Linda Sedrick Pearson
When you are with someone, listen to that person. As soon as she begins to speak, be quiet. Don’t start forming an opinion on what he or she is saying. Don’t start giving advice as soon as the person starts speaking or stops speaking. Ponder on the words the person said and the body language the person used to say it. How did the eyes look? Sad? Happy? Confused? Hurt? Doubting?
Wait a minimum of two minutes before forming an opinion or giving advice. Most times, you need to wait longer to do that.
Really listen to what the person said. Listen and hear. Don’t have “itching” ears listening for what you expect the person to say. Instead, hear what the person is really saying. They may pause for long minutes between thoughts before speaking. Silent moments are perfectly okay when you are truly listening.
Don’t wait to jump onto a thought or phrase the person says. Listen to every word and phrase being siad without wanting to tell them what you think they said.
God said, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10).
He speaks in a “still small voice,” (1 Kings 19:12). His voice was not in the thunger. His voice was not in the earthquake. He spoke in a “still small voice.”
If you are always babbling and shouting and playing the music as loud as you can crank it up, you may miss God’s still small voice when He speaks to us. Sometimes you need to just be quiet! Then, you can hear God when He speaks to you.
Once you hear God speak, then, you will be ready to go speak with boldness – without shame or embarrassment; without fear that what you say will be taken the wrong way; without a need to apologize for anything you say.
Everyone has an opinion – not everyone listens and hears!
Linda Sedrick Pearson
Read Galatians 2:20 for our study today.
As I moved passed the cross, after taking time to confess my sins and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, my old self is crucified with Christ. On the other side of the cross, I became alive because it is no longer me directing my steps, but Christ Jesus living in me. I am still living in my fleshly, physical body and controlling my movements, thoughts, actions. However, Christ controls my spirit which helps me control where I go and what I do with my physical body.
I believed, accepted, and received Jesus Christ and now I have passed the cross and walk a daily walk with Him inside of me by His Spirit.
You see, there are two sides to the cross. On the first side, the one everyone must eventually face, Jesus Christ has died for your sins. It is up to you to accept that fact or reject it. If you reject it, you cannot move past the cross. You will never know what life can really be and you will have to face the judgement of God to pay your own debt of sin to God.
If you accept Jesus Christ at the first side of the cross and receive Him as payment for your sins, you can move past the cross. As you step past it, you become a new creation. You begin to live – really live in every way possible. This includes heart, mind, spirit, and body. God’s Holy Spirit comes to live in you (you take Christ within yourself), and you live through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit directing you. This is faith.
Faith is believing in something you cannot see. I believe Jesus Christ. I believe every word in the bible because I believe it is the Word of God. I can believe that because I was crucified with Christ when I accepted His death as payment for my sins. The old me was nailed to the cross in the form of Jesus Christ. That is my faith.
I also believe that I am a new creation, totally changed. My thoughts are different than what they were before I was saved (believed and accepted Jesus). The Holy Spirit brings to my attention when I am thinking wrong thoughts, doing the wrong things, saying the wrong things, going to the wrong places, and much more. This is how God leads me. My heart is softer and more open to others. I feel the pain of others and want to ease their burdens. Before, I didn’t care about anyone else. These are only a small part of how I have changed and become a new creation in Christ once I moved past the cross.
How about you? Are you stuck on the death side of the cross or have you moved past the cross into life? It’s your choice.
by Linda Sedrick Pearson
Read Luke 23:20-31 before proceeding. These are the scriptures for this study.
Are you still weeping and bewailing the Jesus who was tortured and nailed to the cross? Or, have you moved past that dreadful, blood-soaked cross to meet the Victor over death – the risen Savior?
As Jesus struggled under the load of the heavy burden of sins of everyone, dragging that cross with the help of Simon, a Cyrenian, He turned to those who followed weeping and bewailing after Him. Under this tremendous struggling and pain, Jesus was still concerned about everyone else.
He told them, “Don’t weep for me. Weep for yourselves and your children.” He went on to give them a glimpse of the misery of the world which would get worse. He told them, “If this can happen to someone who is not guilty of any wrong doing, to an innocent person, think what will happen to those who are guilty.”
