Blog Swap

blog swap

Got a blog? How would you like a little more exposure? How about a blog swap?

Sometimes blog hops and link parties can have so many contributors that your blog/article gets lost in the shuffle and you end up reaching fewer people than you’d planned on. With a blog swap, you get 100% of the audience’s focus.

It’s essentially an exchange of guest posts. You post one of my articles (I’ve got nearly 300 to choose from) with a link back to my blog and I’ll post one of yours with a link back to your blog. It’s a win-win for reaching more people.

Details:

1. Assuming there’s an interest, I’ll be running this as a regular weekly feature on Mondays (the day may change in the future).

2. I’d like for my article to run concurrently on your blog, but if you have a conflict, no problem. You can run it any time the week prior to the Monday your article is scheduled to run here.

3. Send me up to five of your best articles to choose from. You’re welcome to choose any of my articles you like. (Just let me know if you need help/suggestions.) Fair warning-if you’re new, you should know that nearly all of my articles have to do with biblical topics, and all are written from a biblical perspective.

4. Any subject matter is fine as long as neither your article nor your blog in general violate Scripture or scriptural principles. Recipes, crafts, DIY, marriage, home schooling, singles, parenting, book/movie reviews, men’s interest, photo blogging, nutrition, exercise, etc., are all welcome.

5. If you submit articles of a theological or biblical nature, please also include a statement of faith. (It’s fine to link to your denomination’s or church’s statement of faith on their web site and say, “I agree with this.” Click on my “Statement of Faith” tab above for an example.) I cannot publish articles/blogs that I find to be in contradiction to sound doctrine.

6. Got friends with blogs? Please share this around!

Think you’d be interested in doing a blog swap with me? E-mail me at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com with your name, links to up to 5 articles, a brief description of your blog, and your statement of faith (if applicable).

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

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Jonah- Lesson 5: The Perfect Storm

Michelle Lesley:

Here’s Lesson 5 in our rerun of the Jonah Bible study. Hope you’re enjoying it!

Originally posted on Michelle Lesley:

Jonah 1:3-16

 

God only lets us continue in our sin for so long.  He eventually stops us either by death or by discipline.  And our boy, Jonah, was about to get disciplined in a big way.

In God’s legal system, there’s a difference between discipline and punishment.  Punishment is the pouring out of God’s wrath and retribution against sin.  People who are genuinely converted Christians never have to experience punishment because Jesus took our punishment for us at Calvary.  (Can I get a “hallelujah!” and “to God be the glory!”?)  People who choose to reject that substitutionary atonement choose to take their own punishment in an eternity in hell. 

Discipline is the mercy of God putting up a brick wall for us to run into so we’ll turn around and get out of our sin.  Once you run into that brick wall enough times, you start noticing that our…

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Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 7-29-14

Lagniappe

 

15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals- Do hymnals get us more engaged in worship? Does your church still use hymnals?

Little Big Dog- There’s a life lesson in here somewhere. Plus, it’s hilarious.

What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?- Not what you’ve always been taught it says, if you’re like most church members.

Why Christianity Doesn’t Stand a Chance at Your Local Library, and How to Change That- Do you make use of your local library? Does it carry Christian books?

Top 10 Examples of Animal Shaming- These animals really should be ashamed…but they’re so cute!

How to (and How NOT to) Minister to Families Battling Cancer- There’s some wise counsel and practical advice here.

A Man of Many Wives- “As we look at the Bible, it is clear that polygamous relationships are presented in the Bible. But, does that mean that they are acceptable in God’s eyes?”

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An Overview of Hosea ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 7-27-14

Overview of Hosea

 

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 30 ~ July 20-26
Hosea, Isaiah 28-43, Psalm 76
An Overview of Hosea

Hosea 1
Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. God used his family life as a picture of what he was prophesying. Hosea married a woman, Gomer, who would later prove unfaithful to him. God also had Hosea give his children names that reflected God’s message to Israel: Jezreel, No Mercy, and Not My People. But the real story of the book of Hosea is not Hosea or his family, but the love, reluctant wrath, and forgiveness of God towards His unfaithful people.

