I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate your kindness, and your insights into the "pleo-world".
I'm very happy that so many of you have commented this time, and I hope that as we continue in the Gospel
our comments help us to see the ministry and life of Christ in a richer and more applicable way.
In an effort to keep the spiritual discussion in the forefront, I am going to be editing off my personal whining, and some of the "fluff"
and keep the focus on the Scriptures and our discussion of them.
Don't be shy about making social comments too though. I am starting to get to know some of you and am enjoying your company.
Please remember one of the goals of this reading is to speak about what is PERSONALLY CHALLENGING for you, and also what is giving you ENCOURAGEMENT.
My prayer is that we all begin to see Christ in a new light,
and that the study of the Gospel will help us see more of a unity in his message, that many times "religion" has mired up with too many other things.
I'll be posting John 3 tomorrow, and as was suggested, I'm going to break up my comments on it into two parts- (one for Sunday, one for Wednesday)
so the posts are not such a tedious read.
Thank you all again.
I very much appreciate your willingness to comment here, your desire to build others up, and your love for the Gospel and the Kingdom of our Lord.
The Prayer list will begin in January- I'm looking forward to it!
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Here's a little Holiday treat:
THE SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE
It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our
Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas --oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -
the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -
the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual
shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.
Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against another team sponsored by an inner-city group.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings
seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.
It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."
Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.
That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city group.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.
His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition --one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game,
another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.
It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our
children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.
The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.
But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.
The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember the true reason for the season, and
the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
To those who got my invite I want to apologize for any pressure you may have felt by me. Pressuring you certainly was not my intent.
I was told about this site by a good friend named Robert (truthme). And he encouraged me to be on here and to read the scriptures together with all of you,
to come to common ground and have a united discussion on what the Bible says.
If you have been invited to this blog- you should know that you have had a positive impact on people.
My HOPE is to offer a place of encouragement based soley on the Word of God, and keep it from any bickering between people, or denominational groups.
My desire is that you here on pleo can be encouraged as we discuss the word, and build each other up- as we stand amazed at the written account of our Great God,
and his desire to share himself with us.
My name is Scott-
but please, I'd like to be called BW.
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If you are willing, the chapter for this week is JOHN 2.
I really would love your input, and would love to have us share this together.
JOHN CHAPTER 2-
My hope is as we start preparing to be more effective in sharing the life giving message of Christ with the lost, we can start by encouraging the united study of it among the saved.
and invite your friends to participate.
The goal is to read John chapter 2 this week, and share:
#1- What you learned from it
#2 What encouragement you got from it
and #3- What you plan on doing differently in your life because of it.
I hope you get as much out of this as I do.
Starting in January, we will begin our prayer list too.
and as always.... don't forget to read the posts below if you are a newcomer.
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JOHN CHAPTER 2
John 2 shows us some amazing qualities of Jesus.
It begins with his first miracle- where Jesus begins to show his disciples his glory-
Do you want to know what I think is the coolest part of Jesus’ miracles?
He let other people in on them.
His disciples passed out the loaves and fishes that fed so many-
(can you imagine handing out a multiplying meal?)
When he healed people, many times the family members and servants were in on it-
And here, it was the servants who poured in the water that right before their eyes turned into wine.
But have you ever considered that this was his first miracle?
It is easy to read over verse 3, when Mary comes to him and says “They have no more wine”
And it is easy to miss the feeling in Jesus’ words when he replies:
“Woman, why do you involve me, my time has not yet come”
But Mary knew exactly what she was asking for, and so did Jesus.
You see Jewish wedding feasts lasted a week.
And for the host to run out of food or wine was very embarrassing, it was socially crippling
And according to their laws they could actually be fined for it.
But what we see here is a lesson that we all can learn from
When faithful people need help they turn to Jesus.
Look at who Jesus was here: He was the guest-
Jesus was not stuffy, he was not a recluse-
He accepted invitations to social events, and he enjoyed life to the full.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say,
'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." '
Although some used his life against him, the people around him were amazed by him
Jesus has the ability to enter life’s normal experiences and sanctify them by his presence.
Jesus was invited to this wedding. He was a friend.
He made people feel warm and welcome and secure-
I wonder if we would invite him to our parties.
