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Discussion in 'Community Forum' started by stevenvalleyagain, May 5, 2016.
Love this thread! Awesome posts ! Looking forward to sharing and receiving!!
I liked rodeoman's post also. You're right, most of us don't know what real struggles are. We've never been through a devastating war, a food shortage, a disaster of huge proportions, or anything like people in some other countries have been. Too often, we take things for granted and don't give God thanks for watching over us. He is the answer to our problems, like the deer panting for water, He will quench our thirst, if we only let him. Unfortunately, too many people either completely forget God, or else they only want him whenever the road gets rough.
The Old Testament is relevant or the great teachers, including Jesus, in the New Testament would not have quoted or mentioned it so much. It was built on by the teachings of Jesus, not forgotten.
There is also alot of prophesy in the old testament that was fulfilled in the new testament and some yet to be fulfilled.
I get a little long winded. Sorry.
9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
A story, that all Christians are familiar with. The conversion of Saul. Saul was a complete stumbling block to the growth of the early church. He persecuted and punished everyone that got in his way. God could have dealt with him in many ways. A vindictive God could have really made a mockery of Saul. God chose to use Saul. Saul became an instrument. God saw use in Saul.
When Saul had been struck down.
When Saul was flat on his back.
When Saul was blind.
When Saul was needing guidance.
God sent Ananias, but Ananias didn't have any interest in going. Ananias knew Saul's reputation, and he knew what Saul was in town to do. Saul struck fear in the hearts of men, and Ananias didn't want any part of it.
As we all know, Saul went on to be known as the apostle Paul. He wrote much of the new testament. Paul, and the stories and letters he left behind have been the catalyst, and seed for many peoples journey down a Christian path. Saul's entire life, became a testament to the power of Jesus Christ.
WELL.......................What about Ananias? We often forget about his contribution. He wasn't note worthy in his time. He wasn't great in the eyes of many. He never preached a sermon heard by thousands. He was never the instrument of conversion for thousands up on thousands..........................or was he? Did his ability to answer Gods call, and his ability to face his fear of what Saul might do really help change the face of Christianity?
As Christians, may we never forget what the conversion of one person may lead to.
I agree. Rodeoman made some pertinent points. I think our great, great grandparents, great-grandparents and parents (to a lesser extent) got an idea of a real struggle if they went thru the "Great Depression". This is one reason why a lot of grandparents used to save just about everything. The idea of "waste not, want not" and you never know when you might need something. A generation knowing what "want" is would have this frame of mind.
I recall reading an estimate that around 5 million people starved to death during the Depression. Although it wasn't a complete collapse, those generations certainly got a "taste" of it.
Even in WW2, they had "extreme rationing". But "Baby Boomers" up to the generations born now have no clue what will happen when the "plug is pulled" (on this country)...and many won't make it. The Bible makes it clear how many billions won't make it world wide.
This has always represented a story demonstrating God's saving Grace. And should make it clear that salvation is open to anyone--even a mass murderer and mass persecutor like Saul (eventually becoming Paul).
In fact, many of the notable and great leaders eventually representing God were woeful sinners. Moses murdered a guy. David had a guy murdered and committed adultery...and later was described as the "Apple of God's eye". And because we're all pathetic sinners and in rebellion toward God, this should be serve as an example how God is a God of second chances and His loving Grace is open to all...regardless of past acts.
We can never be "good enough" to appease God. We can never do enough "good deeds"--as man defines it. Salvation can't be earned. Only thru the blood of Jesus will we be seen, will be saved. Jesus is the reconciliation for us to God. Salvation is open to even the worse of us sinners.
God discloses His patience in Romans 2:4
Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
There's really nothing that says to hang on to the ten commandments but ditch everything else. In fact there's seemingly even two different sets of ten commandments. Exodus 34 tells you what was written on the stone tablets. Where does it say to ditch this set but hang on to the other set?
So is eating shrimp, eel, catfish, lying, oppressing the poor, remarrying a previous wife, cheating in finances, sacrificing a sheep that has some kind of defect, and probably about 42 other things. Nobody ever mentions anything else though.
There's nothing in the Bible that says "slavery is bad, don't do it, mmkay?" In fact, Paul even returned a runaway slave. There's instructions on how to sell your own daughter. There's even a passage that says you can beat the living snot out of your slave and if he survives a day or two afterwards but then dies, you're not guilty of anything since it was your property. Apologists still try to downplay the term though, in every way imaginable.
All of Ecclesiastes.