When God passes judgement, not one will be able to stand on his or her own merits. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was innocent. He was innocent, but He took all our guilt on Himself and was crucified in our places. He paid the price for everyone!
You have a choice to accept Jesus death and misery as payment to God for your sins. Or, you will have to pay your own price for your sins. If you accept Jesus Christ as your substitute of payment to God, then you have to move past the cross to the Victorious Jesus, who arose from the dead.
I think when He said, “Don’t weep for me,” He was also saying, “Move past this and spread the gospel to others so they can come and be saved. Then, they too can come weeping and bewailing and move to the other side of the cross – to life!
Which side of the cross are you on?
Linda S. Pearson
(All scripture quoted are from the King James Version)
If we met Jesus today, would the standards we each have for ourselves be too harsh to accept Him into our group of what we consider to be friendship material? Here are some responses that many people would have if they were to meet Jesus in the flesh the way He actually appeared and lived on this earth.
1. This guy sure is homely! He doesn’t have six-pack abs, perfect hair, and is not perfectly groomed at all times.
Isaiah 53: 2 “He has no form or comeliness [physical good looks], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”
2. He has no formal education and no college degrees hanging on a wall.
John 7: 15 “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?”
3. This dude doesn’t even own a home!
Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
4. He hangs out with other unlearned men, ignoring the “in crowd” and does His own thing.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
5. He doesn’t concern himself with material possessions…Gasp! You’re telling me he doesn’t even own a big screen TV!? He doesn’t drive the latest and greatest vehicle and doesn’t care if others have newer ones than He does?
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
6. This guy doesn’t care about the types of clothes he wears (no designer labels!)? Deal breaker, this guy is definitely not for me and my group!
Matthew 6:28-29 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Do we set the bar too high for people we become friends with or hang out with, or even share the gospel with? We may be limiting God by not being open to what God knows about people He sends in our path.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance (physical looks), or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
I’m glad Jesus didn’t set the bar too high for us. We would never make it. Amen?
Sometimes I tell the Lord I really don’t want to be around this person, or, I will never be his friend, we just have nothing in common. Guess what? I end up being around that person and 9 times out of ten; we become friends and develop a deeper understanding of one another.
Sometimes the Lord does give us the desires of our hearts. We pray “I gotta have this, God, I know it’s good for me, I just know it is, give it to me, now!” And He honors our requests.
Psalm 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
I am not saying to be totally indiscriminate and make it a free for all. God gave us common sense for a reason, and hopefully we learn to use it. (I am still learning.)
All I am saying is to be open and find a balance when we examine our hearts desires, balancing the needs of the flesh with the needs of the spirit.
Be open to setting the bar a bit lower as far as material accomplishments are concerned. Of course be uncompromising in your standards of honesty and convictions and in putting Jesus first in all of your relationships.
Below is a good example from the Scriptures on what kind of people God chooses to do His work, especially for spreading the gospel.
1 Corinthians 1:26 – 29 Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Easy Reader Version
1 Corinthians 1:26 – 29 Brothers and sisters, God chose you to be his. Think about that! Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. And God chose what the world thinks is not important–what the world hates and thinks is nothing. He chose these to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can stand before him and boast about anything.
( I originally wrote this article on 9/12/2001 after watching many hours of news reports and trying to make sense of the devastation and lost lives. I was looking for something that showed me that we are still a people who loved and cared about each other. I finally began to look at the people and their actions in those news reports, instead of what the news media was saying about what was happening. That is how this article came into being – it is about the people. I have tried to repost this every year since then so the families of those who lost loved ones that day will know we still remember.)
The face of America is not a group of buildings destroyed. It is not heaps of burning rubble with smoke rising and ash covering the ground. It is not pandemonium in the streets or people held hostage by a society. This face is not one of helplessness, discouragement and easily giving up.
The face of America is two firemen hugging one another in comfort with tears in their eyes just moments after a building descended upon the people they had worked with side-by-side. Then, they turn and charge into the chaos looking for survivors, hoping they find more alive than dead.
America’s face is a fifth grade class that informs the principal of the school that they have some pennies that need to be given to those people in New York who need it. This brought about the school setting up a huge bin for the students and adults to drop in the bits of money they could dig up to help others.
First graders from another part of America hurriedly make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; then, tiny hands lovingly set a Hershey’s kiss on top before the package is wrapped to be sent to rescuers. This is the face of America.
