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softening hard hearts.. [31 Mar 2006|02:15pm]

TODAY'S READING: Leviticus 26:40-45
Disobedience has consequences. As God spoke to the people of Isreal through Moses, these were his final words. After outlining his commands to the people, God wanted them to be sure of two things.
Disobedience has consequences.
Obedience offers rewards.
Today we live under a different but similar agreement with God. You may wonder...different but similar? Exactly. Under the old agreement, God expected us to be holy and faithful to Him. He provided laws, regulations, and instructions.
The biggest difference under the new agreement is Jesus. Jesus came to bring a final, eternal sacrifice. Jesus came to show us God in the flesh. Jesus came to live out what the old agreement was supposed to look like. Jesus came to show that God wants to remove limits, not set minimum expectations. Jesus was the answer to a relationship with God that had become more about rules than transformation.
Whether it's the old agreement or the new one, the bottom line is the same. Following God is much more about your heart than your outward appearance. Didn't God tell Samuel, "The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions." (1 Samuel 16:7)
So what is the purpose of consequences? Why can't a loving God just rescue us from bad choices so we don't have to suffer? Because without consequences, true change will seldom happen. God's grace cannot be fully realized without recognizing we have done wrong.
We all have two basic responses to sin and its consequences. We can harden our hearts towards God and head further and further into destruction. Or we can allow our difficulties to soften our heart and allow the grace of God to heal.
Want to see an example of the two choices lived out? Let's look at Judas and Peter.
Judas sold Jesus out. He took money to betray his friend Jesus. And after his betrayal he stayed in his sin and allowed it to drive him to the point of suicide. His guilt killed his spirit. As far as we know, he never tried to seek forgiveness.
Peter on the other hand had a broken heart. When he denied Jesus and looked into the eyes of his friend, Peter went away and wept. And on that beach one morning he shared breakfast with Jesus and found the grace of God in full measure. It was only a few weeks later that the man who denied Jesus stood in the same city and proclaimed Christ to thousands.
Is your heart hard against God in some area of your life? Do you feel guilty about something? Do you feel like God has deserted you? If you feel any of these things remember the promise God made to the Israelites. "I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the LORD, am their God. I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of Egypt while all the nations watched. I, the LORD, am their God."
We serve a God who keeps His promises. Our God is faithful and will never leave us. The question is, are our hearts hardened to the point where we might leave Him?

stay strong.

Erik. S.
they won't give up

Sin.. its fun but is it worth it? [30 Mar 2006|02:17pm]

TODAY'S READING: Hebrews 3:5-19
There are some things about sin that are just plain fun. Let's be honest. If sin wasn't so fun at times would it really be so appealing? But that is the problem. It is fun "at times." More specifically, it is fun at the moment we are in it. Unfortunately, sin has a way of keeping us focused on the fun part and forgetting about the consequences that follow.
That is exactly what happened to the nation of Israel. After God rescued them from Egypt and they ended up at Mount Sinai, they forgot about their slavery. They were only focused on the homes and material things they had in Egypt. For some reason they forgot about the chains, the taskmasters, and the whips. They were deceived. In spite of all God had done for them, they complained. Even though God had freed them from the bondage of slavery, they wanted to go back. They saw the plagues, but wanted Egypt. They watched the Red Sea part, but they wanted Egypt. They receive the manna, but they wanted Egypt.
You and I may sit here and ask why they were so foolish. But will a future generation look at us and ask the same thing?
God freed us from the need for materialism, but we still seek fulfillment in how much we have. God freed us from the need for sexual impurity, but we still seek fulfillment telling tasteless jokes, watching movies and TV shows that glorify sexuality, and from inappropriate attention from the opposite sex. God freed us from legalism, but we still seek fulfillment by pointing out other people's faults while ignoring our own.
This list could probably go on, but I think Paul says it better than I do...
"Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. Don't participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true." (Ephesians 5:3-9)
Ultimately, we must guard our hearts against sin. If we allow sin to deceive us, our hearts will become hardened against God. We will begin to blame God for things and get angry with Him for denying things we want. As that happens our hearts start to fill with evil and we stop believing in God. Then we turn away from Him.
The good thing is that God is always there waiting for us, even when we are walking away from Him. In the midst of our struggle with sin, God remains faithful. God wants to share all He has with us, but He can't share it if we leave Him.
If you feel your heart has hardened against God, seek Him patiently and realize that it takes time for a heart to soften. If you believe your heart is beginning to harden, turn back towards God. Even if you feel your heart is not hard, continue to draw closer to God. All of us have a hardening somewhere in our heart; we are just not close enough to God to realize it yet. As we continue to grow in our faith, God will reveal to us things we need to change. No one is ever perfect, but we must always seek to know God a little better so He can continue to mold us into the people He wants us to be. But to be molded we must be softened. Let God soften your heart.
they won't give up

