Judge Correctly!

When the time for the Feast of Tabernacles had come and Jesus’ brothers asked him to show himself to the world publicly, Jesus told them that His time was not yet come. Jesus’ brothers went on ahead to the feast without Jesus, and the Bible says that at this time “even his own brothers did not believe in him.” Jewish leaders were looking for Jesus and among the crowds of people at the Feast of Tabernacles people were talking. The Bible said that there was widespread whispering about Jesus. Some said that Jesus was a good man while others believed He wasn’t good and deceived people. No one would, however, speak out publicly for fear of the Jewish leaders. It seems like some things never change.

About half way through the eight day festival, Jesus did go up to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and began teaching in the temple courts. The Jews there were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. They wondered how He had so much learning without being taught. You see, Jesus, was not of the elite or powerful. He made his entrance in the manger of a barn and by all accounts wasn’t wealthy or part of the elite in society.

In reply to their questions as to how Jesus knew so much Jesus said, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

Jesus goes on to say that because he did one miracle in healing a man, they were all amazed. Jesus reminded them that by the law of Moses newborn boys are circumcised on the Sabbath (even though it is a declared day of rest) so that the law of Moses may not be broken, yet they were angry with Jesus for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to say, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

In today’s society, people are all about following the latest or greatest popular person. How many followers someone has is a thing of status. Jesus, like some today, was somewhat a phenomenon. He had many followers who were fascinated by Him. He was unusual and “amazing” to some and someone to be feared by others. People throughout the region were talking about Jesus. The powerful in politics and religion were watching for Him. Some feared Him and His influence on the people since the things He did and the words He spoke did not match up with their belief system and expectations. Some feared Jesus would show them to be the fraud’s they were. Some feared that He would take away their power. Some just didn’t know, but they still distrusted Him.

We have this same situation happening today in our political and religious world. The common man and woman on the streets are discussing whether someone should be able to have presence or platform from which to speak. Publishers and politicians are banning speech that they don’t like or agree with in order to cancel their effect on others. Like the threats against Jesus, some are calling for the death of those they do not like or agree with on issues. Today, Dr. Seuss’ own publishers decided that some of his works need to be removed from the public square. Why? What is behind all the censorship of thoughts, ideas, and words? Can we no longer stand to see the truth of history? Can we not acknowledge a viewpoint that isn’t in lock step with our own?

The Bible begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It is a bold statement. It is how the Word of God begins. We must each decide if this is a true or a false statement. We will choose to believe this is right or wrong. In the same way, Jesus challenged those in the temple courts over 2000 years ago to check out what He said. Jesus said that anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether His teaching comes from God or is from him only. Jesus said that those that knew the will of God would be able to verify that He spoke on behalf of His Father who is God almighty.

There is a challenge today for the Christian and the non Christian to decide whether what Jesus said is true or false. We must each decide whether what he preached was right or wrong. Jesus confronted those in the temple courts about their inconsistent enforcement of the law of Moses. Do we today see the inconsistencies in how things are decided? Do we see the contradiction in our own conversations and behaviors between how we treat one person or idea over another?

Jesus admonished those listening to him in the temple courts saying, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” I think this advice needs to be repeated today. What we see is not always as it appears. The only way to know for sure what is true is to seek the truth in the consistent message revealed throughout the Holy Word. Jesus tells us that those who choose to follow God’s will – will know whether what Jesus preached and taught was of God or not. How is that? It is because they will see and come to know the will of the Father written in the Word of God.

When we judge things today, do we stack it up against the standard of the Word of God? Do we have the will to do the will of God? Are we judging by mere appearances or seeking to judge rightly? Each of us makes decisions and judgements every day about a myriad of things including one another. Are we judging rightly as the Righteous Judge and Lord would want us to do, or are we jumping to conclusions without all the evidence?

Do we give people the grace of time? Do we look below the surface of appearances to the motives of their movements through life? Have we tried to get to know one another and their circumstances, or do we dismiss people out of hand? Are we willing to walk in someone else’s shoes for just a minute to see what paths they must tread? Are we interested in our fellow man enough to change our point of view to try to see what things look like through their eyes? Has someone “offended” us and unbeknown to them been written off? Do people get a second chance with us? Or a third? Or seventy-seven times? Jesus told Peter to forgive a brother or sister not just seven times in a day, but seven times ten times in a day when they repent. Do we accept those who are sorry and repent for wrongs they do – intentionally or not? Are we so perfect that we can’t stand to put up with any imperfection in those around us? Are we so prideful and pious that we won’t be in the presence of those called pathetic in our society? Do we use our power or position to ‘put out of mind and sight’ those who don’t share our ideas and beliefs? Did we write off a friend because they told us the truth or we felt they were just too much trouble?

