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"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

A Reputation Like Noah

Posted by Emma on October 24, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Daily Thought,Heroes of the Faith

“These are the offspring of Noah—Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generation; Noah walked with God…Noah did according to everything God commanded him, so he did.” Genesis 6:9,22

These verses bookend God’s telling Noah to build an ark and the story of why Noah is building that ark. The first verse describes a pretty good reputation; a reputation most of us would like to have. The last verses gives the key to that type of reputation. Do everything God commands. All of it. No questions asked. The fact that Noah did all God commanded is repeated to emphasize that point. This is a key fact.

Lots of people breeze over the key fact verse 22 gives us. They say that Noah’s reputation is because he knows God, he walks with God, he is a righteous man. But how does he know God, how does he walk with God, why is he a righteous man? I suggest it is because he does all that God commanded him.

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3

“Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 3:24a

Knowing God and keeping His commandments, go hand in hand. You cannot have the one without the other. If you know God you will want to keep His commandments. If you keep His commandments you will know God. They work together. You can never truly have one without the other.

Some people may argue that you can do what God commands but not truly have your heart in it or not be right with God. Basically they are saying you can do what He says but not know Him. I do not believe this can be the case and I can prove by looking at one command of God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

How can you love God and not know Him? This is impossible. This is the greatest commandment. It is one of two commandments that sum up all of God’s commandments. Can you keep even most of God’s commandments but not this one? No, you cannot.

Noah walked with God; He did what God commanded him. Imagine you are walking with a king, but you do not do what the king commands. How long would you be able to walk with him? It is the same way with God. If we walk with him we have to do what he commands. Noah was righteous because he obeyed God’s commands. The reputation described in Genesis 6:9 comes from obeying God’s commands, and not just some of them, all of them.

Walk God’s way, doing all His commands and you will be known as righteous & blameless, at least God will know you as that.

Thoughts from a Basketball Game

Posted by Emma on December 28, 2010 | Filed under: Christianity,Heroes of the Faith,Life's Race

I went to a Bucks game last night. For those of you who do not know, the Bucks are Milwaukee’s Basketball team. Several things struck me throughout the evening and one of them I decided to comment on.

As we were watching the players warm up, one of my brothers commented to me that Basketball players are some of the best played sports players.  This set my brain to thinking about how much professional athletes are paid. It’s a whole lot. As I was pondering this questions popper into my mind.

Why aren’t Christian “athlete’s” paid the same as professional athletes?

By Christian “athletes” I do not mean Christians who play basketball, football, baseball, etc. I mean Christians who are seriously running the race of life. Those would be your missionaries, pastors, and others in full time Christian service. They get paid next to nothing compared to secular athletes and yet they are playing for eternity.

How many Christians would pay 60+ dollars for a close seat at a missionary convention or to hear a preacher speak?

Not very many. Yet a lot of Christians are willing to pay that much for a good seat at a sports game. We are not willing to pay much to hear what these Christians are doing or listen/watch as they seek to draw us closer to God. It is shameful that most of us are not willing to pay that much to spend an evening drawing closer to God and being spiritual encouraged but we will pay to sit back and watch a sports event that will not count for anything a year from now, not to mention eternity.

How many Christians long to have an item that is signed or used by a missionary or pastor, or better yet Jesus Christ?

Maybe one in a thousand, at least of the Christians I know. Yet how many of us clamber for a baseball that flies into the stand or would give a lot to have a football signed by a great player on our favorite team? I think a lot of Christians would. We want the sports memorabilia. We are willing to pay to own hats and jerseys for our favorite team. I do not think I’ve ever seen anyone walking around wearing a shirt with the name of a missionary printed across the back of it or a hat that a pastor signed. I’m not necessarily advocating that we start doing this. I’m just wondering why we proclaim the names of these athletes who live less than honorable lives to the world but do not proclaim the names of Christians who live more than honorable lives. A question to ponder is how many Christians would take a Bible signed by Jesus over a football signed by their favorite big name player?

When do you hear Christians discuss the stats of their favorite missionaries?

Quite often we have conversations about how our favorite sports team or athlete are doing, what points they are scoring and so on, but rarely do people talk about what their favorite missionaries or pastors are doing or how many converts they have and so on. We should be able to talk about those important facts far more readily than sport facts. I think part of the problem with having those discussions is that Christians do not have a missionary or pastor they are routing for. If you do not know missionaries, get to know some. Find out what they are doing and know their stats so you can discuss them.