2:8
Everything Israel gave away -as sacrifices to idols, as tribute to foreign potentates, as bribes for foreign armies to come to her aid- everything had been given to her by God.

4:17
When sinners persist in their sin long enough, God finally gives them over to what they want. (Rom. 1:18ff). Often sinners think the harshest thing God could do would be to try to stop them from participating in the sin that they love, but His wrath is most poured out when He gives them exactly what they want.

5:6, 15; 7:13-14
Seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6). God was calling Israel to seek Him before He gave them over to a hard heart and a reprobate mind. The Lord is always found by those with a soft heart whose desire is to repent and love Him, but He turns a deaf ear to those who continue in rebellion until it starts raining, only to beat on the door of the ark because they don’t want to die in the flood.

God is not interested in the worldly sorrow that is only grieved over the consequences of sin. That soul still has its eyes firmly fixed on self and how self is affected. The truly repentant heart has her eyes fixed on God and how her sin affects Him.

6:4,6
God doesn’t desire empty rituals, lip service, or going through the motions. He wants worship from the heart.

8:2, 5-6
God will not allow syncretism (the melding of unbiblical worship with biblical worship). He requires, not that He be first in our affections, but that He be ONLY in our affections.
It did no good for Israel to claim that she knew the Lord (2) because she was a) worshiping other gods besides the Lord, b) calling an idol (the golden calves) “God,” and c) not worshiping God in the way He had commanded. None of these were acceptable in God’s sight then, and because He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), it is still not acceptable to Him today.

That’s why false teachers are so dangerous. People like Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and TD Jakes may not be fashioning golden calves and calling them “Jesus,” but they are fashioning false gods with unbiblical words and ideas and calling them “Jesus.” This is what Matthew 7:21-23 is talking about when it says:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

9:1
Just as Gomer has betrayed and forsaken Hosea, Israel has betrayed the Lord. She has loved adultery and the fleeting pleasures (Hebrews 11:25) that go with it instead of the true and lasting treasure that comes from loyalty to the Lord (Revelation 11:18).

10:5-6
The golden calf Israel worshiped would be used to pay off Assyria in tribute. God is sovereign. He will ultimately destroy everything that is raised up against Him. Idols, ideas, individuals.

11:1-4
God is not a cruel taskmaster. He led and cared for Israel with “cords of kindness” and “bands of love” as a parent leads a toddler. They didn’t have to live in fear of Him if they were walking with Him. Not so with other gods. With other gods, they could never be certain where they stood. Had they offered enough? Pleased it enough? Would it bless them with fertility or rain for their crops?

With God, on the other hand, His love for Israel came first. It wasn’t a reaction to whether or not their actions pleased Him. His love for them was there even before they knew Him (1 John 4:15-19). It was because He loved them that He lovingly spelled out everything He wanted Israel to do in worship, in daily life, and in their hearts. He also went into great detail about the things they could expect from Him, and He kept His promises time and again. They didn’t have to wonder how He felt towards them or what He required of them or whether He would come through for them. They could know.

11:8-9
It grieved God to destroy Israel as he had destroyed Admah and Zeboiim with Sodom and Gomorrah. God is not a God who delights in executing His wrath, but, rather, does so with a broken heart and only as a last resort.

“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” Ezekiel 18:23

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

13:4-6
When Israel was in Egypt and in the wilderness where she had nothing to depend on but God, she was loyal to Him, but once prosperity came, she left Him, just as Gomer left Hosea for something she thought was better.

It is often only when people have no other choice but to turn to Christ that they do so, but when they don’t “need” anything, they turn away from Him. This is why Jesus said “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24).

By stripping away everything Israel had and sending her into exile, God was bringing Israel full circle to the neediness she had started out with in Egypt in order to bring her back to Himself.

14:1-9
God’s desire is, and always has been, for His people to repent and be reconciled to Him, and enjoy a loving, father-child relationship with Him. We see this in His post-Eden relationship with Adam and Eve, in His blessing of the earth after the Flood, in His bringing Israel out of Egypt, in bringing Israel out of exile, and in the most important way of all, in saving us out of our sin that we might be permanently reconciled to Him through the precious blood of Christ, to love Him and serve Him forever.

I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.

