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  • Choose Life: Peter v. Judas

    Posted on December 28th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Early in the morning,

    all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.  They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

    When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 

    “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” 

    “What is that to us?” they replied.  “That’s your responsibility.” 

    So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. 

    Then he went away and hanged himself.

    Matthew 27:1-5

    Earlier this evening, I had to run an errand.  It took me about 1 hour.  When I left home, all was well.   When I returned, I saw at least two ambulances, one police car and a crowd of police officers.  Someone killed himself by jumping off the roof of the building.  The EMTs rolled the deceased past me to get him into the ambulance.  His eyes were still open.

    Just before the story of Judas, we read about Peter’s betrayal of Christ (Matthew 26:69-75).  Years ago, my pastor referenced both of them in a sermon.  Both betrayed Christ.  Both felt remorse.  The only difference between the two men was that Peter turned towards Christ for forgiveness, while Judas turned away from Christ.

    I feel bad about gentleman who jumped.  I always felt sorry for Judas.  Out of all the people who were complicit in Christ’s crucifixion, Judas was the only one with enough decency to feel remorse.  If he turned to Christ, the Lord would have been pleased to heal him and save him completely.

    I decided to go online to find resources for anyone who’s thinking about taking their own life.

    Boys Town National Hotline,

    Broken Believers,

    Safe Horizon,


    USA National Suicide & Crisis Hotlines

     Choose life!

     “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed

    and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right,

    he will surely live; he will not die. 

    None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. 

    Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 

    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?”

    Declares the Sovereign Lord.

    “Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”

    Ezekiel 18:21-23


  • Standing in the New Year

    Posted on December 28th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    They were all trying to frighten us, thinking,

    “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

    But I prayed,

    “Now strengthen my hands.”

    Nehemiah 6:9

    In a sermon entitled How I know you’re going to stand, Pastor said the Lord gave him a prophecy of hope to deliver.  We will not revert back to the way were before we knew Christ.  We will fulfill God’s purposes for us.

    When the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, the Egyptians decided to chase them, despite knowing they were defeated by the Lord himself.  They pursued because of their own pride and arrogance (Exodus 14:5).  All the Egyptians could hope for was to get close enough to the Israelites to yell at them and remind them of their slavery in Egypt.  When the Israelites and Egyptians were encamped at the Red Sea, the Glory of the Lord settled between them, making it impossible for the Egyptians to touch them (Exodus 14:19-20).  All the Egyptians could do was try to shake the Israelites’ confidence by speaking to them.

    So it is with Satan.  He knows he’s defeated, but he’s going to try to yell at us and shake our confidence.  Pastor said that these are all the ways we’ve been protected from Satan.

    1)    God’s word, which dispels every negative word spoken over us.

    2)    God’s presence, which stands between us and the devil.

    3)    God’s promise, which draws us and defines us, shaping us so that we can’t go back

    4)    Our testimony.  When we think of our own testimony, and how much this world needs to hear it, how could we turn back?

    5)    The Body of Christ.   (If you were crossing the Red Sea & decided you wanted to go back to Egypt, how could you with 2 million people pushing you forward?)

    6)    The works of God.  What a Mighty God we serve!

    7)    God’s authority.  In Christ, we have the power and authority to say “no” to Satan.  (Pastor said that his conversations with Satan are quite short.  He’ll just say “no”, then go back to sleep.)

    8)    After all that, we wouldn’t want to give the devil the satisfaction

    As we go into 2013, let’s all remember that Satan has fallen – and he can’t get up.

    I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

    Luke 10:18


  • Two Women: Wisdom & Folly

    Posted on December 19th, 2012 rhonda No comments


    A man’s own folly ruins his life,

    Yet his heart rages against the Lord.

    Proverbs 19:3

     You hit rock bottom when you stop digging.

    Becoming teachable is to stop digging.  We become teachable when we acknowledge the reality that our way isn’t working for us – so we accept Christ as Lord, and allow Him to lead.