Do we know him as a friend?
Going on in chapter 2, Jesus then shows: His zeal-
One of the hardest things for me to figure out in this passage is how I can look at the zeal of Christ-
Then look at my own life
And then decide how I will “walk as Jesus did”
You see, the priests here had established a very lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for temple money.
And then selling the animals needed for sacrifice.
This “religious market” started off as a convenience for the Jews, who had to travel long distances to come and sacrifice.
I mean why sacrifice your best, when you can come by a sacrifice from us?
And then it became a business – not a ministry.
The tragedy is, this business was carried out in the court of the Gentiles-
The place where the Jews should have been meeting people and telling them about the one true God-
But the moneymakers had other things on their mind.
And I look at this and ask myself- what is my priority?
What do I spend my time doing in the places where I should be telling people about God?
At work- in my neighborhood- in the marketplaces…
What Jesus did was he cleansed the temple.
But look at 1 Cor 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
What do I do when this temple needs a cleaning?
What the disciples saw in Jesus was ZEAL !
Can you imagine the disciples – “WOW he is serious”
Overturning the tables, taking on the leaders, standing up for what is right!
But what about us?
Have we forgotten the seriousness of the task, the call, and the standard?
What do we do, when we see hypocrisy or lukewarmness in the church or our lives?
How do we handle the sin that is in our temple?
How do we deal with the sin around us?
Can you now see the difficulty in looking at my life and claiming to walk as Jesus did?
John 2:17 says of Jesus-
His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Is that what consumes you too?
Jesus came and changed everything this day.
Can you imagine the emotion these disciples were having to deal with?
On this one day, he made enemies with the rulers of the temple.
He declared an end to the legal system
He declared himself to be the new sacrifice (John 1: 29)
He declared himself to be the new temple (John 2:19)
And John will tell us later how he set forth a new standard of worship (John 4:19-24)
Worship based on inward integrity, and not outward geography.
Jesus spoke with authority- he was not passive
And, I bet at this point the words come follow me, got a little bit more frightening for the disciples
In looking at Jesus-
How do these words ring for you?
Thank you so very much to those who are joining us for our weekly readings and discussion of the book of John.
Please please please link this blog to your friends... (we have not had much discussion so far).
I really do believe as we focus on his word and build each other up in it, God will again show his mighty power among his people.
I am so happy for the unity in Christ we share.
PLEASE continue to post your JOHN 1 comments below...
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Here's a little freebie from your friend "truthme" I promised I'd post for him.
He does read this blog and says he loves and misses you all.
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Are we slow to learn?
In Hebrews the writer speaks of those who by this time should be teachers.
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, by this time you ought to be teachers
They should have the capacity, the desire, and by this time, the experience of passing on this life giving message.
I think about that a lot.
When people look at me and how many years I have been in the faith, do those younger say
“Wow… is that where I can be when I’m that old in the faith?”
(And do they say that in awe, or disgust?)
Do we older Christians inspire the younger with our faithfulness?
Is our life a lesson on spiritual zeal and passion?
Do we teach what compassion, and love really mean... by who we are?
Hebrews goes on to say you are not teachers… and you need someone to teach you something…
The elementary truths.
Now some of these are listed below in verses 1-3 of chapter 6. (Repentance, faith, baptism, etc..)
But those are teachings to get INTO Christ. (although they certainly must continue after)
But, what about the elementary teachings for those IN Christ?
As I look in the scriptures the most basic and elementary teaching for a Christian was to give.
It was a natural response, and a forceful command.
Give of your time.
Put others first.
Give and give and FORgive.
Give money, give help, give hope, but most of all, give CHRIST.
When Andrew first was called, he went and told Peter.
When the woman at the well heard, she went and told the whole town.
When the demon possessed man heard, he told the Decapolis.
The disciples day after day and from house to house never STOPPED preaching.
In fact it is our Great commission- Go give. Give Christ… go make disciples!
They didn't have all the answers- but they knew HIM.. and they knew that everyone else needed to know HIM!
His love overflowed from them... and by this, all men KNEW!
Let me ask you:
If you walked into a church that did not use a Bible, would you stay?
If you walked into a church that refused to speak of sin, would you go back?
If they denied God’s standards on purity, or modesty, would you bring your children?
