Since we just saw England celebrate the 70 years of the reign by Queen Elizabeth II, I thought I would share her comments for my Friday list of laughter and wisdom (even though i am a day late.)
Grief is the price we pay for love.
None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.
When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.
If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.
It has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the harsh progress of mankind.
Children teach us all a lesson – just as the Christmas story does – that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.
We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.
Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us have a monopoly on wisdom.
Memories are our second chance at happiness.
The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.
Heard a great sermon today on the principle of authority and respect. Pastor mentioned three sources of authority we can choose.
Our own authority. We can say “No one is going to tell me what to do. I am going to do what I want. I have my rights”
Other’s authority. We can decide to do what everyone else is doing, what is popular, what our crowd believes.
God’s authority. We can choose to follow the teachings of Jesus.
Hmm. You mean things like “pray for those who persecute you” or how about “But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, ‘Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fiery hell.”
Or, how about “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as they had their last meal together just before He went to the cross. He said it was a new commandment. Yet He had told them before that they should love others. He had said that all the Law and the Prophets could be summed up in two commandments: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
What was new about this commandment?
It appears to me that Jesus was giving us a standard by which we could judge how we love our neighbor. It was more than just how we love our self. It was as He has loved us.
As we listen to the social and political world right now, we see little of love and kindness. But what disturbs me is that many of our evangelical Christian leaders are as guilty as non-believers in this battle of words.
Following the authority of Jesus is not easy. I am afraid I have failed a lot on that one. My prayer today is that God will help me put a watch on my tongue.
And I pray that those who claim to speak for the church will also return to following Jesus rather than following the example of the rest of society.
This past year has been so full of noise. So many voices approving this point of view – attacking that point of view. If the voices had only been speaking of ideas, beliefs, policies, it might have been a good year of honest open debate. Sadly, I have found there was little true debate. It seems we all went into our own corners and listened only to those we agreed with.
The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply….Stephen R. Covey
Everyone has a right to be heard, but only if they are willing to listen to others in an attempt to understand….Eric Overby
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen….Winston Churchill
Know these my beloved brethren, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger….James 1:19
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion….Proverbs 18:2
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people….Titus 3:2
I have been guilty myself of giving my opinion whether wanted or not, adding my own thoughts to all the posts and articles out there. In my devotion today I really felt convicted in my spirit as the Lord reminded me that my primary focus should be on Him and not the craziness around me.
I know many Christians are afraid of the new administration and what that might mean to the Christian freedoms. But looking at the Early Church I want to follow their example.
In Acts 5 we see where the apostles were put in prison for sharing the gospel and then warned not to do it again. Their response:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Note that they did not argue with the Sanhedrin, they did not complain or start a political movement. They praised God they were worthy of suffering for the cause of Christ and kept on proclaiming the good news about Jesus.
Earlier in Acts 4 after being imprisoned and then released the apostles met with the church and told them of the threats they had received. If that happened today – if my pastor was arrested and told not to speak any more about the Gospel – I imagine the prayer meeting that would follow would be for a cry for protection – for justice – for our rights to speak. However that was not where their focus was. Rather they prayed:
Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them….Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. THEY DID WHAT YOUR POWER AND WILL HAD DECIDED BEFOREHAND SHOULD HAPPEN. Now Lord consider their threats and ENABLE YOUR SERVANTS TO SPEAK YOUR WORD WITH GREAT BOLDNESS. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I know there are times when injustice requires us to speak out. I could also post that famous quote “Bad things happen when good men do nothing.” But to me today I have decided to leave all the discussions and comments to others. Going forward in 2021, this song I have attached is my prayer.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord!