Wednesday, December 06, 2006

He Leadeth Me...

Yes. The Christmas rush has started in my household! But I feel that I am already so far behind our neighbors! Most of the homes down the street have beautiful displays of lights up. We are usually the ones who finally get them up right before Christmas, which isn't fun because we only get to enjoy them for about 2 weeks. But we are determined to get it done this weekend! My son is swamped with papers and tests before the close of the semester, so I'll probably be the one to help with putting up the lights this weekend...oh joy...

There is so much that I want to blog about! The new Iraq Study Group report, the new Secretary of Defense elect, etc. The great thing about blogging is that when one does not have the time to blog about all that one wants to, create some links and refer people to those who already have!

Drudge can usually be relied upon for fast-breaking news on most topics of the day. Of course, when most people are trying to work together for solutions to the Iraq war instablity, Al Gore has to have his usual negative rant. Al, my advice is get over yourself and the 2000 election! Even 6 years later, it's just more evidence that Gore is a Sore Loserman...

OK...gotta shift gears now...away from the politics of this day.

Today, I wanted to share my Bible study wrap-up assignment. Each of us was given a chapter from the book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" and we were to share five things that we had learned about God in the chapter as well as how it impacted our individual lives.

Chapter 6: He Leadeth Me in the Paths of Righteousness for His Name's Sake.

Question: What are 5 things I learned about God in this chapter? How has it impacted my life?

This chapter from our study describes so vividly how we, like sheep, can cling to habits that we have seen ruin other lives. Like stubborn, self-willed, proud and self-sufficient sheep that would graze on land that eventually would be ruined (if not for the Shepherd's gentle nudging to move on to better pastures), we see the greed and selfishness of mankind often leaves behind a legacy of ruin and remorse.

Amidst the chaos, Christ the Good Shepherd invites us by saying, "If any man will follow me, let him deny himself daily and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

Precious few of us Christians allow ourselves to be led in paths of righteousness.

Some people might view that statement (from the book) as "judgmental." The buzzword of today is "tolerance," for everything and towards anyone. But is this what God would want us to do? I don't think so.

Jesus didn't tolerate the moneychangers in the temple.

Jesus didn't tolerate those who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. He shamed them, through one simple statement, into recognizing their own need for confession and repentance. He said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone at her." But we know that Jesus doesn't condone sin, either. After each man had dropped their stone and left the scene, he then told the woman to "leave her life of sin."

Jesus also pointed out the fact that the woman at the well did not have a husband, but was apparently involved with fornication because she was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus stated this to her, directly, demonstrating that as God and man, he knew all about her life.

There are so many more examples I could give. The Bible tells us that "our sin will find us out." There is no hiding, no escaping from that fact.

Allowing God to "lead us in the paths of righteousness" is needed through knowing who Jesus is, following Him and his lead, and obeying His word in the Bible.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point shared an all important verse. It is important to realize that this verse is referring to Christian believers:

Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit. We're the tree and whether we bear good fruit or not demonstrates the genuineness of our faith.

Those who say that they are Christians, yet act just like the world; engaging in willful sin and outward, unrepentant disobedience to God's Law need to be evaluated as to whether or not they are genuinely Christian. Now we know that the Bible tells us "do not to judge," but as believers, we can be "fruit inspectors!"

It's no secret that there are many willful Christians. The question is, how can we avoid being one of them?

1. Instead of loving myself most I am willing to love Christ best and others more than myself.

Fruitfulness, in the Christian walk, is the method of touching other people with God's love. Instead of focusing on "self," focus on others! One fringe benefit of this is the likelihood that we will not be in situations that could, or would tempt us!

I shared the following in my last post, but it bears repeating here:

It's not about's about others! The fruit that is evident in your life is going to touch other people with love...God's love!

Think about this. Is your fruit consumed only by you?

If so, recall that we need to show JOY in our lives!

J = Jesus first.
O= Others second.
Y= You third.

2. Instead of being one of the crowd I am willing to be singled out, set apart from the gang.

Here, at this Talkwisdom blog, I can certainly relate to a phrase from our Bible study book says, "and to be marked as one of His (meaning Christ) would mean a certain amount of criticism and sarcasm from a cynical society."

I used to hate being criticized and mocked for my faith. Now, I view it as coming with the territory! What has changed? My attitude towards it. I have taken the following verses to heart in my life. I am to "count it all joy" :

Jam 1:2
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jam 1:3
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Jam 1:4
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Jam 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jam 1:6
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Jam 1:7
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Jam 1:8
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Jesus told us that they "hated Him first," so what makes us think that they won't hate us for sharing Him with this sinful world?

Jhn 15:25 But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Jhn 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

Despite the fact that Jesus was hated by some, he came to save us all!! Those who reject the invitation, do so to their own detriment. But we, as his followers, aren't to judge who shall come to repentance and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. The Holy Spirit does the saving, we do the sharing. So we press on and share the Gospel with whomever, wherever, and whenever we can.

