Forgive me when

Forgive me when the new song of the gospel does not lead me to a new life of caring for others. Forgive me when the satisfaction of being in your presence does not lead me through the sacrifice of serving in the community. Forgive me when I can be just us disconnected and merciless as the priest or the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan, who enjoyed your real presents and then proceeded to ignore real need.

~ Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

Pure Religion

from Actsweb

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~ James 1:27 (NIV)

As the late Karen Carpenter used to mournfully sing, “Loneliness, it’s such a sad affair.” How true this is for so many in today’s digital world.

Not only at special holiday times such as Easter, Christmas, and birthdays, but also weekends are joyous occasions for many. For others these are some of the loneliness times of the year … especially for those who are alone, for those who have lost their spouse or a child, and for single adults … all of whom remember happier times and suffer a deep kind of loneliness at these times.

Many Daily Encounter readers have been there. Some are there right now. I’ve been there, too. I know the pain. This is why all of us need to be sensitive to the needs of all in our circle of relationships, remembering that many a smiling face hides an aching heart. We need to reach out to those who are lonely and hurting—invite him, her, or them over for a meal. Call them on the phone or send them an email to let them know you are thinking about them. Ask if there is anything you can do for them. Visit an elderly friend or neighbor. Provide gifts for the children of a family that is in deep need. Provide some food for the hungry.

I had a dear friend whom I met in kindergarten. We went all through grade school and technical college together. We’d been in national service together, too, and even though we’d lived thousands of miles apart, we never lost contact with each other. A while ago my friend fell on hard times, became discouraged, withdrew into himself and took his life. A tragic waste! Sadly, he never let me know of his struggle. How sad it is when, in our hour of need, as adults, we forget to hold hands and reach out for the help and support we need—so we can, as Jesus taught, “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”—and practice pure and true religion!

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank You for all Your endless blessings given to me. Help me always to be responsible, loving, kind, a burden-bearer, and above all to be Christ-like in all that I say and do. And when I need help, give me the courage to reach out and admit that I have a problem and ask for help. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen.”

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Ignorant Of The Scriptures

Why is it so hard to get people to study the Scriptures? Common sense tells us what revelation commands: ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’–‘Search the Scriptures’–‘Be ready to give to every one a reason of the hope that is in you.’ These are the words of the inspired writers, and these injunctions are confirmed by praising those who obey the admonition. And yet, for all that we have the Bible in our houses, we are ignorant of its contents. No wonder that so many Christians know so little about what Christ actually taught; no wonder that they are so mistaken about the faith that they profess.

~ William Wilberforce, Real Christianity

The Lord is My Rock

by Dion Todd

He said, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:1 ESV

Read the thoughts at:

Arianism: Early Church Heresy and the Doctrine of Christ

Again, note we re-post articles from both camps on this issue. You read, study, pray and make up your own mind and hear. I find it useful to read from both sides.

Hoaxes and Hermeneutics

Come Aside

from Greg Laurie

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. — Mark 6:31
The Sabbath is not a legalistic day that we as believers have to observe, but it is a great idea to take some time off and focus on the Lord. For many of us, that day is Sunday. I love to see Sunday set apart as the Lord’s Day, just like the early church did.

We should make our first priority to worship with God’s people. Maybe we will do some fun stuff afterward. But we shouldn’t let anything stop us from getting together and worshiping and putting the Lord first. I think God will honor that in our lives if we do.

Even Jesus took time off. In Mark we read,

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. (6:30–32)

I love that. “Lord, this happened. That happened.”

“Have you guys had lunch yet?”

“We are too busy to eat.”

“Come on. Let’s get some lunch. Relax a little bit. You need to chill. You need to recharge. Come aside with Me.”

If we don’t come aside, then we will come apart. During the next 24 hours, your heart will beat 103,000 times, and your blood will travel 168 million miles. You will breathe 23,000 times and inhale 480 cubic feet of air. You will move 750 muscles and exercise 7 million brain cells. No wonder we all feel tired. We’re constantly going.

The principle of the Sabbath is taking time off, recharging, and focusing on the things of God.

11 Simple Ways to Deal with Disagreements

Packer On The Christian Life – book review

William Lane Craig On The Unexpected Applicability Of Mathematics To Nature