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Jonah- Lesson 4: The Road to Joppa

Michelle Lesley:

Lesson 4 in our rerun of the Jonah Bible study.

Originally posted on Michelle Lesley:

Jonah 1:3

 

Ever wonder why God didn’t stop Jonah before he ever even got to Joppa?  He could have, you know.  But instead, He allowed Jonah to make the 60-or-so mile trip from Gath-hepher to Joppa, allowed Jonah to find a ship that was willing to take him, and allowed Jonah to have the money to pay his fare.  Know why?  Because God was being merciful to Jonah.

Merciful?  Doesn’t it sound instead like God was providing Jonah more than ample rope to hang himself?  Uh uh.  From the moment Jonah got up and pointed himself at Joppa, the Holy Spirit was prodding Jonah’s conscience:

“This is wrong.”

“Don’t do this.”

 “Turn back.”

 …giving him chance after chance to turn from his sin and back to God.  Jonah must have heard God mercifully pleading with him with every step he took from front porch to gangplank, yet he hardened his…

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Aborting People

Aborting People

Cut the negative people out of your life.

Don’t lift a finger for people who won’t lift a finger for you.

Don’t allow people in your life who don’t deserve to be there.

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Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see something like this on Facebook. Clearly, there are people who are violent that we need to stay away from for our own physical safety, and marital problems absolutely must be resolved, but those aren’t what this line of thinking seems to be addressing. It’s talking about the difficult people. We all have them in our lives. You’re probably thinking of some right now.

The constant complainer.

The drama queen.

The narcissist.

The annoyance.

The just plain unlovely.

Maybe it’s a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker. Somebody who’s in your life for some reason, only you wish she wasn’t.

The world’s advice: abort people. If they’re negative, if they don’t further your success, if they drain you, if they’re somehow undeserving of your time and attention. Just cut them out of your life. Abort them.

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Christians are on the front lines of the battle against literal abortion. “Every life is precious,” we say, and that’s as it should be. But somehow, the world’s abortive mentality has crept into our thinking when it comes to the relationships we have with others. Babies are being killed because they’re inconvenient, they’ll hinder someone’s pursuit of success, or they have a disability, and we’re–rightly–grieved and outraged, but do we have any pangs of conscience when it comes to throwing away that inconvenient friend or that personality-handicapped family member? Is every life really precious?

We serve a Savior who loved the unlovely. Took time for the inconvenient. Invested in the drains. He felt their loneliness and rejection, and knew the pain of being scorned.

Because He was one of them.

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2b-3

Jesus stopped along the roadside, not for those who would further His success, but for those were needy. He called the awkward and personality impaired “brother.” He called a betrayer, “friend.” Even those who weilded the whip, embedded the thorns, and drove the nails didn’t hear, “Go to hell,” but, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Yes, there are people who are so difficult that we may have to love them from afar, taking time between each encounter with them to pray, recover, and forgive.

But we must remember who we were called to be.

I love, not because people deserve it, but because He first loved me.

I am forgiving because I have been forgiven much.

I am kind because God has been so kind to me.

I lay down my life for messy people because Christ laid down His life for the biggest mess of all– me. 

Extend grace. Because in God’s eyes, every life is precious. Even yours.

 

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Jonah- Lesson 3: The Fugitive

Michelle Lesley:

Today we continue with our rerun of the Jonah Bible study…

Originally posted on Michelle Lesley:

Jonah 1:2-3 

Well, Jonah, “got up” alright, but not to do what God told him to do.  He made up his mind he was going to Tarshish.  Now, don’t confuse “Tarshish” with “Tarsus”—that’s where Saul (Paul) was from. Tarsus is inAsia Minor, at the northeast corner of theMediterranean Sea.  Tarshish, on the other hand, is 2,000 miles away from our hero’s hometown, on the southern coast of Spain.  You have to go all the way across the Mediterranean Sea and through the Strait of Gibraltar to get to it.

In the ancient world, it was pretty much as far west as you could go before you fell off the edge of the earth.  Jonah didn’t just hop a bus for the next town, he was getting as far away from Nineveh as he possibly could.

Tarshish was a bustling seaport, a hub for exports to Israel and other points east. …

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