Trucks line up and patiently wait their turn (some for over seven hours) to enter a city, bringing in badly needed supplies. The drivers proudly fly the American flag and sing our national anthem as they wait. The face of America shines proudly.
All these are a small part of the face of America that makes a strong statement. A nation of people rallies to comfort and help one another. People arrive to relieve those who are exhausted and ready to collapse from the smoke, ash and hours (days) of work that have saturated their bodies. A hand reaches out in comfort and squeezes the arm of a fatigued rescuer; this act gives the man strength to arise and continue the search. These too are part of America’s face.
The face of America is all those who are lost in the disorder and rumbling of falling buildings. It is all those who were rescued and those who, through no thought for their own safety, return again and again to find those lost in the debris.
America’s face is the e-mails and calls offering a place to stay to those who are stranded at airports. It is people who returned to work at the Pentagon while the building was still burning. It is the three who fought hijackers over control of a plane.
The face of America is not a people under attack. It is a people, a whole nation, pulling together to show the world that face. It is shining bright and has come together as one huge face to the rest of the world. Yes, there is anger, frustration, and even shock; but through all that comes love, strength, and pride. It is a nation of people joined together as one. This is the face of America!
(This article is copyrighted by Linda Sedrick Pearson 2001. For permission to reprint, please contact the author through the Contact Form.)
Did you know that Nazareth (meaning – despised, contemptible, rejected) was one of the lowest places in society for one to live at the time when God warned Joseph in a dream to take the “young child and his mother” (meaning Jesus and Mary) – see Matthew 2:23. This was when they were called out of Egypt because Herod had died, but Herod’s son had taken over the reign over Judaea – so they could not return there. God had them turn aside to Galilee and that is when they moved into Nazareth. Jesus was still a young child. He was to be raised in this forsaken by society city called Nazareth.
How appropriate for the Savior who had come to save all mankind, including what society calls the lowest of the low.
Raised in a city that harbored the rejects of society, the child Savior would receive his early childhood training. But, he would “eat butter and honey” (Isaiah 7:14-15) so he would “know to refuse evil and choose the good.”
by Linda Sedrick Pearson
Job is not about Job and his suffering and misery. Job is not about Satan and his access into heaven or his conversation there with God. It is not about Job’s losses or failures or friends who accused, cajoled, and pretended support of their friend. The Book of Job is not about any of those things.
It is all about GOD! The whole book of Job, the whole Bible, is not about the people and the stories. It is all about GOD! It is GOD revealing Himself to us through those stories and people. It is not about the faith of those people, but instead is about the object of their faith – GOD!
Today is NOT about any single one of or group of us or our beliefs. It is all about GOD!
Moses led the people, but his story is not about Moses. It is about GOD!
Daniel in the lion’s den is NOT about the lions or Daniel. It is about GOD!
Jonah and the whale (or big fish) is NOT about either the whale or Jonah. It is about GOD!
Adam and Eve and their fall are NOT about Adam and Eve and their fall. It is all about GOD!
Paul’s writings are NOT about Paul or the people or any earthly thing mentioned in his writings. It is all about GOD! That is what Paul is trying to show us in those writings. It is what he was trying to convince all those churches of – that it is all about GOD!
Even your own life and story is not about you and your story. It is all about GOD! It does NOT matter whether you believe or don’t believe, accept or don’t accept. It is all about GOD and how HE loves you whether you love HIM or not! HE exists whether you believe HE exists or not. HE is your GOD whether you accept HIM or not. You can either face HIM accepting that fact or face HIM rejecting HIM to your very end. You have that choice, but it is still NOT about you. It is about GOD!
When Peter stepped out of that boat, it was all GOD who was walking toward him (Peter) as JESUS. It was not about Peter stepping out of that boat or the fact that he walked on top of the water. It was about JESUS – GOD – walking on the water toward Peter. Peter sank when he focused on himself and things of this world instead of GOD in the form of JESUS CHRIST!
Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, failed from day one because he never once focused on GOD through his whole life all the way to the end of his life. He still had to face GOD and acknowledge HIM as GOD!
