subject – I am All ears or in this case EYES HAHA

Always remember

God Loves You And So Do I
Michele

A Big Responsibility

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Before I retired, I worked for a hospital.  I remember at one of our training meetings, our employer stressed that we, every one of us was the face of Frederick Memorial Hospital to the community.  If we were kind, caring, and helpful, that was how others would see the hospital.  On the other hand if we were rude, careless or disinterested, our workplace would be perceived in a very different way.  Once a person develops a negative opinion about you, it’s very hard to win back their approval.

Reading Leslie’s post yesterday, I realized that being one with Christ carries a big responsibility.  We, the church, the body of Christ, represent Him to the world.  That means, as my husband (a Pastor) keeps telling us, there must be something different about us.  Our actions and attitude must mirror the One we follow.  Otherwise, many will think … what’s the big deal?  Why should I give up my time and money to be part of the church?  Those people are just the same as everyone else.

In the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians we learn something about how we are supposed to convey the presence of Christ to the world:

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  …For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men as sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”  2 Corinthians: 2:14, 17

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual”  1 Corinthians 2:12-13

If we are one with Christ, our words and actions will become more and more like His.  We will be noticeably different because we have His mind and His Spirit within us.  We are His ambassadors, entrusted with sharing His good news with the world.  Are you up for this responsibility?

 

Freedom, Responsibility, & Unity With Christ

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Freedom, Responsibility, & Unity With Christ

Good morning! Today is July 4th. It’s a day that we, in America, celebrate our country’s independence. We celebrate with cookouts, spending time with family/ friends, and of course fireworks.

As I sit and think about the idea of gaining independence, my mind gravitates to thinking about the responsibility that comes with it. Being independent does afford us freedoms, but are we truly, 100% free? The answer is no. We are still under the authority of our government, in fact three branches of it, at national, state, and local levels. We are all under the authority of the law of the land and we must obey it. If you are still finishing your education, whatever level you are at, you are still under the authority of your school and your teachers. In the workplace, we are subject to the rules and regulations of our superiors. If you are still living in your parents house, whether you are an adult or not, you are bound to your parents rules and the way they choose to run it.

When we become adults, we feel as though we are free to do things we once weren’t allowed to do…drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, going to clubs, having a credit card, going into X-rated places, parading around at all hours of the night, buying your own car, buying your own house, marrying whom you choose to marry, speaking the way you want to, dressing the way you want to, acting the way you want to.

All of our freedoms come with great responsibility. Just because you are allowed to do things you once were not, does NOT mean you should. Each choice we make in life comes with consequences, both good and bad. Our choices don’t just affect us, but they affect the people around us as well. Let me give you some examples…

  • you can choose to drink alcohol (and that’s fine) but it comes with the responsibility to not become so intoxicated that you harm yourself or other people
  • you can smoke cigarettes (perfectly legal) but you are choosing to harm your body physically and harm the bodies of those most closest to you by breathing 2nd hand smoke
  • you can choose to do drugs but once you take that first dose of poison into your veins the craving for it becomes stronger and ultimately leads to death…leaving behind love ones to pick up the pieces your brokenness has caused
  • you can go to a club to go dancing (this can be pretty harmless) but it comes with the sexual responsibility of not hooking up with a different person each time
  • as an adult, to gain credit worthiness in our world, you must have a credit card… but it comes with the responsibility to NOT live outside of your means and NOT to become loaded with a huge lump of debt that you cannot pay for
  • you can choose to look at pornography or go to a strip club, but ultimately you hurt yourself and your relationships… both now and in the future… because those images are ingrained in your mind and lead you down a path that is very difficult to come back from (Just watch Ted Bundy’s last words and interview on YouTube, with Dr. James Dobson, before his death sentence was carried out… eye opening!)
  • buying your own car and house are things we all have to do, but comes with the responsibility of paying your bills on time and maintaining your property
  • Speaking how you want…dressing how you want…acting how you want… these are things that can be good, but come with the responsibility of being respectful of yourself and other people

All freedoms come with the price of responsibility, whether we like it or not. The responsibility we have keeps us in check, and ultimately keeps us from pushing the boundaries of sin. Freedom and independence are really about our relationship with God. If we are in an intimate, growing relationship with God, seeking to be more Christ like in our thinking and our actions, the more we understand the great responsibility we have and the price that was paid for it.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for ALL mankind when he took OUR sins, on HIS shoulders, and died on the cross. As sinners, saved by Grace, we have a great responsibility… and an immense freedom that comes with it.

Romans chapter 6 talks about freedom, responsibility, and being unified with Christ…

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is THE ultimate freedom, THE ultimate independence, THE ultimate responsibility.

Are you living a life foundationally grounded in the freedom found in Christ alone? Are you unified with Christ so well that you understand the great responsibility it comes with? Or are you a slave to sin and have lost that freedom?

Ultimately, it is your choice… but I say CHOOSE CHRIST! There is no better way to live your life, no better freedom, no better responsibility, no better unification, than in an intimate, growing relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ! I pray that if you haven’t already, today you will choose Christ, and ultimately choose an eternal freedom found only in HIM.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

 

photo courtesy of christbiz.com

 

 

Interactive Study Blog – Book of Jude

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Okay, so I know it has been some time since I posted a study blog, no excuses from me – just did not set aside time to get it done.

