Visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods to see more entries in Word-Filled Wednesday.
Posted by infinitygoods on April 30, 2008
Visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods to see more entries in Word-Filled Wednesday.
Posted in art, bible, blog, blogging, Blogroll, book, carnival, Christian, Christianity, Church, culture, Faith, Family, God, God's Word, Home, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, life, love, Photography, religion, Spiritual, spirituality, Spreading God's Word, Ti Adoro, Word Filled Wednesday, writing | Tagged: 1 John, 1 John 4:19, bible, Bible quote, Bible verse, Christian, Christianity, daisy, Faith, flower, God, Jesus, John, love, Photography, religion, Spreading God's Word, Word Filled Wednesday | 6 Comments »
Posted by infinitygoods on March 27, 2008
Do you enjoy doing what you are doing in your life right now? Do you have a passion for your job or for your life? Sadly, many of us, perhaps even most of us, answer a resounding “NO!!”. That should be a huge red flag for all of us. What are our joys in life? What are our hobbies? What are our passions? What do we love?
Rick Warren is not the only one to tell us that we should follow our heart’s desires. Psychologists tell us too. Career counselors tell us. Highly successful and renown people tell us. The Bible tells us.
Do we listen? Really listen? Or do we say “Yeah, yeah, I know,” but keep doing the same old rat race, the same old daily grind, the same old rut?
Have no worries, God will use that daily grind purposefully too, but it should lead you somewhere, not keep you stuck in it like quick sand or even cement.
Take the time right now to ponder about what you are enthusiastic or passionate about. Go on, think. Don’t read another word.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 18, 2008
We resume our regularly scheduled program after a short interruption brought to you by: L I F E ! Thanks for your patience and understanding. 🙂
“You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you.” 1 Peter 2:9
Today we start on chapter 29 beginning our study on our fourth purpose: To Serve God.
First, Rick Warren discusses how we accept our assignment from God. He tells us we were created, saved, called and commanded to serve God. We can serve God directly or indirectly. When we serve others, we are also serving God. Guess who we serve if we are serving neither God, nor others.
God often likes to have the least likely person serve. Moses stuttered, yet he spoke to all the slaves of Egypt and even to Pharaoh. Thomas doubted, yet he was one of the apostles to spread Christianity. Who are you? Are you a Jonah, an Elijah, a Martha, a Paul or a Timothy? It doesn’t matter to God if you appear under qualified or even totally wrong for the job. To God, you are absolutely perfect.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 10, 2008
When we think about it, our entire life is nothing but a waiting period. We wait nine months to be born on earth and we wait an entire lifetime to be born into our eternal life.
God’s time is based on eternity. What may seem like eternity for us on earth is the blink of an eye to God.
There is a lesson to be learned. If you’ll allow and forgive the trivial allegory, while we pray: “God give me patience, and I want it right now,” God answers “We will sell no wine before its time.”*
We are the wine and the Vine’s branches. It takes an entire lifetime for us to learn the good, unlearn the not so good, and form our character traits.
Rick Warren asks us “Where in your spiritual growth are you having to be patient because there seems to be little progress?” In which areas do you need to be patient and persistent?
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 9, 2008
Rick Warren gives us a concise plan for defeating the devil’s temptations. When evil thoughts keep attacking our mind, he tells us to focus our attention on something else. We need to distract ourselves.
The second step is to find a friend or support group to help us when we feel vulnerable. Someone to listen and help us through our struggles.
Know our Bible verses to use as powerful ammunition. Jesus himself taught us to quote verses to Satan. We can’t do that if we have not memorized verses. Warren recommends a verse a week.
Warren made me laugh when he wrote not to argue with the devil, because he is “better at arguing than you are, having had thousands of years to practice.” In that light, boy are we completely inexperienced newborn babies so dependent on our Father.
Just like newborns, we are totally vulnerable and therefore need to stay away from temptation, because once in the middle of it, it will be much harder to resist.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 8, 2008
“We are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my dear friends!”
No, this post is not about abortion. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to tease you with that headline! 🙂 Now that I have your attention: God is pro-choice! He gives us the choice between good and evil; to sin or not to sin; to obey or to disobey. He does not force us to do anything. He gives us complete free will. We are not puppets on a string. We are not programed robots.
Each time we are tempted it shows Satan hates our faith. He wants to destroy our faith and he wants to destroy us. The sin is not ours when we are tempted, it is his. He is the one doing the tempting. He is the one who is sinning in perpetuity by loving himself more than God and by trying every trick to destroy our souls.