You can believe or NOT believe. It is your choice. But, you believing or not believing will not cause GOD to exist or not exist! GOD is real and you can never cause GOD to NOT be real and not be GOD! Believe or not, you still must face GOD in the judgment. Either way, you will at that time bow down and acknowledge HIM as GOD!
Pilate asked JESUS, “What is truth?” and he tried to wash his hands of the matter of crucifying GOD in the persona of JESUS CHRIST. But washed hands or not, he still had to face GOD in GOD’s judgment and acknowledge JESUS as GOD and the FATHER as GOD! An earthly washing of hands and body cleanses NOT one of us from that fact of truth – GOD is GOD!
GOD reveals HIMSELF through three personas: FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT! These three agree as ONE because they are ONE – GOD in each of the three and together as ONE – GOD!
He that will hear – let him hear. He that will accept – let him accept. He that believes – let him believe.
It is still GOD in the end of all things!
by Linda Sedrick Pearson
Sin Breaks Fellowship with Men and God
Sin brings loneliness to everyone. Total separation from God – imagine! How else could one describe this than a complete loneliness – aloneness – no one else, no matter who is around you can never connect to anyone else. No wonder Satan works so hard to lead us astray and get us to fall for the temptations he dangles in front of us. No wonder he devotes his entire being into trying to devour us. He does this by twisting God’s truth just enough that we fall for the lies and deceit. Anything that the devil knows will put a doubt, bring confusion, cause hatred, anger, strife, discontent, or anything else between us and our relationships with others, including God – this evil being uses to cause us to accept the lies and then we sin by putting action to that acceptance. If he can cause that, he can cause breaks in fellowships and relationships between each person and others around them, plus it breaks that fellowship and relationship with God.
No wonder Jesus spent so much time preaching about having fellowship with each other. He came to restore relationships and fellowships – of all kinds. He restores our fellowships and relationships with other people. He restores our fellowships and relationships with God.
As you read through the Bible, take a look at the relationships involved. See how when those people sinned, it broke fellowships and relationships – not just with God, but also with friends, families, and eventually all mankind in some cases. One in particular comes to mind in this last instance – Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ.
Judas sat in the same room, at the same Last Supper, as the rest of the disciples. He sat at the table with the Savior of the whole world. He had fellowship and brotherhood with this whole group. But, what happened? In John 13:30 it tells us what happened: “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” Judas dipped his dinner from the same bowl that Jesus was eating out of. It was the same bowl the other disciples were eating out of, but Judas had different results in his life. He turned his back on all the brotherhood, the fellowship, the relationships, and the Lord – and entered into the darkness and loneliness of sin! Imagine him standing outside in the darkness all alone while inside the group continued their learning, fellowship, relationships, and closeness – not just to each other, but also to the Son of God, who had become a man to save us all from such a fate. He had to still hear the laughter, the discussions, and the love in the voices they all had for each other. Still he refused to rejoin them and continued in his sin until he ended up destroying himself.
All of us are no different from Judas while we are living in our sinful state and refusing to accept Jesus as Savior, refusing to accept the fellowship and relationship He brought us, refusing the restoration of life He gives us. We continue to turn our backs, standing in the darkness all alone until we eventually destroy all relationships between us and others, including that relationship with God.
God Restores Fellowships and Relationships
Jesus said, “I come that you may have life more abundantly” (John 10:10). God restores our relationships and tells us over and over again to have fellowship with each other. He asks us to fellowship with him through prayer and studying his word. He begs us, one could say, to do these things so we can have the full restoration of all and with all. He calls us out of the darkness of sin and into the light of fellowship and relationship!
We take a look at another of the disciples who turned his back, but had a different outcome to his life because he turned again into the light of salvation. This is another of the same group of disciples that was in the same room and at the same Last Supper where Judas was when he turned his back completely and chose to walk into and stay in the darkness. This disciple is Peter.
That night, Peter stayed with the group and in the room with the Savior. His feet were washed by the Lord along with the rest of that group, even though he argued with Jesus. Jesus set him straight right away – as always.
