Sermon + Bible Study Notes: What We Can Learn From the Olympics ((Assorted Scriptures))
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However, in the end Christians discover it is only in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit that we can have our deepest needs and wounds addressed. In Christ is safety and security. In Christ is affection and esteem. In Christ is power and control. Sometimes in life we have to simply fall back on God, even when those around us are not present or supportive and we feel alone or isolated.
Alternatively, it may be useful to seek spiritual companions in creative ways. For example, try to connect to your peers using the Internet and social media, even those sites maintained by NationsUniversity. Try video conferencing with others who may have a receptive ear or encouraging word. Or perhaps you need to be the one who reaches out to others. Your Christ centered love and practical caring for them can only encourage a like response.
And who knows but you may become a missionary in your own back yard! It is now time to begin training for another trek. This past week I spent some hours hiking in the forest. It is "backpack training time", as I prepare for a three night, 43 KM adventure that is coming up. For me hiking like this is a special time to meditate and commune with God. Yesterday for example, I focused on the 23d psalm, the Shepherd Psalm. As I walked along with a 30 pound pack on my back and using two trekking poles for balance, I simply recited the 23d psalm. There was no hurry to complete the recitation.
It was the reflection that was important. What does having a personal Shepherd mean? How does it feel? Can I handle it? Three phrases eventually jumped out at me. They are presented in "rapid fire" order, one right after the other. First, "He restores my soul. For that I am thankful. Walking in a righteous path, a journey that I could not achieve on my own.
It is His power that enables one to "toe the line", even on a forested trail. I will fear no evil, not even when that cotton-mouth moccasin crossed my path and slithered off into the pond. He saw me before I saw him. This fearlessness is echoed by Jesus a number of times in the gospels as he tells his disciples to "fear not".
And he wasn't talking just about snakes. So, we are empowered to walk without fear, be rejuvenated by a restored soul and enjoy walking in righteousness. Then, the psalm ends with "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
For that and all the other points made in this short six verse psalm I am thankful. I can think of several ways to go about this. For example, you might measure how many verses you have memorized. Can you more effectively explain the story of Jesus?
What does the Bible say about you name it. What steps to salvation are laid out in the book of Acts? It seems to me that the strongest metric for measuring the effectiveness of a personal study of the scriptures is the extent to which that study causes us to change for the better.
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Think of what Bible study you did last week. Now, how is your life different today because of that study? Are you more loving? Has your relationship with God, your family, and the world around you been impacted? If not, why not?
A preacher friend of mine commented this weekend that he knows Christians who have studied the Bible for decades but who are still "mean as can be". I do not want to be described in that manner. Do you? This may be stretching it a bit, but the Apostle Paul could have been thinking along these lines when he wrote I Corinthians In short, love a relationship trumps faith. How does one love God? The answer is found in "Love your neighbor. One may spend a lifetime learning the content and nuances of the Bible, but if the person is not transformed into a new creation Galatians and from the tyranny of sin in daily behavior, it amounts to little.
Yes, it is important that we learn the content and instructions of the Bible. But it is more important to change from our old man to the new creature. How are you doing?
PDF Sermon + Bible Study Notes: What We Can Learn From the Olympics ((Assorted Scriptures))
Some years ago I found a watercolor painting of an old man playing his musical instrument, a horn. He was depicted in his night cap and had sheet music casually set up against a stack of books. The caption under the painting was "Life Long Companions. I bought the painting and it has been hanging in my home ever sense. You see, I have a baritone horn too and, at age 74, I have had a life long relationship with it.
Weekly Reflections Archives
Is there something in your life that could be termed a "Life Long Companion"? An obvious answer might be your spouse. Another could be a friend from the past who you still keep in touch with. It might be a piece of land your family has held for generations. It may be your siblings. What has been constant for you in the midst of an ever changing life experience? Nothing could possibly trump that!
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Yes, life long companions. I am reminded of the old hymn, "Walking In Sunlight". Jesus has said I will never forsake you, Promise divine that never can fail. Life long companions are a gift. We should value and cultivate them. And there is none more important companion to cultivate than Jesus. What can you do this week to enhance that long -term relationship? This past week I was honored to speak at the memorial service for my friend Jim Hughes.
Jim and I first met twenty or so years ago when we both helped teach Hospital Volunteer Training Workshops. Over the years Jim became my "go to" man. When I needed advice on what camera to buy, I called Jim. When I had a computer decision to make, I called Jim. He and Eloise met us at a local Mexican food place and spent an hour or so sharing thoughts on houses, traffic, and key contacts. It was only later that I realized they had just come from the doctor where Eloise had been told she was suffering from a serious eye infection and that could lead to blindness.
But they spent that hour with us, never focusing on them selves but rather on our journey.
Reflection Archives 1
I can only imagine the emotions that were running under the surface during that hour. About ten years ago Jim "wrote the book" on how to do hospital visitation. He called it Making Hospital Visits. You can still find it on his website and on mine , along with his blog postings. This site is worth a visit! It has made me a lot more sensitive to the fact that life is hard. We are able to face each day through the presence of God - often seen through those dear people he has brought our way - into our lives.
If so, then you know, and can empathize with others going through similar times. And that a gentle word, a gentle touch, can mean so much, even if you don't know all the details. And then one day HIS life entered a difficult season.