Who are we to stand as king of the hill to look down pridefully at anyone? Don’t we, each and every one of us, have our own problems and missteps to overcome? Do we have any charity/love for our fellow man? Will we give it and show it?

Jesus calls us to judge correctly. Can we? Will we? And if we do, I know our God be pleased. Just as Jesus spoke not on his behalf but on the Father’s, can we as Christians and children of God not do the same?

We can, if we will choose to follow God and if we will learn His will. We will know that Jesus’ message was true and His ways are right. What an awesome world this could be if we but will judge correctly.

Think on these things…

Robin Robbins House©️
3/2/2021

The Bible passage reference is from John 7.

What’s A Citizen, Christian To Do?

Did you know that when you call your senator, at least mine in LA, no one answers the phone for two days now and the mailbox for the line in D C is full, so no messages can be left and no comments can be made?

Did you know that the White House comment line will not take comments because the comments office is closed due to covid. It has been closed at least since the 46th president began his term?

Did you know that the White House comment line staff are all volunteers?

Did you know that the White House switchboard will not transfer you to any White House staff member unless you have an appointment or been approved to talk to them? AND please tell me how does one get an appointment with someone at the White House without contacting them in advance – which can not, evidently, be done by phone call or letter?

Did you know that you can write a letter to the White House, but it will take 6-8 weeks to process and get a reply back? I was informed that this is the standard time frame.

Do you know who is answering emails for our elected representatives in the legislative and executive branches?

Did you know that most Senators and Representatives will not give you their position or tell you how they plan to vote on a particular bill often up until the time of the vote and sometimes not then?

Did you know that you can’t call the Secretary of “whatever’s” offices and speak to them about concerns on school policy, healthcare, national security, the environment, or anything else you may want to discuss or give your opinion on in our government?

Did you know that the White House switchboard says that a citizen’s only way to contact the White House is through their elected State Representative or Senator? Did I tell you that my Senator isn’t answering the phone? Can you see the cycle of craziness many are dealing with in trying to have their voices heard?

DID YOU KNOW THAT ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ CAN NO LONGER TALK, INFORM, OR COMMUNICATE WITH OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN AN EFFICIENT, TIMELY, AND CLEAR WAY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

WE ARE CONSTANTLY BLOCKED FROM COMMUNICATING WITH OUR “ELECTED” OFFICIALS. IN ADDITION, THE CAPITAL CONTINUES TO BE SURROUNDED BY TALL SECURITY FENCES WITH RAZOR WIRE ON TOP TO KEEP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE AND ACCESSING MUCH OF WASHINGTON, D. C. UNLESS THEY HAVE SPECIAL PERMISSIONS AND PAPERS, AS THEY SWING WIDE OPEN THE BORDERS TO ANY WHO ILLEGALLY WANT TO ENTER OUR COUNTRY, CITIES, AND COMMUNITIES BRINGING CRIME AND CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES THAT ARE KILLING OUR KIDS.

IS THIS REALLY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ANYMORE? IS THIS WHAT ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ WANT?

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN TO DO WHEN THE GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ‘OF BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE’ LOCKS DOWN THE LEGISLATURE AND SEATS OF GOVERNMENT AND POWER? WHAT ARE THE LOYAL AND LAW ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZENS TO DO WHEN THEIR REPRESENTATIVES REFUSE TO HEAR THE VOICES OF THE PEOPLE THEY WORK FOR? WHAT SHALL WE DO WHEN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS REFUSE TO LISTEN OR TAKE DIRECTIONS ABOUT THE LAWS AND EXPENDITURES ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ SHOULD DETERMINE, — ESPECIALLY WHEN THE “FREE PRESS” MEDIA WILL NOT REPORT ABOUT WHAT‘WE THE PEOPLE’ SAY AND DO AS WE EXPRESS OUR WILL FOR OUR NATION AND ITS POLICIES? ARE ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ GOOD WITH A 30 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT AND OBLIGATING OUR CITIZENS TO DEBTS BEYOND OUR YEARLY SALARIES.