[08 Jan 2006|04:36pm]

[ mood | calm ]

Recently, i had a conversation with one of my friends about the Last Supper painting.  Most of you may be aware of the things that are found in this painting, but for those of you who don't, well lets just say its very debatable. 

The Last Supper paintingCollapse )
Leave your comments on how you reacted, and your thoughts.

they won't give up

Ripple effect [26 Dec 2005|10:29pm]

sunday in our teens class we talked about impacting other people. One of the things that kept coming up is "the ripple effect." The basic idea is that what we do is like throwing a rock in the middle of pond. The ripples go out from where the rock lands and they affect the things around them.
Paul wrote the church in Colosse, "And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17)
It is important that everything we do represents Jesus well, because it all has influence. Everytime we interact with someone, what we do will either draw them closer to Jesus or push them away from Jesus. Even the small things like the words we speak and the way we act will tell people a lot about our character.
People will "listen" a lot more to our actions than they will listen to our words. Our lifestyle must be consistant with our message. The apostle John wrote, "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did." (1 John 2:6) We can't just talk the talk, we must walk the walk.
The bottom line is this. If we are going to make a difference for Jesus in this world, our ripples need to be Jesus-like. Jesus Himself said, "You are the light of the world--like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:14-16)
When we are willing to live like Jesus and shine for Him, then we will send out ripples that will draw people to Him.

i am going to leave you guys with one of my fav verses

Hebrews 11:1, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead."
1 promise| they won't give up

Long time [19 Dec 2005|09:25pm]

hey guys i am very sorry that I've been non active for a long time maybe a year. But i have been missing chatting with guys and posting my devos which I am starting write again. I hope you accept me back in the community Christian love Erik..

oh dont think i was not going to leave with out a devo lol here it is


Recognize this phrase?
This famous slogan for Outback Steakhouse could also apply to Christianity. Before you think I am saying that Christianity has no guidelines, hold on. Hear me through on this one. Take in the big picture.
So many today have turned Christianity into a list of rules that define "living right." Tell the truth. Don't steal. Speak kindly. Treat others with love. Don't cuss. The list could go on and on. So isn't that right? Well, I would say yes and no.
Will a follower of the Christ exhibit these traits? Yes. Will someone who exhibits these traits be a follower of the Christ? Not necessarily. I know plenty of people who try to look like Christ-followers. They say the right things. They do the right things. But many of them are miserable on the inside. Why?
Because they are living by the rules, not following the Ruler. They are obeying a religion of guidelines, not a relationship with the Savior. They are trying to earn acceptance by God though works, not finding the acceptance offered by His grace.
Lewis A. Drummond, in Reaching Generation Next, states, "No one can live out the ethics of Jesus without the transcendental experience of knowing Jesus personally in religious experience, because that is where the power to live out Christian morality is found. Moral precepts alone are not enough. They must be lived out in a person's life, and that can be done only through Jesus Christ."
I believe that this is precisely what is destroying our culture and our country. People are trying to live the ethics of Christ without the relationship. They are attempting to enforce His "rules" without introducing people to the One who frees us. Religion is becoming a burden as opposed to a release. We are returning to legalism instead of grace.
For some reason, when religious folks feel like they are "losing control," they want to enforce more rules and put pressure on people to conform. Jesus was never about that. He showed people His love, lived a life of righteousness, and invited others to join Him.
Jesus never converted a prostitute by calling her names. He showed her unconditional love. Jesus never converted a tax collector by rejecting him. He ate dinner with him and showed that he was a person too. Jesus reached people where they were. He was a doctor for the sick.
Let us strive to be servants of the Great Physician in our day. In Christ we have the only cure for this illness called sin. We will never cure people by telling them how horrible they are. But when we fulfill the law of Christ and love our neighbors as ourselves they will be drawn to the One who didn't come to create more rules, but came to bring a righteousness that can only be found in Jesus.

