Monday, July 28, 2008

We Shine

This song by Steve Fee is a fantastic worship song. It will certainly wake up you up and get you moving.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

13 Things About Controlling Your Tongue

1. In a recent sermon the other day one of my pastors related that the book of James discusses the tongue more than any other…..this seems appropriate since we seem to use a large segment of our time talking.

2. I’m not sure about you but I often find myself saying the wrong thing. I’m often much more comfortable expressing myself through the written word so that I have an opportunity to take some time and be thoughtful concerning the points I would like to make. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that luxury in real-time conversation, and our emotions often take over.

3. James 3:3 states Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. I used to watch my grandfather place the bridle over his plow horse and then insert the bit into the animal’s mouth. I thought it was cruel, but at the end of the row my grandfather could turn the horse on a dime. Just as we place a bit in the mouth of a horse to control it we should have a bit….of sorts… control our tongue so that when we are engaged in conversation we say the right things.

4. Now think about large ships like the Queen Mary. How did the crew control such a huge vessel weighing more than 81,000 tons? When you compare the rudder to the actual size of the ship it’s amazing the crew could dock the ship as they did. James 3:4 reminds us [to] consider ships: though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs…in other words----it shouldn’t take a monumental effort to control your tongue.

5. The tongue is a mighty weapon. We often use it to destroy someone else on purpose or unintentionally. What we think of as small little comment can actually wreak a bit of havoc with someone else……So too, though the tongue is a small part [of the body], it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites (James 3:5).

6. James 3:6-7 continues the thought….And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our [bodies]; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell. For every creature—animal or bird, reptile or fish—is tamed and has been tamed by man. Our tongue can destroy what we love. Our tongue can get us into mischief. Our tongue can embarrass us greatly. Our tongue shapes our character and provides a method for others to view us. Unfortuntately very few men learn to control their tongues even though we have learned to control many things of this world including various animals.

7. Many people live their lives by excelling as verbal arsonists setting fires everywhere they go. They berate their kids, their spouse, and their friends. They intimidate others with their arrogance and some even turn folks off by their constant comments of doom and gloom.

8. We must remember our tongues display who we are…..the true us….not that fake one we put on for company. Our words shape who we are.

9. The tongue is inconsistent……The words we utter often don’t make sense. James 3: 9 explains…With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God's likeness. How can this be?

10. How many people did you judge today? Curse today? Belittle today? Perhaps you are like me and you have explained your actions away because you didn’t speak your words….you just thought them. Perhaps you voiced your opinion to someone else and not to the person your words could destroy.

11. It doesn’t matter. Your words….spoken or unspoken…..delivered to the person they are about or to someone else are YOUR words from YOUR tongue. By allowing your tongue to flap in that manner you are belittling something…cursing something made in God’s image.

12. The true condition of your heart comes out through your tongue. Many, many years prior to Freud explaining why we have so many hang-ups Jesus had the answer as He said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

13. It would seem then that the solution to control the tongue is not a bridle and bit…..not a rudder….., but a new heart. Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31), and we need to continually ask God for help everyday…..Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

I’ll be asking God for His help everyday…..will you?

Find other bloggers participating in Thursday Thirteen here

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wordless: Verse 49

Judges 13: 1-7 explains:
The Israelites again did what was evil in the LORD's sight, so the LORD handed them over to the Philistines 40 years. There was a certain man from Zorah, from the family of Dan, whose name was Manoah; his wife was barren and had no children. The Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "It is true that you are barren and have no children, but you will conceive and give birth to a son. Now please be careful not to drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, or to eat anything unclean; for indeed, you will conceive and give birth to a son. You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines." Then the woman went and told her husband, "A man of God came to me. He looked like the awe-inspiring Angel of God. I didn't ask Him where He came from, and He didn't tell me His name. He said to me, 'You will conceive and give a birth to a son. Therefore, do not drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth until the day of his death.' "

The above image show the town of Zorah…the birthplace of Samson. Can you see it? Look to the last hill on the right…yep, there it is.

You can find out more here.