DO ANY ‘ELECTED OFFICIALS’ HAVE A COMMENT? ANYONE HAVE AN ANSWER?

HELLO???????

I’M LISTENING…

‘WE THE PEOPLE’ ARE OUT HERE IN THE HEARTLAND DESPERATE TO BE HEARD. WE ARE HERE WITH A LOYALTY TO OUR HOMELAND WHILE SEEKING WHAT IS RIGHT AND BEST TO SUPPORT OUR HOUSEHOLDS IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS GUARANTEED IN OUR CONSTITUTION WHILE HOLDING TIGHTLY TO THE FREEDOMS GUARANTEED IN OUR BILL OF RIGHTS.

THE SYSTEM MUST BE REALLY BROKEN, BEAUSE IT IS NOT WORKING FOR THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS OF OUR NATION TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING FOR OUR FAMILIES. IT IS NOT BROKEN BECAUSE THE PLAN OF A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC ESTABLISHED BY OUR FOUNDERS WAS FLAWED. IT IS BROKEN BECAUSE OF THE INCREASING NUMBER OF SELFISH AND POWER HUNGRY PEOPLE PLACED AT THE PINNACLE POLITICAL POWER COUPLED WITH AN INCREASING NUMBER OF CITIZEN AND NON CITIZEN CONSUMERS WHO WANT TO AND WILL TAKE WITHOUT GIVING AND ARE HAPPY TO RECEIVE SOMETHING FOR NOTHING.

Alexis de Tocqueville around 1840 said, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

Are we there yet?

So the call I make now is to those who claim and profess Jesus Christ as Lord and have committed their allegiance to the One, True and Almighty God. Will you answer the call?

Each and every Christian is an ambassador of the Most High God. (II Corinthians 5:20-21) Are we on the job? Are we about our Father’s business? Are we ‘representing’ and do we represent our King faithfully and loyally? Do we speak what He wants us to say?

Whether free or imprisoned, are we, as the Apostle Paul, carrying out our mission. (Ephesians 6:20)

Be brave my fellow followers of Christ. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel. Paul says in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

There is nothing to fear in this world when we are in Christ. Stand up, you men and women of God. Stand UP! Romans 8:31-39 is a powerful confirmation of what Christians know. It reads, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things, If God is for us, who can be against us; He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies; Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A famous talk show host in one of his last interviews confirmed what we read in Romans 8:28. It says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Christians, listen. We are called according to His purpose (not ours). We are ambassadors in His service (not our own). If we love God, HE causes ALL THINGS to WORK TOGETHER for GOOD for US! How wonderfully amazing is that? Rise up my brothers and sisters. Get to work and be diligent to do your Father’s will as His ambassadors in this world. It matters for you, and it matters to each and every soul you meet from day to day in your walk through this life.

The great commission from Jesus Christ is clear. Matthew 28:18 and following says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Think on these things…

Posts, links, and lessons learned

Some of you may not know why you don’t regularly see posts from some of your friends. They just never come up in the feed. Some of us see things posted and wonder – Why is this in my news feed? or I wish I never saw that post. FB has intricate mathematical programs that use data from many sources to share, market, and place ads in your news feed.

For those of us with blogs and trying to share a message, FB gives a higher priority to our posts when people actually comment – even if it is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a ‘How about that.’ comment. It also gives some weight to clicks for ‘likes, cares, hearts, sad, and angry’ emoji symbols, though not as much as for actual comments. Sharing a post is another way to spread the word, and posts shared over and over can “go viral” spreading all over the internet. Some posts do not have a share button, often because the person posting only wants to send the message to their group of friends and family. Some posts can be copied and pasted into your post to share. One important thing to remember is that you must not ‘do a Biden’ and plagiarize their work posting it as your own. You must give proper attribution to the person who wrote or made the post. It is stealing otherwise. Another thing to consider is that some people may only share their posts with specific friends and family and do not want their posts made public because the public at large may not be interested or may not understand the perspective of the post. Some readers ‘turn in’ posts they don’t like or disagree with causing additional issues for the author. This is something to consider. Just ask the author/writer before copying and sharing their post into the public domain to make sure that they don’t mind.

