Category Archives: Christian

The Empty Tomb

The Garden Tomb

The empty tomb represents Easter to me, more so than many other images. A tomb seems like a depressing thing, but the point about this one is that it is empty. There is noone there because death is conquered, and Jesus is alive, and we will also conquer death.

Not only death though. He conquered pain, and loneliness, and heartache, and sin, and fear, and the list goes on. And He wants to share all of those victories with us. He knows our hurts because he went through them for us, so that we will not have to bear the full burden.

That Easter morn, a grave that burst
Proclaimed to man that “Last and First”
Had ris’n again and conquered pain.

This morn renews for us that day
When Jesus cast the bonds away,
Took living breath and conquered death.

This we in gratitude recall
And give our love and pledge our all,
Shed grateful tear and conquer fear.

If you are doubting, hold on. If you are hurting, remember that He loves you. If you have never known Him, He still knows you and loves you.

Happy Easter!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpFhS0dAduc

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/first-presidency-shares-easter-message

Communicating with God

How do you talk to God?  How does God talk to you?  How do you know that He hears you, and that you are really hearing Him and not just hearing what you want to hear or what some other source has to say?

These are all important questions.  I heard a lesson today in Sunday School that had some good answers.  The lesson is online, if you would like to read it: “I Will Tell You in Your Mind and in Your Heart, by the Holy Ghost”

To outline it briefly, God communicates with us through the Holy Ghost.  We can hear this communication only if we are listening (just like you can only hear the radio if you have it turned on).  We also need to know how the Holy Ghost communicates with us, as it isn’t just like hearing a voice most of the time (and if I’m not listening and tuned in, I won’t even register what a person talking to me in the same room is saying – we have to listen).

This is how the Holy Ghost communicates:

  • He uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts.
  • He enlightens our minds.
  • He brings peace to our minds.
  • He may cause a burning in the bosom.  (This is most likely felt as a sensation of warmth or comfort – I have felt it at times, and you will know it when it comes to you).
  • He often reveals things “line upon line, precept upon precept” rather than all at once.

There is more discussion of these points in the lesson, if you want to follow the link.  Or feel free to ask me if you want to know more, or if you don’t understand anything here.

 There are a few more things to remember.  First of all, we don’t always get the answer that we want, and we need to be willing to accept God’s answer.  He isn’t going to change His mind because we don’t like what we hear.  And sometimes it is really hard to hear what we don’t want to hear.  Especially when it isn’t clear or we aren’t used to communicating this way.  Also, this isn’t an answers on demand service.  God will show us His answers in his own time, and in His way, which isn’t always what we are looking for.  Keep listening.

 There are a couple of other points worth mentioning.  We aren’t going to get answers for other people that we aren’t responsible for.  I can expect to find out God’s will for me and sometimes for my children, or people who are placed in my care.  But I’m not going to get answers for you.  Maybe I will get a suggestion of what God would like me to do to help, but that’s as far as it goes.  So if I think that the Holy Ghost is whispering to me that you ought to move to Utah and be my new neighbor, then I need to check the source there.  It’s probably wishful thinking and maybe I’m confusing what I want to hear with what God really has to say about it (He’s not going to tell me something like that, because it isn’t my decision to make).

 And sometimes you ask, but you don’t get an answer.  What then?  Remember that God answers when He decides that we are ready, and in His way.  It can take a long time.  It is also possible that we might not be listening to what we need to listen to, or that we need to do something first (study, prepare, etc.)  Sometimes we just need to be patient.  But the answers will come when the time is right and when we need them and are ready.

Redeemer of our Pain

Have you ever thought of the full meaning of redemption?  I think I have mentioned it before, that Jesus suffered not only for our sins, but for our afflictions too.  Another aspect of it is that none of our experience is for nothing.  I’m not saying that God wants us to suffer, but He will make our sufferings something to help us grow and learn and become more than we could have without them.  I read this message which was found in a scrapbook and then was placed in a book about grief, and I thought the message was powerful and needed to be shared.  Healing is available through Him.

God Does Not Waste Anything
God will not waste anything if we give Him a chance to redeem it. He is not only a Redeemer of our sins, but He is a Redeemer of our circumstances as well. He will not waste a single problem, a single heartache, a single tear, a single grief. Our God is a Redeemer God, and He stands minute by minute before us, inviting us to let Him have the sorrow, to let Him have the pain, the grief, to let Him have the disappointment and to trust Him to make something useful, something creative of every tragedy that darkens our lives.
Surviving the Loss of a Loved One – Anthony M. Coniaris

And the theme is Freedom of Religion

Another book that jumped out at me today was the Book of Daniel.  One of the speakers in church talked about Daniel having the faith and courage to continue to pray to his God, knowing that his enemies had tricked King Darius into signing a decree that anyone asking a petition of any God or man other than King Darius must be cast into the lions den.  Daniel continued to practice his religion, and not to hide it.  In fact, he prayed in front of his open window.

You probably know the story.  The men who had gotten the decree were watching Daniel, and they took him before the king, who was not able to change a decree once signed, and had to put Daniel into the lions den.  But Darius knew how strong Daniel’s faith was, and Darius told Daniel that God would deliver him, and then Darius went home and fasted that night for Daniel’s benefit, and was glad in the morning to find Daniel unharmed.

My daughter asked, “Didn’t the king make a new decree that everyone would worship Daniel’s God?”  And I explained to her that such a decree would have been contrary to the gospel.  God does not force anyone to worship Him, but allows us all choice.  He gives signs, and He may punish those who knowingly fight against Him and lead others astray.  But He allows us all the freedom to choose.

