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Deep Thought Thursday: Forgiven Much

Deep Thought of the Day: Those who are forgiven much, love much.

Earlier this week I read this verse, “God rescued me from the grave and now my life is filled with light.” Job 33:28 NLT

It moved me greatly and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. You see, I know very well who I was before God and what He has done for me. I know where I’d be without Him. I’ve been forgiven much and I am grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice and the grace of God. I’ve done some really really stupid things. I won’t illustrate because I don’t want to give anyone any ideas. But suffice to say that I’ve been forgiven much.

Not everyone understands why I love God and why I talk about His love all the time. Why I post about it on FB, Twitter and here on my blog. Why I am willing to be obedient to what He asks, even when I don’t really want to be. Well the reason is that those who are forgiven much, love much.

There’s an example of forgiven much and love much from Luke 7:36-50. It’s the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet. This is in the Amplified Version.

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume).

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him—for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin).

And Jesus, replying, said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

And he answered, “teacher, say it.”

“A certain lender of money [at interest] had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no means of paying, he freely forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I take it, for whom he forgave and cancelled more.”

And Jesus said to him, “You have decided correctly.”

Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she from the moment I came in has not ceased [intermittently] to kiss My feet tenderly and caressingly. You did not anoint My head with [cheap, ordinary] oil, but she has anointed My feet with [costly, rare] perfume. Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her—because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.”

And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven!”

Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this Who even forgives sins”?

But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin].”

This story always brings tears to my eyes and touches my heart every time. We don’t know what happened to her to send her on this path of sin. But I suspect she was very broken. Very hurt. Most likely she had never met anyone who treated her with respect or showed her love without strings. He didn’t want anything from her. He didn’t use her. He didn’t judge her. He loved her. And it permanently changed her in the way only love can. He looked at her and called her forgiven. He looked at her and said go in peace. That word peace is the Greek Word, eirene. When applied to the salvation of the Messiah, Jesus, it actually means the way that leads to peace and salvation. It’s the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ. Can you imagine looking into the compassionate eyes of Jesus Himself and hearing those words? The truth is that is exactly how He feels about you! And me!

I love all the stories about how Jesus related to and loved women.  He was so gracious.  So respectful.  So kind.  His motives were pure and brotherly and He valued the women He met. He saw them beautiful and precious just like His Father does. We women are precious to God, even in our broken state. This is why for the rest of my life I will love Him. I will obey because I love Him and I know He only has my good in mind. I will worship and praise every day, because He rescued me and filled my life with light. I have so much to be grateful for, and that I cannot stop worshipping. And I don’t want to!

Here’s Big Daddy Weave’s “Redeemed”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSyLqbP8Z4I

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One Thing Led to Another

On this day in history…28 June 1914…Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo.  His wife, Duchess Sophie, was also killed.  The thing that I’ve always wondered is how the assassination of one guy start a world war.  I can understand Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia because of the assassination, but why would that start World War I?  It seems odd to me.  So when I was checking into it I found this site (http://firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm) that said that the war started because one thing led to another.  I did not write the following I copied it from the page: 

One Thing Led to Another

So then, we have the following remarkable sequence of events that led inexorably to the ‘Great War’ – a name that had been touted even before the coming of the conflict.

  • Austria-Hungary, unsatisfied with Serbia’s response to her ultimatum (which in the event was almost entirely placatory: however her jibbing over a couple of minor clauses gave Austria-Hungary her sought-after cue) declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914.
  • Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilization of its vast army in her defense, a slow process that would take around six weeks to complete.
  • Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty, viewed the Russian mobilization as an act of war against Austria-Hungary, and after scant warning declared war on Russia on 1 August.
  • France, bound by treaty to Russia, found itself at war against Germany and, by extension, on Austria-Hungary following a German declaration on 3 August. Germany was swift in invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route.
  • Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a “moral obligation” upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty. With Germany’s invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King’s appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium’s defense later that day. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary.
  • With Britain’s entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.
  • United States President Woodrow Wilson declared a U.S. policy of absolute neutrality, an official stance that would last until 1917 when Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare – which seriously threatened America’s commercial shipping (which was in any event almost entirely directed towards the Allies led by Britain and France) – forced the U.S. to finally enter the war on 6 April 1917.
  • Japan, honoring a military agreement with Britain, declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914. Two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan.
  • Italy, although allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary, was able to avoid entering the fray by citing a clause enabling it to evade its obligations to both. In short, Italy was committed to defend Germany and Austria-Hungary only in the event of a ‘defensive’ war; arguing that their actions were ‘offensive’ she declared instead a policy of neutrality. The following year, in May 1915, she finally joined by siding with the Allies against her two former allies.

