Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mary Magdalene - not who you may think


Take the quiz to see how much you know about Mary Magdalene:

She was a prostitute - true or false

She was the adulteress who was thrown at Jesus' feet, who the Pharisees wanted to stone - true or false

She was the woman with the flask of perfume who wept at Jesus feet - true or false

She had an illicit affair with Jesus and secretly married him - true or false


The real answer to all of the above - FALSE!

Mary from the small town of Magdala, was a woman who had been cleansed of seven demons, and totally devoted to Jesus and His teachings.  She served, she listened, she learned and she was steadfast in her faithfulness even when the disciples themselves didn't believe her.  She was given a unique honor by Jesus Himself.  Listen to last Saturday's audio recording from our weekly Women's Breakfast to learn more about this amazing woman of faith.

https://soundcloud.com/ehigginbotham/mary-magdalene-womens


Monday, August 19, 2013

Sarah - Grace and strength in a barbaric world


The mother of the child of God's promise, Sarah is one of the few women that is spoken of again in the New Testament, and held up as an example for us all.  When some think of obedience as weakness, Sarah proves that obedience to God is strength, protection and influence that can even reach the heart of kings.

Listen to our study from last Saturday's Women's Breakfast in Houston and enjoy!!

https://soundcloud.com/ehigginbotham/sarah-womens-breakfast

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mary and Martha - who do we choose to be?



These two women loved Jesus, and He loved their whole family.  They believed He was the Son of God, but both women had different responses to the same situations.  One was a good woman who chose to take care of what she considered urgent needs.  The other was also a good woman, but saw the bigger picture.  Jesus said that she cared about "what was necessary." So which one do we choose to be, the one focused on the urgent, or the necessary?

Recorded August 3rd at SiLC Women's Breakfast in Houston.

https://soundcloud.com/ehigginbotham/mary-and-martha-8-3-13

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Critical Thinkers or Ditherers?



There are the believers in Christ who grab a hold of their faith and just go.  They face bumpy roads and tough challenges, but they brush themselves off and they go.  They can be new converts who quickly pass up those who have known God longer but struggle with the same cycle of problems over and over again.

The big difference is that those who mature and learn more, are those who connect the dots.  They don't forget what they have learned, read and seen along the way.  They come to conclusions based on what they believe in.

Those who show up for church and love every word, pray the prayers and feel comforted for the moment, have a choice when they walk out the doors.  They can reread what they learned, meditate on it throughout their days and the week to come, figure out ways to practice it, keep their eyes and ears open for God to keep speaking, and if a problem occurs that they don't know how to deal with, they do all they can to remind themselves of what they had learned, so they can react in the right way.  If it still doesn't work, they reach out for help - show up at church, talk to their pastor, get an extra prayer, whatever they have to do.  As answers to their prayers begin to pile up - and they always do for these people - those answers become a reference to constantly remind them that God is true and faithful.

Others walk out the door, and when the warm and cozy feeling of being close to God wears off, it doesn't occur to them to keep seeking God, rereading what He taught them or fighting off negativity.  They actually don't want to pray, because they're "not in the mood" to pray, to rebuke evil, or to just do what they know is right.  Somehow they think that just waiting around might cause that warm and cozy feeling to come back again.  If it doesn't, it's because God is so far away and doesn't want to give it to them. Their minds and emotions create imaginary conclusions that are based on nothing at all.  And there they stay, in a mental haze, until somehow they get back "in the mood" to turn to God again.

Mood based faith is no faith at all.  By observation, I'm convinced that the majority of Christians today live under the sway of a mood-based faith.

One of the most critical Christian thinkers I have learned from is CS Lewis, who challenges my faith with his writings every time I pick them up.  I know he writes in a more antiquated scholarly English, but that just makes what he says so much more thought provoking.  You have to really think about what he says rather than feel it.  Amazingly it's after thinking about the truths of God that a joy grows inside of me. I know they are true, because they have been thought out and reasoned out.  The pieces of the puzzle fit. Then that joy is prolonged because I can go out and make choices in my life based on the truths I've learned, and see how it all works perfectly, just like God promised.  The critical thinking that goes into analyzing our faith, makes our life of faith into a joyful celebration.

Interestingly enough, some of the most rational and intelligent Christians I've known are some of the least educated.  The conclusions that they came to, once they heard the word of God, compel them to act in such a radical faith that miracles happen immediately.  Meanwhile, some of the most educated people who are presented with the same teachings and testimonies, allow their feelings to be so clouded with a vague sense of trying to keep their world intact, they choose not to make any conclusions at all. They become brain-dead and would rather focus on the miniscule flaws in the church service and miss the truths staring them in the face that they desperately need.

God could use more critical thinkers in His church - more people who are ready to connect the dots, make conclusions and go.  They find answers, they discover God's will, they become strong and useful and flexible and bendable and freely give and sacrifice.  They let God purify them, while the rest are still dithering in their doubts.

I think that's what He meant when He said in Romans 12, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."