Evangelical Church in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
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Agape Christian Fellowship

Loving God & Loving People

Ponder A Little (Blog)

A blog that ponders the questions of Christianity, Christ and God's love for mankind.

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THE JEALOUSY OF GOD

Posted on September 22, 2018 at 3:20 PM


The Bible repeatedly tells us that God is a jealous God. What does this mean? Isn’t jealousy a sin.? So, if God is holy and perfect, how can He be jealous?


There is a righteous jealousy just as there is a righteous anger.


The answer to this conundrum is found by looking at the context of the use of the word in the Bible. When God describes himself as jealous in the Bible, it is when his children, the Israelites, chose to follow other gods and worship idols.


Jealousy is only a sin when it is over something that does not belong to us. As believers, we commit our hearts and lives to God. And we belong to Him. He is first in our lives and the object of our primary devotion. God is jealous for our love that belongs to Him.


So, when we mix up our priorities and put other people or things or goals at the top of our list, God becomes jealous. When we make for ourselves earthly idols in place of God, He has a righteous jealousy for us to come back to Him.


God’s jealousy is actually a rich display of His endless and devoted love for each one of us!


God is jealous for you! Are you jealous for Him?


BOOK REVIEW: "JESUS OUTSIDE THE LINES" by Scott Sauls

Posted on September 16, 2018 at 7:45 PM

I recently read the book, “Jesus Outside The Lines”, which gave me a fresh perspective of Jesus and how he related to the culture of His day that was strongly opposed to His message. Jesus did very well at what I and many Christians today find so very difficult.


Daniel Darling said, “A certain ugliness accompanies the way evangelicals often do cultural engagement. It is a gospel-free, score-keeping partisanship long on fear and short on hope.”


Modern society with multiplying and widening cultural divides can be disheartening for the evangelical Christian. How do we introduce the gospel in such an anti-Christ environment? It seems difficult at times to co-exist in a world that sometimes opposes the core of our being so strongly.

So, as Christians we sometimes choose to seek safety in our little cocoon of Christian fellowship. But is this what Jesus did? Reading our Bibles, we learn that Jesus made a habit of socializing with the unbelievers and the sinners. His words and actions are full of love, not divisiveness.


Even within Christian circles, opposing views on politics, money, the poor and worship are held, and divide us as believers. Division was never the way of Christ. Jesus led with compassion. It is, indeed, possible for two Christians to hold opposing views on a topic without either of them compromising their faith.


In his book, “Jesus Outside The Lines”, Pastor Scott Sauls addresses these ongoing conflicts of our modern day, resulting from people choosing sides. Sauls asks, “Is it possible to profoundly disagree with someone and love that person deeply at the same time? Is it possible to hold convictions and simultaneously embrace those who reject your deep convictions?”


His answer in the book, is an overwhelming, Yes! He encourages the believer to, without compromising his faith, try to understand the thoughts of those with differing views to establish healthy communication. He encourages compassionate dialogue, not critical. Sauls uses countless Scripture to present his conclusion that we can, in fact, lovingly co-exist in a society full of people with opposing views. After all, that is exactly what Jesus did.


Sauls, courageously and compassionately challenges even difficult subjects in his book, like sexual ethics and the reality of hell. There is no Christian compromise in this book, only Christ-like compassion!


Christian Ethicist, Andrew Spencer says, “This book represents the beginning of a deep conversation that needs to happen in the gospel community whose ideas are increasingly demonized.”


I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any Christian who chooses to be more and more Christ-like in their everyday interactions with both believers and non-believers that Jesus deeply loves.



GOOD HABITS BREAK BAD HABITS

Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:05 PM


Personal anxiety is a bad habit that is paralyzing for some, annoying for others and practically non-existent for a few.  We are all wired so differently.


As Christians, the Bible tells us to not be anxious.  We are also told that when we are anxious we are lacking in faith.  Whoa!!  Wait a minute!  Who needs a guilt trip like that, right?  After all, isn’t it normal and simply human to sometimes be anxious?  Of course, it is!  But as Christians, we are taught to immediately take that anxiety to God in prayer and release it.   And why?  Because God knows how harmful anxiety is for our body and our well-being.


For each of us, there are harmful traits we have that are deeply rooted.  Anxiety is one but how about a critical spirit, a selfish spirit, pride, anger and bitterness, procrastination, negativity and perfectionism.  The list goes on.  Because we are human.  But it is important for each of us to recognize and acknowledge our weaknesses so we can then work to overcome them.  It’s not impossible.  Nothing is impossible with God!

 

But it does involve work on our part.  I have to replace my bad habits contributing to my harmful trait, with good habits.  With time and daily practice, I will become more of the child God calls me to be, full of the fruit of His Spirit.  It is my habits that define my character!

 

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”


As believers, our goal is to daily display the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And with God’s help we can do this and overcome the harmful human traits we all naturally possess.   Join me in building more good habits today.


YOU ARE CHERISHED BY GOD!

Posted on August 22, 2018 at 8:35 PM


Do you know how valuable and precious you are to God?


The Bible has lots to say about this.   1 John 3:1 says, “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children!”


The Bible talks about God’s children being the apple of His eye.  It also tells us that our names are engraved in the palm of God’s hand.   And the Bible tells us that God carries us, like a father carries a child when we are weak and tired.   Even more, God knows the number of hairs on each of our heads.  Jesus says we are more precious than the countless sparrows God cares for.   Best of all, the Bible teaches that there is no greater love than someone laying down their life for another.


Well, guess what?  That is exactly what God did for each of us!  Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins, in our place, a horrific death on a cross, all because of love!   That’s how precious we are to God.  That’s how much God loves us.   That is a fatherly love that would do anything for his child.


Picture the beauty of His love for you right now.   Ponder the wonder of His grace, that God Almighty would value you and I that much.  He so deeply desires an intimate “Father and child” relationship with each one of us.  Even if you were the only person on planet earth, God would have died for you alone to show you His immense love!


Know and celebrate God’s personal and intimate love for you today!   Recognize how valuable and precious you are to Him.  It’s a gift!  It can never be earned by anything you do!  It is always freely given!   That’s just who God is!  Amazing, right?



GIVING GOD'S WAY

Posted on August 16, 2018 at 4:15 PM


Why are tithing and Christian service hot and sensitive subjects for some people?   Was it in the early church?   Not that I can see.  People gave generously to make sure needs were always met.  Today, it seems people want to hoard most of their extra time and money for themselves.  I hear some Christians getting offended by any preaching on giving, yet the preaching is straight from the Bible.

 

Stewardship often reveals our beliefs about God and ourselves!  If we are generous in giving of our time, our works and our money, then we likely have a good understanding of who we are, compared to the Almighty God; and a good recognition that everything ultimately comes from Him.

 

If we are hoarding our time, our works and our money for our own good pleasure then we are ultimately saying that we are self-sufficient, we don’t need God and we don’t owe God anything.  Giving of our time, our works and our money is a demonstration of our love for God, our humility before God and our acknowledgement that all that we are and have is only because of Him.


God multiplies whatever we give Him.  Whether it be our time, our money or our energy.  We won’t run out. (Mal 3:10, Luke 18:29-30).


Remember - You can never out-give God!

 




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