BIG, BIG TIP OF THE DAY – Assume everything you write, say, and do may be repeated, published on the front page of the paper, placed at the top of a fb or twitter feed, and shared with the world. If you don’t want it to be potentially read, repeated, or put on display for anyone in the world to see, don’t write it, say it, or do it. This bit of advice came from my momma before the founders of facebook and other social media platforms were born. This advice has served me well over the years.

All that being said, most bloggers want their posts shared. Blog posts are easy to share by copying the article link in the address bar and pasting it. Blog post authors usually have their name associated with the post and are fine with sharing as long as proper credit is given to them. If you aren’t sure, ask.

Some posts are suppressed by fb and other social media platforms based on their unspecified and somewhat arbitrary determination of what is ‘fit’ or ‘true’ in their estimation. This restriction of free speech is biased and controlled by unknown fact checkers among a few powerful companies led by a handful of tech oligarchs. We have seen the removal of a whole social platform and posts of Bible verses while requests specifically for twitter to remove images of a 12 year old minor child in a sexually explicit situation who was being blackmailed did not violate twitters terms of service and had over 160,000 views as examples. There seems to be no standard of right, equity, or fairness in the censorship seen today. However, we can still advocate for and demand what is true, right, equitable, and fair.

I have been blogging on my own website at robinwrites.net for some time now to share my thoughts and ideas on Hope, Hearth and Home, Health, Humor, and things I find interesting in the Headlines and about our History. I plan to write regularly going forward with the goal of having a positive impact through interesting content that will be useful and encouraging for my readers along their journey through this life to be the best person they can be and prepared for the next life. Some of you have already been reading my work and have been so kind and encouraging. Thank you.

As I go forward, I would like to ask for your prayers and good wishes that I will say, write, and do what is pleasing to my Master (God) and be successful in being helpful to others as we walk through this life together.

Second, please comment, like, share and/or communicate in some way your thoughts on the topics I write about in the articles, even if you disagree. I believe people can disagree without being disagreeable. I want to be encouraging and helpful, and your thoughts and comments can help me in this mission. All I ask is that comments be constructive, kind, and clean in language.

If you prefer not to comment on the facebook platform, my website (robinwrites.net) offers a comment section for you to send me your comments on each article posted. With your comments, we can have a ‘conversation’ of sorts together and among my readers to grow in our wisdom and knowledge together. Sometimes, my articles come from thoughts about conversations with you, my friends. I love to learn from your stories, ideas, and experiences. I don’t use anyone’s actual name unless I have their approval as well as permission to use their story. I think most of us have something very wonderful to share that can be of great service to one another – if we will communicate and share our ideas and thoughts.

If you prefer to comment privately, just let me know within your comment notes, and your comments will not be posted publicly on the blog comments section. I take your wishes and privacy seriously. Your email address is never shared by me with anyone.

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to read and share what I write on my blog. If something is helpful for you, it will likely be helpful to others, so copy the blog link and share away. I hope God will guide and bless you greatly. Always remember that God loves us now and forever more than we can ever comprehend.

Robin House ©️ 02/01/2021

Cheap Grace in the Church

A friend recently shared a post on facebook about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I must admit that I don’t know much about him or his work. He was a German pastor and theologian during World War II. He also worked as a spy and was a martyr. When asked how the people of Germany allowed Hitler to do what he did to persecute and kill so many as he seized absolute power in Germany, Dietrich’s reply was the teaching of cheap grace in churches in their country. He said, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

What about us today in our churches? Do we teach ‘cheap grace’ in our congregations? What does it really mean to be a follower of the Father and the Son? Is there no cost communicated to those who would make a commitment to Christ? Is the easy evangelism of everything is okay and everyone doing anything they like is okay – with us? with God?

What does the Word say? Some of us don’t like it. We shy away from proclaiming the whole truth of the Word and Gospel. It is a bit embarrassing to say to those considering Christianity that God demands it all — our all. There is a saying that God can fix broken hearts, but we must give Him all the pieces. Many of us want to keep some of the pieces and things in our lives that we think we need or want. We don’t want to relinquish it all. It could be that we don’t think God can handle all our sin – all our problems – all our history. It could be that we don’t want to give up what we like and want that is contrary to God’s will. The pleasures of sin are real and can be really attractive and tempting. Some want to ride the fence on the border between God’s will and our way.

