“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”—Pablo Picasso (via colourcollision)
These scriptures, words of Jesus, helped me become aware of how easy it is to be confused about the gospel when Jesus gives what appears to be a checklist on how to get in to heaven.
It might seem that Jesus is simply saying, “if you want to go to heaven, then love every person as if they are equally the most incredibly important person ever; if you don’t, then you will go to hell”. Of course, no one can live up to this standard, which is a great standard that demands perfect goodness at all times. But, if you read the rest of the story, you learn that God became this man named Jesus Christ who perfectly lived up to this great standard: He gave His life to rescue all people from the destruction in Hell that they deserve, because He loves everyone as if they each are the most incredibly important person ever.
-Some people will realize that they fall far short of perfectly living up to the great standard set by God. As a result, those people want to be rescued by Jesus, and will be given Jesus’s perfect record in fulfilling God’s standard. Increased awareness and remembrance of the cost Jesus paid to give me this undeserved gift of His perfect record so I can be with Him forever results in an increased desire to live up to the perfect record that He gave me.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Final Judgment
31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.
33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”
40The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
41Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.”
44Then the people will ask, “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?”
45The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.”
46Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”
31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40"Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
41-43"Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44"Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45"He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46"Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward."
These scriptures helped me because they expresses the way I feel this morning after seeing God’s saving power triumphantly demonstrated in my life and in the lives of those around me. All I really need to do to feel this way everyday is to remember the story of Jesus Christ and His rescue mission, and all that God has graciously given me in my life and in the lives of those around me.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Psalm 138(By David.) Praise the LORD with All Your Heart
1-3 Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: “Thank you!” Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.
4-6 When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.” They’ll sing of what you’ve done: ”How great the glory of God!” And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.
7-8 When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.
These scriptures helped me as I reflected on the recent attacks towards me and my family from the enemies of God. When I say “enemies”, I think of those spiritual and human forces that try to destroy human flourishing, and who also try to stop or prevent the spreading power of the good news.
(the good news is that Jesus has the power and desire to save those who believe in Him and His rescue mission, and the good news is also that evil and death have been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus, and will one day be destroyed).
These scriptures also remind me that God is good and evil runs from those who stand in the power of His name: Jesus. As a result, I can remind myself of the times God has demonstrated his loving power in my life and be joyfully thankful.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Psalm 54Trusting God in Times of Trouble
1Save me, God, by your power and prove that I am right.
2Listen to my prayer and hear what I say.
3Cruel strangers have attacked and want me dead.
Not one of them cares about you.
4You will help me, Lord God, and keep me from falling;
5you will punish my enemies for their evil deeds.
Be my faithful friend and destroy them.
6I will bring a gift and offer a sacrifice to you, LORD.
I will praise your name because you are good.
7You have rescued me from all of my troubles,
and my own eyes have seen my enemies fall.
하나님이여 주의 이름으로 나를 구원하시고 주의 힘으로 나를 변호하소서
하나님이여 내 기도를 들으시며 내 입의 말에 귀를 기울이소서
낯선 자들이 일어나 나를 치고 포악한 자들이 나의 생명을 수색하며 하나님을 자기 앞에 두지 아니하였음이니이다 (셀라)
하나님은 나를 돕는 이시며 주께서는 내 생명을 붙들어 주시는 이시니이다
주께서는 내 원수에게 악으로 갚으시리니 주의 성실하심으로 그들을 멸하소서
내가 낙헌제로 주께 제사하리이다 여호와여 주의 이름에 감사하오리니 주의 이름이 선하심이니이다
참으로 주께서는 모든 환난에서 나를 건지시고 내 원수가 보응 받는 것을 내 눈이 똑똑히 보게 하셨나이다
These scriptures helped me consider the blessings that come with diversity in the church. A diverse multicultural church that welcomes loving discussions, dialogues, and debates about how to follow Jesus is important. This kind of communication culture helps build a loving unity in Christ while preventing people from burdening others or themselves with the elements of their particular cultural/religious backgrounds that distract people from the gospel. In these communications, I should remind myself that: 1. I and other followers of Christ are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ, and we were chosen to receive salvation through Jesus by the grace of God. 2. God has put His Holy Spirit in us and He makes our hearts pure. 3. Only God knows the hearts that belong to Him. Acts 15:4-11
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
4When the men arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, including the apostles and the leaders. They told them everything God had helped them do. 5But some Pharisees had become followers of the Lord. They stood up and said, “Gentiles who have faith in the Lord must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.”