In Christ

Erik S.
they won't give up

Prayer Request [20 Oct 2005|02:57pm]

Within the last month, the neighboring town (Hughesville) to my hometown (Muncy) has lost 4 students in car accidents. Please keep the town and all the students in your thoughts and prayers. 4 kids in less than a month..





Please be careful when you are out on the road.
1 promise| they won't give up

[25 Sep 2005|07:38pm]

i have a question for you..

Say you grew up as a Lutheran, but then you reach college and go to a Lutheran church and the service is exactly the same as the one at your home church except in a different order. you decide that you'd like to check out different churchs, see what they have to offer and how their services are different. The past 2 weeks I've gone to a Baptist church. I really like it there. I know a lot of people, the service is new to me, there is a bunch of singing and a praise band/team. Now, I guess this is the primary question, would it be wrong to keep going to that church and not go the the Lutheran church? I mean you're still going to church either way, but one speaks to you better than the other.
2 promise| they won't give up

Mod... sorta [20 Aug 2005|05:07pm]

[ mood | anxious ]

Hello all. I know, shame on me for never actually participating in my own (well, kinda) community. I do however, do have an excuse. I have been a counselor at bible camp pretty much all summer! I got almost 2 weeks off this summer, oofta. Okay, so I'll stop making up lame-o excuses and write something of importance.

I hope everyone has had a neato summer. I know I have; working with kids all summer is uber fun... and also tiring! It's extremely hard to share your faith when you feel like you have nothing left. This last week of being a counselor has really taught me that even though it's your LAST week of camp, it's the camper's FIRST week, and they are totally excited to be there. So yeah... that's about all.

So... Is anyone alive to still participate? Becauce now that I am actually around, lets make this community active! I'm not quite sure what happend to Thomas, since I haven't been able to talk to him since May/June? Well, thanks much for reading!

Love ya's, whitney

1 promise| they won't give up

[18 Aug 2005|09:56am]

[ mood | good ]

Here we go...Collapse )

5 promise| they won't give up

MOD// christs_singles [14 Aug 2005|09:48pm]
Hi all. This is Thomas your moderator. Today is Sunday the 14th and this will be probably my last post. This community has taken a bad fall and I don't know if it's gonna get back on it's feet. As of Sunday the 21st I will be deleting this community barring some unexpected turn of events. Sorry to bring the bad news. Much love to you all.

Your loving moderator,
they won't give up

need some help [09 Jul 2005|07:27pm]

hey, i need some help.

me and another girl in my youth group are going to be doing a short Children's message on the 24th of July during the church service. i need some ideas. we were thinking about using puppets. mainly, i just need help with a topic or something. please help me! any and all ideas are welcome! there's usually about 8 kids, and the range is from K-5th grade. something like that. so any topics or ideas are welcome!

God bless!
1 promise| they won't give up

Prayer Request [04 Jul 2005|02:46pm]

I just received a phone call from one of my youth group leaders and a good friend. Missi Edwards called me and told me that Joel's Uncle Scott got into a horrible water skiiing accident on the Susq. River near Williamsport today. Joel is a boy in our youth group and a good friend. Not only was he Joel's uncle, he was also close to the Edwards. Please keep both families in your prayers.

God Bless,
they won't give up

[03 Jul 2005|11:43pm]

Hey everyone. I had a prayer request for my friend Brettand his family. His mom has been fighting cancer sice Nov. of 2003. She's been in remission for about a month, but yesterday she went in for a check-up, and it's back. Only this time it's in her bones. They started her on chemo today, because they don't think she's strong enough for a bone marrow transplant. He's trying to come to terms with the fact that he might lose her. When she first started having the chemo, he had dreadlocks, and he shaved his head because his mom was losing her hair. He's a sweetie, and I hate to see him like this.

Thanks so much you guys.

