I know what the scriptures say about adding to and taking away from the Word of God, but I thought it would be kinda cool to look at Solomon's advice from a different perspective. This is more about the good company we keep instead of the kind that we shouldn't.
My son, if brothers & sisters edify you,
join yourself with them.
If they say, "Come with us, let us spread the gospel to all the world,
let us reach out to the lost with purpose & zeal;
like sowers let us plant the Word
and shine, like lights upon a hill;
we shall meditate on all godly characteristics,
we shall fill our lives with good deeds;
invest your talents along with us;
we will all prosper for the LORD" --
my son, continue on in good company;
do not hold back your feet from the path of the upright,
for their feet run from evil
and they make haste to turn to God.
For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird,
even so, such people are constantly on guard over their souls & others';
they are vigilant for their own lives.
Such are the ways of everyone who seeks the will of God & the interest of others;
it gives eternal life to its possessors.
Hope you enjoyed. I appreciate all that you as my brothers and sisters have done for me; it has most certainly been a privilege to work alongside you as co-servants of an Almighty Savior! Let's get back to work!!!
In our Master,
Hey everybody! So I haven't held up to my promise of writing more often. As well as some other resolutions I shared in my last post. I will give a full-length analysis of what has been going on in my life this semester once it is over in three weeks. But for now I just thought I would share with all of you a poem that I wrote a little over a year ago. It was an assignment that I had for my Latin American culture class, in which we wrote a poem after watching a movie about a 17th century Mexican nun who just happened to be a revolutionary poet. Ok, so she wasn't my ultimate inspiration for this piece, but just the thought of writing poetry at the time made me feel about something on my mind that I don't think we show our appreciation for: our sisters! Yes, brothers, I am speaking to you right now. Just as some advice, if you come across a sister that you think hasn't been shown respect or love or just some simple appreciation lately, perhaps you should do something about it.
The title of this poem is "La atesorada," which roughly translates to "The Treasure."
Su belleza en forma de bondad,
su gracia en silencio me encanta;
me renueva en pura palabra
y la alabo por su castidad.
Me parece un sueño, pero no,
ni en mi mente una fantasía;
en búsqueda toda mi vida
por joya que vale más que oro.
Por mujer virtuosa prestaré
eternidad hasta que la encuentre.
And here is a translation for all you gringos. Sorry it doesn't have so much rhyme or rhythm in English.
Her beauty in form of goodness,
her grace in silence enchants me;
she renews me with pure words
and I praise her for her modesty.
She appears to me like a dream, but she is not,
nor is she in my mind a fantasy;
in search all my life
for this jewel that is worth more than gold.
For a virtuous woman I will spend
eternity until I find her.
To all my sisters, and on behalf of all us brothers, I thank you for all the things that you do, great or small, in the kingdom of the LORD. You help make serving God more bearable.
In our Lord and Savior,
It is January 2010. And as Churchill once quipped, "It's not the end; it's not even the beginning of the end; it's merely the end of the beginning."
So I have become the new Micah Souder. As this is the time of resolutions I believed I would like to share with you several of my many goals that I want to achieve within the next year. Overall, I am working to grow and develop as a young Christian man, and as many different changes are in the near future, I believe that these steps will help me not only as I enter adulthood, but as I continue in my pursuit down a specific path that hopefully is in accordance with God's will.
1) From the get go, my goal is to read the bible twice in a year. Last year I made that resolution in late January and started out strong, but addressed it half-heartedly the second time around. Also to go along with this is that I want to try to improve my memorization skills of scriptures (not always book/chapter/verse but at least book/chapter). So far I have been working on that goal quite a bit but as this semester is perhaps my hardest one yet, I will need all the accountability possible to make sure I keep up the pace. And if any of you want to study the bible together feel free to let me know because that would most definitely help me out.
