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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / Walking in the Light Welcome Guest

          Random thoughts from someone trying to walk in His light

    Sun, Apr 30th - 8:13PM



    Hey,

    Did you ever consider the possibility that Samson looked more like Woody Allen than Arnold Swarzenegger?

    Based on this verse :

    Judges 16:6 (New International Version)

     6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued."

    Would you ask muscle bound  Arnold what the secret of his strength was?
     It kinda makes his physical accomplishments even more impressive.



    Comment (7)

    Thu, Apr 27th - 9:52AM



    Hey,

        Last night's youth group went great. I asked what they would do if someone was brought to the accused of cheating on finals. Then I introduced the story of the Woman taken in Adultry.There is a film clip in The Passion that is very short, and not complete, but sets the mood.

    THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTRY John 8

    2: At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4: and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5: In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6: They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7: When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8: Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9: At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10: Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11: "No one, sir," she said.
    "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

    1. Who would you have the most trouble forgiving?A: a rapist
      B: a drug dealer
      C: a terrorist
      D: a murderer
      E: ________
    2. 2.If you had been in the crowd when this woman was brought to Jesus, what would you have done?
      A: gone about my own business
      B: cried out for her to be punished
      C: defended her
      D: prayed for her soul
      E: picked up a stone

    3. How was this a trap for Jesus?
      A: He might not know what the law said
      B: He had to pick one side or the other.
      C: He would look like "the bad guy"
      D: The Romans could arrest him for sentencing someone to death.

    4: Why do you think Jesus wrote in the sand?
    A: to take attention away from the woman
    B: to write a message to the Pharisees
    C: to make time to get over his anger
    D: to give the Pharisees time to think

    5: Why did the older ones go away first?
    A: they were the wisest
    B: they were tired
    C: they were less passionate
    D: they were the most guilty

    5: Why did Jesus let her go?
    A: she was innocent
    B: he knew she wouldn’t do it again
    C: she was forgiven
    D: everyone deserves a second chance
    E: he was avoiding the situation

    5: Does Jesus mean that adultery is not a sin?

    6: What did the woman do to earn her forgiveness?

    The multiple choice questions help make discussion. I eavesdropped and heard a lot of thinking going on in our small groups.



    Comment (9)

    Tue, Apr 25th - 10:12PM

    PERSONAL UPDATE



    Hey,

       Some of you old timers here have suffered through my whinning for a while so I feel like I owe you a report on how things are going. I know many of you hav prayed for my at times. Thanks and God bless. I do rturn the favor often.    

        Things have been going pretty well lately. I have got a lot of blessing out of teaching. God's Word has come easily to me and been exciting. I teach every other Sunday School for our teens and every Sunday night with a College group that meets in our home. I post many of those lessons here. It helps me organize my thoughts, and the feedback here is great.
        The lesson on Emmaus below was interesting. I had it ready for Easter but only a few people came and we decided to socialize instead. I think that the personal connections with this group is at least as important as teaching a lesson. I remember hearing once "The meeting is an excuse for the relationship" I'm not sure that I completely embrace that, but its close. Anyway, the Emmaus lesson waited a week and got old to me. I have always felt like a lesson starts with a certain energy that it begins losing as time passes. By the time that I taught it, it was old news. It sounds like it was still a good lesson to hear, but it wasn't a lot of fun for me to teach.
        I have also grown a lot in prayer lately. The Prayer Circle has called me to greater acountability. Some of the time I haven't really heard from the partners and it hasn't been as special but when we do connect its great. It seems that each time that the prayer time was personal, (when I really knew what I was praying about or when the partner knew what I was asking for) I saw good results. They seemed to pay off not so much in solutions as in attitude and clarity. I have begun to pray for greater conviction of my own sins.
       I have also grown in trust over our youth pastor position. There has been a long delay in what seems an obvious and blessed decision but I am growing from irritation and anger to acceptance and understanding that God is in charge and has better timing than I do. I'm not quite ready to leave the dark adjectives off of the words "insurance company", but it is much closer ; ) .
       Joel, my son, found a new job that he likes and seems to be doing well in school. C'Anne is doing well. She is impressing me, and others, on this website. We will be at Azusa next week to bring her home for the summer!  Taryn is also feeling less stress from church politics. Jonie our newly "adopted" daughter is doing well and we are helping each other keep a good attitude.
       This site continues to grow. 300 members any minute now. There have been some very interesting new faces aroung here lately. The unity and attitude at church has improved. We aren't having weekly crisis anymore. There is a lot of adjusting to do still but its all going very well. Much faster than we even hoped. I haven't been verbally attacked in a month!

