EaglesNest – Kingdom People Learn the Thrill of the Ride

Reflecting the Father

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 24, 2014

One of the definitions of reflecting taken from an online dictionary is ‘To give evidence of the characteristics or qualities of someone or something.’ As Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we are to reflect Jesus. We are called to be the body of Christ to those who come in contact with us, to be Jesus to them.

How are we doing that? Do we present a judgmental, autocratic, angry God or do we love as He loved when He walked among us? At one of theIMG_3239 motorcycle rallies we’ve attend several years, we’ve heard it said that we’re everywhere. Yet there are 8000 of them and only about 35 members of Christian Motorcyclists Association members.

What does that mean? Like a match that’s lit in a dark closet, Christians who reflect Jesus Christ light up the world around them. They can’t help it. They reflect the glory of Christ Himself, if they are walking with the correct attitudes that reflect the Father.

Jesus said and it’s recorded in the book of Luke, Chapter 6, verses 35 and 36, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

We are to be Jesus to those we come in contact with. We are to love as Jesus loved, unconditionally. Others will notice. The world does not know this kind of love. And yet, they crave it, are drawn to it, and don’t fully understand why. It’s attractive, addictive, and life-giving instead of life-taking.

Do you reflect Jesus to your neighbors, to your co-workers? How about your family members? Do you love those who would put you down? What about that nephew who disdains your beliefs? Jesus was clear. Love is paramount. Then the world will sit up and take notice and Jesus will be glorified.

For further study: Matt.5:14-16; Mk. 4:21; Mk.4:24-25; 1 John 1:5-6  

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They Watch and Stumble

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 22, 2014

Have you ever heard it said, “The church is full of hypocrites. I want nothing to do with it,” when you invite someone to attend your church? How many people do you know who’ve walked away from a particular church because of something someone said or did? When was the last time you heard of a church split?

These are all things that happen to a body of believers when one brother or sister has something against another, and they do not resolve the issue. Non-believers see us as hypocrites. They watch the infighting and want nothing to do with us.

Jesus was very clear when He spoke about our attitudes. Love was a major theme when He said we must love our neighbors as ourselves, and even IMG_3164love our enemies. He knew the world would be watching and judging, not only the church, but Jesus himself.

The Apostle John, not John the Baptist, was described as the one whom Jesus loved. In his book 1 John, chapter 2, He writes in verse 9, “If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.” In other words, that person does not walk with the Lord.

John further reiterates in verse 10, “Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.” A Christian, or a person claiming to be a Christian, causes others to walk away from the church when he hates a fellow believer. They are responsible for that person who says, “Why would I go there?”

We need to pray for fellow believers who have been duped into believing that their attitudes don’t matter.  John is clear when he states in verse 11, “But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.”

Take a look at your attitude regarding the people you worship with, or the people who attend the church down the street. Do you hold anything against them? Do you openly speak against them where others can hear you? How many times have you treated another believer with disrespect? The world is watching. Don’t be the one to cause them to stumble. Jesus is watching.

For further study: 1 Kings 21:20; Est. 5:9; Eccl.3:8; Jonah 1:3

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Love at Christmastime

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 20, 2014

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus set the bar pretty high. He knew that in our naturalness, our human-ness, the first thing we’d do when confronted by someone we consider an enemy, is to hurt them back, to remove them from our presence. We separate ourselves from an enemy, place great distance between us, and fume about their crimes against us. An enemy actually consumes more of our thinking than does a friend, in a lot of cases.

Some people have gone so far as to cross the street when they see that person approach. They avoid public events where that person may be or even leave the church because the person they consider an enemy is still attending. In many cases, the person we’re angry with, does not even know that they are part of our thought processes.

Recorded in Matthew 5, verses 43-48, Jesus told his followers on theIMG_3172 mountain that day, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus wants us to be different, to act as true children of God. He wants us to go the extra mile, in some cases literally. Is this easy? Of course not. But He never expected us to do it alone. That’s why He left the comforter when He ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit enables us to do whatever it is that Jesus asks. He gives us courage to turn the other cheek.

It takes courage to act as Jesus describes in these verses. We have a whole world that writes people off when they make a mistake, especially when it’s on purpose. We, as believers, are to be different. We are to set the example, just as Jesus did when He walked among us. With unconditional love, we can reflect Jesus to a dark and sinful world where a single light can make a tremendous difference and is seen by all.

