Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Watchman and The Warning

My husband taught Bible class Sunday morning continuing the theme that the regular teacher had been teaching - "Seeking and Saving the Lost".  He used a few scriptures that made both of us think about our mission as Christians.  The "warning" issued is for the watchman, and aren't we all watchman for others? Isn't it our duty to tell the lost about Jesus?

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved. Ezekiel 33:6-9

It's really easy to get caught up in the things of the world and totally neglect the mission - the Commission - that God gave us.  He gave us a job, and it was one of the very last things Jesus told His disciples to do before He left the earth after His resurrection.  All four gospels have some part of this commission from Jesus. He instructed His disciples to go, tell, and make other disciples.  That is the theme of all of the gospels and what Jesus wanted to make sure His followers knew to do when He left them.  (See Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:13-53, particularly vs. 44-49; John 20:11-23).  And doesn't He want His followers now to do the same?  If we're not, are we really doing what He asked us to do?

So my husband, Joe, and I wrote a mini lesson to help teach others of God's plan for salvation. It's short enough that others will read it and easy enough for everyone to understand.  We want to do this so that others might share this gospel message with their friends....and those they may not even know.  This plan shows through scripture how to follow the command of obeying the gospel.  We still must "tell", but maybe this tool will make it a little easier for some.

Love people enough to tell them that Jesus died to save them. In order for one to need to be saved, one must be lost. In order to be saved, one needs to first realize he/she must repent (turn away from) sin. Sin is separation from God. A lost person is "dead" in sin (Ephesians 2/Colossians 2). Only in Jesus can one be saved. Salvation begins through hearing the Word and believing that Jesus is God's Son - and the only One who can save. We can't tell the lost about salvation, yet fail to tell about the repentance that the Bible teaches which results in confessing one's sin and the need for the saving blood of Jesus. When your sins are washed away in baptism, you arise to live life as a new creation. You are buried with Him and raised in Him to live a new life as a new creation. (Colossians 2/Romans 6). That is the gospel...the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Obeying the gospel is a command. We must obey the gospel to be a child of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:8/1 Peter 4:17). The new creation will stumble, but won't (or shouldn't) want to continue in the old life of sin, but along with the help of the Holy Spirit, will strive to follow close to Jesus and strive to imitate Him for the rest of his/her life. Being faithful in everything, continuing to repent for sin, allowing the Holy Spirit to develop in us the fruits of the Spirit - we will be growing mature in the faith. God's love, mercy and grace will continue to heap upon us abundantly until we reach the end of life's race. The reward of an eternal home in Heaven with Him makes the "race" all worthwhile. 

Another thing that Joe mentioned in class is the "Fishers of Men" is a 12 week series of in-depth Bible study.  Visit their site HERE. We went through it years ago, and have recently begun the study with our own children. They are Christians, but it's always good to go back over the elementary truths so that we know why we believe what we believe and know for certain that it is what is taught in the Bible - God's inspired Word.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday's Blessing

Last night was the second "Tuesday's Blessing" craft night that I began hosting recently. We made burlap wall/door hangings - or started them, anyway!  We will finish next time.

Instead of writing a lot, I'm just going to show you the neat pictures of the started project.




















Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do Not Fear

I read the other day that fear is the opposite of faith.  That's so true.  If we're living in fear, our faith is squashed or diminished or maybe even totally gone.  "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." 1 John 4:18

God loves us with a perfect love. He gave His perfect Son for us. There should be no fear because if we are His, then we have nothing to fear.  His love is enough. We just have to believe that truth.

This was written by Jeff Jenkins, preacher of the Lewisville, TX, church of Christ. If you're interested, Jeff and his brother have a Facebook group called, "The Jenkins Institute" with inspiring daily thoughts.

The example of Paul comes to mind when reading Jeff's message. He relied on God and did what needed to be done to further the cause of Jesus and His gospel.  He prays that his work might be done, but never for his own safety, and we know he wasn't safe and out of harm. In fact, he was harmed and in very unsafe places.

"There is so much fear in our world right now. Fear of disease, fear of war, fear of the future, and fear of death. Many people are allowing the cares and concerns of this life to paralyze them. Right now is a great time for people of God to show what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We can show the world what it means to glorify God in the face of fear. We can model what it means to cast all our cares upon Him. May God help us to share with others the peace that passes all understanding!"