        God is amazing!
        Isn't is amazing to be able to find loving fellowsip on a computer?



    Comment (4)

    Sun, Apr 23rd - 8:16PM



    Hey,

         Before I get started, answer this. It comes up later in the blog. Why do you go to church?

    Mark 11: 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written:
       " 'My house will be called
          a house of prayer for all nations?
         But you have made it 'a den of robbers.
    18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

       Suppose that before you could go into your church today someone met you at the door. "Do you have your Bible? You must have one to enter and it must be exactly this type.  If you don't have one you can buy one here for $49.95." What would that do to your "worship attitude"?


        In Jeus' day, money changers were there to exchange your Roman coins for temple coins to pay the temple tax with. Roman coins were unacceptable in the temple because they bore the image of Caesar.They charged a fee for the exchange.  And others sold doves for sacrifice. According to the Law, the sacrifices had to be without blemish. The priest inspected the offerings and often refused them. "This dove isn't acceptable, but you can buy one right over there." The prices that they charged there were inflated.
        Imagine what this did to worshipers moods. They came a few times a year to offer a sacrifice and had to pass through this moneymaking racket to get there. Jesus came into this scene and got angry. All by himself, he stopped it. Violently. 
        He spoke of the temple as a 'house of prayer" What was prayer to Jesus? It was talking with his father. It was communicating. He wasn't talking about them being able to make their sacrifices, or pay their taxes. He was talking about them being able to talk to God. These people were coming with hearts open to reconciling with God and bankers and salesmen were getting in the way. They were ruining the mood. Jesus action is what made the religious leaders decide to kill him. At the cost of His life, Jesus stopped them from getting between people and God.
        Why do you go to church? Is it to "pay taxes?" To do the right thing? Or is it to build a relationship with God?



    Comment (6)

    Wed, Apr 19th - 9:01PM

    PRAISE!!



    Hey,

        Well, this isn't the big praise that I am looking for (that we hired a youth pastor) but it is pretty good. I think that I have kept this one secret, but not really on purpose.
        I was being sued for over $40,000. It was from a car accident three years ago. I actually didn't worry about it much because I had insurance for it, but it was getting close to trial and a lawyer kept calling me. He was supposed to drive here tomorrow from two hours away just to see me so I was beginning to think that it was a bigger deal than they were telling me. But I got the letter today that said it was settled!
        I wonder if this is one time when God translated some other prayers for me into this matter.
    Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

       Praise Him

     



    Comment (8)

    Sun, Apr 16th - 3:42PM

    EMMMAUS



    Luke 24:13     Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" 
       They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 
      19 "What things?" he asked. 
       "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 
       25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
       28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 
       30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" 
       33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together  34 and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

