:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hebrews Chapter 13 (part 1)

Hebrews Chapter 13

vs. 1-2

- “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”

- In Christ, we are brothers and sisters. We are family. Whether we know each other or not...

- We all have opportunities to help people. To show hospitality. Remember the story of Lot? The angels came to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and he took them into his home? He didn't know who they were... He just knew they were strangers in a bad part of town... (well... I don't know that there was a good part by that time...)

- I know we can't help every person we meet. I know sometimes it's hard to discern if someone's in need... or if they're just looking for a handout. But, I also know that there have been times when I felt LED to help someone.

- Okay so story... (mom don't kill me...) 0:)

- We do youth nights at our house all the time. Sometimes it feels like I drive over all creation to pick up college kids who don't have cars. I make trips to 2 different towns about an hour away in opposite directions sometimes. But anyway, this one night, I was heading out to go to one of the colleges, and my grandmother called. “There's this drunk man coming down the road and he's asking for a ride to Philippi. Don't you dare pick him up. He smells so strong! Just let him be. And lock your doors!” lol (just by the way... we live in the middle of nowhere... there's nothing around us for miles...)

- So I start to leave and dad's in the driveway... and he goes “now Charity, don't you go picking anybody up on the road.”

- Dad's one to talk... we used to laugh at him because it was like... if he found a stray anything... he had to bring it home and feed it... whether it was a dog... or a person. He'd pick up hitch-hikers and bring them to the house and have mom feed them before he'd take them wherever it was they were heading...

- But anyway, but the time I got to the end of the driveway... I knew I was supposed to go pick this guy up. And I even knew which road he was going to be on. There's 3 roads that leave my house that will get you to the main road... and I knew which one I was supposed to take.

- So I'm going down the road arguing with God... “Now God... Mongi said he's drunk and dad just got through telling me I'm not to pick anybody up...” Nothing doing... So when I came to the crossroads of which road was I gonna take... I almost took the wrong one. And I just knew I was going to be miserable if I did... So I went down the right one... thinking... “okay God, well maybe he already got picked up. Or maybe I can just drive by and nothing will happen. I'm not stopping this car!” I was totally freaking out...

- Well, I saw him on the road. And with him was my cousin's dog. Daggone thing had followed him all the way down the road. I got right to him... and the dog ran out and sat down in the middle of the road in front of my car. Had to slam on my brakes to not hit him... And the thing absolutely would not move... the car stopped... right beside this guy... and here he is... pecking on my window... *sigh*

- SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I rolled the window down and I was just like... get in man... I already knew where he was going... and it was where I was going... so... we went. And the dog moved as soon as he opened my car door... HAHAHAHA! Go figure...

- He talked the WHOLE way. He was working in PA, but he'd lost his driver's license or didn't have a car... I can't remember how that worked... and he was on his way to Philippi to see his kids. He was hitch-hiking about a 6 hour drive, just to see his kids for the weekend cause it was the only weekend he could get off from work... *sigh*

- And you know... the entire way... I never once felt fear of the man. I mean... I didn't know who he was... For all I knew, he could have been a serial killer ya know? However... there was not a moment of fear, and there was not a moment of distrust... yes he smelled like a brewery... but there are worse smells in the world... and he didn't seem drunk... He was at least coherent and able to carry on conversation for 30 minutes or so... he at least wasn't totally sloshed if he had been drinking that day... so anyway... I dropped him off at his house... and I went on to pick up the youth kids.

- By the time I got to campus, I'd had time to think about what COULD have happened... and I was freaking out a little by the time I had gone through all the scenarios... But it was a God thing. I would have had to kill my cousin's dog in order to get away from that one... And it would NOT have gone over so well...

- That was the only time I have felt God that strongly tell me to do something of that nature. I've given some money to people I didn't know. I've given money to people I DO know. We as a family have fed a lot of people, given clothes and money away... sometimes when we didn't know if we could afford to... we've brought a lot of people to our house to stay for a while.

- Our home has kind of become a place of balm... if that makes sense. I know a lot of my friends tell me that when they come to stay, or came to stay, it was a time of rest and recuperation... a time of healing... I've had people call me and say “I really just need to hang out with your family for a day or two...”

- I find it all funny. We live in the middle of nowhere... we hardly ever go anywhere new per say... and we've had people from like 20 different countries in our house. I mean good grief! We didn't have to go to Africa... God brought Africa to us... lol

- Hospitality doesn't have to be a huge thing. It just has to be of the heart. It's a giving... not because you have an overabundance... but because you see a need... and can fulfill it. Sometimes it's just giving of yourself. Allowing people to come and let off some steam. Giving some time to a friend. Or stranger...

- Who knows who the strangers in our lives may really be... angels? People who will later have rule over us? People who we may run into later and find that our one act of hospitality or kindness came at a crucial time? God has a timing for everything. Sometimes, we never get to see what kinds of ripple effects our stone in the pond has... but maybe when we all get to heaven... we'll see the results... :)

- Matthew 6:1-4; 7:12; 25:31-46
- Romans 12:6-21

vs. 3

- “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

- Empathy. “The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”-

- This is a connection with another person that allows you to FEEL what they're going through. It's not sympathy. Sympathy is a feeling of compassion... feeling sorry for somebody while they're in their pain... empathy means that you FEEL pain. Just as if it were you in their place.

