CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 10, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #1: Greed or Generosity

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

GREED #1: GREED OR GENEROSITY

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

 

 

GREED #1:

GREED OR GENEROSITY

SCRIPTURE:  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17)

DEVOTION: Greed is about accumulating. The dictionary definition is: selfish and grasping desire for possession, especially of wealth; avarice; covetousness. The last synonym, covetousness, leads us directly to our key verse, the tenth of the Ten Commandments.

     We all have a natural tendency to accumulate. I expect I’m worse than many, considering my Great Depression roots. Those of us from that era are concerned with saving for a rainy day. Unfortunately, the boundary between adequate preparation for hard times and excessive accumulation is narrow and easily crossed.

     I’ve yet to be able to follow the if you haven’t used it in a year,  you don’t need to keep it rule. It isn’t just financial records for the IRS that I keep beyond the seven year requirement—it’s other things too.

      Excessive accumulation is one aspect of greed that we don’t do well with—witness the growth of the storage shed industry.

     A second aspect of the unending pursuit of possessions is the limit of (more…)

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March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN DEVOTIONAL: ASH WEDNESDAY

MONTE W. HOLLAND

 

 

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

 

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

 

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

  

ASH WEDNESDAY

INTRODUCTION TO A LENTEN STUDY

ON THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS

Day 40

Scripture

 

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17—NRSV)

 

     Today is Ash Wednesday. Many persons will participate in a worship service where ashes will be imposed on their body as a symbol of their mortality and the brokenness of their relationship with God.

     Ashes and sackcloth are associated with repentance and mourning. Fittingly, the chosen Scripture reading describes what we aspire to—a life free from the deadly sins and filled with the virtues that are in direct opposition to the sins. This Lenten study will be about moving from being clothed in sackcloth to (more…)

April 2, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 40

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 40

Monte Holland

This is the fortieth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 39 Good Friday 

Today’s photograph features dogwood blossoms (symbolic of Easter). To read about the dogwood’s Christian symbolism, click on: http://www.biblehistory.com/150.htm 

Summary of the Study

To view a picture of a stained glass window, click on:

     Thank you to those of you who made your way to the end of this study. It is time to make a check list of items that I have chosen (not necessarily the best list) as essential to the Godly, moral life. I hope this list will be helpful as you and I continue to seek out an authentic lifestyle as servants of the Lord God.

  1. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)
  2. The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40)
  3. The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12)
  4. The Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13)
  5. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)
  6. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
  7. The Shepherd Psalm (Psalm 23)
  8. The Law on Heart and Mind (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
  9. Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10a)
  10. About our Labor (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

     Maybe a good overall summary of our approach to the Godly, moral life are these verses from the Apostle Paul:

     1 Thessalonians 5:16-22   Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

       Praise be to God who brings us the victory in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Monte and I welcome any comments you might have on the Lenten posts. Use the COMMENT box below to respond. For details on the COMMENT CONTEST click on: https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/monthly-prize-for-comments/

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ADDITIONAL READING:

SHALOM! MY LORD AND MY GOD! The Easter Story as told by Mary

WE KNEW HIM

April 1, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 39 Good Friday

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 39  Good Friday

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-ninth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 38

Today’s photographs feature crosses in a store window in Connellsville, PA, several years ago; a cross in the St. Francis Lithuanian Cemetery in Minersville, PA,  and a view of the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania (http://dailylinked.blogspot.com/2009/04/hill-of-crosses-lithuanian.html) . To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/04/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-39.html

Winding Things Down —-True Wisdom  Proverbs 9:7-12

Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse; whoever rebukes the wicked gets hurt. A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you; the wise, when rebuked, will love you. Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still; teach the righteous and they will gain in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me (wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Proverbs 9:10a Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

     Correct expectations are important. This section of the Proverbs of Solomon gives us a “heads up” about correcting and teaching others:

     Scoffers will abuse you and hate you.

     The wicked will hurt you.

     The wise will love you and get wiser.

     The righteous will gain in learning.

     “Fear” of the Lord (standing in awe of the Lord) leads to wisdom and our insight comes from knowing the Lord God. Our work is to be (more…)

March 31, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 38

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 38

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-eighth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/ 

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 37

Today’s photographs feature two locations. The cross casting a shadow is located at the head of the St. Georges River, Thomaston, Maine, on the property where Henry Knox built his summer home, Montpelier, in 1795.

     The second cross is seen from the distance on the road to East Lamoine State Park and East Lamoine Beach in East Lamoine, Maine. To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/04/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-38.html

     Today is Maundy Thursday— we remember the Last Supper, the betrayal of Jesus, and anticipate the Good Friday remembrance. We are closing in on Easter and its whole new picture of Jesus and a renewed hope for our lives. Today we look at Jeremiah’s image of God’s renewed people.