Locate other bloggers participating in Wordless Wednesday here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reverend: False Elevation or Grammatical Error?

My father and I often have Biblical discussions that I enjoy very much. We discuss Baptist doctrine, issues regarding deacons, Old Testament versus New Testament, and many other things. Our discussions are basically something new in our relationship….it certainly isn’t something we did when I was a young girl. He was too busy being a daddy, and I was too busy being a daughter. Therefore, it’s nice to have a discussion with him that isn’t parent-child based…’s nice to converse every now and then as Christian believers. I think it’s important to have fellow believers you can conversate with….someone who you can confront and they can confront you ….someone who prompts you to actually put into words what it is you think and believe.

There are many memories I have of spending time with my dad growing up…..handing him tools as he worked on something in the back yard, running to catch up with him as he hurried to another project of some sort, the feel of accomplishment as I finally caught up with him and grabbed his large hand with my own small one, and the feeling of exhilaration as he lifted me into his lap, so I could ride with hin on one of the many tractors he had in his collection.

So many great memories!

I have a feeling, however, the cache of memories I will carry on with me into my twilight years…the ones that I will hold the closest to my heart...will be our heartfelt and sometimes intense discussions regarding Scriptural issues.

Duing one of my last visits he told me a story his Bible Study teacher had related in class one Sunday. Seems that one of the teacher’s neighbors ran into the teacher’s car, and while that wasn’t a neighborly action, the neighbor did come to the teacher and gave him his business card. Throughout the tale the Bible Study teacher kept referring to his neighbor as a minister.

Seeing an opportunity to open up a scholarly discussion my dad questioned his teacher by asking, “Well, how did you know from looking at the neighbor’s business card that he was a minister?” This, of course, caused the remainder of the class to laugh because…..well, isn’t it obvious? Silly, silly Daddy!

The Bible Study teacher knew instantly his neighbor was a minister just by looking at his business card because…….because printed on the card in front of the man’s name was the title Reverend.

That is how many of our Christian ministers are identified, aren’t they?

The members of Dad’s class were none too happy when Daddy challenged the use of the title. It wouldn’t be the first time my father has attempted to challenge what we often perceive as proper Christian actions yet…..when closely examined the action might not be Biblically based or might totally go against Scripture all together. I’m sure some of the folks were thinking, “Durn, here he goes again!”

Of course when you bring up any objection to using the title reverend folks instantly produce a myriad of excuses…..”We’ve always called our ministers Reverend,

We need to show the proper respect due a man of God,

Times are different today and the Bible doesn’t really mean what you think it does,

We need to set our ministers apart,

They deserve a special title”……The list goes on and on.

So, what does Scripture say?

Psalm 111: 9-10 states, He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. The Hebrew word that was used here in this verse and that was translated later to the Greek was the word “yare” meaning fear, reverence, ultimate awe. With this mind Psalm 111:9-10 is telling us that no other name is holy and reverend….only the name of God.

Think about some of the most tireless workers for the Kingdom of God portrayed in the Bible----Peter, Paul, John---did they carry the titles Reverend?

One source that my father shared with me states, Everything we do must be authorized by the word of God (1 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11) and thus in keeping with the apostolic traditions revealed in God’s word (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:17) in the Bible there is neither a command nor was it an apostolic tradition to use religious titles. Therefore, we cannot use religious titles today.

Only God is worthy to receive glory and honor (Revelation 4:11; 1 Timothy 1:17; Jude 24-25) People who take God’s glory upon themselves will be punished (Acts 12: 22-23)..

If you still aren’t satisfied perhaps the words of Jesus can clear things up. In his warning to religious leaders (Matthew 23: 5-12) he states, Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear extra long tassels on their robes. And how they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the most prominent seats in the synagogue! They enjoy the attention they get on the streets, and they enjoy being called ‘Rabbi’. Don’t ever let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters.And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Master,’ for there is only one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 go even further to state that people who do not humble themselves will not be saved.

