A few weeks ago, I was at church and the preacher was talking about various things we hear when reading the Bible and how we should, or would if we could, react to those messages.
This is what I hear and should do or would do if I could:
- I hear forgiveness. If I could, I would be more forgiving of others and show mercy to others.
- I hear love. If I could, I would be an example of that love and teach others about the love of God.
- I hear hope. If I could, I would rely on that hope and not suffer from anxiety attacks.
- I hear commitment. If I could, I would finish what I start and be dedicated to the task at hand.
- I hear freedom. If I could, I would live as a person free from sin and condemnation.
This message was part of a series and the basic points of the series are:
- Put your faith into action
- Don’t show partiality, love others, love equally, and love freely
- Freedom from legalism is freedom to love
- Don’t be a slave to sin, instead be a slave to righteousness
- Don’t be a salve to the law, instead be a slave to the word of God
Jesus is many things to me. He is a teacher and a leader. Jesus is Lord and the Messiah. Most importantly, Jesus is my savior.
Jesus suffered and died for sin. It is through Jesus I find forgiveness for my sins. Jesus also understands suffering. I find great comfort in knowing that.
Dogs unique abilities and traits that make them amazing pets:
- Dogs have advance social skills.
- They understand the concept of fairness.
- If you give one dog two treats and another dog three treats, the dog with two treats will complain about the situation. He knows that he was cheated out of a treat.
- I was watching Ben play with a toy one day. Blue walked up to Ben and took his toy away from him. As you would expect, Ben was angry about the situation. However, the other two dogs in the room also got mad at Blue. They all braked and growled at him for stealing the toy. Blue dropped the toy and walked out of the room with his head hanging down in shame. A few minutes later, Blue came back into the room. He walked up to Ben, with his head still down, and licked Ben on the nose. He was trying to apologize for his behavior. Ben wagged his tail and returned the favor by licking Blue on the nose. All was forgiven.
- Dogs have a unique ability to understand body language. Obviously, dogs can understand the body language of other dogs. What makes dogs unique is their innate ability to understand human body language and to respond appropriately to human facial expressions.
- Dogs are the only animal know to yawn, as a sympathetic response, when their owners yawn.
- Dogs are extremely intelligent.
- Dogs are born with the ability to understand the concept of numbers. Scientist have preformed numerous experiments to prove dogs have this ability. The dog is shown a certain number of treats, the treats are then covered with a screen, when the screen is lifted the number of treats has decreased. The dog will take the treats and then look for the missing treats, until it has found all the treats it should have. Most dogs were able to figure out how many treats they should have, until they numbers reached double digits.
- The average dog can learn between 100 to 200 words. Dogs with an above average intelligence can learn even more than that.
- Dogs have been known to exhibit critical thinking skills. Manufactures have even started making dog toys that require the dog to interact with a toy before it will distribute a treat. The toy may require the dog to turn it a certain way or to move pieces on the toy to get the treat.
- Dogs exhibit superior emotional skills.
- Dogs react with compassion whenever someone (human or animal) they love is sick or injured. When I was really sick with an infection in my mastoid bone, Blue refused to leave my bedside. He would not even leave me for food. Gwen started bringing his dinner into my room so he could eat.
- Dogs grieve the loss of a family member. Years ago, I had two dogs named Max and Bud. When Max died, Bud spent three days in a corner of the yard. He would make pitiful whimpering noises and refused to eat.
- Dogs are instinctively protective of their family. A few years ago, we took all five of our dogs to the dog park. Norton, who only weighs 14 pounds, was run over by a larger dog. Norton let out a cry, which caused all his brothers to come running. You should have seen the look on that dog’s face when he saw Ben (who weighs 120 pounds), Joey (who weighs 100 pounds), Blue (who weighs 45 pounds), and Buddy (who weighs 40 pounds) running over to protect little Norton.
Dogs have a set of abilities and skills that are unique in the animal kingdom. That’s what makes them amazing pets.
I just finished reading “The Walk” by Stephen Smallman. The book was easy read, yet full of valuable information. It is designed to help people learn how to be a disciple of Christ.
A few of the main points:
- A disciple is a follower of Jesus, not just in word, but in action as well.
- The local church is essential for spiritual support, education, and direction for serving others.
- Salvation comes when we repent and have faith in Jesus. We turn away from our sin and turn toward Jesus.
- We are justified or declared righteous by God and our sins are forgiven.
- Sanctification is the work of God in us. We are renewed in the image of God and strive to reject sin in favor of righteousness.
This book is a great resources for new believers or those who want to know more about Christianity.
In Matthew 18:15-35, Jesus teaches his followers about forgiveness. When I was reading this passage I thought of Dylan Roof.
The family members of those murdered by Dylan Roof, spoke of their hurt and the pain he caused by taking away their loved ones. However, they also offered forgiveness.
This is a great example of how forgiveness works in the real world. Dylan Roof was forgiven, but he will still pay for his crimes. He still owes a debt to society and will be punished.
Dylan Roof may never feel remorse for his actions, but the willingness to forgive still benefits the family members. It allows them to let go of the hate and anger they feel inside of them. The family members are free to heal, because of their willingness to forgive.
Forgiveness can be difficult, but it can also bring healing.
It’s easy to judge others. It’s harder to put ourselves in their shoes, view the world as they see it, and offer forgiveness. However, there will come a time when we are the one’s in need of forgiveness. We all do things of which we are not proud. We all feel pain and emotional distress. We all bleed red.
In Matthew 11:20-12:21, we learn Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and he wants to offer rest for our weary souls. All we need to do is follow Jesus.
Rest is often undervalued in our society. There is so much to do at work, at school, and our options for entertainment are phenomenal. Granted entertainment is fun, but it can also prevent us from getting the rest we need.
Jesus offers us spiritual rest. We can trust in his acceptance and forgiveness. He invites us to destress our souls and spend quite time with him in worship, prayer and meditation. He wants to help us overcome our anxieties and our fears.
We know rest is important and we know the consequences of not getting enough rest.
- Increased risk of disease
- Decreased ability to function
- Decreased ability to focus
- Increased aggression
Make rest a priority in your life and you will notice the difference.