The Anabaptist Voice
Warm Greetings to you, dear friend,
We pray you are well and happy under the grace of our Lord. We are doing well. Praise God. He is wonderful to us.
Naomi has been spending days at the home of Mary Matchin, the mother of Donna Davis. Mary is teaching Naomi a needlework called Swedish weave and Naomi is doing well. She made a Mother’s Day present for Michi (see photo). Naomi and Mary are having a wonderful time together. Naomi’s correspondence class for writing is finally over, she is waiting for her last writing assignment to come back, so she is freer to visit and enjoying a new way of life.
Naomi’s cockatiels have another batch of eggs hatching. The birds make lots of mess, but it is a joy to watch them. Below is a photo of a dove on top of a saguaro cactus.
Michi went with Naomi to her physical therapy Monday. Naomi is practicing again to use crutches instead of her walker. She had been using crutches but about 19 months ago she fell and broke her hip and has been using the walker ever since. Michi is to stay by Naomi as she learns again to use the crutches. In the house she is still supposed to use the walker but out of the house she is supposed to use crutches.
How To Live a Long Life
Dr. Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, wrote a book titled ‘The Longevity Bible’, in which he discusses eight strategies that can increase your years on earth. They are: 1. Exercise your brain by doing such things as playing “brain games”. 2. Think positively which will help you reduce pain, give you more energy and allow you to live a happier life. 3. Improve your environment, such as eliminate household clutter. 4. Reduce stress. 5. Eat a healthy diet. 6. Maintain social connections by learning to become a better listener (especially with your spouse). 7. Take appropriate medications. 8. Stay physically fit.
A Happy Marriage?
Two years ago Don was praying and thanking the Lord for his dear wife Michi when the Lord God spoke to him saying, “I gave her to you because I love you.” Wow! It is so amazing to hear God’s voice and so wonderful to hear Him tell you that He loves you. But as Don ponders that, he also realizes that his heavenly Father knows that he needs Michi and would be incomplete without her. He considers her to be his better half. She thinks Don is her better half.
Don and Michi have been married nearly 50 years and it seems that their marriage gets better each year. They have found it important to recognize each other’s contributions to the marriage, and to frequently compliment each other on their daily activities, showing appreciation for each other. People consist of a body, soul and spirit and for a happy marriage, all three areas of our lives have to be in harmony with each other.
Worshipping the Lord together helps. Praying to God together brings us closer to God and also our marriage relationship becomes closer. When we feel the love of God, we feel the love of our spouse stronger, also.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” (Eph 5:22-23)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Eph 5:25)
“Three things that are delightful to God and to everyone: harmony between brothers, friendship between neighbors and a wife and husband who live happily together.” (Ecclesiasticus 25:1-2)
Let us trust in the Lord, and let us rest in His love.
Study the Bible!
We all want to be in harmony with God and to be able to enjoy the righteousness, peace and joy that is available to those who are fully in God’s kingdom. (Rom 14:17) In order to be in God’s kingdom, we must live a life that pleases God, which means we must study God’s Word, the Bible, especially the New Testament, to learn how to do that.
Last week we mentioned several decisions that a person needs to make in regards to Bible study. Now we have some suggestions for a fruitful Bible study. Our main suggestion is to have a daily family Bible study. People often overlook their study time because of other pressing needs but if it is a scheduled time with other members of the family, it is more likely to occur. Also of course it brings unity to the family and sets a standard for the children.
We suggest that each day prior to the evening meal, the entire family set down to study the Bible. Start with a prayer and a hymn and then read a few verses in the Bible, 15-25 verses depending on the content, and then discuss them. Finish with a prayer and a closing song.
You will get more out of the study if you read the passage in several different translations. You might read the next day’s passage the previous evening in the New English Bible, the next morning read it again in the New American Standard and then in the family Bible study read it in the NIV.
As you study the Gospels, you may notice that the main theme of the teachings of Jesus is the kingdom of God. Wherever He went, He preached about the kingdom of God and He sent His apostles out to do the same. The very last verse in the Book of Acts says, “Boldly and without hindrance he [Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:31)
The irony is that the message of the kingdom is almost totally missing from the gospel that’s preached today. As a result, a lot of Christians don’t realize that the kingdom of God is a present reality on earth. In fact, they don’t even know what the kingdom of God is. Consequently, they never make the kingdom commitment that Christ requires and therefore will never enter His kingdom and be saved.
Jesus said that your first priority should be to seek the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33), that you must be born again to even see it (John 3:3) and He gave conditions for entering it (Mt 5:20, 7:21, 18:3, 19:23, Mark 9:47, 10:15, 10:24, Luke 18:17, 18:24, John 3:5).
Therefore we suggest that your daily Bible study should consist of learning about the kingdom of God by going through the Gospels, then the letters from Peter and John (the apostles who spent the three years with Jesus), then the Book of Acts, Paul’s letters and Hebrews. Leave the Book of Revelation and the Old Testament for private reading.
Study the Gospels more often than you do the epistles. Always remember that the entire Bible is to be understood in the light of the teachings of Jesus given in the Gospels. And remember the third part of the Great Commission, the part of teaching disciples to obey all of the commands of Christ. (Mt 28:20)
When Paul went to Corinth, he first spent three months preaching in the synagogue to the Jews, speaking boldly, persuading and arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8) This teaching obviously was something new to them, it was not familiar to their Old Testament minds, and many would not accept it.
What is a Pentecostal?
Last Saturday at the 10 am CDO prayer meeting we talked about what is a Pentecostal. When we finished the meeting a woman came to the food bank in the church and asked what is a Pentecostal. So God was at work, preparing us for that women’s question. And that is one of the characteristics of a Pentecostal: being aware that God is near and is always at work trying to bring everyone into His kingdom. Some people feel that God is far away and think that His miracles are just coincidents. Pentecostals know that He is near, almighty and that He answers prayer.
What is an Anabaptist?
The Anabaptist is a person who is aware of the two kingdoms: that of God and that of the world which is governed by Satan. Most Christians have some awareness of that yet their lifestyle is little different than that of the world. Anabaptists seek the kingdom of God therefore they try to heed John’s teaching to love not the world or the things of the world. (1 John 2:15) They attempt to live according to all of the commands of Christ and His apostles. Anabaptists are known for their plain living, no mind controlling television in their homes and for their refusal to be drawn into the wars and conflicts that nationalism creates. They consider the southern United States border fence to be an offense against brotherly love, and therefore offensive to God.
Whereas the Pentecostals tend to stress the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12, 14), the Anabaptists tend to stress the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:16-25). “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their old nature with its passions and desires.” (Eph 5:24)
Now, dear friend, may the Lord God strengthen your heart so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess 3:13)
Your Pentecostal Anabaptist brother and sisters in Christ,
Don, Michi and Naomi Murphy
9036 N. Mexican Sage Place,
Tucson, AZ 85742