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Archive for the ‘Purpose Driven Life’ Category

The Power Of Love: Purpose Driven Life Chapt. 25

Posted by infinitygoods on March 7, 2008

redwoods-3-by-skooterdawg.jpgWho 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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It’s My Party And I’ll Sing If I Want To, Sing If I Want To

Posted by infinitygoods on March 6, 2008

5 Minutes For Mom Blog Party

Welcome to my blog party!

Fancy a cuppa by dubbieLet me show you around. For ambiance we need some music and no party is complete without some food so, just click on my recipe page.

Now, we’re ready for some great conversation. Here my friendly readers and I talk about God, organizing our homes, we share household tips, we have fun with holidays all through the year (even Chinese New Year and Leap Year), we share recipes. Just yesterday, one of my readers gave me her first place award winning recipe for Peanut Butter Brownie Torte.

I love photography, books and adventures so you’ll find those too.bird-singing-5-by-andrew-pescod.jpg

I participate in Works For Me Wednesday, Thursday Thirteen and Word-Filled Wednesday and the links will take you to just a sample of 2007-12-21-half-moon-bay-beach-009-copy.jpgmy entries for these carnivals.

I won some awards, have repeatedly earned Fastest Growing WordPress Blog and Top Post too, if you don’t mind me bragging just a bit.

My grand-mother used to say “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are,” so to help you mingle in this party, let me introduce you to just a few of the people who visit me and those I visit. When you come back, you’ll meet a lot more, but for today, here’s just a few:

  • 4urpets is a friend in real life and her humorous blog is about her 3 Chihuahuas;
  • Tad Cronn is a newspaper editor who writes about conservative news not often published in the liberal media;It’s Snowing In Los Angeles — Must Be Global WARMING!! by Infinity Goods
  • Texas Tanya is a mom who adopted two wonderful boys, has great ideas and likes photography;
  • Amy Deanne is the new bloggy friend who hosts Word-Filled Wednesday;
  • Gina has a fun public diary, participates at Works For Me Wednesday and you’ll see her at 4urpets too;
  • Erin Craig is a newlywed with a Weimaraner (dog) and she also loves photography;
  • Look over at my right sidebar and you’ll see more people who link to me and people I visit.

Make yourselves at home, enjoy the party, and be sure to sign the guest book so I can visit you in return. I hope we will become friends and visit each other often.

Posted in blog, blogging, Blogroll, books, Caring, carnival, Christianity, Cooking, culture, Desserts, entertainment, Faith, Family, Flickr, Food, Friendship, God's Word, Holidays, Home, Household Tips, How To, humor, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, Photography, Purpose Driven Life, reading, Recipe, religion, Spreading God's Word, Thursday 13, Thursday Thirteen, Word Filled Wednesday, works for me wednesday, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Key To Happiness By Reading & Understanding The Bible: Chapt. 24 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on March 4, 2008

Walking Inside The Painting by Araleya from Flickr public files

“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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The Characteristics Of Biblical Fellowship Begin At Home: Chapt. 19 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 28, 2008

Green Tree Fae Scotland by idg from Flickr public files“Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.” Proverbs 16:28

I think that real community and real fellowship is where a lot of churches fail.  None of us are perfect and our flaws are only multiplied where we gather in large groups such as in a church.  This is why it’s important to find small groups within our churches where we can belong.

It’s difficult for people to adhere to all nine characteristics of biblical fellowship that Rick Warren describes: authenticity, mutuality, sympathy, mercy, honesty, humility, courtesy, confidentiality and frequency.  It’s a long list, and the larger the group the better the chances that not everyone will be on board, plus as humans even with the best of intentions we may not achieve our goals.

But while we cannot account for others’ thoughts and actions we need to focus on attaining these traits ourselves.  It’s similar to being a great friend or spouse.  If we try our best to be a good friend, in many instances our friends will be good friends in return.  When we are good spouses, our spouses reciprocate too most of the time.  Even a small action like a smile will usually give us another smile in return.  It seems very hard for people to see someone smile at them and for them to continue frowning.  That frown almost always melts into a smile.  It’s just as contagious as a yawn.  This is what we need to strive for in our churches and it starts with our own selves and one small group at a time.

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Put Time And Effort Into What Matters Most to God: LOVE Purpose Driven Life Chapt. 16

Posted by infinitygoods on February 24, 2008

Untitles by R4pH in Flickr public files “‘You must love the Lord your God will all your heart…’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

Have you noticed that most of these chapters are about love?  Does it seem like it just might be important?  Rick Warren tells us it is what matters most.  Matthew tells us that Jesus told his apostles that loving God and loving His people are the two greatest commandments and that the other commandments are based on these two.

So if love is so important to God, how much time and effort do we put into it?  How many hours do we spend showing our love to God?  Or showing our love to our families?  Or to our fellow man, whether they are Christians, Jews or even non-believers?

Let’s not wait until we are on our deathbed to realize that our relationships are our most important accomplishments.  As Warren reminds us, “All you’re taking with you is your character.”  We won’t be taking any awards, gold watches, money, cars, designer clothes, or any material trappings showing earthly successes.  Yet, how often do we get trapped or sucked into the rat race for the material, sometimes even in the hope of helping or pleasing our families, but in reality robbing our loved ones of a quality relationship with us?

