The Walk by Stephen Smallman

81XYHADiCUL.jpg

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.

The Importance of History

I stumbled across this quote yesterday and it is the best explanation for the importance of studying history that I have ever heard.

The society that loses its grip on the past is in danger, for it produces men who know nothing but the present, and who are not aware that life has been, and could be, different from what it is.  Such men bear tyranny easily; for they have nothing with which to compare it.  (Trevor Saunders)

What do you think?  Is history an important part of education?

new-piktochart_20880275_8f9fb016b74d4bc93deda21bc34cdd7fa8d26b56.jpeg

Positive Character Traits

In Matthew 12:22-50, Jesus has a lot to say about character.  For example,

  • A tree is known by its fruit
  • Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks

Webster defines character as the mental and ethical traits of a person.  Those traits could be positive or negative.

Positive character traits that I try to incorporate into my life include:

  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Generosity
  • Gratitude
  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Friendliness
  • Dedication

I don’t always live up to my goal, but I learn from my mistakes and try again.

medical-bore-boredom-boring-personalities-character_traits-jkon834_low.jpg

How to Resist Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

FullSizeRender-2.jpg

Jesus went into the wilderness to spend forty days fasting.  The devil waited until Jesus was at the end of his fast before trying to tempt Jesus. The devil wanted to take advantage of the weakened and weary state of Jesus.

By studying the temptation of Jesus, we can learn how to resist temptation in our own lives.

The first temptation:

The devil told Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (ESV)

Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (ESV)

The devil appealed to the fleshly desires of Jesus and tried to get him to break the fast by turning stones into bread.  The devil also tried to illicit a prideful spirit within Jesus, by saying, “If you are the Son of God.”

Jesus was able to resist temptation and used scripture as his strength and reasoning.

The second temptation:

For the second temptation, “the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”” (ESV)

The devil continued to question Jesus about his divinity.  He also used scripture to tempt Jesus.  However, Jesus combated the temptation by quoting scripture back to the devil, “it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (ESV)

If we are to resist temptation and stand firm in our faith, then studying the bible is essential.  How can we proclaim to believe something if we don’t know what it teaches?  How can we stand up against false teachings, if we don’t know the truth within the scriptures?

The third temptation:

The devil tried to tempt Jesus one more time, “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.'” (ESV)

Jesus refused and told the devil, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (ESV)

For the finial temptation, the devil promised to give Jesus earthly power and wealth.  Once again, Jesus resisted temptation and rejected the offer.

The temptation of riches, fame, and power is a hard one for most people.  All through out history, mankind (as individuals and as nations) have committed horrible acts to claim power over others or take riches from them.

We also have a tendency to place power and wealth as the priority of our lives.  People will ignore family obligations to make more money, only to find their family is gone when they finally reach their goals.

Money is used to justify treating employees badly or cheating customers.  The love of money can lead us into disastrous situations.

To resist such a powerful temptation, we need to have our priorities right.  We should seek to worship and serve God, and not power or wealth.

Learning From Joseph (Matthew 1:18-24)

Mary was engaged to Joseph, but he found out she was pregnant and wanted to call off the wedding.  Joseph was a good man, he could have Mary arrested on charges of fornication and adultery.  However, he didn’t want to put her through such a humiliating experience.  Joseph decided to call off the wedding and not do anything that would bring shame to Mary.

While Joseph was considering his options, an angel appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (ESV)

Joseph listened and obeyed the angel’s instructions.  What can we learn from Joseph’s character in this section of the Bible?

  • Joseph did not seek vengeance or retribution.  Instead, Joseph showed mercy and was willing to forgive Mary.
  • Joseph listened to the word of the Lord, as spoken by the angel, and he obeyed God’s word.  Joseph was willing to be obedient, despite the circumstances.

We would all do well to learn from Joseph’s example and implant these character traits in our own lives.

20160208_083936-1_resized_1

Start Where You Are

Start-Where-You-Are-Cover-with-border.jpg

The book Start Where You Are is filled with journaling prompts and quotes to help motivate as well as inspire the reader.

My favorite quotes found in the book:

We must always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.  (EB White)

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.  (Dali Lama)

Live in the sunshine.  Swim in the sea.  Drink in the wild air.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Fears are paper tigers.  (Amelia Earhart)

It is never too late to be what you might have been.  (George Eliot)

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul.  (Walt Whitman)

To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist that is all.  (Oscar Wilde)