Encouragment

Jesus Says Repay Evil with Good

Jesus Says Repay Evil with Good

Encouragment, Jesus Says
A basic life lesson is that life isn’t fair. We’d like it to be and try to create laws to make it that way. But to date no one has devised a law that truly makes it fair for everyone. Sure, some have tried, but there are always differences based on something other than fairness. The problem is that what is fair for one often isn’t for another. We all have a sense of fairness that is colored by our desires, jealousy, fears, and loves. Then Jesus comes along and upsets our perceptions of what is fair with four imperative commands. Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let
Jesus Says Let Your Yes be Yes

Jesus Says Let Your Yes be Yes

Encouragment, Jesus Says
I remember saying “cross my heart and hope to die” as a youngster to cement promises. There are many such phrases ranging from pinky-swear to “on my mother’s grave.” Most of these are child’s play and a way to gain a feeling of surety or credibility. Simple oaths with no real power behind them which are meant to shore up our word. There are, of course, adult examples as well such as the oath to tell the truth when called as a courtroom witness. Even business contracts are a kind of oath with stipulations, expectations, and consequences upon failure. Oaths, vows, contracts, and convents are a part of our everyday world. This acknowledgment makes our next Jesus says command a bit challenging. “But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the
Jesus Says Don’t, Just Don’t

Jesus Says Don’t, Just Don’t

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Our next Jesus Says command causes much confusion and discomfort. Surely Jesus doesn’t mean for us to cut off our hands or poke out an eye?  In a physical sense, of course not. Jesus is making an over the top statement to drive home a point. So often we think that a certain sin is so much a part of us that if we remove it, we will cease to be who we are. Jesus made this point about adultery and lust filled thoughts, but it really applies to everything. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, t
Jesus Says Be Reconciled

Jesus Says Be Reconciled

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Conflicts and wounded relationships are never fun. They gnaw at us and eat away our peace. These conflicts are like eating a super-hot pepper which taints all the good that follows. These wounds can even affect our praise and worship of God. Jesus says, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matthew 5:23–24, NASB95) Welcome to our Jesus Says series. A fourteen-week look at twenty-eight commands of Jesus found in the Gospels. Previous entries of this series are on our website. Today’s Jesus Says is be reconciled. There are two “twists” in Jesus command. The first is the s
Jesus Says – Shine!

Jesus Says – Shine!

Encouragment
It’s not often that we receive positive confirmation that our light is shining. Several years ago, I was visiting my dad at work. At that time he worked at Caterpillar’s Morton parts facility in the computer department. So not a small place. I happen to be in the building working on a copy machine. Anyway, Dad went to get something, I forget what, and one of his co-workers walks up and asks, “Your dad’s pretty religious isn’t he?”  I replied with something along the lines of “Yeah, you could put it that way.”  The co-worker said, “Well, he’s a good man” and walked away. Now, Dad isn’t a blaring trumpet when it comes to displaying his faith. It is neither a secret nor the only topic of conversation. You could say that Dad lets his light shine and this co-worker saw it. Letting our light
Dale’s Rules for Life – Listen More than You Speak

Dale’s Rules for Life – Listen More than You Speak

Encouragment
I have these rules for life. So far, we’ve covered six of them in this monthly Lambchow feature. Number seven goes like this – Listen more than you talk. In some ways, I think I’m wired to follow this rule and it is has served me well in every area of life. Some may count me as shy, especially those that knew me in High School and young adulthood. And there was some fear-based shyness there. But during that time, I also discovered that a lot can be learned by simply listening. A few years ago, Betty and I joined a small group at our new church. They were unknown to us and we to them. I determined to apply this rule of listening more than I spoke. I think they thought I was shy too but my desire was to get to know each one’s wants, worries, and wounds by watching and listening. Today I c
Jesus Says – Follow Me

Jesus Says – Follow Me

Encouragment, Jesus Says
We really need to revisit what it means to “follow” something or someone. While the word “repent” from our last Jesus Says lesson has fallen into general disuse, “follow” has become overused and diluted. We follow someone on social media in a loose barely touching kind of connection. We may follow a certain sport or team. But that “follow” runs the spectrum from a fully invested fan to someone who checks the latest scores every now and again. In a more specific way, we may follow someone down the hall or on the road. Although that may only mean we are traveling the same way at the same time. So, what does Jesus mean when He says “follow me”? The gospels record many instances where Jesus invitingly commanded someone to “follow me.” Peter, James, and John along the shore of Galilee. M
Jesus Says – Repent

Jesus Says – Repent

Encouragment, Jesus Says
We don’t use the word “repent” in normal everyday conversations although the direction changing act is still a part of our experience. We may change our minds about any number of things such as business decisions, emotional outbursts, an opinion, a desire, or our favorite flavor of ice cream. But the Biblical concept of “repent” is more than just being sorry about a decision or changing our minds about something.  It is more like stopping in our tracks, doing a 180, and walking with a new and completely different trajectory. Understanding “repent” is important for us today because it is the first of Jesus’ commands we are going to explore. For those just joining in, we are beginning a new series that looks at the 28 commands of Jesus. Our first is, “From then on Jesus began to preac
The Great Commission – Jesus Says…

The Great Commission – Jesus Says…

Encouragment, Jesus Says
I remember playing Simon Says in grade school. It is a simple game meant to teach listening and following directions. The game may be called something different where you live. The rules are really basic. The leader gives a series of commands which the students are to follow. But they are to only follow the ones that begin with the phrase “Simon says…”. Simon says pat your head. Simon says clap your hands. Stomp your feet. Oops, Simon didn’t say that. It’s with that game in mind that we introduce our next series of articles. Whenever people gather there are rules or understandings. The military has standing orders. Businesses have standard procedures. Families have known rules and expectations. Jesus gave his followers something similar. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to
Selective Hearing

Selective Hearing

Encouragment
Husbands are often accused of selective hearing. As in, only hearing those things that they want to hear. “Dinner’s ready,” is heard while “can you take out the trash?” falls on deaf ears. I’ve fallen victim to it myself. The truth is that some things get through our “attention” filter easier than others. But to be honest that excuse can also be a lie. It’s not just a husband or a kid thing, everyone falls victim to selective hearing. To combat this problem, I’m trying to develop listening habits. When Betty talks, even if it seems like a mundane report of some kind, I try to pause whatever I’m doing and give her my attention. By doing things like putting down the smartphone, pausing the TV show or game, closing the laptop, and shifting into a listening mode I make it easier for her
Walking Through 2nd Peter – 12 – To Him Be the Glory

Walking Through 2nd Peter – 12 – To Him Be the Glory

Encouragment
Reading and posting reviews online is now commonplace. Not so long-ago reviews only came from professionals such as Consumer Reports or newspaper critiques. One Saturday staple for me was watching Siskel and Ebert for their thumbs up/thumbs down review of the latest movies. Today we turn to other voices on Amazon, Trip Advisor, Rotten Tomatoes, and Angie’s List. People sharing their personal experiences, feelings, and opinions on everything from the local plumber to the hottest movie. Reading reviews requires artful discernment to arrive at a meaningful conclusion. Among other items of encouragement, our final step in our Walk Through 2nd Peter contains a review that requires attention. Peter concludes, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by
The Real Power

The Real Power

Encouragment
It’s interesting how something inherently powerless can be imparted with power. Consider the badge or shield of a Police Officer. It could be made of anything but what comes to mind are the metal badges made from various alloys. The badge itself is powerless but represents the power and authority of a town, county, state, or country. Or consider a simple piece of paper. Powerless and meaningless unless used to record a deed, a law, a will, or made into money. The paper value of a one-dollar bill and a one-hundred-dollar bill is the same, the only difference is the number of zeros printed on it. That same idea also applies to those who follow Jesus. Early in the book of Acts Jesus proclaims, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witne