Even when we spend time together, how often are we not even looking at our loved ones?  How many of us eat in the car with our children staring at the back of our heads?  How often do we stare at the road, going to yet another destination?  At home, are we staring at a TV screen or a computer screen?  Even when we are cooking for our family, are we looking at our children when they speak to us, or are we too busy following the recipe?  How often do we face each other and look into each other’s eyes?

Posted in America, author, book, books, Christian, Christianity, culture, education, Faith, Family, Flickr, God, God's Word, Home, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Lent, life, love, Purpose Driven Life, reading, religion, Rick Warren, Spiritual, spirituality, Spreading God's Word, Tradition, U.S., United States, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are You Baptized? Come Join God’s Family! Chapt. 15 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 23, 2008

Water Fountain by holidaygirl in Flickr public files

“Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ’s body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13

 

We begin discussion on our second purpose, which according to Rick Warren is to be formed for God’s family.

Are you baptized? If you believe in Christ and God, Warren tells us you should be already. Without delay, you should have been baptized. He says, “Like a wedding ring, it is a visible reminder of an inward commitment made in your heart. It is an act of initiation, not something to put off until you are spiritually mature. The only biblical condition is that you believe.”

I was baptized as an infant and we baptized our son as an infant as well. There was no delay. As most of my regular readers know, I worked for our church for several years. When I started working there, I was highly surprised to find out (and you might be too) that many people attending church every Sunday and some even during the week, are not baptized. And since Warren brings up wedding rings, you might find it interesting to know that many people are not married either, even though all would think that they are.

People put things off. They start living together and pretty soon there are children. People just assume they are married. They are good people. They go to church. They participate in the church. They volunteer for the church. They donate money to the church. They go through all the motions, but they never got around to getting married. And when it comes time to baptizing the children, they never get around to it either.

Now of course this is not everybody. But it is a far greater number than you realize. Some young couples have even come to our church to get married and they themselves assumed they had been baptized because they had attended church their entire lives, but later came to find out from their parents, after the pastor asked, that, no, no one had ever actually taken the time to baptize them over the years — over the decades.

Does any of this surprise you? I was greatly surprised. At first I thought it would be one or two isolated cases, but as I continued working, I came to realize that it was far more prevalent than it should be, especially for people who are attending church. I’m not talking about people who don’t believe in God here. I’m not talking about people who only occasionally attend church, whenever it’s convenient or once or twice a year for Easter or Christmas. I’m talking about church regulars.

People don’t realize this is often the case because of course this is confidential information. The pastor, the staff are not going to blab or gossip about the people who attend their church.

If this describes you, there should be no shame and as you can see, you are far from being alone. There is no need to postpone any longer because you are afraid of telling your pastor. It’s OK. He’s unfortunately all too used to it and will rejoice in baptizing you. So postpone no longer if you truly believe in your heart in Jesus and in God. Go get baptized.

And if you are and you baptized your children too, thank God. Thank Him and praise Him for having led you to Him through His church.

Posted in America, author, book, books, Christian, Christianity, culture, education, Faith, Family, Flickr, God, Home, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Lent, life, Photography, Purpose Driven Life, religion, Spiritual, spirituality, Tradition, U.S., United States, USA, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

God Is Always Present: Chapt. 14 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 21, 2008

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

Distant by serni in Flickr in public files

“God may kill me, but still I will trust Him.”  Job 13:15

We will never meet anyone as faithful as God.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” he has promised throughout the Bible.  Yet most of us will go through periods in our lives where we feel abandoned by God.  Even if we look for Him, God remains hidden to us.  It is a lesson for growth and a test of faith.

We know that God loves us and we know that God keeps his promises.  Rick Warren tells us once again to speak to God.  We are to tell Him exactly how we feel.  What emotions have you felt when God seemed distant?  Did you tell Him how you felt?  How often do we have a real conversation with God, not just a formal prayer or a laundry list of requests, but real communication?  Do we tell him everything — our pleasures, our dislikes, our emotions, our hurts or our times of happiness?

When we go through times like this, we can also try to remember all that God has done for us in the past.  I know that no matter how bad things have gone in my life, God always turned things for the best.  Bad situations always turned to good.  Always.  There is no reason to doubt that he will continue to turn all seemingly bad situations into good.  It is hard to keep that in mind when we are in the thick of negative times, but if we conciously keep that in mind while our life is still good, it will be easier to remember when we need to.

Warren tells us that it is during these times when we continue to trust and believe God that we “worship him in the deepest way.”

Today ends the second section of The Purpose Driven Life.  Tomorrow we will start discussion on our second purpose, “You were formed for God’s family,” with Chapt. 15.

Posted in America, author, book, books, Christian, Christianity, Church, culture, education, Faith, Family, Flickr, God, God's Word, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Lent, life, Photography, Purpose Driven Life, reading, religion, Rick Warren, Spiritual, spirituality, U.S., United States, USA, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Worship Is Not One Size Fits All: Purpose Driven Life Chapt. 13

Posted by infinitygoods on February 20, 2008

Bold Tree by Zack Stern in Flickr public files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

How do you worship God? Do you have more than one way? Does it change with the seasons or as you have gotten older?

