How Are You Treating Your Gift?

2 Peter 1:1 NRSV
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do I think that my faith is precious? That word just jumped out at me on the page when I read it. Did you know that the English word precious comes from the Latin word that means price. And that's what our faith is: it was paid with a price, with the blood of our Savior. I think that sometimes, in the midst of the frenetic pace of our lives, we tend to take our salvation for granted. It's been a part of us so long that we forget that there was a time when we didn't have the hope of heaven.

Proving Our Love to Others

Proverbs 22:16, 22-23 NRSV
Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss. Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them.

Francis Schaeffer was a theologian in the mid 1900's. In one of the books he wrote, How Then Shall We Live, he talks about the legacies of the Reformation. While the Reformers brought great freedom to the Church, they also, unfortunately, left us with the idea of accumulating wealth without considering those around us.

Anger: Sinful or Righteous?

Proverbs 22:8 NKJV
He who sows wickedness reaps trouble,
and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail. (NRSV)

Anger rarely works. There are places for righteous anger, but as sinners, we need to be careful about why we are angry. Righteous anger can quickly move into selfish or self-centered anger. And then we are in trouble.

Injustice is an interesting word. I think that, as Americans, we often see it in a narrow view, as someone's rights being violated. And that's a true meaning. But I think there is another view and that is as God's rights being violated . . . as in sin.

Getting "Rich" Through Debt

Proverbs 22:7 NKJV
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Somehow, somewhere the United States decided that being in debt was good business. I'm not a historian, sociologist, or anthropologist, so I'm not sure when or why. But it's clear as we face national debt into the trillions and corporate and personal debt not far behind that we have decided living beyond our means is productive.

We Are All Poor: Be Merciful

Proverbs 21:13 NRSV
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
you will cry out and not be heard.

There is one thread common to the human spirit and that is poverty. Oh, one may not be poor in money or possessions or even in self-worth, but we are all poor in something.

Relationships: My "Rights" or God's Will

Proverbs 21:9 NRSV
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a contentious wife.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 NRSV

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NRSV

Sneaking Pleasure

Proverbs 21:6 NRSV
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

Most of us don't see ourselves as getting treasures through lies. Likely we work at not lying and are very convicted when we choose to lie. However, because we are sinners, we sin. And I would propose that there are times that we hide what we do in an effort to get comfort from the suffering we experience. In other words, there are things we would prefer to do in the darkness, alone, without others watching that we might not do so readily in the presence of others (particularly other brothers and sisters in Christ).

Questions for Those Who Love an Alcoholic or Addict

Have You Been Playing a Role in the Life of an Alcoholic or Addict?
Though it may be hard to admit it, do you think you could (intentionally or not) be playing a role in the life of an alcoholic or addict?

What is this role?

Joe &Charlie Workshop - Handout - Work Sheets - Page 6

Daily Inventory

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.
Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid?

Personality Characteristics of Self Will  -  Personality Characteristics of God's Will

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