For further study: 2 Sam. 3:1; Jonah 1:3; Matt.5:25-26

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Worth the Effort

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 17, 2014

A few years ago, I heard of a group of people who practiced the principle of “an eye for an eye”. If one person committed a crime against another, a similar offense would be perpetrated against that person, something that fit his crime as a form of punishment. Some religious sects still practice this today. The term revenge killings is bandied about in some countries.

Then there was a series of movies that came out several years ago about a vigilante, someone who walked around killing criminals in an effort to clean up the streets of his city.  He was using revenge as a weapon and felt justified in his actions. Retaliate means to return like for like, especially evil for evil; to pay back an injury in kind. Revenge means to inflict punishment in return for injury or insult; to seek or take vengeance for oneself or another person; to avenge.

Wikipedia goes on to describe a person who seeks vengeance or revenge as someone who’s spiteful or vindictive. You can certainly understand why Jesus, in Matthew 5, verses 38-41 said, “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”

The whole idea of taking the law into our own hands is widely frowned upon in Western culture but little pockets of humanity still make concerted efforts to keep the practice alive. Forgiveness is completely absent from this kind of thinking. Jesus spoke to the men who wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery and asked the person who was sinless to cast the first stone. The men all knew they had committed a sin or two IMG_3190themselves, so could not do it.

Anger washes over us when someone treats us in a manner that is abhorrent, but Jesus wants us to be better than the one who committed the crime. We have been forgiven. He was nailed to a cross for that forgiveness. He suffered great indignities on our behalf so He has the right to expect us to rise above the emotional decision making that accompanies vengeance.

Make a concerted effort to go the extra mile. You never know how that will affect the person receiving the kindness. Your attitude will blow their minds, and maybe send them on the road to search for the one who walks with us, and whom we serve. Love people in spite of what they have done to you, instead of being spiteful and angry and vengeful. That person will not know what hit them and the door might open wide for an opportunity to share the gospel. Not easy…but always worth the effort.

For further study: Numbers 21:34; Joshua 6:2-5; Ps. 25:2; 1 John 2:9-11

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Dana Goodman Launches Joy Comes in the Mourning

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 16, 2014

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In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning

By Dana Goodman

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About the Book:

Author and Counsellor, Dana Goodman, shares her painful journey through heart breaking tragedy. After losing her 12-year-old son and 30-year-old husband to cancer, she must put back together the broken pieces of her life and her faith. Drawing hope from Christ, she describes how even the worst of tragedies can be rewritten into love stories so seeds of hope can be imparted to others.

Ron Dart, Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the University of the Fraser Valley, says this about In the Cleft:

“I read the missive in a single sitting–was charmed and entranced, enthralled and captured by the poignant and evocative insights— it’s a burnished gold of a book—a real beauty—tragedy and hope, in an honest and raw way, jostling wisely and judiciously in your vulnerable soul–take heart—your well told and painful journey will bring healing and restore life to many—thanks for the sacrament and chalice of eternity so generously shared.”

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

author photo graphic 48Dana Goodman, author and counselor, Dana Goodman, lives in Kamloops British Columbia. She wrote In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning as a tribute to her son after he died of an aggressive brain tumor called Glioblastoma Multiforme. His unquenchable faith gave her the courage to visit grief layers and find healing and life after unbearable heartache.

Dana’s greatest joy in life is Jesus Christ, even on the topsy-turvy days when he is hidden. She loves simple things like hot coffee, deep talks with girlfriends, journaling and having wonderful adventures with her family.

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We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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Let Your Yes be Yes…

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 15, 2014

 

Years ago, when my father-in-law had to go to court, he was asked to swear that he would tell the truth. He refused. His belief was that it was wrong for him to swear on a Bible so the judge allowed him to affirm that his ‘yes’ would be ‘yes’ and his ‘no’ be ‘no’.

People swear an oath for a variety of reasons. They swear on their mother’s grave, on their children’s life, on the Bible, or on any number of things that are supposed to signify that they mean what they say. Yet, we know that people perjure themselves all the time in court, and that while someone is swearing on their mother’s grave, he has his fingers crossed behind his back, all the while telling an outright lie.IMG_3165

Wikipedia defines an oath as “a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behavior; a sworn declaration that one will tell the truth, especially in a court of law.” He promises to pay back a loan, or give a partner a share of the profits. She promises a neighbor that she’ll reciprocate when she borrows a bowl of sugar. There is any number of ways that we make, but later break, promises today. Our word is no longer something that people can count on.