Here is the new decree that King Darius made when Daniel was saved from the lions den:

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

That sounds like a testimony to me. Also consider the similar story about Daniel’s friends, who were serving under Nebuchadnezzar. A decree had been made that all must worship a golden image created by Nebuchadnezzar, or be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Daniel’s friends refused to worship a false god, and were cast into the furnace, but they were protected by God and were not harmed.

Nebuchadnezzer also made a decree:

That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Okay, I will give you that the penalty was extreme, but my point is that the true God does not compel people to worship in one way or another, but allows choice. Men have set themselves up as authorities and tried to control how others practice religion, or have declared false teachings, and ultimately it doesn’t work out so well for those men.

Another observation that I would ask you to notice is that it is men who try to control and to use force and threats and violence to compel others to follow their way. That is not God’s way. The only times when God causes death or pain to come upon someone are when someone is actively going about harming others by deliberately leading them astray, and that person knows what they are doing and refuses after being warned to stop. Those who use threats and terror and force to control and compel others are not of God. God’s way is peace and love and healing.

Silencing the Christians

Do you ever get the feeling that you are discriminated against because of your beliefs, and if you try to say anything, then you get blamed for it because you are considered “majority” and therefore can’t be discriminated against?  If so, then you are not alone.  Any time a rule is applied in one way to one group, and differently or not at all to other groups, that is discrimination.  It has happened throughout history and it continues now.  How many Christians were killed for their belief?  Countless numbers, and it still happens. 

Christians are not blameless.  Christians have also discriminated, and have also done terrible things.  To name any one group as an oppressor and blame them would be to discriminate, and that is not what I want to do.  Just like intergenerational cycles of abuse, the patterns repeat throughout history.  One group is persecuted, but survives and eventually comes into power.  They learn by the way that they were treated that the way to survive and not lose power and be the victim is to keep others out of power.  And so hate develops in some (really only a small portion of the members of a group).  And the cycle repeats.  It is very sad.  And that some people do terrible things usually indicates that the people doing terrible things are using the name of the group to increase their own power.  It should not negate all the good that the group or set of beliefs has to offer.

What I am saying is that all of us, whether Christian or something else, need to consider whether rules really are being applied evenly and fairly.  Often they are not.  And these days Christians are as likely to be victims as anyone else, but it seems that Christians are less likely to receive sympathy.  But is that a discriminatory statement right there? I don’t know.

I was just told about a TV show about how Christians are being silenced and discriminated against.  There are many examples such as a mom who was told that she could not read from the Bible to her son’s class, but they told her to read a book about witches instead; all the way up to church shootings.  If you are interested, there is a website where you can watch trailers, sign up for episodes of the show, and find out where to watch it. 

Speechless: Silencing the Christians

Bible Study

can now be found on Tomi’s At Jesus’ Feet blog (see blogroll for link), on it’s own page.  The transcripts and information to join the chat are there.  Also watch for the announcement each week in General.  The page is long, with all of those transcripts, so be patient.  You will find the newest at the bottom.

 Here’s that link:

http://septembermorn.psychcentral.net/fruit-of-the-spirit-bible-study/

Charity – The Pure Love of Christ

Some people simply call it love.  Charity is love.  It is the love that Christ both gives to us, and offers as an example for us to strive for.  Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians about charity is often quoted.  I thought it was very appropriate.  Here is that quote directly from the source:

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
CORINTHIANS
CHAPTER 13
Paul extols the high status of charity—Charity, a pure love, excels and exceeds almost all else.
  1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

http://scriptures.lds.org

Good advice for all.

Also compare: here

April 28 Bible Study

Correct me if I am mistaken.  This week’s Bible study continued the previous outline.  They discussed the question, “Why did Christ die for us?”

The 4 reasons were 1) to rescue us from evil; 2) it was the Fathers will; 3) to bring us to his Father; 4) because he loves us……

I am not sure why the transcript isn’t showing up after Tomi has attempted to post it.  I will place it in the comments for this entry.  We will attempt from here on to post an outline in advance of each chat, and the transcript in the comments for that entry for each chat.  Please read the comments for the full discussion, or to add your own comments or ask questions.

Signs of the Times

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO
TIMOTHY
CHAPTER 3
Paul describes apostasy and perilous times of the last days—The scriptures guide man to salvation.
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

*****

Is anyone else seeing this happening? 

This one concerns me too:

*****

Isaiah 5: 20

  20 ¶ Woe unto them that call aevil bgood, and good evil; that put cdarkness for dlight, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

*****

I could not be a part of that.  I know that we are in the last days, and that these things are happening.  But I can still speak up for what is good and right, and for what I know to be true.  I know which side is ultimately going to win.  I want to be on that side.  How about you?  Where do you stand?

Bible Study Outline

To follow:

 1) Introduction
focus: learn about, grow in & experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our life
John 14 (Jesus explaining the Holy spirit to the disciples)

2) Foundational Truth
3) Living Beyond Yourself
4) Free at Last
Goal
History of Paul (who wrote Galatians)
Hardships
5)Pleasing God
6) Why Christ Died For Us
7) Galatians 1 summary
small discussion on being set apart at birth from Galatians & ties into other predestination reading throughout the bible
8) Christians Susceptible to False Teachings
9) God’s relationship with man

Thanks Debbie, Tomi, & Recluse1!  I’m trying to figure out how to add you all as users so that you can post directly.  If you would like, you could post the transcript in the comments.  🙂