In Revelation 3:14-22 we read a message to one of the seven churches in Asia. It says, “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (Some versions say vomit.) you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Is the church in America lukewarm? Do we relish in our riches, and blessings, and lifestyles? Are we so self-sufficient that we don’t really need a Savior? Do we realize that we are wretched, to be pitied, poor, blind, and naked? Are we arrogant and prideful like the story of the king in The Emperor’s New Clothes walking proudly about ignorant that we are naked and in spiritual poverty as a ‘Christian nation’ today? What are we teaching in our churches? What are we espousing in in our communities? What do we want our our children to know about Christ and a life in His service? Is it ‘cheap grace’ or is it the full Gospel of a God who gave His all to save a wretch like me? Grace is not cheap. It cost the Christ His life. As his disciples, it will cost the Christian as well.

Christian brothers and sisters let us not sit on the sidelines of life. Let us be salt as Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

I hope you are salt for someone today. I hope your light shines the light of truth in a world of falsehoods for someone today. I hope we will be the people and do the things we need to do so that others will give glory to the Father in heaven. I hope you, like me, will think on these things…

©️ Robin House 01/30/2021

Who can you trust?

I heard that I should never trust an atom, because they make everything up.

In today’s society, it is important to know who and what to trust for truth. I used to warn people to check the sources and references for the information they might read on the internet. There were no censors of information on the internet. The world wide web was a pool of information and misinformation. This was a difference from the times when publishers would assess, fact check, and even not publish a non fiction work unless the information was verified and met the publisher’s standards for truth.

As I search the internet (with its vast stores of knowledge) now, I am seeing more and more restriction of information and a sameness of information on the internet. I see more and more search sites restating and reinforcing the exact same information. Finding facts and actual video and reports of things that happen in a timely fashion is restricted. Removing information from the body of knowledge is reminiscent of the book burnings of old. When information is restricted to what a specific group allows to be seen and discussed, it is easy to manipulate a group or people since the complete body of information and facts are missing. Definitions of words and facts are being changed and updated to fit a political narrative or cultural change and given a new ‘context.’ Whose context? Well, that’s a secret. The common man is not allowed to know the reasons, nor should they ask about the reasons why the powers on high do and say what they do.

Free speech is clearly under attack. Opinions that are not along the reigning groups line of thinking or agenda are being excluded and censored. Active efforts are in process to insure that some people can not obtain a job, publish a book, or even eat peacefully with their family in a restaurant. These censored ones are put into the category of unworthy of existence through a cancel culture that says, they don’t matter and aren’t allowed to have specific thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and opinions.

In the beginning of our nation, the citizens of America would not ratify the Constitution of the United States. Why? It was because many had recently left a tyrannical government that restricted speech, worship, and self determination among other things. They didn’t want more of the same. They left a land they loved and dear family they would often never have the chance to see again for something better. What did it take to ratify the Constitution? It took the Bill of Rights which guaranteed individual rights and the limitation of the powers of both the federal and state governments on its citizens.

John Adams said, “Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Be careful my friends what we allow governments, big tech companies, NGOs, social media platforms, and even family, friends, and others we come in contact with to do to and to restrict our liberties. Our liberties are dear and must be held dear, or they will be destroyed.

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Think on these things…

©️ Robin House 1/25/2021

You, be You!

Someone once said that teen agers are the only group that expresses their individuality by dressing and acting just like all the other teens. In our political system today, one party votes in lock step for something while the other party votes in lock step in opposition. Many of us too have sought to ‘look’ and ‘act’ like others because we are not confident in who we are and what we think ourselves. We want to ‘fit in’ and ‘get along,’ so we will often ‘go along’ with whatever the crowd says.

In a historic study on influence, it was found that people will actually deny what they see and know to be true because of peer pressure and other group dynamics. You can watch the video of the historic study at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyDDyT1lDhA&feature=emb_title

In today’s culture, where so many have been told and taught that there is no absolute truth or right or wrong, we see a type of group think that has no basis in reality or ability to discern the facts or obtain the truth. People are moved along to a way of thinking and acting by a trend established by a single popular figure, who may or may not have any real knowledge of the subject on which they speak, teach, and lead others to follow.