Jesus, on the Mount of Olives, spoke directly to this issue. It was important to Him that Christians, especially, be true to their word and not by taking some silly oath. In Matthew 5, verses 33 – 37, He states, “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”

It can’t be any clearer than that. Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. Jesus even goes so far as to say anything beyond that is from the evil one. Could it be that even the enemy of the people knows that we don’t keep oaths and so besmirch our own name and the name of the One we follow?

Contracts, legal documents signed by a plethora of lawyers, are broken all the time. What makes us think that by swearing an oath, we’re any more committed? When was the last time you accepted the word of someone, who vowed to do what it was he said he would do, only to find out that his word could not be trusted? How did that make you feel? Did this act erode trust?

God wants us to trust Him, and he wants us to be able to trust the people who walk with us on this journey of faith. The enemy wants us to be distrustful, cautious, suspecting, and untrustworthy. Where will you walk? How will you behave? Will your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your “no’ be ‘no’? Only you can decide and then stick with the promise of that decision.

For further study: Matt.26:72-74

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Potholes

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 13, 2014

 

When my children were teenagers, almost all of their friends were from single parent homes. Busy moms left teens, with little or no guidelines, to fend for themselves. Morals were not taught in these homes, or at least most of them, and the results were girls and guys flitting about the streets at all hours of the night, skipping school, practicing Satanism, and getting into drugs and sex.IMG_3201

Now, I realize that not every single parent home is this dysfunctional. I had a girlfriend whose husband walked out on her, leaving her to raise two young girls by herself. Those girls were great kids and the mom did the best she could, even making sure that she had a job that allowed her to be home when the girls were.

Divorce, the epidemic that it is, has devastated families, left children for the most part, fatherless, and forced women to take on the role of both mother and father while holding down a full time job. Children are greatly affected by divorce, even those who have two-parent homes. Those children, because they have friends who have divorced parents, fear every time their parents argue that the same will happen to them.

Jesus, in Matthew 5:31-32 says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.”

He seriously believed and taught that divorce was wrong, destructive, and a perpetuating evil. Biblically, there is little excuse for a man to leave his wife, except for adultery, and yet Christians and non-Christians alike, use excuses like irreconcilable differences, or “I fell out of love with her or him.” They use a whole lot more than that to excuse their bad behavior but the point is, there is no excuse, according to Jesus.

I know that in a whole lot of cases, divorce is not the victimless crime that many would believe it is. For a large percentage of those who divorce, the choice was made by only one partner. The remaining partner is left shell shocked. Oftentimes, the children are left to wonder what they did wrong or why Mommy doesn’t love Daddy anymore or vice versa and what they could have done differently. They blame themselves and carry that blame into their adult life.

In the majority of cases, divorce is preventable. If the people involved weren’t so self-centered, if they thought about the far-reaching effects of the decision they were about to make, maybe the practice would decline in a major way. Jesus knew and taught that the family unit was important. He knew the damage that the lack of commitment in marriage could cause. Jesus knows best.

Whether you are currently divorced or not, there are things that you can do differently to ensure that your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no” be “no”. When you say, before God, or a Justice of the Peace, that you will commit till death, mean it. Do what you can to avoid conflict but when it comes, deal with it in a manner that doesn’t destroy the parties involved. Above all, make sure that God is the center of your home, practice His attitudes for life, and maybe the road will not be so full of potholes.

For further study: Deut.24:1-4; Matt.19:3-12; Matt. 19:7-8; Luke 16:18; 1 or.7:12-16

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A Mind Game

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 10, 2014

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Defined in Wikipedia, adultery is sexual relations outside of marriage, in one form or another. The definition varies in different states and countries, however. In the traditional English common law, adultery was a felony. In New York, an adulterer is a person who engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. North Carolina defines adultery as occurring when any man and woman lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed, and cohabit together. Minnesota law states that when a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery.

In Canada, though the written definition of adultery in the Divorce Act refers to extramarital relations with someone of the opposite sex, a British Columbia judge used the Civil Marriage Act in a 2005 case, to grant a woman a divorce from her husband who had cheated on her with another man, which the judge felt was equal reasoning to dissolve the union.

I find it amazing that even with our general tolerant attitude about people living together these days, there are still laws that define adultery and countries that prosecute the offense. This just goes to show that the Bible was and still is the basis for our law system in most countries.

Jesus stated in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’” Here He is talking about that inclusion in the Law of Moses, handed down to Moses from God. But Jesus elaborates, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Jesus was clear. Adultery begins in the mind. If we watch, read, or imagine anything that causes us to stray emotionally from the one to whom we have committed ourselves for life, we have committed the act of adultery. Our world bombards us with sensual images that force us to compare both our looks and our spouses to those images. The result has been the erosion of marriages and the disintegration of the family.