Why?

Why is this so? Why is the state of things as it is? Why can Christians pay to go to a game and not give a cent to missions?

Because our loves are mixed up. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Rev 2:4

We are focused on the things of this world and enjoying ourselves now and we have forgotten about the world to come and what matters then. We live in the now and do not give a thought for eternity. Brothers and sisters this is shameful and wrong. Our eyes should be looking heavenward. Our fist love must be the Lord Jesus Christ and not self and our personal entertainment during our short space on earth.

So I challenge you:

  • Next time you pay to go to a sports game give the same amount to a Christian who is ministering. I’m not against sports, I like them as well as the next guy but I think we need to keep them in their proper place.
  • Next time some one ask you to pay to go to a Christian function do so gladly knowing you pay to go the the games.
  • Get some missionaries and pastors to rout for.
  • Post there stats in your status and see what people say, if they even comment.
  • Next time you find yourself in a sports conversation turn it to missions and see what happens.

In simple, see to it that our Christian heros and “athletes” are treated as we treat the professional sports players and paid the same. The Christian “athletes” play for eternity, they deserve it.

Simon of Cyrene

Posted by Emma on April 8, 2010 | Filed under: Christianity,Heroes of the Faith

Resurrection Sunday (i.e. Easter) was this past Sunday. I had wanted to post this on Sunday but never had time to actually sit down and write it. I have been pondering the crucifixion for a few weeks and especially what it must have been like for Simon the Cyrenian and his family. “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” Mark 15:21

Try putting yourself in Simon’s shoes. Simon was from Cyrene. He had probably made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. Travel was not as easy in those days as it is now. It would have taken months of travel and a fair amount of money to come to Jerusalem. This was probably not a trip that he got to take very often, this might have been his first time to Jerusalem.

He has looked forward to this day for a long time. The air would have been filled with excitement and joy as millions of pilgrims were in and around Jerusalem. That Passover morning would have found thousands of people coming into Jerusalem from the surrounding villages for the morning offerings. Simon was among these. He would have been extremely excited and very joyful. That afternoon he was going to offer the Passover offering and that evening with family and friends he would eat the seder meal. It was a very important day for the Jews. It would have been in great excitement and anticipation of that days events that Simon walked into town

Then everything went bad. A Roman soldier hollered at him to come carry a heavy cross beam. I image that Simon was surprised and wondered if it was really him the Roman was calling. It was. Reluctantly, he picked up the cross beam for a bleeding criminal and carried it outside the city. His hopes and dreams for that day were devastated. Other criminals had mostly likely been crucified on that same beam. It was contaminated and would render Simon unclean. He could not go into the temple that day. He could not offer the Passover offering. He could not eat the seder. His whole trip had been in vain. I would image that depression swept over him. He probably wondered, why me.

Now that all of Simon’s plans for the day had been ruined, he probably did not know what to do with himself. I suspect that he would have watched and wondered about the women and men who followed Jesus to Calvary. He probably wondered who it was that was hanging on the cross and what he had meant when he said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry.” Luke 23:28-31. This was no ordinary criminal. I am sure he would have seen the sign on Jesus’ cross that read King of the Jews and wanted to know what it meant.

As Jesus hung on the cross that day, and the other pilgrims prepared for the Passover offering and seder, I suspect that Simon did some research. Who was this man on the cross? He probably found out that Jesus was a great prophet who some thought was the Messiah. He would have heard how the Chief Priests had taken him the night before and brought him to Pilate. Now the disciple’s hope was gone and Simon’s trip seemingly had been in vain. As the day went on, it got dark at noon and stayed dark until the middle of the afternoon, at the same time that the afternoon offering was made the earth shook and reports beginning to circulate that the veil in the temple had been rent in twain from top to bottom. Simon’s curious probably grew greater. He probably heard that all this had happened at the same time that Jesus had died. he probably wondered, could this really have been the King of the Jews, the Messiah.

I think that Simon was still in town three days later when rumors start circulating that Jesus was alive and people had seen Him. Simon probably wondered and inquired about this. I think that in those days following the resurrection, Simon came to trust in Jesus and realize that Jesus was the Messiah and died for His sins. Simon would have once again been filled with joy and excitement. The joy that comes for the Messiah and excitement for what this new life looked like. Simon would have realized that his trip to Jerusalem was not in vain. He had been part of one of the most important events ever to take place and he had had one of the most important events in his life take place. Carrying the cross of Christ is never in vain.