6The apostles and church leaders met to discuss this problem about Gentiles. 7They had talked it over for a long time, when Peter got up and said:
My friends, you know that God decided long ago to let me be the one from your group to preach the good news to the Gentiles. God did this so that they would hear and obey him. 8He knows what is in everyone’s heart. And he showed that he had chosen the Gentiles, when he gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he had given his Spirit to us. 9God treated them in the same way that he treated us. They put their faith in him, and he made their hearts pure.
10Now why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? This burden was too heavy for us or our ancestors. 11But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in him, just as the Gentiles are.
예루살렘에 이르러 교회와 사도와 장로들에게 영접을 받고 하나님이 자기들과 함께 계셔 행하신 모든 일을 말하매
바리새파 중에 어떤 믿는 사람들이 일어나 말하되 이방인에게 할례를 행하고 모세의 율법을 지키라 명하는 것이 마땅하다 하니라
사도와 장로들이 이 일을 의논하러 모여
많은 변론이 있은 후에 베드로가 일어나 말하되 형제들아 너희도 알거니와 하나님이 이방인들로 내 입에서 복음의 말씀을 들어 믿게 하시려고 오래 전부터 너희 가운데서 나를 택하시고
또 마음을 아시는 하나님이 우리에게와 같이 그들에게도 성령을 주어 증언하시고
믿음으로 그들의 마음을 깨끗이 하사 그들이나 우리나 차별하지 아니하셨느니라
그런데 지금 너희가 어찌하여 하나님을 시험하여 우리 조상과 우리도 능히 메지 못하던 멍에를 제자들의 목에 두려느냐그러나 우리는 그들이 우리와 동일하게 주 예수의 은혜로 구원 받는 줄을 믿노라 하니라
4-5When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders. Some Pharisees stood up to say their piece. They had become believers, but continued to hold to the hard party line of the Pharisees. “You have to circumcise the pagan converts,” they said. “You must make them keep the Law of Moses.”
6-9The apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter. The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated. Then Peter took the floor: “Friends, you well know that from early on God made it quite plain that he wanted the pagans to hear the Message of this good news and embrace it—and not in any secondhand or roundabout way, but firsthand, straight from my mouth. And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him.
10-11"So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?"
These scriptures helped me recently as I went through some spiritual and emotional storms. My initial (and usual) reaction to these storms was to question God, and wonder why He is letting me go through these circumstances. Sometimes, I would get angry at Him. However, God has given me some faith that: He is good, He loves me, and He is capable of removing my troubles at any time. As a result of this growing faith, I don’t freak out as much as I used to during storms. Instead, I trust that God has a plan or a good purpose in allowing these storming circumstances to continue. So, I just try to keep focusing on: 1. the good news that Jesus rescued me from eternal destruction and my name is written in heaven. 2. trusting God to empower me and teach me through the storms He allows. 3. Spending my time being busy sharing the good news of the gospel with others in words and actions.
When I focus on these things with faith, the storms don’t even seem so stormy anymore.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A Storm(Matthew 8.23-27; Luke 8.22-25)
35That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” 36So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. 37Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.
38Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”
39Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.
40Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”
41Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
35-38Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”
39-40Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”
41They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”
“Many people today believe that cynicism requires courage. Actually, cynicism is the height of cowardice. It is innocence and open-heartedness that requires the true courage — however often we are hurt as a result of it.”—Erica Jong (via misswallflower)
Some of these notes may actually be quotes with mistakes:
Behold how miraculous is the love of the father which he bestowed on us calling us the children of god, and that is what we are.
By faith it is possible for the reality of god to be more than intellectual.
We are the children of God now and so there is something that we know we are destined to do: See Jesus face to face, not just by faith. Even wanting this destiny changes us as we react to this want by seeking purity.
When we see Jesus face to face, we will be transformed by God’s glory and all of the created order will be changed.
The more we see Him as He really is, the more we really become just like him. When we see him, we will be completely glorified.
Whether you know it or not, you are pursuing the desire to see God’s face in full.
The ultimate things Christians are after is not their marriage, beauty, career, because there will be a day when all these will be restored when we see Christ.
Look at the things which inflame your desire but never get you there no matter what or how much you invest.
What we are after is the day we see Him as He is. Build your life around that and let your priorities be reordered accordingly.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
1 John 3
1Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are. 2My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy. 4Everyone who sins breaks God’s law, because sin is the same as breaking God’s law. 5You know that Christ came to take away sins. He isn’t sinful, 6and people who stay one in their hearts with him won’t keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don’t know Christ, and they have never seen him.