One thing led to another.  Ok that I understand.  Been there.  Done stupid things without thinking.  This ‘one thing led to another’ idea gets a whole lot of people in trouble on a daily basis.  But seeing nations on multiple continents get sucked into ‘one thing led to another’ really makes me want to put my hand up and say “Hey, leaders.  Take a minute to stop and think.  Is what you are about to do worth the cost?  Have you even counted the cost?” 

I guarantee that the powers that be did not consider that upwards of 20 million people (military and civilian) who would be killed, wounded or be missing in action.  They didn’t count the cost of the widespread carnage that the war would leave or what it would do to the next generation, including a young man named Adolph Hitler. 

The lesson from this, my friends, is to stop and think.  Count the cost and consider what you are doing on a daily basis.  Where are your choices leading you?  Your choices matter.

Imagine if Emperor Franz Joseph had worked with Serbia to punish those few guilty of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie’s deaths rather than declare war on Serbia…

 PS Also on this date, exactly 5 years after Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the Treaty of Versailles was signed ending the Great War aka World War I.

PSS Whether you agree with conflicts and wars or not, our veterans deserve respect.  Don’t take out your opinion on someone who chose to stand and serve our nation.  There’s no honor in disrespecting veterans.  To you veterans, I say thank you.  You have always had and always will have my respect.  God bless you and your families and all you do for us.

Self-Seeking?

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5

The Greek word here for seek refers to seeking something in order to find it.  It’s not about seeking just for seeking’s sake.  It’s seeking with purpose.

The question to me is, if love doesn’t seek self, what does it seek?   God seeks the lost. He seeks us. So what should we seek? Well, I’m just going to let Jesus take this one. Here are 6 verses about what to seek from Jesus Himself.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 (Same words are also found in Matthew 7:7-8)

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30

If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18-19

Jesus is our example on what to seek. Jesus sought God first and foremost.  From that Jesus sought His kingdom and for God’s will to be done here on planet Earth. He sought to copy what He saw God doing. He sought to speak God’s word. He sought to worship God in spirit and in truth. And he sought for God get the glory for everything good that He did. Wow! humility+love=Jesus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtKdjaH2nY

This link is to “So Long Self” by MercyMe. It doesn’t exactly fit the topic, but I’m posting it anyway just because I like it.

Respecting Yourself

Modesty is about respecting yourself and those around you.  It’s not about cramping your style.  Modesty is not a swear word!  As a doting and protective aunt to some very beautiful tween girls and some rad tween boys and a “big sis” to some fabulous teens at my church, I get pretty fired up about topics relating to youth.  Modesty is one of those hot button ones for both parents and youth, so when I saw this I wanted to share it.  Jessica Rey has some good things to say no matter which end of the spectrum you are on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJVHRJbgLz8

I know that it can be tough for teens.  They are trying to figure out who they are, what they want to do with their lives, what they really believe all at the same time as their bodies are changing and their hormones are running rampant.  They have pressure from all sides.  From Friends.  Teachers.  Parents.  The world at large.  People call it the greatest time of your life, and maybe for some people that’s true.  But for many  it’s a really awkward and rough stretch.

Parents….your young people need some freedom to explore various clothing and hair styles within some reasonable boundaries of course. Cut them a break if they want to dye their hair some florescent color or cut in some strange style. It’s hair and it will grow back. Choose your battles based on what really matters. If girls want to wear Chucks with a dress…so what. Is the dress covering what it needs to cover? That’s the battle to fight, not the style or color of the dress or shoe choice. It’s also in for boys to wear neon skinny jeans. I don’t get it, but as long as their pants are pulled up, I’d consider that a success. I personally detest the dropped pants look on anyone, but if a kid wants to look foolish well, they’re going to do it. In my opinion, full grown adult men should NOT wear skinny jeans. Seriously men….don’t do it! EVER! But I don’t want to get started on that.

Young people…please be respectful of your parents. Example, if they’re taking you to a nice restaurant, dress appropriately. You can dress appropriately within your style. Some compromise goes a long long way here. I’d recommend not doing anything permanent to your body until you’re at least 25….i.e. tattoos. Who you are at 25 will probably be a long way from how you are at 13, 17 or 19 years of age. I’m not against tattoos at all. But seriously guys, do you really think you’re going to want SWAG tattooed on your chest when you’re 30? And ladies, you may dig One Direction now…but in 5 years, you really will have moved on from Harry Styles.  I know it may seem cool now, but taking a few days to really think about something you cannot undo is wisdom.