I do not know for sure that Simon got saved right after Jesus rose again, but I am pretty certain that he was saved. His name is mentioned in three of the gospels. If he had not been a believer it is doubtful that the believing community would have known who he was or who his sons were when the Gospels were written. I do not know how you could go through what Simon went through and not get saved. After what Jesus went through for us, how could we not get saved?

Some of this article is speculation, but the facts of the crucifixion and resurrection are accurate. You can read them in the Gospels.

What This Day is All About

Posted by Emma on March 17, 2010 | Filed under: Christianity,Heroes of the Faith

This is a repost of an article I wrote last Saint Patrick’s day. Although it is often used as an excuse to go party in our society, we must remember who Saint Patrick really was and what this day remembers.

St. Patrick’s day is today. I wonder how many people really know what St. Patrick’s day is all about. How many people know that it is commemorating something more than green shamrocks and being Irish? How many people know who St. Patrick’s day is commemorating. Who is St. Patrick?

St. Patrick lived somewhere around 387 – 461 AD. He was born in Britain but spent much of his life in Ireland. St. Patrick was an incredible man of faith and he leaves us a remarkable testimony. His parents were strong Christians and from his childhood Patrick had incredible faith. When he was fifteen he was carried away to Ireland as a slave. Right before he was captured he fell from a high cliff, a fall which might have killed him. He realized that God in His infinite mercy had saved him for some purpose and on that day he prayed, “My life belongs to you, dear Lord, I will dedicate it to You and forever do Your will. But please reveal to me what Your will is.”

Although Patrick’s life seemed to have taken a terrible turn, God used this time to prepare Patrick for the mission He had for him. God didn’t leave Patrick alone in Ireland. An older man was captured at the same time as Patrick, who knew the Irish language and was able to help Patrick stay strong in the Lord and learn the language and ways of Ireland.

When Patrick was twenty-one, God opened the door and he escaped back to Britain. Patrick then studied the Bible and became a Bishop. He then went back to Ireland to preach the Gospel to them. God was with Patrick from the first day he arrived there. At the place he fist landed, the king sent Irish Wolfhounds out to kill him. Patrick was able to give the dogs commands and make friends with them because of his previous experiences as a shepherd. This opened the king of that area to hearing the message Patrick brought and he became a Christian.

St. Patrick traveled throughout much of Ireland preaching and working miracles. When one of the most powerful kings in Ireland challenged him to a contest of the gods, he readily excepted the challenge. Before the contest was started however, the king tried to poison St. Patrick’s drink. St Patrick blessed the cup and drank it all, except a small frozen drop that contained the poison.

The contest started with the Druid (the representative of the pagan gods of Ireland) calling in snow. He could not get rid of the snow. St. Patrick made a cross with his fingers and the snow melted instantly. The Druid then called for darkness. He could not get rid of that either, St. Patrick again made a cross and it vanished. Furious, the Druid now challenged St. Patrick to send one of his disciples into a little two room house. The Druid would be locked in one room and St. Patrick’s disciple would be locked in the other. The house would then be set on fire. Whoever came out alive, served the more powerful God. One of St. Patrick’s disciples volunteered and the final showdown commenced. St. Patrick’s disciple was the one left living. That opened the door for St. Patrick to preach.

Traveling to another part of Ireland, Patrick was told many of the people there would not convert until a big stone idol was destroyed. St. Patrick went to the place where that idol stood, and called upon the power of the Lord Jesus to cause the idol to topple and be smashed into bits. Saying this, he struck the idol with his staff and the huge idol fell and was smashed into millions of bits. When the people of Ireland heard about this, many were open to hearing St. Patrick’s message and converted.

It is common to see shamrocks around St. Patrick’s day. Although they now have many different things connected with them, they originally were connected with the day because St. Patrick used them to explain the trinity. A shamrock has three leaves, but is still one shamrock, just as God has three representations but is one God.

Although no one is absolutely certain that these stories are true, they are based on facts and legends. These stories only begin to tell of St. Patrick’s life and faith. He was an incredible man, afraid of nothing and a fighter for the Lord! If you want to know more about him, I would recommend the Landmark book titled: The Life of Saint Patrick by Quentin Reynolds.