I'll go for the low hanging fruit tonight:
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Jesus wanted to be alone. He had just heard of John the Baptist death. It speaks to my heart, when I see that Jesus wants to be alone. He was flesh and blood, just like me. It reminds of his true sacrifice.
Many lessons in these scriptures:
1. We worship a powerful savior. Jesus walked on water. When Jesus reached the other side of the lake, he healed people by them just touching the hem of his garment. Just before walking on the water, he fed a few 1000 people with a basket of nothing.
2. Peter himself is a lesson. He thought he had the faith required to go out to Jesus. Along the way, his faith faded. He got worried. He focused on his problems, and sank.
3. Jesus response amazes me. Jesus could have scolded Peter. He could have let Peter bob around in the lake, and think about what he had done. Jesus didn't respond like that. He immediately reached out to Peter.
Something in the verses has always spoke to me. The other 11 disciples. They clung to the boat. Only one challenged his faith. Why did they stay put? Why did they cling to the boat?
If they were afraid of the storm, I'll throw no stones. I don't like storms. Did they truly doubt it was Jesus? Their own comments suggest they doubted. I don't who else would have been walking on water. Maybe they felt like Peter threw that fleece out, let him go get it.
One thing is for sure. 11 inspired men of God were afraid, in the presence of Jesus. 11 disciples of Christ didn't bail over the side. 11 men who had devoted their life to Christ, clung to the safety of the boat.
I see my own tendencies in their actions. I say I have the full faith, that God will catch me, but I don't step out. I say I fear nothing, because God is my strength, but things in this world do scare me. My limits are not Gods limits. My weak faith is my only limit. The only way to grow goes kingdom on earth, is to jump over the side of the boat. To step on faith, and know that God will catch us. The only failure we will find is of our own making.
I see comments here, from the nonbeliever, and the unconcerned alike. I have know men like that my whole life. I see things one way, and they see them another. Ever challenging, ever questioning.
I remeber in in my high school biology book, a little chapter on evolution. Some where, in the depths of the ocean, an under sea volcano is spewing lava. On the edge of that, are creatures found no where else on the earth. Perfectly adapted to this strange environment. Only the strongest, and the smartest survive, and it's led to the perfect sea creature.
Is is it plausible to think that something could live in the total absence of oxygen? In total darkness? In the presence of absolute and never ending danger?
It makes perfect sense to me that creature exist because God put it there. It makes perfect sense to me, that I exist because God put me here. The dangers I face are from Satan. The dangers I face are sin. To cling to the belief that "it just happened" is to cling to the world. This world is fine if it's all you've got. It never has suited me. Never seemed right. I never have fit in. Took me years to understand. I'm as out of place as that "thing" living on the edge of a volcano. Here, not by my will, but by Gods will. Here, to face the tribulation. Here to stand the test. Here to testify.
To the nonbeliever, I say come join me. It gets hot, and hard to go, but the pay out is amazing.
That pretty much describes me, as I find myself thinking that I can't do this alone, yet I hesitate because I don't see God there with me. I feel His presence, and I do know He is with me, but as a human being, I've been programmed to only trust what I see. I always keep thinking back to "faith the size of a mustard seed", and I think to myself that God must really be disappointed in me. But, I do know in my heart that He is there, and always will be. What I do about it, is up to me.
I feel like im taking over. KDE people need to post:
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Jesus only identifies a handful of people my name. Ex. The woman at the well, the ten leppers. The fact that Lazarus is identified by name, tells me something is very special about him. I don't know if he somehow knew, that his suffering was for the greater glory of God, or if he used his time on the road side to witness to people. One thing is for sure, he had a home with God in the end.
Many things about these verses speak to my heart:
1. One man had his hell on earth, and the other had his own "personal" heaven. Life was a "heaven on earth" to the rich man.
2. One longed for the crumbs, that fell from the other man's table.
3. In death, one was honored enough to stand by Abraham.
4. In death, one longed for just a drop of water.
The rich man, eventually cried out for mercy, but the mercy had to be denied. The scriptures tell us, that once in hell, there will be no back and forth.
When the rich man sees he can't leave, his mind turns to his brothers.......He wants Lazarus to go visit them. It's denied......The explanation------They have Moses, and they have the prophets. In other words, they've been told. They have the written word, that's enough. God has nothing to prove. It's been proven. We must turn to the word for guidance, and God for forgiveness.
Many today, have had their heaven on earth. They've feasted at their own table. Never knowing what it was to trust in God. Not realizing, that the only good things they'll ever experience are here.