Since religious titles are not authorized by God this would mean a church employing religious titles is not God’s church but a man-made church vainly worshipping God according to the commandments and traditions of men (Colossians 2: 22-23; Matthew 15: 8-9). Members of man-made churches have no hope of being saved (2 Thessalonians 1: 5-10; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 4: 17-18) since they disobey the gospel of Christ.

So…………this little discussion with my father concerning the use of the title Reverend was a bit sobering. I’ve used the title with various pastors. I’ve seen it used in various ways, yet Scripture states it should not be used. I also felt pretty good since the majority of ministers I’ve had personal contact with since I’ve become an adult have all been close friends….they are my contemporaries or "just a bit" younger….therefore, I’ve usually called them by their first name. One pastor who is much younger than myself has made the name calling a joke of sorts between us…..once he discovered my online name he very rarely ever uses my given name, but refers to me as “elementaryhistoryteacher”. I’ve taken to calling him “mryouthministerman”.

I’ve been thinking on this whole Reverend issue for several weeks now trying to grasp my own understanding and position regarding the matter. Then I happened upon something God intended on me discovering. I am working on a very large projecct for our church historical committee and have been digging into our extensive church archives for several weeks. The other day I stopped by the files for a quick moment and decided to grab a folder of documents and folder each from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s to work on at home. There are hundreds of files to choose from….I just reached in and grabbed hardly looking at the notations on the outside or the contents.

Later that evening I began to uncover my treasures. Inside the folder for the 1960s I found a publication titled The Maryland Baptist, dated January 18, 1962. On the back cover was an article titled, “What to Call Your Preacher” written by C.R. Dailey, Editor, Western Recorder. I stopped dead cold. Why had this been placed in the folder? There is no mention of our church, and I couldn’t really find any reason for this to be in our church history archives other than it one day would have had huge significance for me……

The article begins….”Call him Brother, call him Pastor, call him Mister, call him most anything else, but don’t call your preacher, Reverend………..To begin with one of the most basic meanings of the word reverend is “to be worthy of worship,” and this can apply only to God and never to man. Those who use the word in reference to their pastors, however, do not use it in this sense, and this is not the main objection to it. Reverend is an adjective and can only properly be used in conjunction with other titles as The Reverend Mister or The Reverend Doctor. These are clumsey, however, and otherwise undesirable.

………What should a Baptist call his pastor? The most acceptable title is Brother. This is in keeping with the Baptist belief in the the universal priesthood of believers and suggests a closeness between the pastor and member without undue familiarity.……How about Doctor as a title? Though proper, this title is subject to misuse and suggests a rank which should not exist. Relatively few Baptist pastors are really Doctors, and it’s very improper as well as embarrassing to doctorate a man who is not a Doctor. The title ought to be left off. The only difference between a preacher who is a doctor and one who is not is three or four years of additional study in an educational institution. Sometimes a doctor knows more than a preacher who is not a doctor, but sometimes he knows less.

So, choose your reason for not using the title Reverend.....either you don't wish to elevate a mere man to God's level, or you simply have a hang-up regarding proper grammatical usage. As for the term Doctor I think anyone who has slogged their way through eight plus years of school should use the title whether they be ministers of the Gospel or mere little old history teachers like me. However, the point I think Mr. Daley was making in his editorial was often a minister is given the title of doctor when they do not hold the proper degree, but doesn't he make a great point about the true knowledge of a Doctor who is also a minister?

The article goes on to make several interesting points….If you would like to read the entire article click on the image at the beginning of this post to see it more clearly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Righteous Dude!

Soon after my husband and I were married the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off came out. Though money was tight as we were starting out Dear Hubby and I splurged and went to the theater to see it. We loved Ferris….his irreverent style, his can-do attitude, his ingenuity in manipulating people in order to get what he wanted was hilarious. Everyone loved Ferris….everyone except for the school principal and Ferris’ sister since they knew the truth about him.

Even the school clerk remarked, “That Ferris….he’s a righteous dude.”

IS Ferris Bueller a righteous dude?

While Ferris has the ingredients for a great movie character and everyone in his school loved him and would tell of his exploits for years to come, he misses the mark scripturally as a righteous dude.