Now who do you think is responsible for this and laughing out loud (or as you say on FB-LOL) when this happens? Our enemy is licking his chops, rubbing his hands together, and jeering his approval every time we succumb to the temptations that the world places in front of us.

Keep your mind focused on the one you committed your life to till death. Forget the internet sites that flash and dangle or the magazines that titillate. God honors faithfulness because He is faithful.

For further study: Isa.1:21-22; John 8:11

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Words Don’t Hurt, or Do They?

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 8, 2014

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These days, the airwaves are filled with articles about bullying, as if this is a new phenomenon. During his 3rd to 8th grade at a Catholic private school, our youngest son was bullied repeatedly and the more we tried to stop it, the worse it got. It seemed that no one wanted to do anything about it and our son spent many days hating his school experience instead of looking forward to it.

Eventually, after one summer’s growth spurt, he managed to put the bully in his place. That very misguided boy tried a couple of times after that to regain his control over our son but with no success.

Today, the internet has become the tool of choice for bullies. They post messages of hate for the entire world to see, targeting someone who, in all probability, has done nothing to earn the unbearable comments. Teens have committed, or attempted to commit, suicide because of this practice. The perpetrators walk around as if they’ve done nothing wrong.

When I worked in a newspaper office for a couple of years, I was astounded to hear the backstabbing that went on. As soon as one employee left the room, the words of disrespect and jealousy, even hate, flowed freely. At other times, I’ve overheard people speak words of hate about another person who may be a neighbor or someone who attends the same church.

We all believe, even the person who commits the crime, that murder is wrong. But the Bible, in Jesus’ words, is very clear about what constitutes murder. He said in Mathew 5:21 and 22 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

People who treat another with hate, disrespect, and anger, are as guilty of committing murder as the person who is charged and judged for the crime. Bullies murder a person’s soul. They destroy their target’s self-respect and make them victims in the eyes of the people who watch it go on but do nothing. People who attend church, all the while harboring hate toward another member, are committing murder in their hearts.

Murder is serious. That is something on which we all agree, but do we do what we can to keep the evil one from making us all murderers at large. Do we deal with issues in a Biblical manner so that anger and hatred can be rooted out and do we treat others as we wish to be treated? Tear it out. Get rid of the evil inside and watch how much brighter the sunshine will be tomorrow.

For further study: Gen.4:8-10; Gen 9:5-6; 1 Kings 21:4

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Given For Enrichment

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on December 6, 2014

 

Years ago, I attended my first writer’s conference. There I learned what characterized good writing and what I needed to look for in order to make sure that people enjoyed reading my work and weren’t distracted by errors. I learned the rules. I was a writer before but now I had some parameters to guide my work and make it the best it could be.

The same is true of the law. We are Christians…believers…not because we obey the law but because of what Christ did for us on the cross and our response to that gift He offers. There’s nothing we can do to earn the gift of salvation. There are no laws that we can obey and there is no work that we can do that will open the doorway to heaven for us. Jesus completed that work on the cross.

However, we have to receive the gift…make it ours by admitting first that we need it…that we are sinners. We need to seek Christ’s forgiveness and then accept the awesome price He paid for us. After that, the law shows us how to become the best follower of Jesus Christ that we can be. The law helps us see where we sin, where we mess up, and shows us how to improve.IMG_3196

Paul wrote in Galatians, chapter 2, verse 16, “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

He wanted to impress upon a world of people who’d been taught that the Law of Moses was the not the way to gain salvation. The Pharisees controlled the people by horsewhipping them with law after law that kept them subjugated and in constant need of their intervention. It made them feel important. Paul simply said that Christ comes first.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, told his followers that He came to accomplish the purpose of the law. He was the one who brought everything the law pointed to, to fruition. He made it happen and then He asked His followers to follow Him and only two laws…Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. and love your neighbor as yourself. The entire Law of Moses is summarized in these two verses.

Take a look at the life you now live. In what areas do rules make life easier or do they make life harder? I think that rules will only make life harder when we strain against them, rather than adopt them to see how we can make them work for us. It used to be said that rules were meant to be broken. But if we look at the people saying this, we see unhappy, frustrated, secular humanists who believe they, not God, control the universe,. Which side of the fence are you on?

For further study: Matt.1:24; Matt. 4:3-4; Luke 23:13-25; James 4:17

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