Critical thinking and the ability to see reality and analyze facts is missing for many in our society today. Often children in classrooms are subject to group think methods instead of critical thinking and reasoning skills. So many today ‘go along to get along,’ and have absolutely no concept of why they do what they do from day to day. Those who preach anarchy have many who follow them ‘just for the H*** of it.’ Their moral compass is missing, and their values have vanished, if they were ever developed or existed in the first place. There are large groups that value no one and nothing at all, including themselves. They have no concept that they are a divine eternal soul wrapped in a physical body and made in the very image of God Almighty. Romans 8:7 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

Romans 12:2 teaches Christians, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Christians are called to think, to reason, and to renew our minds to understand God’s good, right and perfect will for our lives. We are called to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2), and we must. When we set our minds on things above, I believe the things on the earth will work out too. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Does this mean we won’t have troubles or struggles? No, but it does mean that when our thoughts are right and our priorities are straight, God will take care of us to provide for us and protect us.

So how are we to “be” in this world of divisiveness we see today? How do we handle the group think and cancel culture? What do we say to those who tell us our thoughts and ideas are not allowed or unacceptable? What do we say when we are told to be silent?

Perhaps we need to do a little homework and figure out what we truly believe and what we will stand for and what we won’t stand for.

Is our faith our own, or something our parents or the church told us to believe?

Is our faith something we could and would defend?

Do we have the words ready to give an answer for the hope within us? (I Peter 3:15)

How far would be go to live for the Christ who died for us?

Perhaps we need to do a gut check as Christians to see if we really have the guts to stand for what is true and right in spite of what “everyone else” thinks or says.

Paul said in II Corinthians 10:1-5, “By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

Can we do this?

Are we prepared to take every thought captive as a soldier of Christ?

Are we the masters of our minds or simply going along with the mores of the day?

II Timothy 2:22-3 is a great read on this subject. It says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a] you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (ESV)

Each of us will stand or fall before our Master. I hope we will all stand faithfully. Each of us is a unique individual (just like everyone else), so I encourage you to be the best you that you can be, and don’t worry about following the crowds. Each Christian is an essential part of the body of Christ with specific skills and talents. Use them! Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” We don’t need to imitate others or ‘go along to get along.’ We need to each go along and spread the gospel. (Matthew 28:19) Some will plant, and some will water. Some will weed, and some will fertilize. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) Whatever you do and whatever your skill or talent, you – be you, as you seek and serve the Lord. And lastly, don’t worry about anything – God will give the increase.

©️ Robin House 01/22/2021

Additional references to the Asch study https://www.simplypsychology.org/asch-conformity.html

The Marriage Reminder

Spotted and stained
And aged over time
Is The Art of Marriage,
Wilfred Peterson’s rhyme.

Before we married,
It seems long ago,
This poem was a wedding gift
To help a young couple grow.

Always on our refrigerator door
For over 38 years has been,
This simple reminder of love
And the need for self discipline.

Sometimes we need
Simple things to remind us.
Of how the Lord has both
Blessed and called us.

The poem’s admonitions are clear,
Plain spoken and true.
They have helped me in my marriage,
And they can help in yours, too.

Marriage is not about
the things we have or can get;
It is the simple daily commitment
To love and serve, we must never forget.

Creating a good marriage
Is never simple nor easy,
But when you succeed,
It is a thing of rare beauty.

So cherish your spouse each and every day,
And tell them often that you love them so –
And you will reap more blessings
Than you can ever imagine or know.

©️ Robin Robbins House 01/21/2021

A Dozen Reasons To Take A Walk

One of the best fitness activities we can do for our health and wellbeing is walking. It it generally safe for everyone and provides a myriad of benefits. Here are my top twelve benefits of walking.

1. Walking promotes cardiovascular health and can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

2. Walking burns calories just like running does, and though it takes longer to go the same distance, walking is less impactful on your joints. A 30 minute walk burns about 200 calories.

3. Walking increases oxygenation of the blood and helps your body clear and reduce toxins in the body.

4. Walking releases the body’s own natural feel good chemicals to improve mood.

5. Walking improves mental productivity, so a walk in the middle of work can be inspiring and help with problem solving. It is also associated with a reduction in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Walking can decrease blood sugar and is associated with reducing cravings for sweets.

