Related by water and blood

Blood is thicker than water is a saying with no short life-span. It means family before others. And many people take it very seriously.

But there is a category of people meant to mean more than individuals related to us by blood or water alone – it is people who are related by water and blood!

Jesus calls his disciples to view each other as members of one another (Mark 10:28-30). He desires a love that grows to the point of surpassing the love we have for family (Matthew 10:34-38). The way we view our brothers and sisters in Christ has a huge effect on our relationship with Jesus (Matthew 25:40, 45).

Being born again through God’s work, which is accomplished through the waters of baptism by the cleansing blood of Christ (Colossians 2:12-13), we are added to the church, which is the body of Christ and the home of God’s people (Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 5:30, 1 Timothy 3:15).

Family and friends are important. There’s no arguing that! But we would all do well to remember the bond that God creates through the water and the blood (Galatians 6:10).

This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” (1 John 5:6-8 NKJV)

#family, #family-of-god, #friends

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5-10-2017 Suicide Or Salvation? (2)

“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5 NKJV). When Judas realized how bad his betrayal of Jesus was, he turned to the wrong people. He tried to give back the betrayal money to the people he had made the bargain with, but they refused. Remember a lesson from Judas Iscariot: the people who help you sin will not be the people who help you reform! The fleeting moment when Judas’ conscience hurt was met with coldness by the people who were condemning an innocent Jesus!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#friends, #suicide

The problem of sports

A political writer thinks that sports might be the solution to keep the USA from falling apart. LeBron the savior. More likely, the sports industry is part of the problem, or a manifestation of the American ailment, at least. Sports figures can’t even provide a proper model for children, must less can sports serve as a unifier.

Used to, sports was touted as a means of helping youth learn self-discipline and positive values.That was before the screaming parents, I suppose, ready to abuse coaches and sponsors of teams. In spiritual terms, youth do need self-discipline, now more than ever, but with athletes resorting to doping, that doesn’t seem to work out so well. Continue reading

#corollaries, #friends, #sports, #time, #travel

Family and Friends Day

Jesus is a friend to all those who love Him, just as He wants to be the Savior to all those who obey Him. A friend is defined in the dictionary one attached to another by affection or esteem. If you would like to be a friend to Jesus, as He very much wants to be a friend to you, then all of us at Highway will do what we can to help you be a “Friend to Jesus.” Hymn # 699 is a song about being a friend to Jesus, and we are to Him because He is a greater one to us.

The word “family” is a word that has associations and a much deeper meaning than the word “friend.” for some people, unfortunately, the word “friend” has more meaning than the word “family.” It seems that some came from families that never really developed as the Lord desired. Whatever might have been in the past, all who are members of the Highway Church of Christ are members of the Lord’s family. The word “family” in our context of today is for the friends of Jesus to be a member of the Lord’s family. Our family and friends day is about relationships one with another and an occasion where all can worship the Lord in peace, love, spirit and truth.

Thus, on this day, our friends and family guests are the honored ones in our presence –as we honor and worship the only One who is the Creator of us all.

 

#family, #friends, #jesus, #love

Arrived safely Brunched bathed and napped Preparing for…

Arrived safely. Brunched, bathed, and napped. Preparing for a birthday supper, shared with a DIL, with most of the crew. Just thought I’d report in. Carry on.

#friends, #updates

Thankful for…

Yeah, I know that this isn’t the time of the year when we’re supposed to talk about what we’re thankful for but I’m going to talk about it anyways.

I’m thankful for family and friends who encourage me to do right. For family and friends who make doing the right thing easy. For family and friends who enjoy the company of fellow Christians. For family and friends who love me with a Christ-like love.

The world doesn’t care for me. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out in the world with “good” hearts – but what that does mean is that the world isn’t interested in the welfare of my soul. The welfare of my belly, of my house, of my children? Sure, there are people who care about those things and I’m glad that they do for the sake of our society. But they don’t care about my soul, or else they wouldn’t be in the world. And the welfare of my soul outweighs the welfare of all else.

It’s easy to take those who are closest to us for granted, but once a little bit of space of time and distance and the world enters the picture then we quickly remember who means what to us and who we really mean something to.

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)

#blessings, #family, #friends, #thankfulness

Our sister in Christ and TFR Fellow Glenda…

Our sister in Christ and TFR Fellow Glenda Williams said last night that it appears her mother will not last much longer. She said that separations are hard and requested prayer. Glenda has cared for her 102-year-old mother for a long time.

#fellows, #friends, #prayers

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Psalm 38

Vs. 1-10 describe David’s price for his sin;

Vs. 11-16 show the failure of “friends”;

Vs. 17-20 speak of David’s frailty;

Vs. 21-22 make David’s final appeal to God.

The natural sense is that David is describing physical affliction as a direct result of, possibly, a sexual sin (“no soundness in my flesh”); emotional affliction also (“turmoil of my heart”); and spiritual agony that God could reject him (“no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger”). David realized that he was in over his head (“my iniquities have gone over my head”), and only God could help (“Lord, all my desire is before You”). Would that all sinners shared this feeling.