Notice the next point. But we are called to enter into the suffering of others! This is what "longsuffering" means. Some interpret it as patience, and yes, that is a part of it. But one of the fruits of the Spirit is longsuffering.

Instead of insisting on my rights I am willing to forego them in favor of others. Denying oneself.

But there is a benefit, even in this! Set free from the shackles of personal pride, it's pretty hard to hurt such a person.

In an earlier post here at my blog, I tackled the "why celebrities have conflict ridden lives." It's quite eye-opening. It discusses how pride, and that "false kind of love" (e.g. idolic worship of celebrities) and hate (self-loathing in their personal lives) can cause such conflict and pain in their lives.

He who has no sense of self-importance cannot be offended or deflated. But doesn't this go against the grain of human autonomy? Much of what Christ preaches to us goes against the grain of typical human wants and desires, doesn't it? Why is that? Because we are not allowing Christ to lead us into His righteousness!!

This chapter asks, instead of being "boss" am I willing to be at the bottom of the heap? Not "top ram", but a "tail-ender." Am I willing to place my personal life and personal affairs in the Master's hands?

5. Instead of finding fault with life and asking "Why?" I am willing to accept every circumstance of life in an attitude of gratitude. No matter whether joyous or tragic.

The current war on terror was prophesied in Scripture. We should not be surprised at what is happening in the Middle East. No matter what your politics may be, there is the reality of good vs. evil going on between the West and radical Islamo-fascism. If you don't believe me, I suggest you read Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior (chapter 7 in particular) and view the documentary DVD: "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."

But despite all the turmoil going on in the world, each Christian can have peace amongst the storm. Jesus' words in this verse sum it up very well:

Jhn 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Pair that encouraging verse with this one:

1Jo 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.


Powerful, powerful verses to live by!!

It is for this reason that we want to share what we have in Christ with others. Putting up with a little (or a lot, for that matter!!) scorn, ridicule, and mocking for just one more person's sake...that is...that they find Christ as a result...means more for all eternity than any pain or suffering that we may have to endure in order to accomplish such a desired end! Amen??

6. Instead of exercising and asserting my will, I learn to cooperate with His wishes and comply with His will.

This means that we must be willing to cancel out the great "I" in our decisions. It is then, indeed, that the Cross has been applied to that (my) life. No longer, "my will be done," but it changes to, "His will be done in my life!"

7. Instead of choosing my own way I am willing to choose to follow in Christ's way: simply to do what He asks me to do.

This is a biggy for me. It answers the question of how this study has impacted my life. Each morning on my blog, I have the opportunity to share things that are going on in the world, but most importantly, applying them to the gospel of "Christ and Him crucified."

I have prayed about the possibility of writing a book about the topics here at this blog and my encounters with people who both agree with me on cultural and spiritual issues and those who disagree. I have plenty of material to pen a book now, but I didn't have any idea what my main message was supposed to be. But this Bible study has helped me tremendously! It has pointed me towards the direction that I should go. In fact, a famous contemporary Christian song has motivated me in finally choosing it's title!

Previously, I had come up with several different title choices, but after thinking about each of those individual titles, I found that it wasn't broad enough for what I would be ultimately trying to convey within the book's message. Now, I have the title that works really well (some friends have agreed), while at the same time, encompasses the main message that I want to share, and gives me the opportunity to end each chapter on a positive, uplifting and encouraging note! I feel as though that "boulder of indecision" that I seemed to have had before me, which was constantly preventing me from moving on, has now been removed! I'm so excited and can't wait to get started! But even my months of indecision did not go completely to it turns out, I have several great chapter headings as well!

Now, instead of talking about's time to get busy on it!!


limpy99 said...

Just curious, but where in the Bible is the current war on terror prophesized?

Good luck with the book.

Christinewjc said...

Here are some links to several posts where I have discussed this in the past.

David's Incredible Prophecy re: Israel

It's a Matter of Survival for Israel

We Are Witnessing Biblical Prophecy

Jerusalem Countdown

And this flash presentation of Psalm 83, vividly shows the reality today of Israel's enemies surrounding her (and thus, the Arab hatred for the U.S. because of our support for Israel).

Susan Smith said...

Christine said: “…we, like sheep, can cling to habits that we have seen ruin other lives. Like stubborn, self-willed, proud and self-sufficient sheep that would graze on land that eventually would be ruined (if not for the Shepherd's gentle nudging to move on to better pastures), we see the greed and selfishness of mankind often leaves behind a legacy of ruin and remorse.” And also, “Jesus didn't tolerate the moneychangers in the temple.”

Christine said: “The Bible tells us that "our sin will find us out." There is no hiding, no escaping from that fact.”

It is not about me or others, Christine… life is about Jesus Christ and Him crucified (see 1CO 2:2). Susan Smith always runs into trouble when my focus is not on the Lord. When my vision only sees the big ME or only sees “others” it is blurred. My constant prayer is for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

This is a good post, Christine. Your blog touches many lives. God bless my little sister on the West coast. Keep up the great work. (ss)