Images of the moral life- Jeremiah 33:31-34

The New Agreement with Israel and Judah: (more…)

March 30, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 37

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 37

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-seventh in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/ 

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 36

Today’s photographs feature Holy Trinity Church in Ligonier, PA.  To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/03/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-37.html

Images of God – Psalm 23

     Some Bible passages are much more familiar than others. We have already studied the very familiar Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40). One of the most familiar chapters in the Bible is Psalm 23, which has words of comfort that are often shared at funeral services. Many persons can recite Psalm 23 in the King James Version. Let us use that most familiar version:

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

   2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

   3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

   4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

   5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

   6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

     In living the Godly, moral life relating to God is essential. What images of this eternal, invisible God do we have? As visual-oriented people, how do we “see” God?

     Psalm 23 starts with an image that made much sense to the Old Testament Israelites— (more…)

March 29, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 36

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 36

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-sixth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 35

Today’s photographs feature St. Francis of Assisi (Lithuanian) Catholic Church in Minersville, PA. (Schuylkill County). To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/03/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-36.html

The Lord’s Prayer (part 3)

Today we will look at the rest of the Lord’s Prayer.

  Matthew 6:13-15

13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.

14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.

15But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

     The optional ending of verse 13, as noted in The New International Version, is: for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” a modernization of: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. It is missing from the current translations, except the New King James Version, while in the other versions it is noted at the bottom of the page.

     The Revised Standard Version notes (more…)

March 28, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 35

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 35

Monte Holland

This is the thirteenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

 To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 34

Today’s photographs feature First United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Monte had the opportunity to preach in 2003. To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/03/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-35.html

The Lord’s Prayer (part 2)

     Today, we will look at the Lord’s Prayer and what it says. While reading the words is important, the “rubber hits the road” when we pray it and experience God’s presence in that time of meditation.

     The Lord’s Prayer is well-known because it is used so often. It is about the only prayer that can be said by many people in unison in public without a printed sheet. Church services usually include the Lord’s Prayer, prayed in unison.

     When I was growing up, we always prayed the Lord’s Prayer as a team before our high school wrestling matches. For many of the athletes, it was their only contact with that prayer and became a way to learn to recite it. It was also a good prayer to recite, because (more…)

March 27, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 34

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 34

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-fourth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 33

Today’s photographs feature the Palm Sunday walk in Connellsville, PA. Unfortunately, the community Palm Sunday celebration is no longer being celebrated in this manner. To view click on:

     During the final seven devotionals relating to the Godly, moral life, we will look at the most famous prayer from Jesus, images of God, as well as some wisdom from the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, and the current times, followed by a final summary.

The Lord’s Prayer (part 1)

     Some television ads really “bug” me. And the worst part — they are aired over and over again during my favorite daily programs. The most offensive one advertises a necklace with a cross, in which the embedded Lord’s Prayer becomes visible by viewing one of the stones in the cross at just the right angle. The offensiveness occurs in the announcer’s statement: “The prayer almost miraculously appears when you look closely at the cross.” To equate the appearance of the implanted text of the prayer of Jesus, the true miracle worker, with being “miraculous”, is to almost imply that the Lord’s Prayer is an incantation that brings miracles. This is truly offensive.

    Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer to assist us in building our relationship with God. We pray it with expectation, not of a miracle, but of growing closer to God. Let us look at this great prayer with our eyes toward how it helps us build relationship with God.

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15 (CEV) and Luke 11.2-4)

 5When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.

    6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.

    7When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.

    9You should pray like this:

   Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name.

    10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed

   in heaven.

    11Give us our food for today.

    12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.

    13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.

    14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.  

   15But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Verses 9b-13 include the main thoughts of our traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer.

Preceding the words of the prayer, Jesus gives us some general instruction about prayer:

  1. Don’t show off for others to see when you pray.
  2. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. (God knows what you are doing there.)
  3. Keep your prayer brief and to the point. God already knows what you need.
  4. If you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you your sins.

Today, let us focus on the meaning of prayer and its role in the Godly, moral life.

First, prayer is connecting with God.

Second, prayer is important because the Godly, moral life is about loving God, neighbor and self.

Third, following up on the second point, God first loved our neighbor and our self. Thus, connecting with God in prayer is crucial.

Fourth, prayer involves listening as much, and probably more, than speaking.

A Model for Prayer – The Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Jesus, is often thought of as a model prayer. There is another model for prayer (more…)

March 25, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 33

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 33

Monte Holland

This is the thirty-third in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 32

Today’s photographs feature Ligonier, PA, area United Methodist churches— Pleasant Grove in Pleasant Grove, and Waterford in Waterford. To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/03/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-33.html

 Summary of Beatitudes Study

2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; 3and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not by ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stones but on tablets of human hearts. 4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.   2 Corinthians 3:2-4 (NRSV)

     This scripture reading came to me in The Upper Room devotional for March 19, 2009. Devotional time helps to inform our living the Godly, moral life.

     The Beatitudes, in a sense, become (more…)

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