Thoughts for the Week

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Don’t Forget Who You Are

What are mirrors for?

God’s word has been compared to many things, and mirrors are one of them. In James 1, the author makes this parallel, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at this face in a mirror and, after looking at himself,goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (v. 23-24, NIV).

Mirrors are used to show individuals what he or she looks like, what blemishes there may be, and ultimately who the person is. According to James, perhaps the Bible serves a similar purpose.

One of the goals of the word is to remind people that they are God’s people. So perhaps, once they are in the world, chances to do good, practice patience, and generally be more Christlike, will be something they recall after seeing the reflection of who God says they are.

See yourself as God sees you through his word, and don’t forget what you look like and who you are.

Copyright 2017 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

Not One Size Fits All

It’s easy to see the world through a black and white lens. This is always right, that is always wrong, people should never to this…you get the idea.

For the most part, there are certainly actions that, per the Bible, should always be avoided, or encouraged.

However, when we get into gray areas, that is when opinions divide and the Church is left wondering how to act. Unfortunately the Bible is surprisingly silent in regard to certain topics: gambling, birth control,  etc.

Just because the Bible is silent does not mean the Church gets a free pass and does not need to think about these topics. However, it can become an issue when people place their opinion of these silent matters on the same level as God’s Word.

Ecclesiastes talks much about wisdom and good decisions, “[t]he wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter” (8:5b-6a, NIV)

If it takes wisdom and understanding to know the best course of action for every matter, then it is probably not obvious what should or shouldn’t be done in the moment.

Therefore, it seems foolish to teach that there is an irrefutable answer on these gray topics. Because it takes personal wisdom for someone to make his or her own decisions based on his or her study of the Bible and the world. It’s not always one size fits all.

I Am Not The Author of My Story

If you are a writer, do you sometimes interview your characters to understand their personalities better?

For an assignment in college, we were given a list of interview questions for our characters and I have used this method often – it helps me to give my characters more depth and meaning.

Recently, I decided to interview a character right after he suffered a major loss – and the answers that followed turned into an unexpected exercise of trusting God.

The character was asking questions, such as “How could you have let this happen? Why am I suffering?”

While I was trying to answer as honestly as possible, I found myself responding just like God does, “There’s a reason for it. You can’t possibility understand why, but it will all make sense. Please trust me.”

It reminded me of Romans 8:28a “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (NIV).

If my character were to demand “No, how dare you! Tell me why, right now!”, it would seem ridiculous. A character can’t demand anything from his or her author.

That’s when I received this sense of clarity, that in a way, I am a character in life, and God is The Author of it all. He writes every plot twist, he brings in the love interests, and he knows the world and us even more intimately than we can ever understand

Even more wildly, he knows the ending, and has even told us our own ending of the story, and it’s a very happy one! Most characters can’t even guess what kind of ending they will receive.

That being said, I found myself realizing that when bad things happen to me, there’s no question that God is in control, and trusting that he’s the Good Author of it all is really is the only option that makes sense. Because I am not the author of my story, and it’s oddly a comforting thought.

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.



How do you know God is pleased with you?

Maybe it’s when you’re ministering to others, or when you’re serving, or just working toward the kingdom of heaven.

However, there’s one example that God was pleased with someone who had, as far as we know, not done any ministry at all up to that point.

In Matthew chapter 3, it talks about when Jesus was being baptized by his cousin, John. At this point, Jesus had not started his preaching ministry because just seventeen verses after this story does it say “From that time on, Jesus began to preach” (4:17, NIV).

But when Jesus was baptized, God spoke to everyone there and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased” (3:17, NIV).

It wasn’t because Jesus had started a very powerful ministry, or was healing people, or spreading the Word that made God pleased with his Son.

It was just because He was His Son.

This being said, don’t think you must earn God’s favor by working hard. You are His child, and He loves you.

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

Is it “Christian”?

What qualifies something as being “Christian”?

I’m not talking about the salvation of a person, but rather the description of something in the media. In current American culture, there are several genres that are marketed as being “Christian.” There are Christian movies, bands, TV shows, books, and the list goes on.

However, what are the qualifications? Does the main character/singer/producer need to be a Christian? Does there need to be a mention of God or Jesus in a positive way? There’s no definitive answer.

But would you believe there’s a book of the Bible that does not mention God at all? That would be the book of Esther. It’s a powerful, moving story about a woman who becomes queen and defends her people against complete destruction. But not once is God brought up in this story.

I’ve always taken this to show how something can bring glory to God even when the thing is not evidently about him.

The story of Esther shows how being brave and doing the right thing in the face of certain death is honorable and should be held up as an example for all generations. (Esther 4:14b). God had said in his word to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

The book of Esther shows this commandment bring applied in a real story which brings glory to the God. Also, God is ultimately the one who allowed this story which does not mention him to be part of the Biblical collection of stories.

So instead of asking if something is “Christian,” a better question to ask is if something honors God, even if it doesn’t explicitly mention him. If so, I believe it can have a lot of value, even if not “Christian.”

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

I’m Sorry!

When was the last time someone asked for forgiveness?

Recently a friend of mine asked for forgiveness because he had failed a task I had given him. He said he was sorry, but I knew he had no remorse; he just wanted me to give him a pass and then move on.

I wasn’t looking to give him a pass, I wanted to know that he was truly sorry about what he had (or in this case, hadn’t) done and that he wished things could have gone differently. I don’t carry a grudge, but I can tell you that going forward, I don’t ask him for favors and certainly don’t trust him as much as I did.

God feels this way too. When we wrong him, he wants us to be sorry on the inside, not just the outside.

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate” (Joel 2:13a, NIV).

Tearing apart one’s clothing was a public way of showing that one was in grief. God is making it clear that he does not want our remorse for the wrong that we’ve done to be only outwardly visible.

We are called to ensure that our hearts reflect the torn and grieving expression that rending one’s garments had in Biblical times. So this week, instead of just saying you’re sorry, ensure that you are truly sorry deep down.

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

You Know the Rules

Do you hold unique standards in life? Maybe you only mow the lawn on weekends, shop at a certain store once a month, only drink soda for special occasions, or never watch R-rated movies.

Personally, I find it helpful to keep my Sundays as clear of work as possible. That way, I can focus on God and have a good day of rest. Keep in mind I can’t always stick to this standard, but I try.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with placing standards on myself. It’s good to have structure. But it becomes a major problem when people turn their standards into God’s standards.

The Pharisees did this. They made new standards to worship God, and scolded Jesus when he healed a man on a Sabbath (John 5). To them, there should be no work on the day of rest. It was a standard they agreed on, but turned it into something that they thought everyone needed to follow.

It’s sad that these spiritual leaders let their power go to their heads as God clearly stated in Deuteronomy “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (4:2 NIV).

Because he knew better, Jesus didn’t let them pull him into their standards, and continued doing what he knew God wanted him to do. Don’t let people convince you of their additional guidelines and rules and focus on the ones God has given us.

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