2) Instead of working on my "prayer life," I am going to place emphasis on the fact that I have a "prayerful life." By this I mean that I will increase the quantity, duration, and quality of my public and private prayers. I am not setting a specific time length for prayers, but I am working to just pour out my heart to the LORD. I suggest everyone try this because it has truly been a blessing for me the past week to rely more on God and put my faith in Him. So many times throughout my life I have various burdens that I bear and when I take it to the LORD, He lets me know that everything will be alright because in the long run everything will work out to His glory. And just like the bible goal, I try to keep my schedule open so if you would like to help me in a prayer session just let me know.
3) Pleonast. How often do we use it? I used it more last year than I ever had, but I feel that I still haven't made the most of the opportunities provided by me through this blessing. My resolution is to is update this blog more often, and to be more open and honest about what is going on. I want to make sure that I take more time to look at what other people write about and that I make sure I keep in touch with all of you! Let's make sure we don't waste what God has given us here!
4) Sort of going along with that, I want to make sure that I use that devote my phone and my facebook account for primarily spiritual reasons. I was able to prune out a lot of worldly friends over the past year, but I intend on doing more of that this year. I also intend on making sure I use my texting privileges to edify others and make sure that people are checked up on regularly. For those of you who do not have my number, you can send me a private message with your number and I will make sure that you get added to my list. :) Let's make sure that God sees how He truly is the focus of our lives by using the things we use the most for His glorification!
5) When it comes to my interactions with other people, I plan to glorifying the LORD by being more bold and open in my conversations. Like many brothers and sisters struggle with, I want to be more zealous to evangelize and spread God's Word to the world around me. I also strive to be willing to exhort and admonish those of the faith when they need someone to get onto them for the decisions that they make. And perhaps most importantly, I desire to openly express my appreciation and love to brothers and sisters who give their all to the Lord but may not get any recognition by others.
6) I need to continue to develop my skills using the Spanish language, so that I may be able to incorporate my God-given abilities into His service. To do this, I will make an effort to study my bible both on my own and with others using my Hispanic bible. If anybody who knows any Spanish would like to help me in this effort, it would be very much appreciated!
7) I want to keep up the bible studies with brethren while up at college. Last semester I believe we only had about 6 bible studies outside of regular worship services. My goal is to not be discouraged when it just seems that my schedule does not work with others. Too many times I become prideful in that I just assume that people don't come to bible studies because they don't prioritize bible study high enough; instead I need to just understand that some people do not have as much free time as I did.
8) Time management is something I really need to work on this upcoming semester. Too many times I work whole heartedly in one aspect of my life while totally putting other things of importance on the back burner. For example, I will spend all my time reading my bible for an extended period of time, followed by focusing entirely on my social life. Then I realize that I need to make up for all the homework I had yet to do so I work solely on that. As I find a balance in life, I must realize that in all things I must have an attitude of doing everything "as unto the Lord" because if I do not, then I show God that I God only has my full attention a portion of the time.
9) As a Christian in this sad and sinful world, I am going to pay attention to what I subject myself to when it comes to movies, tv, peers, etc. So many times I hear things that are rather inappropriate, and while it does not rub off on me, I can tell it effects my attitude. And it is oftentimes a hard thing since it sometimes is everywhere I turn, but that just means I am going to have to remove myself from those negative environments. And when it is all said and done, I believe that such sacrifices are totally worth it because of how glorious God is!
10) And as more of a secular goal, I have a goal of maintaining this weight class, if not lower just a bit. So far since I have been in college I have fluctuated from 15 lbs above where I am right now to 15 lbs below. I plan on increasing my exercise time this next semester as I begin to work with a local track team, so that will help with this goal. But don't we all have such aspirations... :)
I hope all of you can help hold me accountable to these plans. And if any of you have any goals that I may be able to help you with, please let me know. We are all in this together, so let us encourage one another more and more to glorify God!
In the most sincere of loves that is best demonstrated through Christ,
1-4 The Elder, to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
You can pick out a lot of lessons out of just these verses, but I thought I, just coming out of a cold, would like to point something out (you may have heard/will hear this at some other point). Here John is praying that Gaius's health prospers just like his soul has been doing, which raises up a very interesting question. What would we look like if our bodies were outward manifestations of who we were as souls?
