faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Trust God

Sometimes a section of the Bible is confusing to me, and looking at the word meanings can make it clearer.

I am trying to understand the section below from Proverbs that I have memorized.

Trust God

(Proverbs 3:5-6)Trust in God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

(This original technique, and interpretation as shown below, was first written on 11-16-2014 at http://faithcounts.wordpress.com )

Trust is firm belief in the reliability, truth, or strength of someone.

Belief

Belief is certainty, confidence, or faith.  Therefore,

Trust is certainty in the reliability, truth, or strength of God.

 (Revision) Be certain of God’s reliability, truth and strength …

with all your heart.

Heart

Heart is your innermost part, your love.

(Revision) Be certain of God’s reliability, truth, and strength with all your love,

and lean not on your own understanding.

Lean

Lean is a deviation or slant from the truth.

Slant is a bias.

(Revision) Deviate not from the truth, by using your own bias.

In all your ways…

(Revision) In every way

In every way acknowledge Him (God).

Acknowledge

Acknowledge is to confess the truth, importance, and value of God.

(Revision) In every way confess God is true and vital to your life,

and God will direct your paths.

Direct

Direct is to manage, rule, or lead.

( Revision) God will lead your paths.

Paths

Paths are where you go, or way.

(Revision) God will lead your way.

Revision of Proverbs 3:5-6 in my own personal interpretation –

— Be certain of God with all your love, and deviate not from the truth, by using your own bias.  In every way, confess God is true and vital to your life, and God will lead your way. —

This interpretation helps make these 2 verses more understandable to me.

I can feel the meaning of it in a spiritual way, rather than just in my mind.  How about you?

Does this resonate with you?

Do you have a word or phrase to add or change that would make it even clearer? 

I have never done this before, but I enjoyed doing this.

I want to try this technique with other Bible verses. 

(This original technique and interpretation was first written

on 11-16-2014 at http://faithcounts.wordpress.com )

In no way am I trying to change what God said. 

I still memorize the verses directly from the Bible. 

This is just a way for me to get a deeper inner understanding of what God said.

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STORM, the book review

STORM is written by Jim Cymbala,

Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church for 40 years.

I found this book interesting, helpful and thought provoking,

and well worth reading.

It is for Christians and Christian Churches in today’s world.

He uses Hurricane Sandy hitting the eastern coast,

to compare with the danger hitting Christians today.

The danger has resulted in Christianity losing its influence on behavior,

and losing members in its churches.

Many churches are struggling to stay alive.

The problem as he sees it,

is our focus on music, sermon style, and lights,

instead of the Holy Spirit,  Jesus, and prayer.

The solution, he says, is that churches need to be praying more.

He uses the scripture (James 4:8a) “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

We can become nearer to God through prayer.

He says that we should pray for our pastors and other church leaders,

and pastors should pray for their church members.

I didn’t know that many churches don’t already do this.

(The church I attend does this, and we have weekly attendance over 2,500.)

Further, Cymbala says that the solution includes use the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians don’t know the Holy Spirit,

yet Jesus felt it was very important to give us the Holy Spirit.

He tells how Brooklyn Tabernacle was small and struggling when he started there.

They were not praying, so he made changes himself and at his church, which is thriving today.

He also gives real examples of people from his church,

whose lives have been changed.

This helps explain what he is saying,

and encourages Christians to believe they can do this, too.

I also found interesting his discussion

of the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

He has found that when new Christians read the Old Testament, they are confused,

because Jesus is very different from the God of the Old Testament.

He explains why they are different, which was very helpful to me.

One major difference is that in the Old Testament, God promotes wars. 

In the New Testament, Jesus never condones fighting at all. 

You might want to read this book just for his explanation of why there are these differences.

He notes that today the wealthiest people are not Christians,

and this poses a problem for churches.

He also addresses the differences between Moslems and Christians,

which is a current issue in today’s headlines. 

There are a lot of rumors about Moslems,

so it is good to read what some of the real differences are.

I believe that Jim Cymbala’s solutions are solid,

and they have worked for him at Brooklyn Tabernacle church. 

His descriptions and examples of the problems are very important to pay attention to.