Rick Warren tells us to be accurate, authentic, thoughtful and practical. To be accurate, he tells us to know the word of God. To be authentic it must be genuine, heartfelt and with deep feeling. We should be thoughtful rather than merely going through motions and we should be living sacrifices. We should live for God, not for ourselves.

How do most of us measure up? Are some ways easier than others? Do you read the Bible? When you go to church to you go through the motions, barely even hearing the week’s message or are you fully focused on God?

We all have our good days and our bad ones of course. But how do we rate most of the time? What is in our heart? Are we going to church for God, for ourselves, for keeping up appearances?

Chapt. 14

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Everything For His Glory: Chapt. 7 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 13, 2008

Green Tree HDR by dontoto1 from Flickr public files“Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory.” Romans 11:36

Everything. Absolutely everything comes from God. So isn’t it appropriate that we should praise Him, thank Him, and Glorify Him?

Rick Warren writes “Living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives.” I can testify that working directly for God is the greatest feeling. When I worked for our church, I did not feel I was working for my earthly employers. I felt I was working for God.

While working for the church, people came to our staff, myself included, to be served and people came to hear about God, Jesus and religion. People even came to be loved and some had no one else to love them so they became a close part of the community. And if you love God, how can you not worship Him when you are on church grounds all day long? It is indescribable the amount of joy and energy one receives from even just attempting to glorify God. I fall so short of being like Jesus Christ, but God still rewarded me, and us, with joy and energy and all the gifts needed to serve and love and speak about Him.

Our Deacon had the most amazing gift to say the most glorious things to make grieving people find hope. He would say it was not him, but the Holy Spirit speaking through him. He would say that he struggled to speak and every once in a while we saw that. But when someone needed to be served and loved, the most amazing words flowed out of his mouth like the softest, most comforting breeze enveloping in a blanket of love. It was the Holy Spirit. We witnessed it time and again.

Warren says “God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him.” I would even say if you will just make the choice to TRY to live for him. If you just take that first step with all of your heart and soul, God will carry you the rest of the way.

Now most reading this, I’m sure do not have the privilege and opportunity to work directly for God in a church, but you have families, neighbors, coworkers. You can serve them for God’s glory. Much of our staff’s work was completely mundane, but we did it all for God’s glory. When you answer that telephone at work, do it for God. When you dust a table, praise God that you have a table to dust. When you water a plant do it to keep one of God’s creations alive. When you clean a child’s throw up, do it because God trusts you.

Your entire life, your very breath can be dedicated to God’s glory. You can even say as suggested in the Purpose Driven Life, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” It sounds a lot like communion and you can glorify God — you can do this in remembrance of Jesus.

If you truly meant the words “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you,” Warren urges that you tell someone. You can even e-mail him, you can comment here, you can tell a Christian friend, you could even tell a complete stranger, but tell someone.

Today, we finished the first section of the book to find out what we were put on this earth for. For the next seven days, we will look at the second section which describes our first purpose: we were planned for God’s pleasure. Keep thinking about what we read and discussed this week and I’ll be back tomorrow to discuss Chapt. 8. Blessings to you and yours.

Posted in America, book, books, Christian, Christianity, Church, culture, education, Faith, Family, Flickr, God, Home, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Lent, life, Purpose Driven Life, religion, Spiritual, spirituality, Tradition, U.S., United States, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Camping Trip In Preparation For All Of Eternity: Chapt. 4 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 10, 2008

Tentglow by Erik Lawrence from Flickr public files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“When this tent we live in — our body here on earth — is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

Our lives are as short as the blink of an eye when we compare it to eternity. Time is short and we should make haste to prepare for heaven because we never know when we will take our last breath. Death is not only for the old. While I was working for our church I saw several hundred families lose loved ones of all ages. The majority were not that old. The old were even the exceptions. I saw newborn babies die, preschoolers, young children, teenagers, men and women in every decade of their lives.

It doesn’t really matter if your earthly affairs are in order. Yes, you’ll be making life more difficult for those you leave behind, but in the great big scheme of things, it just doesn’tMatthew Henry (1662-1714) matter in the least. But are your affairs for eternal life in order? Your entire eternity depends on it. You’ll either be going up, or you’ll be going down. In one split second it will be too late. Your time to prepare will be over. Warren reminds us we should live as if it were the last day of our lives. He quotes Matthew Henry, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.” Thinking about death or funerals is difficult for many people. But living in oblivion like a bunch of ostriches with our heads buried in the sand will do us no good.

Warren asks us these two questions. “If everyone understood that life on earth is really preparation for eternity, how would we act differently? Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?”

Don’t forget to leave some of your thoughts. Tomorrow we will look at Chapt. 5. Blessings to you and yours.

Posted in America, book, books, Christian, Christianity, Church, culture, education, Faith, Flickr, God, history, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Lent, life, Purpose Driven Life, religion, Spiritual, spirituality, U.S., United States, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »