Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday's Thought

How To Be Salt And Light Without Compromising

The Bible clearly tells us to be salt and light in the world. It's written in Matthew 5:13.

GraphicStock, Used by Permission

Matthew wrote "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."

He follows up this portion of scripture detailing how we are a light, set upon a hill. The world is to see the glory of our God and be drawn.

There's a pretty strong argument to be made that we are to be drawing people towards Christ and His promise. But how many of us are fulfilling this call?

How many people are reaching out to others? How many people have witnessed to a lost person? How many people take their faith seriously?

With the churches I've seen and the messages preached there, I'm guessing not many. Many churches preach to be careful of the sinner. To guard your heart (which is great because the Bible commands us to do this as well) but they rarely promote the regular attendee to go out to the world and be the salt and light mentioned in Matthew.

I truly believe we can go to the bars, outside the strip clubs, and into a lost and dying world to be the salt and light of Christ.

That being said, this is where we must guard our hearts. We mustn't grow weary in staying salty.

This begs the question: How do we continue to be salt and light without losing our saltiness or our light?

I've used 3 techniques to keep myself salty as I enter into the world.

1. Stay in the Word: Staying salty isn't easy but God has provided us with an instruction manual on how to stay focused and to stay salty. It's called the Bible.

When we're digging deep into the Word of God, we're keeping ourselves fresh. We're renewing our minds. We're staying connected with God.

This is the first step to keeping our salt and our light.

2. Surround yourself with other believers: Next, you must find a band of brothers who will hold you accountable. They'll call you out when you screw up or head down a bad path.

They won't baby you. They won't tell you everything is okay. They won't walk away.

Instead, they'll stand by you. They'll encourage you. They'll show you the right way.

3. Create boundaries you won't cross: You must also know where you stand with God and what He commands us to do. Set boundaries according to God's word and be unwilling to compromise those convictions.

You might stand outside of a strip club but you've set the boundary you won't go inside. You might enter a bar but you've committed to not taking a drink.

By creating clear boundaries, you know where and where you cannot go.

When we're able to stay in God's Word, be with other believers, and create boundaries, we can stay salty and lit for a world that's crying out for God. You can provide a beacon for those searching. You can also stand strong because Christ has given us the strength we need to do this.

Question: What do you think? Can you stay salty in this world of ours? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This is a guest post by Joseph Lalonde. He is a youth leader and leadership blogger at Joseph shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. With him on Twitter or at his blog. Joseph also has a free eBook that you can own by clicking here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's Foto: Garden Perspectives - Strawflower

"Strawflower 1"
Credit: Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Bear with me when it comes to this flower, a few years ago, it caught my attention as a unique and beautiful annual.  The flower comes in white and red but I love the yellow- it seems so vibrant and joyful.  Each season, I make certain I have a few of these for my backyard garden to enjoy.  I will probably share many photographs of this flower throughout the season.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Garden Perspectives: Bearded Iris

"Bearded Iris"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved"
Another view of a family favorite flower, my grandmother and my mother-in-law.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our friends
graduating this year (yes, that includes you Lulu)!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Tears at Graduation are Beautiful, they are...

"tears of joy for a childhood that is gone,
for a future that is unknown;
 for little boy scrapes and bruises that have been kissed away, 
for joy at the man the little boy is becoming; 
for memories of little boy triumphs, 
to excitement of more triunphs to come; 
for knowledge of love that belonged just to a mother,
to the awareness that he will one day love another; 
for little boy daydreams that became real
 and grown up dreams that will also become real; 
for a full house that one day will become an empty house;
for love for a little boy that held your hand 
and looked to you for answers, 
to love for a man who will look for answers on his own; 
your job as his mother is not done, 
it is just turning in a new direction that is unknown, 
but holds many treasures in the years ahead."

Dedicated to Christian and Colby
2014 Graduates

(C) Kim Kirby, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"And, thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might."