보라 아버지께서 어떠한 사랑을 우리에게 베푸사 하나님의 자녀라 일컬음을 받게 하셨는가, 우리가 그러하도다 그러므로 세상이 우리를 알지 못함은 그를 알지 못함이라
사랑하는 자들아 우리가 지금은 하나님의 자녀라 장래에 어떻게 될지는 아직 나타나지 아니하였으나 그가 나타나시면 우리가 그와 같을 줄을 아는 것은 그의 참모습 그대로 볼 것이기 때문이니
그 안에 거하는 자마다 범죄하지 아니하나니 범죄하는 자마다 그를 보지도 못하였고 그를 알지도 못하였느니라
Some other scriptures mentioned in the sermon.
15I am innocent, LORD,
and I will see your face!
When I awake, all I want
is to see you as you are.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
20I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. 21I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.
22I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. 23I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.
24Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. 25Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. 26I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love that you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.
These scriptures helped remind me that God demonstrates His saving power to rescue people from unbelief when followers of Jesus spread the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. It reminds me that God saves, not the messengers. This reminder helps keep me from: overly attaching myself to a particular people or mission in such a way that prevents me from moving on to speak the message of salvation elsewhere. These scriptures also help me see that I should never stop sharing the gospel message, even when feeling intimidated or meeting life threatening resistance. However, these scriptures also caused me to consider: when facing intense resistance, sometimes it is best to trust that particular mission with God, and then keep on sharing that gospel message with other people in other places.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Paul and Barnabas in Iconium
1Paul and Barnabas spoke in the Jewish meeting place in Iconium, just as they had done at Antioch, and many Jews and Gentiles put their faith in the Lord. 2But the Jews who did not have faith in him made the other Gentiles angry and turned them against the Lord’s followers. 3Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a while, having faith in the Lord and bravely speaking his message. The Lord gave them the power to work miracles and wonders, and he showed that their message about his great kindness was true.
4The people of Iconium did not know what to think. Some of them believed the Jewish group, and others believed the apostles. 5Finally, some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to make trouble for Paul and Barnabas and to stone them to death.
6-7But when the two apostles found out what was happening, they escaped to the region of Lycaonia. They preached the good news there in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the nearby countryside.
이에 이고니온에서 두 사도가 함께 유대인의 회당에 들어가 말하니 유대와 헬라의 허다한 무리가 믿더라
그러나 순종하지 아니하는 유대인들이 이방인들의 마음을 선동하여 형제들에게 악감을 품게 하거늘
두 사도가 오래 있어 주를 힘입어 담대히 말하니 주께서 그들의 손으로 표적과 기사를 행하게 하여 주사 자기 은혜의 말씀을 증언하시니
Acts 141-3 When they got to Iconium they went, as they always did, to the meeting place of the Jews and gave their message. The Message convinced both Jews and non-Jews—and not just a few, either. But the unbelieving Jews worked up a whispering campaign against Paul and Barnabas, sowing mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street. The two apostles were there a long time, speaking freely, openly, and confidently as they presented the clear evidence of God’s gifts, God corroborating their work with miracles and wonders.
4-7But then there was a split in public opinion, some siding with the Jews, some with the apostles. One day, learning that both the Jews and non-Jews had been organized by their leaders to beat them up, they escaped as best they could to the next towns—Lyconia, Lystra, Derbe, and that neighborhood—but then were right back at it again, getting out the Message.
Ephesians 6:13-18 gives a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to speak the truth against Satan’s lies. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we receive. We are not to waver in our faith, no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. We are to follow Jesus’ example in recognizing that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer.
에베소서 6:13-18은 하나님이 우리에게 주신 영적 전신갑주에 대해 아주 자세히 설명하고 있습니다. 우리는 진리의 허리띠, 의의 흉배, 평안의 복음, 믿음의 방패, 구원의 투구, 성령의 검 그리고 성령 안에서의 기도로 견고히 서야 한다고 합니다. 이 영적인 무기들은 우리의 영적 전쟁에 있어서 무엇을 대표합니까? 첫째, 사탄의 거짓에 대해 진리를 말해야 한다는 것입니다. 둘째, 나를 위한 그리스도의 희생으로 내가 의로워졌다는 사실로 안식해야 한다는 것입니다. 셋째, 얼마나 많은 저항을 받든지 간에 우리는 복음을 선포해야 합니다. 넷째, 얼마나 강한 공격을 받던지 간에 믿음 가운데 절대로 흔들리지 말아야 한다는 것입니다. 다섯째, 우리의 궁극적인 방어는 우리의 구원에 대한 확신 그리고 다른 영적인 힘이 이 구원을 빼앗아 갈 수 없다는 사실에 있는 것입니다. 여섯째, 우리의 방어 무기는 우리의 의견이나 감정이 아닌 하나님의 말씀이 되야 한다는 것입니다. 우리는 예수님의 모범을 따라 영적 전쟁은 오직 기도로서만 가능하다는 것을 알아야 합니다.