       One of these disciples is Cleopas. John 19:25 says that he had a wife named Mary (it seems like most women were named Mary in those days). I think that this husband and wife were giving up and heading home. Home was Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked someone joined them. They were kept from seeing that he was Jesus. I have heard them criticized for not recognizing Him but if God prevents something, I don't think its likely to happen until He stops preventing it. Besides, I think there were tears in their eyes. 
       Jesus asks questions to draw out their thoughts. He knows the teaching value of discussion over lecture. He knows it helps our thought process to talk things out. Many of us tend to remain silent, but it would be better if we were more open, more teachable. In this case, they say two very revealing things. "We had hoped" is past tense. Over. Finished. We used to have this hope. We don't anymore. They had given up. Despite testimony from a few women to the contrary, they believed that Jesus was dead. They didn't have proof that He was risen so they believed He wasn't. They had heard His talk of rising in three days and heard stories, but didn't really believe. In the same way, we know teaching that says that God is in charge, and hear stories to back that up, and we still have trouble believing it. 
       They also say, "who was going to redeem Israel" They were thinking about their own troubles. It was the same cry that the people made on Palm Sunday. "Save us! (Hosanna)" They had believed in a plan but it wasn't in God's plan. When what God was doing didn't fit with their vision of what He should do, they despaired. Many times we give up on God because he isn't doing things the way we would do it. I have a plan for who should be our next youth pastor, but now there is an obstacle. Does that mean that things are out of God's hands? Or does He have more in mind than I see? God's plans are bigger than our vision.
        Jesus gives them heartburn. This is one of those Bible moments when I wish that I could have been there. Imagine hearing Jeus explain from "all the scriptures" what God's plan was. He probably talked about crushing the serpents head, being lifted up in the desert, the Passover lamb, the forsaken One in Psalms, the child born Isaiah, the stone in Daniel, and the One coming in Malachi, along with so many others, some we might not even have seen yet. He was explaining that God had a plan. That the messiah was supposed to be a sacrifice. That salvation was for more than Isreal.
       Later, He breaks bread with them. They may have seen the nail holes in his hands, or they may just have recognized the gestures that they had seen so many times before. Their eyes were opened. Then Jesus disappears immediately. Maybe that was grace for them. Imagine trying to answer to Jesus right there why you had given up. Why you were headed home. "I know that you said you would rise again today, but we never really believed that part" I think Jesus spared them that pain.
        Cleopas and Mary make up for lost time. "They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem." Remember that they had walked all day. How long do you think it took for Jesus to explain from all the scriptures. Maybe they had made it all the way to Emmaus (seven miles). Is it likely that there was an inn halfway out there. Remember that they had stopped for the night? The King James says "that same hour" they headed back. Seven more miles back. At night. Their hope was alive again. 



    Comment (8)

    Mon, Apr 10th - 9:34PM

    Prayer Thoughts



    Hey

        Most of this pings off off Lee's blog and her Prayer Circle.

        I had a similar cool prayer experience once too.
        As youth leaders, we were praying for the kids one night. We had made lists of 10 names for each person. There was an extra list, so I had two. I was in a really good frame of mind for prayer, so when I saw that I didn't know any of the kids on one list, it didn't even phase me. I prayed over it, trusting that the Holy Spirit would tell me what to say, or at least translate what I said that was not appropriate for that person. I prayed for 20 kids, most that I didn't even know and felt instantly familiar to each one. A new need came into my head for each name, and I was certain that each was right on. I never enjoyed praying more than that.

       I am not convinced about the prayer of Jabez. I guess it could have been a rightous prayer. But let us not overlook the most obvious example of how to pray. 
        Matthew 6:
        9 "This, then, is how you should pray:
       " 'Our Father in heaven,
       hallowed be your name,
      10 your kingdom come,
       your will be done
          on earth as it is in heaven.
     11 Give us today our daily bread.
     12 Forgive us our debts,
          as we also have forgiven our debtors.
     13 And lead us not into temptation,
       but deliver us from the evil one.

    It is so well known that we can overlook it. Yet it is plenty tough to master. I'm not so sure that we need a second example. Notice that it starts with praise and worship, centers on His will first, only briefly mentions todays physical needs, and concentrates on the spiritual.

     



    Comment (6)

    Mon, Apr 10th - 9:14PM

    U2 FOR LEE



    "Yahweh"
          U2


    Take these shoes
    Click clacking down some dead end street
    Take these shoes
    And make them fit
    Take this shirt
    Polyester white trash made in nowhere
    Take this shirt
    And make it clean, clean
    Take this soul
    Stranded in some skin and bones
    Take this soul
    And make it sing

    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Always pain before a child is born
    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Still I'm waiting for the dawn

    Take these hands
    Teach them what to carry
    Take these hands
    Don't make a fist
    Take this mouth
    So quick to criticise
    Take this mouth
    Give it a kiss

    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Always pain before a child is born
    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Still I'm waiting for the dawn

    Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
    The sun is coming up on the ocean
    This love is like a drop in the ocean
    This love is like a drop in the ocean

    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Always pain before a child is born
    Yahweh, tell me now
    Why the dark before the dawn?