After reading this book, you will most likely find yourself making some changes in your life,

and you might be able to help your church make some changes,

especially if it is losing members, instead of gaining new members. 

One way to measure this is by the number of baptisms

you have at your church each month.

A true growing church will have several or more baptisms each month. 

If your church does not, you need to read this book,

and then give it to your pastor to read.

For more information, or to buy, go to http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Hearing-Jesus-Times-Live/dp/031024126X

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, so I could write a review.

The opinions are my own.  I have given a true summary of this book.)

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Who are refugees?

We hear about refugees all the time in Africa,
and recently in Syria.
We usually think of refugees leaving a war zone in their own country,
and looking for a safer place to live in a nearby country.

Who are refugees?
What protections do they have?

I did a little checking and there are laws protecting them,
and defining who is a refugee.
The following is an excerpt of an article explaining this.
To read the entire article, go to –
http://www.geneva-academy.ch/RULAC/international_refugee_law.php

International refugee law is a set of rules that aim to protect persons seeking protection from persecution, and those recognized as refugees. It provides a set of guarantees, and this legal protection overlaps to some extent with international human rights law. The main refugee laws are, the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees (1951 Refugee Convention) and its 1967 Protocol, and customary international law. A further set of protections are the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention(for Africa) and, although it is not formally legally binding, the 1984 Cartagena Declaration(for Latin America).

Refugees are defined by three basic characteristics:
they are outside their country of origin or their former habitual residence;
they are unable or unwilling to return to their country due to a real fear of being persecuted; and
the persecution feared is based on at least one of five grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

The obligation therefore exists under Article 33 of the 1951 Refugee Convention not to return a refugee to a country of territory where he/she would be at risk of persecution:“No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

So how does this affect the United States?
We have refugees fleeing to our country from Latin american countries,
such as Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Many of these refugees are children, some alone, some with their mother.
These children and mothers have left their country, due to violence, and risk of death.
According to International law, we cannot return them to their country,
when it is too dangerous to do so.

Many people in the United States want to label these children as illegal immigrants,
and send them back over the Mexican border,
but many of these women and children are actually refugees.
They are not just looking for more money or more food.
They are looking for a safe place to live,
where they are not constantly in danger of violence.

This makes them refugees.

We need to make places for these refugees to live here in the United States.
We need to honor International laws for protection of these refugees.
We need to do what we have expected many other countries to do –
Provide a safe place for refugees to live.

The U.S. government accepts refugees from Cuba, Iraq, and Africa.
The government helps these refugees get settled in the United States, through the
Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS/ORR)
Right now; however, our government is sending back many of the women and children
who have come here from Central and South America, looking for a safe place to live.
It is largely the Republicans in the House of Representatives that do not want to help these children.
They want to send them back, without determining if it is dangerous for them to go back.
We need to determine which of them are refugees.
If they are refugees, we need to provide them a safe place to live.

If the government is not doing enough to help these children,
shouldn’t Christians be helping them?
There are some religious groups stepping up to help these refugees.
If you want to help these women and children,
contact any of these charities –
Catholic Charities (provides refugees a place to live), Kids in Need of Defense (provides legal help),
and the International Rescue Committee (resettlement of refugees in some U.S.cities, and around the world).

(If you know of any other charities helping refugees in the U.S., please comment below.)

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Giving

One of the “rules” of Christians,
is to give 10% of our income back to God.

Some of us follow that rule strictly,
and give 10% of our income back to the church.
Some of us give to our church,
but give what we feel we can, not 10%.
Some of us give to other charities,
as part of our 10%, and some give more than 10%.

Whichever way we choose to give,
there is the problem of where to give.

The Christian church where I am a member,
sponsors many charities,
and vouches for them.

We then know that these are good charities,
that will use our money in Christian ways,
and not waste our money.

This past weekend at church,
we were given information about the Christian Aid Mission,
that helps missionaries who work in their own country,
to reach non-Christians, and help Christians being persecuted.

Much of the work the Christian Aid Mission supports,
is in Moslem countries.
This can be dangerous work.
They are working in and around Syria,
where many Christians and Moslems are fleeing from ISIS,

becoming refugees with very little food or water.
I am sharing their information with you,
to give you a safe opportunity to give money,

to help spread the word of Jesus,
and to help persecuted Christians.