Why is our own safety so important to us?  Maybe because we're so busy doing what "we" want instead of what God wants for us? Sometimes that may be the case.  Are we, like Paul, going about our Father's business, or are we too concerned about our own business?  Either way, we should have no fear.  We don't have to be afraid. We can put our faith and trust in Our Heavenly Father who can do more than we can ever imagine.  With Him in control, everything is okay....even in the face of danger.  DO NOT FEAR!

When you pass through the water I will be with you,
And the waves they will not overtake you.
Do not fear for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name.
You are mine.

Chorus
For I am the Lord Your God.
For I am the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I am the Lord. (Women: Do not fear.)
I am the Lord. (Do not fear.)
I am the Lord. (Do not fear.)
I am the Lord. (Do not fear.)
I am the Lord.

When you pass through the fire I will be with you,
And the flames they will not overcome you.
Do not fear for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name.
You are mine.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

She Speaks 2014

Desserts posted first - imagine that! And cheesecake, of all things! This one looked so good, too!  I'm sure it was, but I sat down at.....

 ...this one.  It was wayyyyy too chocolatey for me, but my sister-in-law said it was great!  One bite was all I took.  I would have eaten the whole cheesecake piece, so maybe it's better I sat down where I did!
Oklahoma Christian's lectureship features a day of women's events, beginning with devotionals and lessons from many women, singing, prayers, and fellowship together. The evening ends with the "She Speaks" banquet.
 This year I invited my daughter and her roommate to join me for the evening.
 My sister-in-law and her mother were also at our table, along with our husbands' aunt and a couple of other women.
 The table setting was beautiful.  There were lime green sateen napkins and hydrangeas in glass bowl that had grapevine floating inside.  I'm alway excited to see "properly" set tables!  That's a favorite topic of mine for teaching others....especially children.
 We all love the chandeliers they use each year at the banquet. Something about them just makes the atmosphere more elegant.
 We weren't sure what the main entree' was, but some sort of breaded chicken cutlet on top of mashed potatoes and topped with a cheesy-corn cream sauce/gravy.  I wasn't a big fan of the dish, but the veggies were pretty good and the salad was great!
 Nika Maples was the speaker for the evening. She was great. Her story was very emotional and inspirational. You can read more about her story at nikamaples.com.
 I loved how she talked about us being the gatekeepers of our heart and how that God's Holy Spirit lives within Christians. WE are the gatekeepers of that temple...of our own hearts where the Spirit resides!
Nika gave everyone a free gift - her book. She used it as a symbol of God's free gift of salvation to those who choose Him and who choose to obey the gospel.

We posed for a family group picture before leaving the event.  What a wonderful evening!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

QMCC Ladies Fall Retreat

Last Friday and Saturday was the 34th (I think) annual Ladies' Fall Retreat at Quartz Mountain Christian Camp (QMCC).  The theme was, "Turning Over a New Leaf" and was hosted by the ladies of the Sayre, OK, church.
 After planning and decorating for this retreat many years, it's always interesting to see how others work with a theme and make it "theirs". That's what I always enjoyed...getting so many different people involved from different places and seeing it come together with everyone's personalities and talents showing throughout the whole event!
 There were several crafts for the retreat. One was painting small canvases in a fall theme.
 ...another was making mesh wreaths.
 Sabrina Wood from Stillwater was the speaker for Friday evening and Saturday morning, as well.
 My favorite part of the retreat is always seeing different generations of people enjoying visiting and getting to know each other better.
 The wreath-making station was very well supplied! I made a Christmas wreath - as if I needed any more Christmas decor! Ha!
 The fall canvases were so cute!
 I really liked the polka dots on this one!
 Pretty, isn't it?  The colors were great together.  And Bridget happens to match her wreath!
My finished project.  I didn't get to stay for the crafts the next morning, but they had little paper sack journals. I really like doing those. I will show how to do them some day. 

Maybe you're in a season of life that has you a little down.  Maybe you need to turn over a new leaf in some area of your life.  It's never to late to start!

 
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