    Take this city
    A city should be shining on a hill
    Take this city
    If it be your will
    What no man can own, no man can take
    Take this heart
    Take this heart
    Take this heart
    And make it break




    Comment (2)

    Wed, Apr 5th - 8:54PM

    Another Christian Rock Song



    Hey,

    I post these things because there may be some out there that don't approve of Christian Rock. Someone might hear the loud guitar and not know that there are quality words in the songs

    Faith Like That
    Jonah33

    I Have Heard about the Days of old
    About the men who followed You
    And how they saw the Supernatural
    And became the chosen few

    So I come before You now
    Tearing off my earthly crowns
    for this one thing I have Found

    I want Faith Like That
    To see the dead rise
    or to see You pass by
    Oh I, I want Faith Like That
    Whatever the cost
    I'll suffer the loss, Oh I
    I want Faith Like That

    I'm not Looking for a miracle
    Signs and Wonders are things thereof
    I caught a glimps of what You want from me
    and what I have is not enough

    I read the story one more time
    of Those who gave to You Their lives
    With no fear or compromise

    I want Faith Like That
    To see the dead rise
    or to see You pass by
    Oh I, I want Faith Like That
    Whatever the cost
    I'll suffer the loss, Oh I
    I want the Faith That can move any mountain
    and send them to the sea
    I want the Faith that can break every stronghold
    That keeps you, keeps you from me



    Comment (13)

    Mon, Apr 3rd - 9:03PM



    Hey,

       I'm wondering. With Lee's prayer circle getting started, is there any guidelines for how to respond to being prayed for? It even sounds like a dumb question to me (and I'm asking it) but do you know what I mean? Should we give one specific thing, or more like whats going on in your life? Would it be smart to think of a measurable thing somehow? Or to be vauge and see how The Holy Spirit gets involved?

        To my shame, I have rarely asked for prayer from people. (Well, at least until last year's challeneges) Do you have advice about that that would make the prayer circle even more effective?



    Comment (4)

    Sun, Apr 2nd - 8:43PM



    Mark 5:24 ...A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 
     30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" 
     31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' " 
     32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

        This is an interesting healing. The woman was pretty much the equivalent of a leper for 12 years. She probably had a complication with her menstral cycle. The Law declared that someone with an issue of blood was unclean, and whatever, or whoever they touched was made unclean. The condition was likely to have started when she was young, before she was marrying age. So she would be unmarried, a stigma in that culture. It would likely be common knowlege that she was unclean, that her touch would make you unclean. So she would likely be shunned. She wouldn't be allowed in the temple, and so wouldn't have a means for sacrifice, for having her sins forgiven. She had spent all her efforts and money on a cure, leaving her poor and dissapointed in religous leaders. In her society, illness was thought of as always a result of sin, and we know how people like to judge. Beyond that, she was always bleeding. She would likely be weak, and often sick.

        Still, she didn't give up. Despite twelve years of unanswered prayer, and treatments, she still believed. And she believed enough to expect that just a touch of his clothes would heal her. As an outcast, she probably never though of actually talking to this great Rabbi. She managed, with some difficulty because of her lack of strength and the crowd "pressed" around Him, to touch Him.

       I don't know how the healing worked. Jesus seemed surprised by it. Some say that God honored her faith, seperate from Jesus. Some that Jesus had such power that healing flowed from Him on its own. More probably to me, is that He was aware of it all and using the situation as a teaching tool. Whatever, I like the fact that we don't know everything. It is God after all. Should we ever be able to say, "Oh yeah, we understand all of that."?

       Jesus asks, "Who touched me?" The disciples, always a few steps away from what Jesus was doing, didn't understand Him. "Everyone is touching you?" But He waits for her to emerge. Even though He is on His way to heal a girl near death, He stops to acknowledge her. I think I see why. Who was she before this? An outcast. An untouchable. She might even have tried at some point to tell people that she was well, so they would treat her as a person. Who is she after He says, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."  Now everyone knew that she was healed. And because of a virtue of hers. She is called "Daughter", the only person Jesus calls that. She is restored as a person. She is human again.

       Finally, she had great faith. She waits in torment for twelve years. Her prayers seem to go unheard. Yet she doesn't give up. Her spiritual life must have been based on more than herself. Her faith must have grown based on God's faithfullness in other areas. Like providing food for another day. Even so, her faith would not have helped if she hadn't acted on it. If she had waited for this man to come by her house. Instead she fought the crowd. She risked a touch that would make this great Rabbi unclean. It wasn't a huge action. But it was the first step.

       Do you have unselfish faith? Do you act on it?

      



    Comment (9)

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    About Me

    Name: Jon Johnson
    ChristiansUnite ID: parakleter
    Member Since: 2005-07-27
    Location: , California, United States
    Denomination: Christian
    About Me: God seems to always be taking me someplace new. I want to praise and whine about that and share what I have learned along the way.

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