7. Walking promotes strong bones and muscles and can help with stiffness and joint pain.

8. Walking can improve your immune system. A study of 1000 adults walking 30-45 minutes a day during flu season saw a reduction in respiratory tract infections and over a 40 percent reduction in sick days from work.

9. Walking can reduce stress, decrease anxiety, promote creativity and problem solving skills, and improve self-esteem.

10. Walking promotes better sleep and can decrease insomnia.

11. Walking can keep you more independent and functional for more years of your life.

12. Walking at a fast pace (4 miles per hour) is associated with a longer life span.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Listening to and for God

Recently, my husband I went for dessert at a restaurant in Augusta, Georgia. The building was old and in the same family for generations. A small place, it was know for its regional foods and colossal deserts. We had eaten dinner at another place, but my husband wanted coffee and dessert. When we arrived, the staff was busy, and we had to wait a few minutes for a table. The bartender seemed to be the host as well. He took us around the corner to a booth made for six. The desserts looked great. My husband ordered coffee and key lime pie while I had carrot cake. The cake was delicious. He ate all of his pie, but because I was still full from supper, 90% of my cake was boxed for a treat to eat the next day.

The next day around 1 PM, I left the hotel and walked along the Savanah River. The view of the river and homes along the bank were beautiful. Few were about as I explored the area on the bright, but cold, January afternoon. At one point there was a wooden swing that I took the time to swing in while overlooking the river. It was very pleasant, but my stomach, which had not enjoyed a breakfast was clamoring for lunch. I’d heard that there were a lot of restaurants along Broad Street a few blocks away, so I headed there on foot. Like many downtowns in America today and in the aftermath of almost a year of Covid lockdowns, the street was lined with a mixture of open and closed businesses. I didn’t see anything that looked inviting. Circling back toward my hotel I remembered a Quiznos sandwich shop sign in the hotel near mine. Approaching to find the doors locked, I realized that even this chain store didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Across the street was the restaurant my husband and I had eaten dessert at last night. Hunger called again, so I crossed the street to climb the three steps up to the restaurant and wait to be seated. A woman greeted and seated me (a party of one) at the exact same table where we ate the night before. It seemed a bit odd to be seated at the same table, and I wondered if we’d have the same gentleman server, too. Separate menus with one for food and another for the desserts were placed on the table as the hostess told me my server would assist me soon. The server was a young woman this time. She had dramatic eye make up and eyeliner that curved way out with a swooped flair that I could never dream of applying to myself without looking like a child had used an oversize crayon on my eyes. As the server greeted me, I explained that my husband and I had been there the night before and enjoyed their dessert menu resulting in a huge piece of cake left over in my hotel room for me to work on after my lunch today. After she brought a coke and some water, my server took my order for corn chowder and a club sandwich on their fresh baked honey wheat bread. The food was good, and I enjoyed sitting there resting from my long walk beside the river and along downtown’s Broad Street. During the meal, the server came by several times to check on me and asked me at least twice if I wanted dessert. I explained over again that my dessert I couldn’t finish the night before was waiting on me at the hotel. As I finished up, I asked my server for some napkins, a box for the second half of my sandwich, and a coke to-go. I thought for a while she went on break or something, because she was gone for a long time. When she finally returned, she brought the box but no napkins or the to-go coke. She apologized and got the napkins and left for the coke. When she came back, she brought the ticket but no coke. The next time she came by I asked for the coke to-go, and she said that she was sorry and somewhat frazzled today. As she left to get the coke, I fished for the cash to pay the bill. It was after she left that I had a distinct feeling and thought that I should pray for my server. She came back after about five more minutes with the coke and took my cash for the bill, but I said nothing. She walked by another time, and I didn’t stop her or say anything about the prompting to pray for her in my mind. That would be weird I thought. When she brought my change saying that she had rounded up my return cash, and that she was sorry that she was so scattered today. I thanked her, and once again, I said nothing about the prompting I felt.

