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  • Courage & Conviction: Forerunners of the Faith

    Posted on July 31st, 2012 rhonda No comments

    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

    Acts 1:8

    By God’s grace, I am privileged to live in a country which allows me religious freedom.  I can walk into a church.  I can read my Bible on the train.  I can post a message on this blog without fear of government reprisals.

    In last Sunday’s service, however, I was reminded that the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith.  They paid a real price for professing a faith in Jesus Christ.  The pastor summarized Acts 1:6-8 by saying that the disciples were expecting/hoping that Jesus would assume the throne in Israel.  Jesus’s answer was to let them know that His work was done, and their work was about to begin.  The pastor then outlined the dangers they would face in standing up for what they believed in: (1) They’d have to return to Jerusalem, where Christ was crucified, and (2)  Jesus wasn’t physically going with them.  They were on their own.

    In his first public speech (Acts 2:14-41), Peter addressed a somewhat hostile crowd.  Regardless, he was a straight-shooter.  Three thousand people repented and were baptized.  Baptism was a public sign of a decision to follow Jesus.  Baptism would get people ostracized from the synagogue and have them face persecution and death (Hebrews 11:36-38).

    Considering all the dangers they faced, they could only do what they did if they were truly convicted.  It takes a sense of conviction (my word of wisdom for today) to stand up for anything.  It takes conviction to be the whistle-blower at work, to protect someone against bullying, to not laugh at an off-color joke

    The pastor convicted the congregation.  He told us that the church is to continue the work of the disciples and early apostles.  Each one of us is a member of the church.  It’s on each one of us to decide whether we are actually going to take up the challenge.


    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • The Ministry of Presence

    Posted on July 26th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;

    I will never leave you nor forsake you.

    Joshua 1:5

     On Father’s Day, my pastor gave a lovely sermon during which he compared the role of earthly fathers to our Father in heaven. He was equipped to do so because, his own father was, and continues to be, a factor in his life.  God has blessed him greatly.

    My pastor, a young man, shared anecdotes from his youth about his father always being at his basketball games and other events.  He used a phrase that stuck with me all over a month later.  “The Ministry of Presence.”  Normally, when I think of ministry I think of action.  One of the definitions of minister is “to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants, necessities, etc”.  One of our human needs is just to be connected to other people.  We do not want to be alone.  Presence is my word of wisdom for the day.


    Even if we cannot do anything for another person, just being with them makes a positive difference.  Often, I feel a pressure to do something.  If a person is sad, I feel a pressure to say something cheerful or comforting.  If a person is in a good mood, I feel a need to keep up my end of the conversation and be interesting, even when I don’t have much to say.  However, I don’t always need other people to talk to me or do anything for me.  I can enjoy a companionable silence.  So my point is, don’t shy away from people because you don’t know what to say or do.  Just be there.

    Also, our heavenly Father is content to just have us with Him.

     Be still before the Lord, all mankind,

    because He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.

    Zechariah 2:13


     The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.