Rick Warren asks us when are we most tempted? Where are we most tempted?
Think of Satan as the most vile allergy and avoid all triggers like the plague. Then, always ask God for His help. He is always there ready to protect us. It is our choice to ask for help or to sin.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 7, 2008
Who among us would not love a rosy life, completely free of troubles and set backs? Yet, God allows Satan to trouble us. Some people believe, and we are all in danger of all too quickly slipping into the same belief, that times of senseless tragedy prove there is no God or even the oxymoron that God is evil.
God is good and God is love. Satan is the one who brings us evil, destruction, death, senseless tragedy. In my own life all negatives, hardships and tragedies have eventually been turned around for good. God used these times to bring me closer to Him or build character and in the end, bring something so good out of those circumstances which could not have happened otherwise, that really it had to happen that way.
I was wondering what example I could give you, but personal examples either did not seem universal enough or were too difficult for me to share. Then I remembered an e-mail I received a few years ago. I did not find on the Internet the exact and powerful wording which had brought most of us either to tears or close to it, but I did find the passage below which is a paraphrase of that e-mail. It addresses a universal subject which has affected all of us worldwide, not just us living in the United States. It shows how a different, more positive point of view sees God’s hand in turning evil into good.
Where was God during the senseless acts of terrorism of 9/11?
“A very dear friend recently questioned my faith in God right after the terrorist attack on America. Her question was simply put, “Where is your God today?” She was very hurt, as all Americans were, so I tried not to react defensively. Since that moment I have prayed and grieved over the disastrous events. However, I believe I have found some comfort in knowing where my God was the morning of September 11, 2001. He was indeed very busy.
“First of all, he was trying to discourage people from taking the hijacked flights. Those four planes had the capacity to carry over 1000 passengers, yet there were only 266 on board. God was on four commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who was called by a loved one on one of those planes said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights He was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the hijackers.
“He was busy trying to create obstacles for employees trying to reach the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning. On any given day, the buildings could hold 50,000 workers. It was a miracle in itself that 30,000 fewer were in the building that terrible day. How many of the people who were employed at the WTC told the media that day that they were delayed from reaching work on Tuesday because of traffic delays or various other reasons. God held up two 110 story buildings for over an hour so that two-thirds of the workers could get out.
Although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I can see God’s miracles in every bit of it. I can’t imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in God. Life would be hopeless !
Of potentially 74,280 Americans directly targeted by these cowards, 93% survived or avoided the attacks. Pass this information on to those in depression, or in fear, and especially to the media. Don’t fear these cowards and terrorists. God is on our side and in addition, the odds are against the terrorists.” Author Unknown
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 4, 2008
“Truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy.” James 1:25
Rick Warren tells us in Chapter 24 to read the Bible daily and apply God’s words to our daily lives.
When we read the Bible or listen to a sermon or a homily, do we have a closed mind? Do we read it superficially? Or are we distracted? Or do we really understand and accept God’s Word?
I read the Bible, but I admit I am one who skips around the various books. I have studied the Bible in small study groups and I have even taken college religion and Bible classes including a Jewish studies class where we read the first five books of the Old Testament almost line by line. Yet I have never read the entire Bible from cover to cover. Over my lifetime I have more than likely read the great majority of the Bible, but never from start to finish in a linear fashion.
We wouldn’t take other books and hop around back and forth within those books. I have no idea why we do that with the Bible, but that’s the way I’ve always been advised to do it. That’s the way my church has always done it on Sundays picking and choosing verses from the Old Testament and from the New Testament. The Bible studies at church have never followed a linear path either. One day it was Acts, one day it was women of the Bible, another time it was Psalms and Proverbs. We’ve never done it from cover to cover, one Bible study at a time.
Warren tells us we can read the entire Bible in one year if we only commit to 15 minutes a day. I’m a slow reader because with any book I like to fully appreciate each and every single word and their full connotations. So maybe it would take me 30 minutes each day. That’s not difficult. I love to read and I’m sure most of you do to since you spend time reading blogs. I often spend several hours reading books, including the Bible so if just minutes can get me to read every single word of God, then that’s something I am eager to do.