This is who St. Patrick’s day commemorates. I think he deserves to be commemorated. We should read about his life and tell others about this remarkable man of faith on this day. The world has commercialized it because they do not know what it is really about and probably do not want to know. We should make sure that the real purpose of this day (to honor St. Patrick) is not lost by all the commercialization the world puts on this day. Let us remember St. Patrick and tell others about his life and the Lord he served.

Much of the material for this article comes from The Life of Saint Patrick, by Quentin Reynolds, copyright 1995, Random House, Inc.

St. Patrick

Posted by Emma on March 17, 2009 | Filed under: Christianity,Heroes of the Faith

St. Patrick’s day is today. I wonder how many people really know what St. Patrick’s day is all about. How many people know that it is commemorating something more than green shamrocks and being Irish? How many people know who St. Patrick’s day is commemorating. Who is St. Patrick?

St. Patrick lived somewhere around 387 – 461 AD. He was born in Britain but spent much of his life in Ireland. St. Patrick was an incredible man of faith and he leaves us a remarkable testimony. His parents were strong Christians and from his childhood Patrick had incredible faith. When he was fifteen he was carried away to Ireland as a slave. Right before he was captured he fell from a high cliff, a fall which might have killed him. He realized that God in His infinite mercy had saved him for some purpose and on that day he prayed, “My life belongs to you, dear Lord, I will dedicate it to You and forever do Your will. But please reveal to me what Your will is.”

Although Patrick’s life seemed to have taken a terrible turn, God used this time to prepare Patrick for the mission He had for him. God didn’t leave Patrick alone in Ireland. An older man was captured at the same time as Patrick, who knew the Irish language and was able to help Patrick stay strong in the Lord and learn the language and ways of Ireland.

When Patrick was twenty-one, God opened the door and he escaped back to Britain. Patrick then studied the Bible and became a Bishop. He then went back to Ireland to preach the Gospel to them. God was with Patrick from the first day he arrived there. At the place he fist landed, the king sent Irish Wolfhounds out to kill him. Patrick was able to give the dogs commands and make friends with them because of his previous experiences as a shepherd. This opened the king of that area to hearing the message Patrick brought and he became a Christian.

St. Patrick traveled throughout much of Ireland preaching and working miracles. When one of the most powerful kings in Ireland challenged him to a contest of the gods, he readily excepted the challenge. Before the contest was started however, the king tried to poison St. Patrick’s drink. St Patrick blessed the cup and drank it all, except a small frozen drop that contained the poison.

The contest started with the Druid (the representative of the pagan gods of Ireland) calling in snow. He could not get rid of the snow. St. Patrick made a cross with his fingers and the snow melted instantly. The Druid then called for darkness. He could not get rid of that either, St. Patrick again made a cross and it vanished. Furious, the Druid now challenged St. Patrick to send one of his disciples into a little two room house. The Druid would be locked in one room and St. Patrick’s disciple would be locked in the other. The house would then be set on fire. Whoever came out alive, served the more powerful God. One of St. Patrick’s disciples volunteered and the final showdown commenced. St. Patrick’s disciple was the one left living. That opened the door for St. Patrick to preach.

Traveling to another part of Ireland, Patrick was told many of the people there would not convert until a big stone idol was destroyed. St. Patrick went to the place where that idol stood, and called upon the power of the Lord Jesus to cause the idol to topple and be smashed into bits. Saying this, he struck the idol with his staff and the huge idol fell and was smashed into millions of bits. When the people of Ireland heard about this, many were open to hearing St. Patrick’s message and converted.

It is common to see shamrocks around St. Patrick’s day. Although they now have many different things connected with them, they originally were connected with the day because St. Patrick used them to explain the trinity. A shamrock has three leaves, but is still one shamrock, just as God has three representations but is one God.

Although no one is absolutely certain that these stories are true, they are based on facts and legends. These stories only begin to tell of St. Patrick’s life and faith. He was an incredible man, afraid of nothing and a fighter for the Lord! If you want to know more about him, I would recommend the Landmark book titled: The Life of Saint Patrick by Quentin Reynolds.

This is who St. Patrick’s day commemorates. I think he deserves to be commemorated. We should read about his life and tell others about this remarkable man of faith on this day. The world has commercialized it because they do not know what it is really about and probably do not want to know. We should make sure that the real purpose of this day (to honor St. Patrick) is not lost by all the commercialization the world puts on this day. Let us remember St. Patrick and tell others about his life and the Lord he served.

Much of the material for this article comes from The Life of Saint Patrick, by Quentin Reynolds, copyright 1995, Random House, Inc.