Young ladies….There are ways to try out different clothing styles within the boundaries of modesty. You can be develop your personal style and fashion and still be modest. You do not need to wear a see through top and a skirt that barely covers your butt to be fashionable. All that look will do is make you a target for negative attention from the types you don’t want attention from. Not to mention that it tempts the decent guys out there, and they’ve got enough to deal with…just like you.

Young men….Modesty isn’t as big of an issue for y’all as it is for the ladies, but dressing appropriate still applies. There’s a link below that addresses you guys better than I could.  Please keep this in mind little brothers, people will not take you seriously with the dropped pants look. Please do yourself a favor and just pull your pants up.

All ladies….No matter what age or size you are it is difficult to take someone seriously with their boobs and/or butt hanging out. If your top has a low neckline wear a cami or a tank under it. Seriously. Even though I try to give people grace about what they wear, I have a hard not time thinking less of someone who dresses immodestly at work, church or at any business I shop at. If I’m having a hard time taking you seriously, you can be assured I’m not the only one. I don’t care what style you prefer to dress in, your style’s not the point. Your modesty is the point.

I’ll leave you with this… God made you beautiful ladies. Gentlemen, God also made you in His image.  Modesty is not about covering up what God made and hiding who you are. It’s about treating yourself with respect because you are worth respecting.

Again, modesty is not about hiding your body. Your body isn’t bad or wrong! Your body is beautiful! So beautiful in fact that the Holy Spirit has chosen to live there: I Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.”

Musical Monday: I love Chris Rice!

One of my very favorite musicians is Chris Rice.  The way he writes lyrics is almost visual and his music is fun and beautiful.  I can listen to him on repeat.  Enjoy!  Happy Monday.

Hallelujahs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q-uOxtRKBY

Lemonade:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73aMawhB0TE

Questions for Heaven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSu-GOCgmJw

My Cathedral:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-dYGqISaSs

Final Move: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=uhJHauUfsJo&NR=1

Here’s More:  http://www.youtube.com/artist/chris-rice

 

Fun Fact Friday: Pearls

Since I there were 3 of my family members born this week, I was thinking about birthdays and birthstones.  One of June’s birthstones is the pearl.  I personally like to wear pearls.  It makes me feel like a grown-up.

Here are some facts about pearls…..

– Any mollusk with a shell can grow a pearl, but usually they are created by mollusks with 2 shells.

– Most natural pearls are formed from a parasite or injury. The mollusk senses the foreign matter and coats it with a mineral and a protein.

– A pearl can take anywhere from months to many years to form. It all depends on the environment and the size and the type of mollusk.

– The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were drops of water that fell from Aphrodite as she emerged from the sea.

– The pearl has long been considered a symbol of purity, love, wisdom and wealth.

– Jesus used a pearl as a parable of the Kingdom of God, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46

– Most “real” pearls are cultured. Here’s more about how pearls are created: http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5147163_do-pearls-grow.html

– One of the most famous pearls is La Peregrina. It was owned by Phillip II of Spain, Napolean, Queen Mary I (Sister of Queen Elizabeth I), and more recently Elizabeth Taylor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Peregrina_pearl

Something that I’ve been pondering this morning is about how most pearls are formed from injury or parasites.  Did Jesus know this when he said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” in Matthew 7:6? Something to think about.

Happy Friday.

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Love Honors

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5

Love does not dishonor others.  The word for dishonor can also be translated unseemingly or unbecomingly. It refers to someone who does not regard the thoughts or feelings of others. It can refer to someone who doesn’t give a crap about anyone else’s thoughts or feelings they just do and say what they want. It includes how they talk to and how they treat others. It brings to mind users and abusers of any kind.

The only other time in the entire NT this word is used is I Corinthians 7:36 where Paul tells men to act honorably toward their fiancées. Telling them to marry them rather than to dishonor them. “But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin,”

If love doesn’t dishonor people it must honor people. Right? Right! What does honor mean? Honor means honesty, fairness, sincerity or integrity. Giving someone honor refers to showing them high respect or to giving a courteous regard for them. It’s doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing.

What does honor look like? Giving honor to people is simple because it’s just treating others respectfully and living with integrity. Holding doors open. Not interrupting. Not texting or taking phone calls when you’re at lunch with someone. It’s letting people out in front of you on the road. Honor is keeping your word and showing up on time. Honor is using your manners and saying please and thank you. It’s standing in respect and removing your hat for our National Anthem. It’s respecting your elders and thanking veterans for their service.

By giving honor and showing respect, you are in fact loving people. Simple Right?

Pastor Dino on Honor: http://vimeo.com/68003954

STP (Something to Ponder)…The first commandment from God with a promise attached is found in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your mother and your father, so that you may live long in the land the Lord God is giving you.” God linked a long life with honoring your parents.  Hmmmm.