11/28/2012

Gentleness

Recently I was asked to give a 'talk' on gentleness during lunch at Christian school (the 'theme' for lunchtime throughout the term has been the Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23) . . . I only wrote down a few notes for the talk, but the LORD had begun showing me a few things in those notes that I thought it would be beneficial to look a little closer at . . . What you are about to read is the result. . .

The word 'gentleness' in the Galatians 5:22 passage is translated from the Greek word chrestotes: which is used in the Bible for 1) moral goodness, integrity and 2) benignity, kindness . . . (If you don't have your own concordance, you can check out this link) . . . which suggests (as any in-depth look at the Fruit of the Spirit will) that this is mainly pointing to a 'heart/motive' aspect, rather than just a way of behaving. . . (Ephesians 4:1-3)

However, as far as the practical aspect went, I began to think and try to find an example or picture of gentleness in everyday life that would be simple to understand. The first thing that came to my mind were Prismacolor Colored Pencils because the Colored Pencil teachers that I've known have a tendency to make a running joke out of how they want students to treat their pencils because of how expensive they are. Because of their price and the fact that they are easily broken, even tapping a colored pencil on something is greatly frowned upon. They are an item that needs to be treated with care. . .

But then I thought that that would be a really shallow example if left by itself, so I turned to the obvious and only Perfect example given us in Scripture - Jesus Christ. . .

As I looked through the Gospels in search of Jesus' showing gentleness, I thought about many of the examples where Jesus showed mercy and compassion, but God pointed me specifically toward the few accounts of Jesus with children. . .
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. ~ Mark 10:13-16

In order to understand some things it is helpful to know the subject’s opposite . . . and what is the opposite of gentleness? . . . I waited a bit after asking this question, watching as the children I had been speaking to began to think. And I was glad to see a little girl light up and raise her hand before giving the answer I was looking for: Violence.

I nodded and began to talk about how it was so rare to find violence used as a positive in Scripture. In fact, the only place I could find where that might be the case was in Matthew 11:12 – which suggests to me how aggressive we should be in ‘pressing into the Kingdom’ or in seeking to know God.

On the other hand, there is a veritable cornucopia of references to how vile and wrong violence or the violent person is:

The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. ~ Psalm 11:5 NASB

Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence. ~ Proverbs 3:30-32 ESV

Those of you who have spent a lot of time in Psalms and Proverbs know that those are only a fraction of the examples and commands given regarding violence as it corresponds to the righteous or the wicked . . . And that those are mostly in the context of men dealing with other men – mere hints at the wrath of God concerning the subject. . .

After mentioning some of this, I returned to gentleness and asked the kids if they could give me examples of ways that we can ‘practically’ (as a physically conscious demonstration) show gentleness toward one another . . . Once again I waited as they looked up at the ceiling or at one another in search of ideas. A few good responses were called out, but a little boy finally called out a word that I could not help but think was given the child by the Holy Spirit.

The boy had said ‘kindness’ . . . I smiled at this suggestion as I realized that this was another of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and that it helped confirm my belief that all of the ‘fruits’ correspond to and find strength in one another as the Holy Spirit works them into the growing believer. I pointed this out as I continued speaking once the boy had suggested being kind as a way to show gentleness.

At this point I had no more notes, and at the moment I am still not quite sure where to go from here (only because there are numberless things that could be considered in Scripture starting from this point and moving into different things), so I ended my ‘talk’ by reading the following from my New American Standard Bible:
As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. ~ Psalm 18:30-36

 
J D White
11/25/2012

11/24/2012

Thanksgiving Proclamation


George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
 
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Click Here to see the Original Document. . .
* * * * *

A friend of mine sent me the above proclamation in an email on Thanksgiving and I thought I'd share it. :)

I always find it ironically amusing (and unfortunate) how the government abuses the term 'separation of church and state' (which is not a part of Any of our original documents setting up our government - i.e. the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.) . . . Especially when compared to decrees made by our Founding Fathers like the one above. . . .

Oh well, the Lord is good, and in Him we can confidently Trust. . .
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! ~ Psalm 9:9-11 ESV

11/22/2012

Give Thanks






Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. ~ Psalm 7:17

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. ~ Psalm 30:4

Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! ~ Psalm 33:2

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. ~ Psalm 54:6

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. ~ Psalm 57:9

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. ~ Psalm 79:13

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. ~ Psalm 86:12

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! ~ Psalm 97:12 

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ~ Psalm 100:3-5

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! ~ Psalm 105:1

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ Psalm 106:1

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. ~ Psalm 106:47

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ Psalm 107:1

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. ~ Psalm 108:3

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. ~ Psalm 109:30

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. ~ Psalm 111:1

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ Psalm 118:1

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ Psalm 118:28-29

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever... ~ Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. ~ Psalm 136:26

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” ~ Revelation 4:11

May we never cease to offer thanks and praise to our great, magnificent, wondrous, gracious, and loving LORD of lords and King of kings, the one and only God Almighty who is worthy of All honor, praise, and glory!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

11/07/2012

First Night of Freedom

A friend of mine, Raquel, started a ministry a while back to send gifts/donations to rescue shelters that assist victims of human trafficking. (You can read her story, Or visit the website: FNOF)

And this month she's started a 'coin campaign' as a way to raise some more funds for this important task!

Here's how it works:
"If you want to join, all you need is a jar and any extra change you have laying around the house. It is estimated that there is approximately $1,000 worth of coins per American household. Committing to TCC, basically means that you'll promise to add coins to that jar every day of the month of November.  And on December 1st, all the coins that you collected will be given as donation funds to FNOF's ministry." ~ Raquel

Want to Help Spread the Word? Just copy the following HTML code onto your blog/website:
Photobucket

And here's a video from Raquel's most recent update on First Night of Freedom...
"I am beside myself with excitement in being able to present First Night of Freedom's official video ad. Huge thanks goes to Mr. Frank Montenegro for being willing to make this for FNOF. May God bless you richly! I can't thank you enough." ~ Raquel



Hope you'll be able to join us! :)

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
 
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart! ~ Psalm 36:7-10
~ English Standard Version (ESV)

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