Deuteronomy 6:5

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday's Thought - Happy Father's Day

"Virginia District Church of the Nazarene Campmeeting"
(C) Tammy Bowman, All Rights Reserved,
Used by Permission

When I think of Father's Day, many memories from my childhood to the adult years come to mind.  What to write about, so you're not here until next week reading about all my exciting childhood memories is the challenge.

My father is a good man, he worked hard all his life to support his family which allowed my mother to stay home and raise my brother and I.  I've admired him for doing that.
(C) Tammy Bowman, All Rights Reserved
Used by Permission

One of my favorite memories is the yearly adventure, going back as far back as I can remember, to family camp meeting. The Church of the Nazarene held campmeeting every year at a campground property they own in Virginia.

We stayed in a large tent every year.  We took the usual camping stuff like a small stove, sleeping bags, pillows, and snacks.  I think I took every book I owned -just to be sure I had something to do (and, yes, it was more than 2).

While Dad attended meetings representing his church during the day, my brother and I would play around the campground and sometimes go to a local lake to swim or go boating.

The best part of the week was the evening services where we heard great singers lead the music and sing duets or solos and great preaching.

"Subaru Forester"
Credit: Flickr Docmonstereyes
Another memory that's spanned the years is going to new car shows.  Every year for as long as I can remember and up until recently, we'd head to Washington D.C. for the Annual Car Show.  Dad would look forward to it every year.  As I got older, it wasn't always easy for me to go, but I did my best to go -sometimes making it a quick trip- other times an all day event.  We always had to check out the newest Subaru's!

Dad fell a few months ago.  It's caused some brain injuries and a few other problems.  I am responsible for his care and making any decisions. The decisions have been difficult as I don't always know the answer- but I know God is there helping me to decide the best for Dad.  Sometimes, I get frustrated and upset by his situation -but then I remember- "Didn't Dad do pretty much the same that I am doing now- he cared for me when I was young - taught me about God, taught me about life, to serve God, to be a man?"

A special THANK YOU to Tammy Bowman for the last minute assistance in finding campmeeting photos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Wildflowers at Walney"
Credit: Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Whatever happens, we must, each one, 
extol the Lord!  Whether the world grows
atheistic or devout, our duty and our joy
are one and the same- we are still to 
magnify the Lord our God.

- C.H. Spurgeon
(taken from a sermon preached October 9, 1884. 
Work is in  public domain.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden Perspectives - Mom's Flower

"Mom's Flower"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Today would have been my mother's 71st birthday.  In memory of her (1943-2011), I am sharing a photograph of her favorite flower- Purple Coneflower, as I call it- or Echinacea purpurea.

I love growing these flowers as they are so bright and cheerful. Also, they spread fairly quickly.  Each season after the winter's done, I look forward to seeing where the birds have spread a seed or two of this beautiful flower.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Used by Permission, ChristianQuotes.Info

We don’t seek to escape this life by dreaming of heaven.
 But we do find we can endure this life because of the certainty of heaven. Heaven is eternal. Earth is temporal. Those who fix all their affections 
of the fleeting things of this world are the real escapists, 
because they are vainly attempting to avoid facing eternity – 
by hiding in the fleeting shadows of things that are only transient.

- John MacArthur

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"At Walney Pond"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indead unto sin,
but alive unto God through Christ Jesus our Lord."

- Romans 6:11

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday's Thought

One of my buddies I like to hang out with has been making comments lately that have become an important part of my thinking.  

Whenever something happens, he'll say "It's God's Will" or "If it's God's Will" or "God had it planned this way or that way," well, you get the idea.  He and I think alike except that I hadn't really thought of it the way he says it. And, even more embarrassing, I haven't been as vocal about it as him. 

He went on to say "we might not always think of it that way or this way or want to admit it, but God is control of everything.  He has it in His order."  Or, we might be in situations we don't like, but that doesn't mean God isn't still in control or had it planned for us that way. 

My buddy is more conscientious about remembering or stating that God is in control than I have been -but my goal is to be more like that- and remember EVERYTHING happens for the reason that God has it planned that way! 

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