What Do You Hate in Life?

Proverbs 6 17-19

I was reading in Proverbs about the things that God hates, this got me thinking about the things I hate. Towards the top of the list were things like people chewing with their mouth open, people who leave the toilet seat up and running out of TV shows to watch on netflix, just to name a few.

Let’s take a look at God’s list.

 

There are six things the Lord hates,

   seven that are detestable to him:

17         haughty eyes,

       a lying tongue,

       hands that shed innocent blood,

18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,

       feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19         a false witness who pours out lies

       and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19

Wow, my list suddenly seems very trivial. After reading this it got me thinking about my husband. In a relationship we communicate the things we love and the things we hate and out of respect and love for that person we do our best to please them. I appreciate my husband for caring about what I love but also for not doing the things I hate, like chewing with his mouth open.

 

In the same way, I appreciate that God clearly communicates to me the things He hates. Because of this I can do my best to please Him by loving the things He loves and hating the things He hates.

 

-Elleigh Dylewski (with help from Zack)

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My Friend Grace

Ephesians 2_8

Do you have a friend that is there for you? A friend that continues to text you even though you don’t text back till like three days later? Do you have that friend in your life that loves you even though you’re not always the best friend back?

I do, her name is Grace. She is the very best friend I could ask for. Grace is the kind of friend that is intentional, loving and always there for you. She is the type of friend that continues to reach out to you and loves you no matter what. She has taught me so much about what it means to be a friend.

When I think about Grace’s friendship I’m reminded of God’s Grace in our life. God is very intentional about his relationship with us. He loves us unconditionally even though we don’t deserve it. God gives us this wonderful gift of salvation and forgiveness despite our flaws and downfalls. This gift of grace allows us to realize our human weaknesses and failures but know that God still loves us and desires us to have a relationship with him.

I’m so grateful for my friend Grace’s continued, intentional friendship despite my flaws. In the same way I’m so thankful for God’s Grace in my life.  

Ephesians 2:8

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

 

-Elleigh Dylewski

Teddy Bears and Corn Snakes

Joshua 1_9

Do you consider yourself to be courageous?

Do you see courage as being something only heros have? Do you have to be like David taking down Goliath or Daniel surviving a lions den or the Avengers fighting against Thanos? Or can you be courageous in your everyday life?

According to Dr. Yadin Dubai, from the Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel courage is something that can be practiced. He came to this finding by splitting a group of volunteers into those that were afraid of snakes and those that weren’t. The volunteers were instructed to choose whether to move a teddy bear or corn snake closer or further away. While the participants were making their choice there was a functional magnetic imaging scan done of there head. This scan picked up on activity in the part of the brain called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC). When the participants who feared snakes chose to overcome fear and move the snake closer the sgACC increased, versus those that gave into fear and moved the snake further.

This research found that our brain can learn courage. We can activate and increase the sgACC or part of brain that houses courage by taking conscious, deliberate steps to overcome fear.

Many of us won’t find ourselves facing a literal giant, surviving a lions den or even battling an intergalactic space villain (although that would be sick!). We do however find ourselves facing fears each day. Sometimes those fears are simply getting up out of bed and starting a new day, maybe it’s forgiving someone that you thought you never could, or maybe it’s flying across the county to do mission work or start a new ministry. Whatever your fear in life may be, know that you can overcome it with a little practice and a little patience.

Joshua 1: 9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Elleigh Dylewski

Living in Love

1 John 4_16

God has given us so much, he gave us his perfect son, and let him pay the price for our sins because he loves us. In 1 John 4:16 it says God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God. By living in love, we can live with God. We can show the love that he gives us to others, and we can be an example of Christ Jesus. If we have a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith, we can love others the way God wants us to, and show them a path of compassion. By loving others we can show them God and what he has given us.