Would we be gracefully adorned with wisdom? Proverbs 1:8,9
Would we be in top physical shape, able to endure whatever comes our way? 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Would we be overweight and addicted to hazardous materials because we constantly indulge our appetites? 1 John 2:15-17
Would we be weak and out of shape because we have been starving ourselves or not working out? John 4:31-35; 2 Timothy 2:15
Would we be plagues with sickness because we have not returned the phonecall from our Physician? Luke 5:31; Malachi 1
I'm not saying that everyone needs to be a Mr. or Miss Universe (besides, they dress immodestly). But we need to look intently in the mirror of God's word (James 1:22-27) and see how we can be more spiritually appealing to God!
In Christ's perfect love,
Ok, here we go with more updates. On the left are ones done, while ones on the right are ones not yet reviewed.
3) 1 Samuel........................1 & 2 Chronicles
6) 2 Samuel........................Proverbs
8) Matthew..........................Song of Solomon
12) 1 Kings.........................Zephaniah
13) 2 Kings.........................Malachi
18) 1 Peter..........................Colossians
19) 2 Peter..........................1 & 2 Thessalonians
20) Joel...............................1 & 2 Timothy
24) Habakkuk......................1, 2, & 3 John
25) Nehemiah: What a prayer warrior! Whatever came his way, he would first and foremost take it to God and leave it in His hands. And when the enemies of God's people threatened them (much like what happens to His people in this day and age), he refused to let his people be discouraged, determined that he would do the Lord's will and have them do away with their wicked ways. Chapters 9 & 10 are interesting because they are basically a signed resolution to do away with their sins and dedication to the Lord, which was actually the inspiration for me start this Double-Bible-Reading-Challenge (for which I ask all of you to keep me accountable for).
26) Esther: It is amazing how God so often puts us in positions in life that allow us to fulfill His will. For Esther, it was the title of queen when her people were on the verge of genocide, yet she handled the situation with grace, humility, and some smart thinking. And I really appreciate the contrast of Mordecai's determination to follow God versus Haman's pride and rage when all but one man's homage sent him over the edge. What a great way of showing us how the LORD provides for those in need but brings low those who are self-sufficient!
27) Ruth: I sure hope my future wife gets along with my mother this well. I mean, her love for her was so immense that she renounced her own home, livelihood, people, and gods to follow Naomi. And then Boaz, the kinsman redeemer, provides and protects Ruth, much like how God redeems, provides, and protects us when we have no other hope. An interesting among all this symbolism is how Boaz commands that Ruth not glean from any other fields, just as God does not want us to rely on any other 'gods' for our necessities.
28) Obadiah: In this tale of two mountains (Seir & Zion), we see that God is ruler of all nations. He is going to punish Jacob's brother, Edom, by humbling him thanks to the pride that has come to blind these people. Although this was not the chosen nation, it was still a brother nation that obligations to treat them well, not take advantage of them. And as a result, God will return on their heads as they have done, His chosen people will be like a burning flame, and everything will become part of His kingdom.
29) Zechariah: This apocalyptic prophet uses some stellar images to get God's points across: He will judge those who are against Him and His people, and He is determined to bless His people through the shoot that serves as both Priest and King. In the long run, it is our decision if we will be enslaved to our idols or will we be led through an exodus from sin through the good Shepherd, who actually is the one who lays down His life for the sake of the sheep. I would really suggest that anyone who takes for granted our Christ read this book and see what He has done in order bless us; His sacrifice demands our sacrifice in return!
30) Jonah: It is always easier to obey God than to disobey Him! The message Jonah eventually speaks takes up only one verse, but we learn about the LORD throughout the book. When we strive to go against His will, there is nowhere else to go but "down." We should never have a bad attitude when it comes to sharing the gospel with others, and even when our worst enemies turn to God, we should rejoice for them and not be selfish. This book is more than a man & a fish, it is about the LORD & accepting His will with humility instead of stubbornness and reluctance.