These scriptures help me by reminding me that I’m involved on one side of a war. So there is a real enemy trying to destroy me and I should be prepared for a fight. But thankfully, my power and training in the fight against the enemy comes from God. These scriptures help me realize how God has been training me for battle through the experiences He has led me through, and they help me see how He has been sustaining me in battle. I have increasingly learned to depend on His saving power as I pray and study His Word, and I increasingly seek to: grow in my knowledge of the truth, promote justice, and share the news of salvation through Jesus Christ. I feel encouraged and celebratory as I grow in awareness of God’s power at work in my life and the lives of those around me. But as Jesus warns in Luke 10:20, I should focus my rejoicing on knowing that my name is written in heaven.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Fight against Evil
10Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. 14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
18Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
모든 기도와 간구를 하되 항상 성령 안에서 기도하고 이를 위하여 깨어 구하기를 항상 힘쓰며 여러 성도를 위하여 구하라
The Message (MSG)
A Fight to the Finish
10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
These scriptures help me become more aware of God’s love for me and I feel thankful and celebratory that my sins are forgiven. MaybeI hide my sins from God because I want to protect my pride and the mistaken sense that I deserve something. I’m grateful that God doesn’t let me enjoy life when I embrace or hide my sins. I’m grateful that God has given me a desire for Him, trust in Him, and “songs in my heart” that will cause me to hate running away from Him no matter how hard I try. However, these scriptures encourage me to avoid that kind of running away in the first place and instead to: quickly confess my sins in prayer, trust in God’s teachings, and celebrate that I have been saved from destruction by God’s grace.
(A special psalm by David.)
The Joy of Forgiveness
1Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away.
2You bless them by saying, ”You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.”
3Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.
4Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat.
5So I confessed my sins and told them all to you.
I said, “I’ll tell the LORD each one of my sins.”
Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.
6We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray whenever we find out
that we have sinned. Then we won’t be swept away by a raging flood.
7You are my hiding place!
You protect me from trouble, and you put songs in my heart because you have saved me.
8You said to me,
”I will point out the road that you should follow.
I will be your teacher and watch over you.
9Don’t be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey.”
10All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked, but your kindness shields those who trust you, LORD.
11And so your good people should celebrate and shout.
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Once the commands of God are laid out, and people can feel their weight and significance, it is important to point them to the gospel above the command. We need to work to help our people see three truths:
1. Jesus atoned for our failure in this command. (Col. 1:3; 2:13, 14; Eph. 2:16; Rom. 5:9)
The commands of God are pure and beautiful. They are a perfect reflection of his character and will, and we stand in stark contrast to that revelation. We are spiritual failures who could be justly condemned for our sin. But, our failure is not the end. Jesus has fully atoned for our sins through his death on the cross, and by it we are reconciled to God.
2. Jesus fulfilled this command for us. (1 Cor. 1:30, 31; Rom. 5:19; Phil. 3:9)
Not only has God forgiven us of our unrighteousness, but he has given us the righteousness of Jesus, declaring that in him we are holy and blameless. In every point where we have failed, Jesus has been faithful. In this very command, Jesus was not only righteous, but was righteous for us.
3. Jesus empowers us to live out this command. (Phil. 2:12, 13; Eph. 6:10-20; 1 Pet. 4:11)
The good news of the gospel is that in Christ we are not only delivered rom the curse of the law, but also empowered by God to keep it. Relatively. We remain sinners, and find ourselves unable to loose ourselves from sin’s presence this side of the resurrection, but God is at work in his people to enable us to walk in his ways. You really can live a godly life. One in which you acknowledge and repent of your sin, and submit yourself to will and ways of God through power that comes by the Holy Spirit.
So yes, we can and must preach the whole counsel of God. We must call men and women to obey, but not for approval, nor apart from the truth of the God who gives and fulfills the law for us. I believe if we do this when teaching the commands of God we kill moralism and will, by the grace of God, see conviction and encouragement among the people.