What about you? Perhaps you have already done it, but did you fully appreciate the meaning, the nuances, the connotations? Perhaps it is time to read the Bible from cover to cover another time and truly study its meaning by asking questions and writing down your insights. Pastor Brian at our son’s former school always encouraged that we have a study Bible where we highlight and write in the margins. He even gave each second grader their first adult Bible with a bright yellow highlighter. He told them to highlight every verse they ever memorized and to highlight all the verses that meant something to them. He told them to write in it and keep writing in it all their lives. He made a great ceremony of it. It was like a graduation ceremony, receiving a Bible and highlighter instead of a diploma.
That was not the way I was brought up. When I was in college we had to write in our Bibles and because I could not bring myself to do that in a pristine copy, I got a used hardcover study Bible complete with full-color pictures and commentaries. It was already highlighted and written in, but not much. It is still the copy I use to study my Bible and the one I bring to each Bible study even though it is bulky and heavy, but over the last couple decades, it has been thoroughly highlighted and written in. It has been a great blessing and I fully agree with Pastor Brian. If you haven’t experienced this blessing yet, perhaps you too were taught that you should never write on the word of God (or any book), then go ahead and jump right in. Perhaps you’ll want to get a used copy as I did. The white page will not defend itself with a used copy.
What are your thoughts? I would have a lot more to say about the word of God, but this blog post is already long. Let all of us know how you feel. Or just think about it to yourself if it is easier, but do reflect on it. Take the time to ponder on the subject.
Tomorrow we will move on to Chapt. 25.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 3, 2008
“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2b
“Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.” Philippians 2:5
“We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them.” Romans 15:2-3a
“God has given us His Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way that the people of this world think.” 1 Corinthians 2:12a
Have you ever thought, “what were they thinking?” This happens to me often when I watch TV, which is one of the reasons I don’t watch very often. Many television shows are not based on the love that Christians should show each other. It is so often full of hate, yelling, screaming, arguing, fighting, killing, total chaos and outrageous disharmony. People of this world, as the Bible calls them, don’t always even notice that this is not the way things should be.
Do you think those people who are screaming, fighting, and killing are thinking of others?
This chapter also made me think of all the people who get married too easily. They do not really love each other or even really care about each other. They are getting married for selfish reasons and their “marriage” quickly turns to divorce. That’s because they never realized that a real marriage starts by thinking about your spouse and trying to make your spouse happy. As soon as we try to please ourselves rather than our spouse, we are not holding up our end of the marriage. When both spouses are trying to please and think of their own selves, the “marriage” disintegrates.
Rick Warren tells us that thinking of others is the core of Christianity, the heart of being like Christ and the best evidence for our spiritual growth.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 2, 2008
“Let your roots grow down into Christ and draw up nourishment from Him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth.” Colossians 2:7
We begin the third section of The Purpose Driven Life. Our third purpose is to become like Christ. Rick Warren reminds us of the characteristics of God and of Jesus. We were created in God’s image and were given these same characteristics. We are spiritual beings, intellectual, relational and we have a moral consciousness. Our life on this earth is meant to develop these characteristics. How much work and effort have you put into these areas until now? God is always there to help you with the desire and power to please Him.
Warren tells us that our character is essentially made up of our habits. Did you know it takes approximately three weeks to develop a good habit? Ephesians explains that we have three responsibilities to become Christlike. First, we must act in new ways. Second, we must think in new ways. Third, we must develop new godly habits. How do you habitually or usually act? How do you usually think? What are your habits?
Our ways of thinking and acting or behaving are very important, very key to our character. The way we think and the way we behave can even change the way our brain works. I was watching the documentaries in the DVD of the Aviator with Leonardo DeCaprio and learned that the latest research in psychology shows that actors’ brain waves become like the brain waves of the characters they play. I’m paraphrasing and simplifying a complex area of study, but for example, when DeCaprio was acting like a person who is Obsessive Compulsive, after a few weeks or months of rehearsing and shooting for the movie, an actors’ brain takes on the same characteristics.
I also remember many years ago Justine Bateman had played a role of a young blind woman. Although she is not blind, during the shooting she put her hand right through a glass pane door, missing the door handle completely and slashing her wrist. The articles had quoted her saying she had not seen the handle — just as if she had been actually blind rather than merely pretending to be blind.
So the way we act or behave can really change the way we are. The same goes for our thinking. If we think something, pretty soon we will believe it. We’ve all experienced self-fulfilling prophecies based on whether we thought positively or negatively about something. For these reasons, we need to develop godly ways of thinking and behaving.
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