Peter stayed through the whole thing and into the night with Jesus, all the way through – until…in the courtyard, he was pointed out that he was one of the followers of Jesus, who had been arrested (Luke 22:54-60). Peter denied even knowing Jesus. He sinned because he lied to save his own life and in the process almost lost his life because of denying Jesus. But, Peter had a different result than Judas (Luke 22:61-62; John 21:1-19; Acts beginning at 1:1 and read through Acts to see how many sermons Peter preached and how he was beneficial in setting up churches and spreading the gospel message). Peter was in the light, turned from the light to darkness, but then turned back to the Light. He finally understood, received and accepted what Jesus had been teaching them through his whole ministry.
What is Your Choice – Darkness or Light?
God does restore relationships and fellowships. Where are you? Are you standing in the darkness trying to decide whether to turn your back completely on the light and remain alone in the darkness? Or are you trying to decide to turn back to the light of salvation where fellowships and relationships are restored? It is your choice. Remember the results of your decision – the consequences of your decision – will be different depending on which one you choose, so choose carefully. Loneliness forever or complete restoration of fellowship and relationship?
by Linda Sedrick Pearson
Romans 10:1-13 (Read these verses in your Bible.)
Now, let’s take a look at what God is telling us in His Word.
Verse 4: Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
That’s well and good, you might say, but what does that mean? Let’s look at verses 6-9 for that answer.
Verse 6: The righteousness, which is of faith, speaks like this: Don’t say in your heart, “Who shall go to heaven?” – That would be to bring Jesus Christ down from heaven.
Verse 7: Don’t say, “Who shall go to hell?” – That is to make Christ rise up from the dead again.
Verse 8: So what does righteousness of faith say? – You are close, the answer is in your heart and mouth, the words are close to you. The word of faith preached (taught) to you is this: (verse 9)
Verse 9: “If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.”
There is the answer to to what was meant in verse 4. God takes it further so He can make sure we understand what He is saying. He gives us
step by step descriptions of each of these from verse 9. Let’s look at verses 10-13.
Verse 10: With the heart, you believe unto righteousness, (unto means to, until, or by.) and with the mouth, your confession is made unto salvation.
Verse 11: Because the scripture (Word of God) says: Anyone (whosoever) who believes on Jesus Christ (the Son of God) shall not be ashamed.
(Remember verse 9, “believe in your heart that God raised him (Jesus Christ) from the dead.”
Verse 12: There is no difference between those who were born of the Jewish nationality and those who were not (“Jew or Greek”) because the Lord is the same Lord over all people and is rich to all that call upon Him.
Verse 13: Because anyone (whosoever) that calls on the name of Jesus (again refer to verse 9), you will be saved.
(You don’t have to wonder whether you are saved or not saved. Look at verse 9 and know that if you have obeyed God and done those things in verse 9, then, it is certain that you are saved. If you have not obeyed God and have not done those things, you are not saved and should ask yourself, “why haven’t I done those things in verse 9?”)
Now, you know what righteousness of faith means. You have just read in verse 9 what you need to do to be saved. All the other verses have told you the reasons why you must obey God’s commands in verse 9 and why you have to do those things in order to be saved.
If you do not obey, then that is your choice, but I am freed from the responsibility for your salvation because I have just told you these things (Romans 10:14-15). Now, the responsibility for your salvation is on you. You have no excuse for not being saved because you now know the truth, what you are told to do by God Himself, and why you must do (obey) what God commanded you to do to be saved. It is your choice and your responsibility for what you do next with this truth.
by Linda Sedrick Pearson
When Jesus received whippings and beatings, I received healing from all sickness and hurts and pains.
While Jesus received spit from his enemies, I received cleansing from all effects of sin.
As Jesus was stripped of all his clothing and then the soldiers gambled for his clothing, I received freedom from guilt and shame.
Jesus, by his own will, laid down and allowed the enemy to nail his hands and feet to a wooden cross and raise him up as a spectacle to the crowd so that I can receive
salvation and freedom from sin and accusation.
When they placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus to mock him as King of the Jews, I received the crown of righteousness.
Jesus spoke, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and I received forgiveness for everything.
When Jesus was laid in the grave, dead to the world, he took my sins and buried them so deep in a place where no man knows; and God remembers my sins no more.
The moment Jesus arose from death and left that tomb, I received eternal life so I can live forever reunited with the Creator, God the Father and God the Son.
When Jesus soared up in the sky to rejoin the Father, I received the Holy Spirit and became a total, nothing lacking, new creation in Jesus Christ.