One Moslem woman who came to follow Jesus,
said “My whole life I was forbidden to laugh aloud,
but the moment I first encountered Jesus, such a joy filled my heart,
that it overflowed with laughter.”
She found freedom in the love of Jesus.

In Syria, was a house that served as a Christian church.
Because of ISIS, there were 90 people living there,
that had fled their homes.

Missionaries from another country, came to their aid.
They knew of the church, and knew they needed help,
but they did not know how many people were living there.
They used a van to bring food, milk, blankets, medicine, and Bibles.
These people had all been praying, and this was answer to their prayers.

After returning to their own country,
the missionaries attempted another trip with the van,
but rebels blocked the road, beat them, and stole their van.
They need our help.

To give,
send a check to –
Christian Aid Mission
P.O. Box 9037
Charlottesville, VA 22906
or use your credit card by calling –
434-977-5650
or you can use the link below,
http://www.christianaid.org/News/2014/mir20141016.aspx

(Christian Aid Mission is a 501(c)(3) charity, so all donations are tax deductible.)

To read more about the work Christian Aid Mission does, go to –
http://www.ChristianAid.org

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Fall and Get Up

This is the season when we think of colorful falling leaves.

I have always enjoyed the Fall.

We people have an advantage over leaves,

because when we fall, we can get back up.

And I don’t just mean physically falling down.

We can fall by not doing what we want to do.

In other words, we drop the ball.

I took a class on balance, because I have nerve damage in one leg.

This makes me unbalanced.

We learned how to stop a fall.

Instead of looking down and flinging our arms around,

we just plant our feet and stand up, looking up.

It usually works, unless our feet just fly out from under us.

But even when we do fall,

we usually can stand back up.

This is true of when we drop the ball, too.

We can just pick it back up, and try again, looking up to God for strength.

We can apologize for not getting it done.

We can ask someone else to do it for us.

Oh, and there is another thing we can do,

we can clean up the mess and throw it away,

just like we do with all those fallen leaves now turned brown.

Nobody likes to fall, or drop the ball.

But at least we have options, that leaves don’t have.

We also have a God who forgives us, and gives us second chances.

Shouldn’t we give ourselves those same things?

When we don’t quite measure up to what we hoped,

we can keep looking up to God for strength,

to do what we need to do.

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ISIS attacks Christians

This information has come to me through my church.
I feel I need to share it with you.
Please share the information with your friends.

The Christians in Iraq and Syria are being attacked by ISIS.
They are being targeted, and told they need to convert to Islam,
or be killed. They are crucifying children, and lining them up as examples.

These Christians have descendants, called Assyrians,
back to when Jonah went to Ninevah,

and they were converted to Christianity.
Today Ninevah is called Mosul, now a Moslem city.
The Assyrian families have been living in Syria and Iraq for over 6,000 years!
Now they are being forced to leave their homes and travel over mountains,
to get to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
They have very little water or food.
Many are dying along the way,
especially the children,
who cannot make the long walk with so little food and water.

How can you help?
First pray.
Pray for these people to find safety, shelter, food, water, clothes.
If you would like to do more,
you can send checks (write “for Assyrian relief” on the check) to–
Cornerstone Church
2 Shermer Road
Glenview, IL 60025
This church is taking all of the money received,
directly to the Christian refugees leaving Syria and Iraq.
There are many Assyrians living in the Chicago area,
and a group of them are members of this church,
and they have decided to help the Christian Assyrians fleeing their homeland.

God please have mercy on your people.
These Christians are being attacked by ISIS,
an evil group, who live to destroy anyone and anything Christian.
Come to the aid of these Christians, Lord!
They need your help desperately.
Send help, Lord!
By the name of Jesus Christ,
we ask this. Amen

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Book Review — Killing Lions by John Eldredge

Janet KillingLions

This book is unique,

because it is written by a father and son, John and Sam Eldredge.

It is a conversation that usually never happens between a boy and his father.

It is a conversation that every boy and young man desperately needs.

John and Sam ask many important questions,

and give insightful answers that are so helpful.

The book covers money, love, decisions, God, and prayer.

