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Edifying Words

It was said of Abba Ammoes that when he went to church, he did not allow his disciple to walk beside him but only at a certain distance; and if the latter came to ask him about his thoughts, he would move away from him as soon as he had replied, saying to him, ‘It is for fear that, after edifying words, irrelevant conversation should slip in, that I do not keep you with me.’

—-Sayings of the Desert

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient.

~~~Ephesians 5:6



One of the more important aspects of being a follower of Christ is focus. It is so easy to lose our focus or way when we are on the journey. All direction toward God is given by edifying words or experiences. More than once in my years as a pastor have I felt truly blessed by a worship experience only to have it ruined by the words of someone that I spoke with after the service. I know that we cannot always take the advice of the monk to keep our distance, but distance is something to consider.

Perhaps we should consider the possibility of departing more reverently from worship. It is the irrelevant conversation that occurs after worship that takes away from the blessings that God has given us. Sunday morning after worship is not a good time for calendar planning or financial decisions of the church. We must take time to absorb the words that God has given us through a worship experience. Worship is a time to get things “straight” with God and not with each other.

I know that the advice of the old monk from another time and another place may seem useless to you, but the whole idea of dwelling on edifying words is something that no one can oppose. Let us hold on to those edifying words and not spoil them with idle chatter. Paul calls on us to not be deceived by empty words, because they can harm your soul.

The call from the ancient desert monk is to take time to savor and digest the words of edification we are given each day. We need room for this to occur. We need time for this to occur. We need discipline for this to occur. Let us give each other room and time to allow God’s words and revelation to take root in our lives.

Let us live in the shadow of “Edifying Words.”



Prayer

Lord, Words of edification are given to us from many sources. Let us take heed to the words we are given and not waste them with idle conversation, but allow these precious to seep into our souls. We are so tempted to pressured to be sociable that we miss the real revelation that you have in store for us. May I stop long enough for your word to become real, and refrain from polluting your words with my chatter.

Amen

Prayer Request

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Doubt

Doubt Definition

The poet Kahlil Gibran teaches us, “Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” Most of us spend a lot of time doubting many things. We were taught to think of doubt as inherently evil force in my life. The advice of the poet leads us in a new direction. He tells us that perhaps doubt is a gateway to faith. To have a great faith, we must look carefully at what we believe and allow the discernment of our God-given image to speak to us.

Doubt is not the enemy of faith but the partner of faith. In our doubts we get to understand what and why we believe. All true faith begins with doubt. As we examine our doubts and fears, we begin to seek solutions to them. The upfront and obvious solution to doubt is faith in the God that made us and his ability to deliver us.

Jesus says over and over, “Why do you doubt,” but it was their doubt that caused them to seek him. When doubt overtakes us, we examine our thoughts, our actions and our motives and are driven to seek an answer.

Doubt can also be the great killer of ambition and progress. As doubt and fear join forces, they produce the personal “perfect storm” that has led to demise of many a person A “doubt storm” can prevent us from fulfilling God’s creative purpose for us. Doubt is tricky but necessary because without it we never really know who or whose we are.

Next time you are in doubt I urge you to look at why you are doubting, who you are doubting and what you are doubting? By asking these questions you can determine your solution. Serious introspection allows us to seek the wisdom and take the time to access our situation. Such an assessment allows us to know if our doubts are from within or without and thus leads us to call on that image of God that we all possess for a solution. Our God image can really allow us to prioritize our lives in quick fashion. I hope these observations will give you few things to ponder this week.


Doubt

Quotes Banner

 

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin
brother.

~~~Khalil Gibran

One of the ego’s favorite paths of resistance is to fill you with
doubt.

~~~Ram Dass

Love is strongest when we learn to trust in spite of the
doubts.

~~~Anonymous

When in doubt, throw doubt out have a little faith.

~~~E.A. Bucchianeri

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.

~~~DieterF. Uchtdorf

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

~~~Sylvia Plath

Uninstall self-doubt from your mind.

~~~Anonymous

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of
today.

~~~Franklin D. Roosevelt

When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.

~~~Honore de Balzac

Never let self-doubt hold you captive.

~~~Roy Bennett

Worry, doubt, fear, and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the
ground and turn us to dust before we die.

~~~Anonymous

If you are going to doubt anything in life, doubt your own limitations.”

~~~Dan Brule

Doubt everything. Find your own light.

~~~Buddha

Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have
worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them.

~~~T. Harv Eker

 

Doubt Scripture

 

Scripture Banner

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of
the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In
all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise
in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to
your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

 Proverbs 3:5-8

 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt,
you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to
this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will
happen.
 

Matthew 21:21

 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of
little faith, why did you doubt?”

 Matthew 14:31

 Truly,I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the
sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come
to pass, it will be done for him.

 Mark 11:23

 And have mercy on those who doubt. 

Jude 1:22

 Fearnot, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen
you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right
hand.
 

Isaiah 41:10

 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your
hearts?

 Luke 24:38

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own
understanding.
 
Proverbs 3:5

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not
for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come
and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek
me with all your heart.

 Jeremiah 29:11-13

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not
seen.

 Hebrews 11:1

 


Prayer Banner

LORD

Relieve me of the guilt of doubt when it allows me to discern.

Allow me to see doubt as of way of growing in faith.

Give me the strength to cast away my doubts that cripple me.

Never allow my doubts to define me.

Relieve me of the pain of feeling I have to always be perfect and please Lord guide me as I go through this day.

AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

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Christianity Divided by the Cross

This topic is at the heart of Christian understanding. It serves as a good starter for further thinking.

pub theologian

A guest post by theologian and scholar Marcus Borg – a fitting addition to our series on Atonement. (This piece originally appeared on patheos.com)

American Christians are deeply divided by the cross of Jesus – namely, by how they see the meanings of his death. At the risk of labels and broad generalizations, “conservative” Christians generally believe a “payment” understanding of the cross: Jesus died to pay for our sins so we can be forgiven.

Most “progressive” Christians (at least a majority) have great difficulty with the “payment” understanding. Many reject it. Some insist that rather than focusing on Jesus’s death, we should instead focus on his life and teachings. They are right about what they affirm, even as they also risk impoverishing the meaning of Jesus by de-emphasizing the cross.

It is the central Christian symbol. And ubiquitous. Perhaps even the most widely-worn piece of jewelry. Its…

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