These scriptures are prayers and they remind me to run to God in prayer and tell Him about situations in which I feel depressed. But first I should remember that God is kind and gracious by focusing on how He has helped me through past problems. Then I should tell Him how I feel in detail and acknowledge and confess the role of my sins in producing negative consequences in that situation. Then I can ask God to graciously rescue me from the terrible situation that is caused by my sins and by the hatred of others. Then I can rest in the trust that God will work events out according to His good and kind purposes. As a result, a celebratory joy begins to interfere with my depression even if the circumstances causing my depression do not change.
I can remember too that Jesus was betrayed, tortured, and murdered. He experienced terrible physical and emotional suffering and suffered in a spiritual way that is difficult to understand. He expressed His feelings in prayer and then went on trusting God, and was murdered. He trusted in God’s purposes and now Jesus is alive and through Him, sins are forgiven and people are saved.
6-13 I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust. I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love; you saw my pain, you disarmed my tormentors, You didn’t leave me in their clutches but gave me room to breathe. Be kind to me, God— I’m in deep, deep trouble again. I’ve cried my eyes out; I feel hollow inside. My life leaks away, groan by groan; my years fade out in sighs. My troubles have worn me out, turned my bones to powder. To my enemies I’m a monster; I’m ridiculed by the neighbors. My friends are horrified; they cross the street to avoid me. They want to blot me from memory, forget me like a corpse in a grave, discard me like a broken dish in the trash. The street-talk gossip has me ”criminally insane”! Behind locked doors they plot how to ruin me for good.
This passage helps me feel thankful that God has blessed me with the gift of salvation. This scripture also comforts me to know that God will guide me so I won’t fall during challenging times. It is also comforting to know that there will be justice someday and wickedness will be destroyed.
"Men like the opinions to which they have become accustomed from their youth; they defend them and shun contrary views: and this is one of the things that prevent men from finding the truth, for they cling to the opinions of habit." Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed This is so true. How do we overcome this tendency? How do we escape the inertia of living with our customs, habits, traditions, patterns, in short, with our ethnocentrism? How do we escape the tendency to recoil from anything that is new and different and strange to us? How do we develop an orientation toward getting out of our territory, our “bubble,” and setting out on a search for truth that leads us into the “territory” (literal and figurative) of others? Can we develop the ability to see the tendency that Maimonides puts his finger on, and to work against it?
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. 3You are already clean because of what I have said to you.
4Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. 5I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. 6If you don’t stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire.
7Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered. 8When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored.
1Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? 2You want something you don’t have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won’t get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. 3Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.
4You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”? 6In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say, “God opposes everyone
who is proud,
but he is kind to everyone
who is humble.”
7Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind. 9Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad. 10Be humble in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.
너희 중에 싸움이 어디로부터 다툼이 어디로부터 나느냐 너희 지체 중에서 싸우는 정욕으로부터 나는 것이 아니냐
너희는 욕심을 내어도 얻지 못하여 살인하며 시기하여도 능히 취하지 못하므로 다투고 싸우는도다 너희가 얻지 못함은 구하지 아니하기 때문이요
구하여도 받지 못함은 정욕으로 쓰려고 잘못 구하기 때문이라
간음한 여인들아 세상과 벗된 것이 하나님과 원수 됨을 알지 못하느냐 그런즉 누구든지 세상과 벗이 되고자 하는 자는 스스로 하나님과 원수 되는 것이니라
너희는 하나님이 우리 속에 거하게 하신 성령이 시기하기까지 사모한다 하신 말씀을 헛된 줄로 생각하느냐
그러나 더욱 큰 은혜를 주시나니 그러므로 일렀으되 하나님이 교만한 자를 물리치시고 겸손한 자에게 은혜를 주신다 하였느니라
그런즉 너희는 하나님께 복종할지어다 마귀를 대적하라 그리하면 너희를 피하리라
하나님을 가까이하라 그리하면 너희를 가까이하시리라 죄인들아 손을 깨끗이 하라 두 마음을 품은 자들아 마음을 성결하게 하라
These scriptures help me pray when I’m hurt by others. They move me to trust in God’s promises and remind myself of them in prayer. I’m encouraged to reveal my fears and emotions to Him in prayer, and even explain in detail the situations in which I’m being hurt by others.These scriptures also prompt me to remember the gospel in prayer: Christ who was tortured and killed while doing good with purely righteous motives and He was fueled by the loving desires to rescue me from destruction and glorify God.When I’m feeling unfairly treated by others, remembering the gospel in prayer adjusts my perspective of my suffering. It comforts me as I know that God understands, and it tempers my anger as I become aware that I’m not like Jesus: I’m never completely innocent and righteous in my motives. As a result, when I pray in response to a situation in which I’m being hurt by others, I begin to look up at God with thankfulness and love rather than looking down on those who hurt me with anger.