Yet many of us walk into churches every Sunday where people have gone weeks, months, and many times a lifetime- and do not, will not, and have not studied out the message of hope with the lost.
Many have gone 2,3,5,10,20 years! and have never brought a soul to Christ!
It is just no longer the purpose of far too many in our fellowship.
many of us belong to churches with members whose homes we have never been in because it is no longer common for many, even those professing faith, to offer hospitality.
and yet in churches, many surround themselves with people who do not study consistently, pray seldom, and by the looks of the attendance, have forsaken meeting together.
And yet, say very little about it.
Hebrews goes on to explain why to us.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
But solid food is for the mature, who by CONSTANT USE have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
If I do not put his word into constant use.
If I am not diligent in my study,
If I have not learned to give.
My time, my self, and my hope, to others… I will no longer be able to distinguish good from evil
Paul mentions this in his words to Philemon:
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
And those of us NOT active in sharing our faith… well, we just don’t get it.
I'd hate to see churches full of people with all the right rules, and all the right doctrine- Who don’t even know right from wrong.
Who surround themselves with people who have not, and do not share this word with the lost,
And then think it is acceptable.
I'd hate to see Church become about issues, and rules and doctrines, and not about saving souls-
When we do not know right from wrong... Satan likes that all too well.
Chapter 6 goes on to say something frightening.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
And again he gives us an idea as to why this comes about:
He tells us the difference between those who fell, and those who grew to maturity.
The mature ones produced a crop.
Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God
The rest… Look at what stopped them
But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
Thorns and thistles.
What on earth are spiritual thorns and thistles?
Jesus tells us:
Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
Worries of this life
Deceitfulness of wealth
And the desires for other things.
Yet the good soil did what? It produced a harvest!
So we must ask ourselves:
Have we had more concern for our own worries, than the souls of those around us?
Have we been more concerned with other things… than in sharing Jesus’ things?
We all have been given so much
I pray we all learn ourselves…. To give.
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Jesus gave everything.
I love you all.
There is no greater work we can do than saving souls.
And just as the writer of Hebrews said to his people…
I say the same to you
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case — things that accompany salvation.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy,
but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
What an honor it is to bring souls to our amazing and loving God!
Before we begin, I want to thank all of you for being so encouraging.
When my friend told me to post these blogs for him, and to encourage all of you, I had no idea how encouraging you all would be to me.
I ask you now, to please invite everyone you know.
Link this to your friends. My hope is that we can share and encourage each other in the word,
and soon begin our prayer chain and watch as God takes all that he has given us, and make from it, all that he has planned for us.
We are starting in John chapter 1-
PLEASE read it for yourselves, and post on here what you get out of it. Post what amazes you from it.
And post what you will do because of it.
Let us continue to build each other up.
What an amazing introduction to the person of Jesus.
Before creation was, he was.
In the very beginning he was with God and he was God
All creation was formed through him- all life was formed by his word- And now he has come to us.
And in him is life.
What a great way to view Jesus- what a great way to view our relationship with God.
In him is life!
Not just the ordinary, not just existence- But as Jesus promised in John 10:10... life to the full.
A life that is a light to men- a life that he commands to shine.
But he goes on to say this will also be a life that far too few understand.
In the same way that our words reveal to others what our hearts and minds hold
Jesus Christ is the Word of God to reveal his heart and mind to men
Jesus Christ is the eternal word, full of life and truth.
He is the I am, and is filled with the glory of God.
The word was truly made flesh and he identified with us in every aspect of life- from birth to death.
He is also called the Light-
Jesus not only is the light- he came to give light to each of us as well.
Over and over in his word he compares following him to coming onto the light
And for those who have come to him he commands us to shine.
There are 4 essentials for life to exist- and Jesus became to us, all 4 of these
Light, Air, water, and food
- He is the light of life-
- By his spirit he gives the breath of life
- He is the water of life that wells up to eternal life
- And he is the living bread that came down from heaven-
My hope is that we let him into our lives.
As I examine this chapter, my decision is to enjoy life more.
It is to let Jesus shine through me and to be light for people near me.
Christ has called me to follow after him.
This means that I too need to do all I can to be light, and life.
I hope this chapter encourages you to do the same.