While it’s nice to be remembered….perhaps we need to examine which specific actions are worth being remembered for.

Michelle Nordeman’s lyrics for her song Legacy state:

We all need an “Atta boy” or “Atta girl”
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
the temporary trappings of this world.

I have to agree. “Atta boys” or “Atta girls” are great. I thrive on them. I bet you do too. You love to get them, and you sure do feel a little miffed when you don’t receive one.

Do they matter in the long run?

Sure, I’ll leave behind my stuff, I’ll leave behind a large volume of my written thoughts and ideas online and offline, and I’ll leave behind my children to create new branches in our family tree, but will it matter that I was here?

Will it matter that I was passionate about history and history education?

Will it matter that I tried to be a good daughter and nursed my mother through her last days on Earth?

Will it matter I was once named Teacher of the Year, taught over a hundred kids each year, or was known to know a little bit more than the average person regarding my subject matter?

Will it matter I had a dog named Lady growing up, will it matter I gave birth to my second child at home, or took piano lessons for nine years?

None of it matters…..not a whit. Just as the song lyrics state everything I’ve related about myself in this post are all temporary and fleeting things of this world.

Over the spance of time I will not be remembered for any of these worldly things. These things are NOT my legacy.

My legacy will involve only those things that involve His kingdom…..only by focusing on His kingdom and by striving to be righteous can I be remembered forever (Psalm 112:6).

Righteous. It sounds like hard standard to reach, doesn’t it? When we really think about it it seems easier to be a top-knotch teacher, doctor, lawyer, cook, mother, father, etc. than it does to be a righteous man or woman. Heck, it’d be even easier to aspire to be another Ferris Bueller.

While it may seem a bit impossible to be a truly righeous man or woman I believe it’s worth a try. Recently a pastor at my church provided four qualities a person with righteous character would exhibit.

The first quality involves integrity….speaking truthfully, keeping your promises. I mean the last thing I would want to be is like the person described in Proverbs 25:14People who promise things they never give are like clouds and wind that bring no rain. The second part of integrity involves practicing what you preach…even when no one is looking. I constantly remind my students that it is very easy to do the right thing and follow all of our procedures while I’m standing over them. The test of true character is what happens when my back is turned…when they are on their own. Psalm 101:2 prompts “ I will try to walk a blameless path, but how I need your help especially in my own home where I long to act as I should.”

The second quality involves intensity. Ever hear someone say you should do everything for the glory of God? Why would you do this? Don’t you think if you are doing something for God you will always do your best? I think I would. Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

We should also give generously. That “can” be a hard one these days, but 2 Corinthians 9:9 convicts us with the words, “Godly people give generously…Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”, and Proverbs 11:25 tells us “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Finally, in order to be a righteous man or woman we should succeed with humility. Arrogance will only bring our downfall, but if you are humble you will be respected (Proverbs 29:23). This is totally counter-intuitive to our culture, isn’t it? We are told to be proud and loud. Just think about how many award shows and ceremonies there are in the media today. Our society preaches it’s all about the accolades, but remember…..they are fleeting.

Be a righteous dude for God....not for man.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Revelation Song

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat[Repeat 2x]

(Chorus)Holy, Holy, HolyIs the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You…!

Clothed in rainbows,
of living colorFlashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King,

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore You! Yeah!

Filled with wonder, Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mysteryYeah...

(Chorus)Holy, Holy, HolyIs the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore

You! Holy, Holy, HolyIs the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore YOU…(Chorus)

(Repeat at a cappella)Come up lift up His Name
To the King of Kings…
We will adore YOU Lord…
King of heaven and earth
King Jesus, King Jesus
Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya!

Majesty, awestruck Honor
And Power and Strength and Dominion
To You Lord,
To the King, to King
To the King of Glory

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth!

From my front porch…

To my back porch….

I hope you have a very happy Fourth of July.

You can find links to some of my postings over at History Is Elementary regarding the Fourth of July here.

Over at Georgia on My Mind you can enjoy the 39th Georgia Blog Carnival.
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