31) Mark: Among the gospels, this one spends perhaps the most time on the things Jesus did. Jesus was more than just a miracle worker; on the contrary, everything He did that was recorded for us to teach His audiences something about who He was and what He was all about. Our Lord came to heal us when we were lame and blind, thus making us whole. He also taught us what it means to be a true disciple, and as any great teacher does, He gave us an example through His action. May our hearts be tilled and weeded so that the Word of Christ may germinate and grow within us!
32) 1 Corinthians: While the first thought that comes to mind when we reflect on this church is how many problems they had as a church, we instead need to think about what we can learn so that we become a church defined by being like Christ, not by not being like this church. We must seek unity, doing things for the sake of edifying, and pursue the 'more excellent way' of love. It is also neat particularly in this epistle to think about the attitude of Paul as he truly was concerned about doing the Lord's will and to say things that helped them to grow, either tenderly and harshly, but always in love and godly boldness.
33) 2 Corinthians: We see in this epistle the attitude Paul had in his ministry and affliction. First, he no longer trusted himself to deliver, but God who was able to deliver and, if that were not His will, to raise him from the dead (1:9). And second, among the affliction (and even the thorn in the flesh) he was not focused on Himself, but constantly caring about the well-being of the brethren. When we are persecuted by false teachers or enemies of the gospel, we must let God humiliate them and stand in our integrity like he did. As ambassadors for Christ, let us make sure Christ lives in us, that we act in the best interest of others, and beg the world to be reconciled to God.
34) Philippians: Paul's attitude toward imprisonment was astounding, because he saw it as a reason for brethren to be more bold, a reason for men (of strife or love) to preach Christ, and a reason to look forward to heaven. He would let absolutely nothing take away his joy, but shared an attitude of love as Christ did for us. He warns them of the dogs and encourages them to strive for, meditate, and learn godliness, contentment, and the true circumcision. All in all, we must forget the past and press on toward the goal, because none of us have obtained it yet!
35) Haggai: We as God's faithful remnant must continue to consider our ways, making sure that we seek His kingdom first instead of our own earthly necessities, and then He will provide for us. When these Jews, now filled with a new vigor, are disappointed that Zerubabbel's temple would not be as grand as that of Solomon, Haggai points to Jesus to say that, instead of being its replacement, He will be the fulfillment of the glory that the first temple foreshadowed. Another thing for us to learn is that when we mix purity and impurity, all we get is impurity; thanks be to God that we have Christ who is our true source of cleanliness.
36) Galatians: Once again, Paul displays his attitude toward correcting false teachers, this time pointing out that the strictest doctrine is not always the truest (clear application for us). We, too, must give each teaching a fair test, not being affected by the person delivering the message. I really appreciate Paul's rebuke of Peter, who was showing favoritism to the Judaizers and forcing outsiders to conform to his culture before he accepted them; do we do the same? The gospel is for all, and we must reach out to all and make sure that no one falls back into the world!
37) Jude: This epistle really attests to the kind of bond-servants we ought to be to our Lord. When we are met with people that try to influence us to deny our Master, we must contend for our faith. And if it is possible for angels to indulge in sin, we too should be on watch that we do not fall victim to the world. Let us continue to rely on the one who keeps us from stumbling and hold on to the salvation that comes from Him, or else we will receive the judgment that comes to the ungodly!
38) Revelation: How faithful are we to this testimony of God's ideal plan for us? His desire is that we return to a relationship with Him just as it was meant to be in the Garden of Eden, so why would we ever be satisfied with life here on earth? And although we may be persecuted here, we can see that God will repay those who blaspheme against Him, and that He will give us the victory as long as we wait on Him. The curse shall be reversed, and if we are true and faithful, we shall be finally called His children and be able to praise Him without growing weary!
More updates to come! Please keep me in your prayers, as I constantly need the zeal to study, pray, and grow closer to the LORD.
In Him who truly reigns over our hearts, and in His love that we show one another,