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 April 8, 2008
Have you ever celebrated Pesach or Passover as Jesus did with His apostles for The Last Super?
Pictured here are samples of the Seder Plates used for the Passover dinner. Our church and several other churches in our area celebrate the seder meal each year and several newspaper articles have been written about it in the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. Has this Jewish celebration been adopted by your church, I wonder? If you are Jewish, I’d love to hear about your memories or what you look forward to each year during Passover.
Visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods for more Word-Filled Wednesday Participants.
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Posted by infinitygoods on March 16, 2008
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 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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Posted by infinitygoods on March 1, 2008
In this chapter Rick Warren speaks about protecting our church, but what he says can also apply to all of our relationships whether with co-workers, friends, or a spouse.
Don’t you think his advise applies to all relationships? Our relationship with our church and its members, parishioners or congregation is very important because the church is important to God. Warren tells us “nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church.”
Do you agree that it is your responsibility to protect the unity of your church? Does our church extend outside the 4 walls of the physical building? I think it does.
How many of these do you practice regularly, at church and all through the week?
Which ones are easy for you? Which ones are a bigger challenge? Are you prepared to follow Warren’s Bible-based advise? How often do you witness in church people focusing on differences, not being realistic, criticizing, gossiping, arguing or holding grudges, and perhaps even speaking out against your pastor or other church leaders? Does it seem unchristian?
Tomorrow we will begin Chapt. 22 on our third purpose: to become like Christ.
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Posted by infinitygoods on February 29, 2008
Jesus said, “If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” Matthew 5:23-24
Did you read the verse above? Go ahead and read it again. It’s pretty powerful and it tells me friendships are very important to Jesus and to God. Loving our fellow man is more important than worshiping or offerings, we are told here.
And we must make the first step in reconciling even if it is the other person who has the grudge. If we wait for the other person while the other person waits for us, what does that do to bring reconciliation? Most people, Rick Warren tells us, are in conflict when there is an unmet need. It might be a fear or a miscommunication, but something needs to be addressed and with haste.
How many relationships do you need to restore? Do you see a pattern in your broken or hurt relationships? Who will you be inspired to contact thanks to reading and understanding this chapter? Ask God to help you. Tell Him all you are feeling. Tell Him your hurts and your fears and ask for His guidance.
We have finished the first half of the book — the first 20 days. Tomorrow we will discuss how to protect our church with Chapt. 21.
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Posted by infinitygoods on February 28, 2008
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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