- We are to treat everyone as we would wish to be treated... If we empathize with people, it's much easier to do that. Granted, empathy doesn't just happen... It's a learned response. It's something you have to work at. It may be one of those things, like patience for example... that you have to pray for A LOT... cause you just can't seem to get the hang of it...

- But it's important to take time to understand what people are going through. Sometimes, people make mistakes. Sometimes people change. Sometimes things happen to people because God's trying to get their attention... Regardless of the situation... we need to seek God in our response to people. Sometimes their story is not what you would assume... So especially for those in prison, we need to have forgiveness when we look at their lives.

- I was talking to an older friend of mine a year or so ago, and within the conversation I got around to this prison ministry that we were making cookies for. WOW! She went off on a RANT! This woman is so wonderful in so many ways... but she went off on “if they got themselves into a mess like that then I have no sympathy for them. They need not come to me looking for a pat on the back and a handout...”

- I mean absolutely no compassion whatsoever there! It shocked me! She wouldn't even give the ministry the benefit of the doubt... in her mind, prison ministry was a waste of time and a consolation of sorts that need not be given.

- People are still people. No matter what the story is. And people are still people... and they most definitely need God... and how will they know God if someone doesn't tell them? And if we tell them, but don't prove God's love in our own actions... what real life example of God's love do they have?

- As for people being mistreated... that could cover a million aspects of things... Christians in prison for their faith... Abused children. Battered spouses. Overbearing bosses... lol I mean it could be anything!

- There are some things that sure... people get themselves into... but it doesn't mean that we should care less... it just means that we need discernment in dealing with the situation... If they're not ready to leave that place... then it's kind of hard to counsel them out of it...

- But otherwise... no one deserves to be treated badly. Especially children...

- So keep in mind that we are to treat others as we would like to be treated... so we are not the one mistreating others... and secondly that we would see ways to relieve the pain of others in that situation. We can't fix everything all the time... but sometimes, we can at least ease some of the burden.

- Hebrews 10:32-39
- Revelation 2:8-11
- I Timothy 5:1-16
- James 1:19-2:26
- Zechariah 7:8-14

vs. 4

- “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.”

- Marriage is a mirror of our relationship with Christ as the Church. SO many times in scripture, there is a call to be faithful in our marriages. If we can't be faithful to someone who is living in our home... someone we can see and feel and reach out and touch... How can we be faithful to the Invisible God that we can't scientifically prove to our human minds?

- Marriage is a sacred bond. I've heard some of my friends at different times say “well, you find someone you like, you get married, and if it doesn't work out... you can always get a divorce and start over.” And they've done that... and it's just been... *sigh* heartbreaking to watch... cause they're not really happy...

- It's not supposed to work that way! It's supposed to be a lifetime commitment. “Til death do us part.” Just as it is with God. We're not supposed to go find random things in the world to chase after for fulfillment. God's supposed to be enough for all our wants and needs.

- Granted... no marriage is a bed of roses... or maybe it is... with a lot of thorns in the mix... lol Marriage is hard! You're taking two completely different people and putting them together in a closed space and expecting them to learn to get along... Sometimes they clash... Sometimes you start finding things out after you get married that you have to let go... “what in the world was I thinking!?” Little things become annoying... like... leaving the cap off the toothpaste... or leaving the seat up... and thousands of other things that just get on your nerves...

- It's something you have to work at... and so is our relationship with God. God starts pointing out things in our lives that need changed... usually our response is not “oh thanks God! I'll do that right now!” Usually it's more like “What are you talking about! I'm fine! What's wrong with the way I pray? What's wrong with the way I deal with people? Get off my case!” lol

- Relationship means working things through... growing is hard... especially when you're trying to grow together at the same pace in the same direction...

- Now, I'm not married. I committed to wait until I found the one God had for me. I'm 25... and still waiting. Sometimes I think it's never going to happen. Sometimes I feel so incredibly alone... However! God is good... and He never leaves me alone. I see Him at work in my life and feel His presence with me...

- In the process of waiting... There have been a lot of times that I've had to make a decision... to date a guy just to have somebody to date... knowing that he's not right... or to decide to remain friends and see if things changed... but to remain single.

- A few times, I've opted for the dating... so we'd go out a couple of times... and by the end of it... God was so in my face going “this isn't it!”... I had to call it quits... and I felt so bad!

- BUT! In the end... it comes down to one statement that I think defines my outlook right now... I'd rather be single and know that I'm exactly where God wants me... and be happy there... than to get married just to get married and end up miserable... because I'm NOT where God wants me...

- I don't want to get married just to get married... in my mind... divorce is not an option... so... it had better be a right thing... lol cause I'm gonna be stuck with whatever decision I make for the rest of my life...

- It says that God will surely judge people who are immoral and who commit adultery. Remember that adultery was one of the 10 commandments... So it was a big one...

- Faithfulness is a big deal with God... and you will be judged on it...

- II Corinthians 11:1-3
- Hosea 2:14-23
- Isaiah 62