As I counted out my change and figured her tip, I felt clearly a prompting in my spirit once again to pray for this young woman. She’s gone now Lord, I said in my mind. I had paid cash, and I was ‘done’ as far as dealing with the server or waiting on anything else. My server wouldn’t likely come back by, but I hesitated to leave and waited. This time, as she walked by, I asked if I could talk to her. As she turned and leaned down, I began nervously and feeling very awkward to explain. I told her that I felt called to offer to pray for her. After her exaggerated look of surprise, I asked if I could pray for her, but she became animated and had something to say first. I could have never imagined what she would say next. She said, “This is so strange. You are the second person today to ask to pray for me.” She said that she just didn’t understand it. I saw tears in her eyes as she continued and the conversation became so surreal that I don’t remember exactly everything we said, but I can convey the message of what we discussed.

My server started telling me about herself. She said that she’s not a believer, at least not anymore. She said she used to believe but had gone away from that to do her own life. Almost apologetic, she said that though she didn’t hold to a belief in God anymore that she did respect other people’s religions and beliefs. As the manager walked by, I hoped that my conversation with her would not get her in trouble and that no one was waiting to sit at my table. She went on to say again that it was so odd that another person that very day had asked to pray for her. I told her that I felt a bit weird asking to pray for her. I also told her that I felt compelled so that I had to ask to pray for her. The experience is so hard to describe as two souls met in that moment on another plane. After what she told me, I asked again if she would like me to pray for her, and she said yes.

Next I asked her name so that I could pray for her by name. I won’t tell it to anyone reading, but she gave it. I then asked my next question. I asked if she would like me to pray for her privately on my own or right there in the restaurant with her and out loud for her to hear. I was prepared to honor either way. She said out loud and to pray now was fine. So I bowed my head and began.

As I prayed, I asked God’s blessing and guidance for her. I asked God to show her how much he loves her. I can’t remember exactly what all I said, but my prayer was from the heart and though it seemed longer was over in just a few heartbeats. I think she thanked me for praying, but I really can’t remember. It didn’t really matter. It mattered that I did it. As I left, I remember telling her that I hoped she had a good rest of her day. That’s it. I walked to the door, down the steps and out onto the street to go back to my hotel with a few tears in my eyes.

Why did I feel called to pray for the server in that restaurant on that day? What did God want of me? Was it to just pray? Was it so that a lost or hurting soul would know someone cared or that two people on that same day cared and spoke of God to her? Did I do all I was supposed to do in that moment? Was it enough? Did I please my Master? Was I a fool for Christ? Were those few moments and prayer a message for a drifting soul of God’s care, love, and grace? Will she come back to and seek the Lord? Was the lesson for me to see if I’m listening to the Lord and willing to follow His lead? To all these questions, I don’t really know. All I know is that I (very reluctantly) listened to the quiet voice of the spirit within me and let myself be led and used (after a couple promptings) to serve and praise God through a prayer for a server who was a stranger to me while I was very briefly in a strange city where I knew no one.

Who can fathom the mind of God or know his ways? Romans 11:33-34 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

Perhaps the point of what happened is for me to write about it and share it with you, my readers. Perhaps it is to encourage you to listen to the still, small voice of God to do good in your life and to your neighbor. We’ll probably never know, but I hope you, like me, will ‘think on these things’….

RRH 01/16/2021

Bible verses to think on…

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:4-5 (ESV)

“For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds,” Job 333:14-15 (ESV)

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 (ESV)

“But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21 (ESV)

“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 13:4 (ESV)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (ESV)

“But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 (ESV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

“As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15 (ESV)

Let’s have some P’s please!

1. Pause and pray for our nation, its citizens, and our duly elected leaders.
2. Place your confidence in Christ.
3. Pledge your loyalty to God and no other.
4. Plan to do what is right, even if no one else does.
5. Prepare promptly in place to provide and protect your family and friends.
6. Promote peace in all conversations and activities as you pursue and point out what is true and right.
7. Pick your friends carefully.
8. Pray for your enemies.
9. Prevent dissension at home and work during tumultuous times. Don’t go into crowds or around anyone demonstrating about anything as many have no self-control or sense of right and wrong in their behavior within crowds.
10. Persuade those who don’t know God to seek Him through your godly behavior and love. John 13:35
11. Produce the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
12. Pursue what is true, honorable, ethical, and right.
13. Prohibit yourself from negative thinking, self-talk, and talk. Think and speak positively.
14. Persist in studying the Word of God and the hope within found in a relationship with Christ.
15. Present your bodies every day as living sacrifices in the service of the one true God and only King of kings and Lord of lords.
16. Praise God at all times.

RRH 01-18-2021