    As the psalm says, that’s only the beginning.  When I read Proverbs 4:6 – “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you” – I realized that “she” is the Holy Spirit.  The first few chapters of Proverbs contrast the benefits of remaining faithful to Wisdom, or running off with Folly, an adulteress (Ch 5).  Faith is being led by God; and adultery is following the world’s wisdom.  Teachable people admit God’s thoughts are not ours (Isaiah 55:8) – they’re better.

    The Holy Spirit also speaks to us through other people.  A televangelist said that part of the reason that we haven’t been successful in life is because we keep getting in our own way.  Maybe we complain too much, or we’re not working hard enough, or we don’t treat people as well as we should.  The Pastor said that we have to allow people who love us to look us in the eye and tell us the truth about ourselves.

    That’s a hard piece of advice to take, because sometimes we don’t know who does and does not love us.  However, we do know that God loves us (John 15:9-13) because He laid down His life for us.  God will place people in our lives to tell us the truth; and give us enough discernment to figure out who has our best-interests at heart.

    In church, we sing “I feel better, so much better, since I laid my burdens down”.  It’s true.  When I stop struggling and accept Wisdom’s guidance and protection, suddenly I feel like a weight’s been lifted.  It’s a good feeling.  It’s a relief.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

    All who follow His precepts have good understanding.

    To Him belongs eternal praise.

    Psalm 111:10

  • The Colors will Change: A Book Review

    Posted on December 9th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;

    Love her, and she will watch over you.

    Proverbs 4:6

    While reading The Colors will Change, I noticed that my heart was beating faster than normal.

    This Louis N. Jones novel tells the stories of several people struggling with the consequences of foolish decisions – their own and others’.  The heroine tying everyone together is Carline Lissade, a dirt poor, Haitian-native who lost her family and then, consequently, her faith in God.  In a moment of desperation, Carline decides to sell herself to make money.  That first choice results in her learning more than she should about an international crime ring.  It also prompts her to seek refuge in America, with the help of a United States Senator.

    The book is a page-turner covering topical issues like human-trafficking, drugs, and poverty; as well as personal issues like racism, love, infidelity and personal faith.  Jones’s characters navigate through it all by praying with and advising one another in the Word.

    The issues are oversimplified and everything is too neatly tied up at the end; but that’s what happens in fiction.  Nonetheless,The Colors will Change is both a good individual read and a great book club choice.  Conquest Publishers gave me a complimentary copy of the book through BookCrash, but it’s worth paying for.

  • Mighty Men and Women

    Posted on December 4th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam.  When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there.  All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader.

    1 Samuel 22:1-2

    I made a couple of visits on Thanksgiving Day.  At my first stop, I had an opportunity to listen to several people talk about what they were grateful for.  These men and women were grateful and at peace, despite the obstacles in their lives.  I heard people share stories about how they were estranged from parents and other loved ones.  One woman said that her father neither invited her to Thanksgiving dinner, nor called her on the day itself.    While I was listening, I started to think, “Wow, these stories are kind of sad for me to be listening to on Thanksgiving Day.”  God answered me immediately, because my next thought was of David’s Mighty Men.

    According to the world, these Mighty Men looked like losers when we first read about them.  They’re either in distress, in debt, or discontented; and in their distress, their best idea is to leave their home and go live in a cave (or become homeless) and allow themselves to be directed by a guy with a price on his head (David).  By the end of David’s reign, these losers went on Israel’s honor roll, and are now dubbed “mighty” men.  I wondered how they achieved this transformation.

    Then it occurred to me that they didn’t achieve a transformation on their own.  They admitted that they were broken and placed themselves in the hands of someone who had a better plan than they did; and they were able to share their hurts with people who were in the same boat.  When we came to Jesus, we were also in distress, in debt, and discontented.  Through allowing Him to take control over our lives so that His will be done, and through sharing with other Christians, God will transform us.  Just like David’s Mighty Men, our ending can be much better than our beginning.

     Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. 

    He struck down two of Moab’s best men. 

    He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 

    And he struck down a huge Egyptian.  Athough the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club.  He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 

    Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.

    2 Samuel 23:20-22