I have chosen to review the Book of Jude. Although it is only one chapter, there is a wealth of information that I feel needs to be covered.

Let us start with a bit of background on the book itself. The book was written by Jude, Jesus’ brother. There is no indication to whom the letter was written, but the contents are as applicable today as they were when it was originally written.

The book seems to focus primarily on false teachings and reckless sinning. I feel this is an extremely important subject today. I see and hear a lot of “Pastors” talking about how God wants us to be happy and successful. This seriously concerns me. In the scripture we are clearly told that we are not to store up treasures on Earth and that all our treasures are in heaven (Matthew 6:19) Now I am paraphrasing this scripture here, but that it was it says. We are not to long for material things on this world but we are to strive for a spiritual fulfillment that only comes from the Word of God. We must also show concern when we are told that we have God’s grace and can sin with immunity. NO we cannot. We are to; again, strive to be better each and every day and to not sin. Now we will always sin, but there are those sins which we do have control over and yet continue to do that concerns me. Now I have to admit, I have those types of sins myself, and cannot seem to stop doing them, but everyday I try and so one day I am certain I will stop.

I guess what I am trying to tell you, is that No one can sin without there being repercussions, either on Earth or in Heaven – we will all be held accountable on judgment day. Also, we must also stand up for the word of God. If you know that the person that is preaching is not using the correct scriptures or using only the parts that suit them – You need to stand up and say something. Do not be afraid of standing up for the word of God, God will smile down upon you for doing so.

We are also called to witness to all, even those we think may not need it – they probably need it the most- our family, whether it be our blood or church, our friends our co-workers. Now I know that it is politically incorrect to spread the Good News in most social settings, but remember that we spread the news not only through words but also in the was we live our lives. So keep that in mind the next time someone makes you angry. You may be the only face of Jesus they see, make sure it is a good one they see.

In closing, when in doubt, ask your Father (god), your Brother (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit for guidance through prayer. They are always listening and ready to give a hand.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

How To Be A Christian Witness

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As Joan stated in an earlier blog, I am going to be speaking on Apostolic Action on an upcoming Via De Cristo weekend.  She asked me to post a few of the things I will be saying.  This post will be about how to witness.  I may follow up at a later date with how I witness.

To be effective in apostolic action we need to develop relationships with the people to whom we want to show Christ’s love.

We need to remember to talk to God about your friend before talking to your friend about God.

1. Pray first, last and always John 17:20 “I am praying not for these disciples but also for all who will EVER believe in me through their message” Please realize that the verse is telling us that John is praying for us in our discipleship
2. Make a friend – Show genuine interest in their lives as a whole not just their spiritual well being
3. Be a friend – Proverbs 17:17A “A friend is always loyal” Be accepting and tolerant NOT judgmental Show them the love of Christ by your loyalty
4. Bring your friend to Christ – It is only after prayer, an initial introduction of yourself, and taking the time to be a true friend that will bring to your friend the knowledge of salvation.

Apostolic Action flows from us
When we put Christ as the center of our lives – John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less”
From our personal encounter with Christ – John 15:16a “You didn’t choose me I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit”
And our encounters with our brothers and sisters – Matthew 5:16 “In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”
It is important that we understand that our testimony is not only in the words we speak but also our deeds. “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words. This is a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Is being a witness of Christ easy – NO.  But think about it this way, it wasn’t easy to die on a cross but He did – So we need to face our reservations, concerns, fears, whatever you want to call them and do as commanded by the man who died for us.  It is a very small price to pay for the love He has shown us.  Wouldn’t you say??

 

As always, remember

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

 

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapters 8 & 9

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Okay so this time I am doing 2 chapters because they seem to need it.

In chapter 8 we are told Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and how because of his crucifixion we no longer have to sacrifice for our sins as per the old covenant. In Exodus (25:40) God tells us that there will be a new covenant coming. When Jesus came and was crucified, that is the new covenant. A perfect sacrifice for an imperfect world.

Chapter 9 goes into the rules of the old covenant in more detail. Now if you have ever read Leviticus (it took me 2 months) the rules and penalties for sin were pretty hard to keep track of.

I can tell you one thing for certain, if I had to sacrifice an animal every time I sinned – there would be no animals left on the planet.

Now God was gracious enough to give us a new covenant, but we didn’t follow the old one. I guess it is a good thing that with the new one we do nothing to receive His salvation.

Well these are my thoughts on these 2 chapters, what do you think? Leave a comment, let me know.

Remember

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 6

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Most people like cake – There is a lady at my church who thinks the best part is the frosting. The sweeter the better. This chapter is again telling us about maturing in our faith, so I figure that I will compare it to eating cake. I like cake, I like frosting but to get the entire taste experience you need to eat both, I mean German Chocolate cake without the pecan & coconut frosting would not be that great.

What I am saying is that we cannot just live by the parts of the Bible we like, we have to live by all of it. We cannot pick and choose the rules, we have to adhere to them all.