In verses 11-16 we see that “friends” forsake us when we need them most, and only real friends stick around (“My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, And my relatives stand afar off”). At the same time, loneliness is facing adversaries with no close support (“Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, And plan deception all the day long”). The Apostle Paul came to the same realization as David when he said: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:16-18) No one who serves God while facing the world is ever alone.

As stated in verses 17-18, sometimes it takes paying a price for our sin, losing both God and friends, for us to realize the true love of God who waits for our return with open arms and forgiveness in the new covenant of Christ (“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” Hebrews 8:12). Confession of sin is acknowledgement of the sinner’s responsibility and God’s grace. In the New Testament, John wrote: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In Psalm 38:19-20 we learn that true friends do not have a problem with our spiritual attempts to advance toward God (“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity” Proverbs 17:17). “Fair weather friends” are not friends at all, but mere temporary acquaintances with whom we share a small part of our lives (“Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend” (Proverbs 19:4). Friendship should not be a one-way donation, for “every man is a friend to one who gives gifts” (Proverbs 19:6).

In verses 21-22, David shows our appeal should be to our Best Friend Forever (bff).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #friends

Thursday Thor

Soul bread

A generic picture of bread like that The Missus makes

Is it because Thursdays have been a day off of sorts that the mind today doesn’t want to get into gear for writing? After several attempts, I turned to other concerns, like eating some zucchini-nut bread and drinking some hot tea. No special concentration needed for those.

• Our home Bible reading group was not large last night, but Titus 3 seemed to have good effect on us all. We five adults, three of whom are disciples, were impressed by the call to live, not as pagans, but as the people of God, thanks to his mercy. Amazing little letter, Titus.

• Some Christian friends are coming either tomorrow or Saturday to spend a few days with us. This out-of-state couple are recent empty-nesters, like ourselves, and long-time friends. After so many years, it’s an easy friendship, no special effort needed to keep up conversation or to entertain. (I’ll not be online as much during their stay.)

• For my birthday last week, a friend gave me a book on writing style in the Portuguese language. He knows how much I write, and how much I like writing. He made a big disclaimer that he was giving me the book, not because he thought I wrote badly, but because he knew I always wanted to improve and grow in the craft. But I confess that I picked up the Brad Thor thriller that his wife gave me before the writing book.

• Speaking of writing, in an undiscovered corner of the Internet, I posted day before yesterday what I thought was one of my best pieces of poetry. Like sermons and Bible classes, it’s often the case that what the writer or speaker considers the best is not always the readers’ or listeners’ favorite. And, vice versa, the items one might wish to fall away into history forgotten can become among the most admired or preferred. Who’s to judge who’s right?

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#friends, #portuguese-language, #preaching, #writing, #zucchini

Tribute to a godly man

Over on BNc I posted a tribute to an elder and friend of many years. Bob Childress died last month. I’ve known a few of his character, but not many.

#elders, #friends, #godliness

Two great days

We’ve had two great days with a brother in Christ visiting from another state. He spoke three times for us: Yesterday, at a men’s meeting, and today in the SJCampos and Taubate churches. He works during the week near Sao Paulo but lives in the metropolitan area where we used to live and work. Good man, church planter, faithful in doctrine. He couldn’t go home this weekend after the long holiday earlier in the week, so he invited himself to our home. It was a joy to receive him;  we were mutually encouraged.

He arrived yesterday morning and left tonight around 8 p.m., so we’ve been with him and in meetings and luncheons these two days. Hence our absence on the web.

And The Maiden arrived home after nine days away in travels far and near. Good to have her back again.

Tomorrow, I hope to share on my blog all the details of our weekend, if you’re interested in following our steps for a couple of days.

We spent the last two hours listening to The Maiden recount her adventures, and now it’s time to fall into bed. Blessings!

#encouragement, #friends

What Does it Mean to Love Our Enemies?

Loving our enemies is one of the most challenging things God has asked of us. What does it mean and not mean? Today, I have an examination of this important command.

#enemies, #forthright, #friends, #love, #sermon-on-the-mount

Daily Nudge: recent visitor — and news

Last night Ron Jackson visited our home Bible reading group and spoke to us about having trust in God (I translated for him). Ron has been to our home, and in the local congregations, several times, since he works for Embraer, the Brazilian airplane manufacturer, and always makes it a point to seek out his brothers in Christ on Sundays and Wednesdays. He lives in Florida and usually stays 5-7 days. His lessons are always encouraging.

I say all that to ask today’s Nudge: tell about a recent visitor to your home or congregation who encouraged you.

Put your ear to the ground and tell us what hoofbeats you hear in the direction of the churches.

#friends, #nudge, #visitors

End of Best Friends?

The New York Times claims that children must be kept from having Best Friends. My response.

#friends, #friendship, #moving-word

I, too, would like to get know “in pers…

I, too, would like to get know “in person” the many folks on TFR– I have met Ron Thomas (I maintaain the web site for Highway church in Sullivan, Il) but hope to meet face to face some more of the folks–if not I can rest assured that we will meet, as the song says “in the sweet by and by,” when Jesus calls us home! Keep looking up! Jesus may come today!

#fellowship, #friends, #people