-Blair Simon

A Good Conscience

1 Timothy 1 5 (bike)

Back again to 1 Timothy 1:5…it also states that we must have a good conscience, but what is that? In Hebrews 13:18 it says that the people are desiring to conduct themselves honorably in all things. The word desire is very specific in this verse, desire means a want or a wish, this shows since they wish to do it, there can be another option. We have to choose God, he gave us free will to do so. If he had wanted people who worshiped him because there was no other option he could have made that happen, but he wanted us. People who could have a choice and still choose him. But sometimes we do mess up, but we have a second chance, and a third chance, and fourth, and on and on again. In 1 John 1:9 it says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us. God gave us a choice, and even when we mess up, he gives us a way out. A good conscience is the desire to do God’s will, and when we mess up ask for forgiveness and repent.

-Blair Simon

The Plagues

exodus 6 7

After Moses goes back to Egypt and starts trying to get things going with the exodus it backfires on him and he is starting to have doubts (Exodus 5).  God replies

 

Exodus 6:6-8

6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”

 

God is ready to go.  He is done with people doubting him, and he is ready to show his power.  To do this he sends the ten plagues on Egypt. (Exodus 7-11) Each of the plagues was very symbolic and directly attacked the gods and culture of the Egyptians.  I’ll cover just a few of them here and their symbolism.

 

The plague of blood turned the water of the Nile river into blood, which killed the fish and other things in the river.  The Nile was the source of life in Egypt and was represented by the god Osiris. God shows that he is more powerful than Osiris and that refusing him brings death.

 

The plague of gnats/lice was a really fun time.  The dust became gnats that covered everything. This was an insult to the god Set who was the god over the desert.  This also was directed towards the priests and magicians who prided themselves on being pure and clean, but God was pointing out their sin and uncleanness to everybody.

 

The plague of livestock involved all of the Egyptian cattle dying. This attacks many of the Egyptian gods because many of them take the form of cattle.  This came right after Moses says that the Egyptians would stone the Israelites for sacrificing cattle and livestock to God. God is telling Pharaoh that he can either give up some of his cattle to God, or lose them all.

 

The plague of the firstborn involved an angel of God killing all of the firstborn in Egypt that were not covered by the passover blood of the lamb.  This obviously killed a lot of people but it also was a direct attack on Pharaoh who was supposed to be a god in Egypt but could not protect his own son from the wrath of God.

 

Each of these plagues tore down a god or aspect of Egyptian society that the Israelites had adopted and showed that it did not bring life or an escape from sin, but only brought death in the end and that only God is worthy of being worshiped and followed.

 

I hope that once we come to Christ it is obvious which aspects of our old lives were only bringing sin and pain.  Sometimes though we do not realize which things in our society are against God and many Christians continue to live in their old ways.  We need to pray and be wise in our life choices to make sure we are not putting any idols before God, because one day Christ will return and most parts of the book of Revelation make the plagues look like a walk in the park.

 

On that happy note, I’ll see you guys back here tomorrow 🙂

Chris Mattison

Moses and the Burning Bush

exodus 3 15

After Moses fled Egypt and saved the Midianite women from the jerks at the well he settled down and had children and lived a simple life as a farmer.  Meanwhile the rest of the Israelites were groaning in their captivity in Egypt and their cry rose up to God and he took pity on them (Exodus 2:23-25).  God was then ready to call up Moses out of the wilderness so that he can carry out God’s plan.

 

Exodus 3:10-15

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,

   the name you shall call me

   from generation to generation.”

 

It is very interesting that Moses had to ask God about his name.  In the eyes of the Israelites God had abandoned them when they were enslaved in Egypt, and they had mostly wandered away from God since then and had taken on the gods of the Egyptians.  It was the mindset of the Israelites that God had forsaken his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Moses was basically asking if God was wanting to start over in his relationship with the Israelites and form new covenants.  God emphatically states that he is to be known to his people as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, to remind them that those promises still stand, and will stand for eternity. It is helpful to remember God in terms of what he has done for you or your loved ones, which is why God instructs the people to remember him as the God of Abraham so they will remember the stories that have been passed down of God’s faithfulness to their ancestors.

 

We need to be reminded of the fact that God does not change his mind like we do.  God does not forget a promise. Just because things have changed in our lives and we are having doubts doesn’t mean that God is no longer the one who created the foundations of the earth.  If we have sinned, or walked away from God for a time, or had a traumatic event in our lives it doesn’t change the fact that God IS, and that the blood of Jesus can still cover our sins.

-Chris Mattison