These are pivotal choices that make a huge difference in a man’s life!

Any parent of a boy between junior high and 25 should read this book.

Every boy from High School to college, and man up to age 35, should read this book.

The chapter on how to make good decisions is exceptionally good.

John (the father) says that we choose fear or courage with each decision.

Sam (the son) wants to know how to deal with his life “getting nowhere”.

So many young men graduate from college, 

but then end up working in a restaurant or retail store.

So if your life isn’t working out, this book is about Plan B.

This book is about becoming a man, liking yourself, and enjoying your life.

Quoting from the book –

“There is a life you can love, but it takes courage, perseverance, and a little cunning to get there.”  (p.12)

Don’t you just have to know how to get there?

My advice?

Read it.  Don’t wait.  Read it!

(This book was provided by the publisher through Booklook Bloggers.  The opinions are my own.)

 

2 Comments »

Book Review — Killing Lions by John Eldredge

Janet KillingLions

This book is unique,

because it is written by a father and son, John and Sam Eldredge.

It is a conversation that usually never happens between a boy and his father.

It is a conversation that every boy and young man desperately needs.

John and Sam ask many important questions,

and give insightful answers that are so helpful.

The book covers money, love, decisions, God, and prayer.

These are pivotal choices that make a huge difference in a man’s life!

Any parent of a boy between junior high and 25 should read this book.

Every boy from High School to college, and man up to age 35, should read this book.

The chapter on how to make good decisions is exceptionally good.

John (the father) says that we choose fear or courage with each decision.

Sam (the son) wants to know how to deal with his life “getting nowhere”.

So many young men graduate from college, 

but then end up working in a restaurant or retail store.

So if your life isn’t working out, this book is about Plan B.

This book is about becoming a man, liking yourself, and enjoying your life.

Quoting from the book –

“There is a life you can love, but it takes courage, perseverance, and a little cunning to get there.”  (p.12)

Don’t you just have to know how to get there?

My advice?

Read it.  Don’t wait.  Read it!

(This book was provided by the publisher through Booklook Bloggers.  The opinions are my own.)

 

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Pray!

There is so much happening in the world right now.

There are floods, fires, volcano eruptions, and hurricanes.

                There are dangerous viruses spreading like Ebola.

There is fighting in Israel, syria, Iraq, and terrorism is rampant.

                                                       Then there is your own family – 

                                               money problems, health issues … you name it.

It is overwhelming!

I know that I feel overwhelmed.

It seems like God is overwhelmed by it all too, but

I must remember that God is greater than any problem.

—> We need to pray and give all the problems to God.

There is evil in this world,

but there is only light and love in heaven.

Remember that the One who is in you (God) is greater than the one who is in the world (evil). (1 John 4:4)

I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24).
So please pray with me,

Oh Lord, we need you now.  Our world is crumbling all around us.

We know that you have the power and authority to make it all right.

We know that you love us, and want us to be well.

Please help the children in the world that are being persecuted.  Stop their pursuers.

Please bring peace to Israel.

Please protect the missionaries in Syria and Iraq.

Please help our families rise above their problems.  

Show us how little these problems are in the hands of our God.

With one hand you can scatter the terrorists.

With one word you can calm the weather.

Thank you God for many blessings each day.  

Help us have gratitude in our hearts, instead of grumbling with our mouths.

You God are our only hope.  You are the only hope of this world.

Open the eyes of all peoples so they will see you and believe.

We come to you in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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Heaven

I am taking a turn at suggesting books to read to learn more about God.

The book I just finished reading is –
Waking Up in Heaven
by Crystal McVea.
,
but the nurse and her mom wouldn’t let her go back.
Lucky for us, because we can read what she learned about God!

Crystal tells us that when she died,
she was overwhelmed by God’s love,

and that God loves each one of us,
as His creation.
He wants us to choose to love Him,
and accept His love and forgiveness.

Crystal says that Heaven was a very bright light.
Angels brought her right to the gate.

If you want to read more,
(Right now you can get the Kindle version for $1.99, not sure how long this price will last.)

Waking Up in Heaven

If you want to know more books I have read,
go to the very bottom of this post, scroll past the sun.
There is a list of mine from Good Reads.
I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do!

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