We cannot grow in our faith (mature) unless we eat ALL the words, not just the parts we like. I hope this makes sense.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

The Church: The Bride of Christ

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At the end of our church service today we sang “The Church’s One Foundation” and I came away from there with the basis for this article.  The words to that hymn were written by Samuel J. Stone and he couldn’t have written anything better to explain Ephesians 5:25-33.  This section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians describes the relationship between a husband and wife, but at the end he turns it and says he’s really talking about Christ and the church.

I did a little research on the traditional Jewish wedding, because our wedding customs are so far away from what they were in Jesus’s time.  I found the more I uncovered about marriage in biblical times, the idea that the church is Christ’s Bride made sense.  I’ve always taken this passage for granted, that it was more an admonishment for husbands, but I’ve found this not to be true.  Well, it is a good admonishment for husbands but it’s so much more.

In Christ’s time, when a bridegroom decides to pick a bride, he would travel from his parent’s home to the bride’s home to see her father.  He would then negotiate with the bride’s father for the “Bride Price”.  The price that the bridegroom is willing to pay for the bride.  When the price is agreed upon and the price is paid, then a covenant is established.  This is much, much more than our engagements.  This was a contract that was binding.  The bride is now only for that bridegroom, she can take no other offers.   The bride and bridegroom are considered married at this point, with one big exception.  The marriage has not been consummated. As much as a year can go by as preparations for the wedding are being made.  The bride is pampered and cleansed.  She prepares herself to become a wife.  The groom is also preparing by purchasing a home and getting it ready for his bride.

Now here is where we are.  Christ came down from heaven and he has paid the “Bride Price”.  The price was hanging on a cross for our sins, He paid with his life.  What a heavy price to pay!  Jesus rose up from the grave and he is now in Heaven preparing a place for us.  In John 14, Jesus says “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”.

To continue on with the marriage traditions the next thing to happen is that the bridegroom comes back for his bride.  The bride really doesn’t know when this will happen, so it is her job to always be prepared.  The groom starts a procession that usually happens at night.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable about ten bridesmaids.  These girls are to be ready when the bridegroom comes to take his bride.  Since this happens at night, they need to have oil lamps to light the way to the bride.  One person in this party goes ahead of the group and shouts “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out and meet him!”  This is recorded in Matthew but is also listed in the marriage customs.  The bridegroom follows along until they get to the bride’s parents home.  He then takes the bride and brings her back to his home where a huge feast is held and the marriage is consummated.  Once the feast starts, the doors are closed and locked.  Remember the 10 bridesmaids?  Five of them didn’t have enough oil for their lamps, they ran out of oil and had to go buy some more.  They were late to the feast and so were shut out of the festivities.

We, who are the church, are preparing for Christ’s return for us.  He will come back to get us and take us to his home in Heaven where the marriage feast will be held.  Revelation 19: 6-8 reads:

“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
 it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

I can only pray that we will all be ready for the Marriage Feast.  We need to keep this in the forefront of our minds to be prepared, to be ready.  Remember that the bride doesn’t know when the bridegroom will come.  She has to stay ready.

Until then, we can sing songs to remind us to be ready, like the one we sang this morning:

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord
She is His new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

 

As published in “The Lutheran Ambassador”  May 2016 Vol. 54 No. 5

Freedom by Decision

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We spend everyday making decisions in our life. What we are going to eat, who we will talk to, what we will wear, where we will go, and the list goes on. The most important decision we will make is which gate we will walk through, the narrow or wide one.
In case you are wondering where I am going with this – stay with me it will become clearer as I go on. A couple of weeks ago the gospel reading at the church I attend was Matthew 7:12-14 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” I am going to focus on verses 13&14. Jesus is talking about the path to Christianity here. I am not sure if I totally got it before the sermon that Sunday; but I can honestly say that I understand it now. The sermon spoke of how the narrow gate and the path will not be easy or smooth like the wide gate and that we only go through the gate one at a time not as a group. Now before you think I am not making any sense, I want you to think about it – We are told repeatedly in the Bible that the way of the Lord is hard and we will meet untold troubles on the way. So why do we think that all we have to do to get to heaven is accept Him as our savior with no real heartfelt desires to pursue His word. We should be grateful that we are even given the opportunity to be a child of God and be willing to accept what trials or troubles may come forth from it. The sermon went into great detail about the wide gate and how many will want to enter through there because it is the easy way to go and that the narrow gate is not the most appealing way but is the only way to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. To enter through the narrow gate we must be ready to let go of all the earthly baggage we have; whether it is material things we use as idols, emotional things we cannot let go of or just a basic refusal to accept the writing in the Bible as it stands without changing it to meet what it is we want.
I know I am not giving the sermon the justice it deserves by my paraphrasing here, but I hope you get the picture. We have the FREEDOM to make the DECISION to enter the NARROW GATE, I hope I see you on the path with me.
I want to thank the person who wrote and delivered that sermon; my husband Jim Edgel for opening my eyes to the path I need to be on. Thank you so much, and I love you.

Always Remember
God Loves You And So Do I
Michele Edgel