2 promise| they won't give up

prayer please.... [29 Jun 2005|10:46am]

ok so yea i dunno whats up with my bro. if u dont know what happen my brother had a sezure at workcamp. so they took him to the hospital and did some things to him, i did not hear about it intill tuesday after noon when my football coach told me about it, but i could not go and see him due to the fact that he was in parkersburg and i am in fairmont its like a 4 hour drive. his condition worsen and they emergency flight him to our hospital which is the leading brain hospital in the us.. which is good right.. well they ran some test and everything came back normal. werid huh.. the doctors have no clue what caused him to have a sezure. well they put in him to a reduced coma to help him shut off his body off. few days in it he was coming back like u could ask him to squeez your hand and he would do it.. well yesterday that stoped he would not do anything at all.. the reason was that there was still sleeping stuff in his blood. after a few hours he was back to normal. well today i got a phone call from my mommy and she said they found a blood clot in his brian. and that they think that could have have caused the sezure. so they rushed him into surgery to clear the blood clot.
so i hope this is the last thing he has to go threw.. god has been here every step with us and i know he wont stop. but he does stuff his way so we have to let him do it..

could you guys keep praying for my family esp my bro mike all the prayers that go out to god. helps alot thanks again and i will keep ya updated

your bro in christ

Erik .S
1 promise| they won't give up

what do u have? [26 Jun 2005|08:01pm]

today in class we discussed materialism. This is something all
Americans struggle with. Even those who feel "poor" are rich relative to
the rest of the world. Materialism is defined as "The theory or
attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the
greatest good and highest value in life," or "A great or excessive regard
for worldly concerns." I believe that even a lot of followers of Jesus
Christ buy into this way of thinking.

Jesus calls us to let go of our ties to "stuff." Paul's advice to
Timothy is true for us today as well...

Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we
didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly
cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food
and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into
temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that
plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the
root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered
from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and
follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith,
love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we
believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which
you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:6-12)

Paul's comments beg this question - what are you pursuing?

What we pursue will determine who we live for. If we pursue wealth and
riches we are only serving ourselves. If we pursue godliness and
eternal life we are serving God and others.

Stop and take a look at your life. I will be the first to admit I
struggle with materialism. We all do in some way. Is it the house you
live in? The car you drive? The clothes you wear? The video game system
you play? The jewelry you wear? And on...and on...and on.

Do you need to let something go so you can trust and pursue God? Paul
did not say that money is at the root of all kinds of evil. He said
that the LOVE of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. Where is
your heart?

Erik S

your bro in christ

P.S guys i am sooooooooo sorry for not having devos up lately.. i have been going threw so much with work and my bro. i have not had time write any. please forgive me..
they won't give up

4 poems i wrote. [26 Jun 2005|02:12pm]

poems i wroteCollapse )
they won't give up

MOD// CONTEST AND PRAYER REQUESTS!!! [26 Jun 2005|08:41am]
Sorry all I've been workin a lot. So I hope everything is going ok! Ummm... don't know much about what to say... I do have one serious update. Erik, our old devotional friend is going to PA to see his brother who is having unexplained seizures... we don't know why, but pray for him.

As for me I'm working full time at Toyota and I hurt every day and I've never felt so lonely in my life. So... if you all could pray for me as well that'd be great thanks. I know this place is dying but I'd kinda like to see people liven it up a bit, so I have a contest.

I'm not very poetic and I'm sure some of you are, but I'd like to hear from you all and see your poetic talent!!! So... post your poems!!! This month it will be poems about anything. So from this date, June 26 to July 24th (when I get back from Florida vacation... *if any of you live in Florida and wanna meet and hang out that'd be awesome!*) then we'll tally votes and then next month we'll do Christian poems just to give you a heads up ;). Also, bonus points if you can somehow relate to the topic of the community! If you don't know what the topic of the community is, go see the lyrics to "Untitled, anonymous" by Everyday Sunday that'll help =).

So pray for me and pray for Erik and his brother they really need it

Your loving moderator,
2 promise| they won't give up

save a life [17 Jun 2005|10:49pm]

go here:


you should see a little button in the middle of the page that says "Give Free Food!! click here"

it honestly doesn't cost you anything. do this once a day..or all day if you want. one click provides a little more than a cup of food to a starving person in a 3rd world county.

we need your help.
just one click could help save a life.
3 promise| they won't give up

[13 Jun 2005|11:16pm]

hey guys, i need your help.

can you pray for a friend of mine? I think she really needs to go to Creation this year. Please pray that she goes, because like me, she needs it too.

thanks and God bless!
1 promise| they won't give up

[12 Jun 2005|09:55pm]

Click To Join
they won't give up

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