What I do, God, is wait for you, wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer! I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off, won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.
17-20 I’m on the edge of losing it— the pain in my gut keeps burning. I’m ready to tell my story of failure, I’m no longer smug in my sin. My enemies are alive and in action, a lynch mob after my neck. I give out good and get back evil from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.
21-22 Don’t dump me, God; my God, don’t stand me up. Hurry and help me; I want some wide-open space in my life!
These scriptures helped me as I reflected on a discussion about pride/self-love with my students. This Psalm prompts me to investigate my sinful actions, motives, and thoughts that I’m unable to accept awareness of because I’m too in love with myself. Remembering Christ dying on the cross to rescue me from my sinfulness helps me become aware of my sinfulness because this remembering cures me of self-love. I’m reminded that I’m so terrible that the only way God could rescue me from destroying myself was to become a human and die a terrible death. But this memory picks me back up, minus the self-love, as I become aware of God’s love for me since He became a human and died a terrible death to rescue me from my sins.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
(For the music leader by David, the LORD’s servant.)
Human Sin and God’s Goodness
1-4 The God-rebel tunes in to sedition— all ears, eager to sin. He has no regard for God, he stands insolent before him. He has smooth-talked himself into believing That his evil will never be noticed. Words gutter from his mouth, dishwater dirty. Can’t remember when he did anything decent. Every time he goes to bed, he fathers another evil plot. When he’s loose on the streets, nobody’s safe. He plays with fire and doesn’t care who gets burned.
Think in English. Psychologists specializing in language have determined that a different part of the brain deals with foreign languages (e.g., English) as opposed to your native language (Thai). You have to regularly use the English part of your brain if you want to develop it. Therefore, spend at least 20 minutes every day thinking in English. Do it when you don’t have to concentrate on something else, for example, while you’re walking, traveling or taking a shower.
Furthermore, the most inefficient way of speaking in English is first thinking of what you want to say in Thai, translating it into English, and then saying the English translation. It’s also the most ineffective way of trying to improve your English speaking ability. Why? It’s because you’re constantly hopping from the “Thai area” of your brain to the “English area” and back again. This adds unnecessary steps in communicating, and fluency is often worsened as a result.
What should you do? Just create sentences in English, without first thinking in Thai. When you get used to doing that, you’ll find it’s much easier to talk. Your fluency will develop faster, too. Don’t try to be perfect. A fear of making mistakes could easily make you too shy to speak English. Your spoken fluency might therefore not improve at all. Worse still, you might not be able to have a conversation in English even if you know much grammar and vocabulary.
As well, if you try to be perfect all the time, you’ll probably speak slower than normal, repeat or correct words, or include pauses in your speech. This is a common problem among candidates needing a high band score, like 7.0. For example, by concentrating on avoiding grammar errors in order to get a high grammar score, their fluency suffers, resulting in too low a score for fluency.
No matter what your language level is, don’t expect to speak without making errors. If you focus too much on grammar rules, for instance, it’s easy to become nervous, or even forget about your fluency. My advice is, don’t worry about making mistakes. Just relax and think about the message you want to communicate.
Use English often. If you don’t practice speaking a lot, with or without errors, you’ll never make any real progress toward fluency. In contrast, the more often you speak, the easier it becomes. Talk in English to your friends. Join an English speaking club at your school or university, or do an English course. You’ll soon notice improvement.
These scriptures help me feel comforted as I negotiate my way through conflicts. I’m comforted that my sins are forgiven and if I keep my focus on Him, then I will avoid making challenging situations worse. God is teaching me. This scripture is a prayer to God in which a follower of God is expressing his fears and miserable feelings to God, asking Him for help. The inclusion of prayers like this in scripture encourages me to pray this way too.
I firmly believe that the solution to government issues, the economy, world peace, and whatever else is troubling you can all be solved starting with an army of good teachers (yes, I’m well aware I’m very biased). In all seriousness, good teachers seem to be few and far between now. Here is a…