Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This is a conversation between me, myself and the Lord.
I have a difficult time being myself around Christians. I do it to myself, it isn't their fault I don't think. It's hard for me to keep friends because I'm probably very boring around them as I am too protective of myself to open up and be stupid ole me. I eventually stopped going to the grace walk group here as it was only about a six week video thing. After the video there was a little discussion, question and answers, but I wanted the whole thing to be discussion. I didn't finish the videos. I rarely hang out with my Church other than Sunday. Maybe it's lack of people my own age? But I even feel uptight around Christians my own age. They're all smiling and open and reaching out, whereas I am shy, mellow and afraid to be silly. What if they think I'm too worldly or irreligious?
Another thing...I'm very greedy with the Lord. I want to be alone with Him. Sometimes I can be okay with the presence of others, but I like being alone with Him.
I want my mind stayed on Him at all times. Like the guy who wrote Practicing the Presence of God. I want undivided devotion to Him. Nothing else brings peace and joy like knowing Him and just looking at Him. But there are so many distractions. Pride, daydreaming, video games, tv, internet, radio, the desire to constantly be doing something and on and on the list goes. I hate sitting still, but when I do, and I gaze into the face of God...It's wonderful. For my spirit at least. The desires of the flesh tug against the desire of the Spirit.
I don't want to be legalistic about avoiding things such as I mentioned above, but I do want discipline in those areas. Not out of a desire to justify myself, but sincerely out of a desire to just...be aware of Him and look at Him. But then I get so filled up with Him that I don't know what I wanna do! Maybe just express it in love? But sometimes I don't wanna be around anyone, sometimes I just wanna be in love with the Lord without anyone disturbing me.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Under the law, I would be very condemned right now. Especially when driving home, I looked in my side mirror and saw a license plate that said JESUS. Then I remember the Scripture of people entertaining angels unawares. And how Jesus said "I was a stranger and you welcomed Me."
I wish I could have done something...and I feel bad I couldn't. But I guess I am not alone. Even the Christians who Paul first tried to join were afraid of him and didn't trust him.
I hate feeling fear, but even more so I hate giving into it. Then the devil uses moments like these to say things like, "See...You're a coward. Now what if someone were about to kill you for your faith in Christ? You would cower in a corner and renounce your faith and commit apostasy."
I refuse to accept those accusations.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Question: Who are these people? Do they represent people who profess but the fruit of their lives doesn't match up with what the faith they profess (i.e. living in sin and rebellion)? Or are these people who try to bear fruit and live righteously but it's all religious and not coming from a relationship with the Lord Jesus? Or could it be both?
How about the next paragraph..."Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Who is this describing? What are 'these words'?
And last, what does Jesus mean by saying, 'The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many?' And what does He mean by saying the Narrow Gate is is hard?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Reading this, you must understand that the wedding garment is the robe of righteousness given to us by Christ. It's His own righteousness given to us. I think it's interesting there is a man who is in the wedding hall who got in, but apparently tried doing it by another way. Which of course reminds me of what Jesus said in the beginning of John chapter 10: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the Door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."
The man did not come with the robe of righteousness. He obviously tried to get in, but not according to the rules. He tried to sneak in without the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He tried to sneak in with his own righteousness and his own clothes and not the proper wedding garment. And so Jesus says, "How did you get in here?" And the guy was speechless. He had nothing to say for himself. There was nothing he could boast about when he saw the King Himself. He realized the futility of trying to get in his own way and how pitiful a plan it was.
There apparently will be people on judgment day who will stand before the King in their own rags, speechless, without a single thing to say. It will be plain to them then that, "through obedience to the law, no man shall be justified."
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I'm having a mocha latte right now and caffeine usually puts me in a good mood. A mood to express myself.
No, but seriously. I usually have this constant underlying anxiety of questioning my sincerity and checking myself by examining my feelings and desires and making sure they're holy. And guess what? Feelings are very fragile! Putting faith in experiences or feelings is an excellent way to squander your peace and joy in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Always examining yourself to check and see whether or not you have loving feelings for the lost or for the brethren isn't the best idea. If we want to test ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith, which Scripture people take out of context. Paul was simply being sarcastic towards Corinthians who had started to suspect Paul of being false. But anyway...If you do want to test yourself and see if you're in the faith...Look to the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therein lies your foundation. There is your assurance. He is your foundation and there is no other! The enemy's neverending strategy is to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves somehow. He never ever points us to the love of God or to the grace of God. He always points to you. He seeks to exalt himself, not God. He tries to get you to do the same. To get you to fall the same way he did. We feel the urge, the undying passion of the flesh to have SOMETHING to boast about, but there is no boasting!
I know it seems too easy and too simple and it's easy to play "what if" games. But God's commandment is simply to trust in His Son. His Son who was pleasing to Him. He that believes is not condemned. But he that does not believe is condemned already.
So then..don't you think the enemies main strategy would be to hinder your faith? Faith is what it's all about, not works! If he can get your mind off of Christ, then he has stolen your faith.
"We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting Rock!" - Isaiah 26:1-4
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I bring this up because I am watching the movie Signs for the millionth time. Joaquin Phoenix and Mel Gibson are great actors...I love the beginning when Joaquin hears the very faint scream of his niece and jumps outta bed, ready for action. I don't know why. I just like it...
But ET scared the fool outta me when I was a kid. This movie is kinda spooky too...Especially when Mel goes off into the corn stalks by himself. He must be stupid.
Just wanted to link everyone in case you missed it, to the link under "Sermons" on the left side of my blog. It's called Warrant of Faith. It's a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. It's lengthy, but you babes longing for the pure spiritual milk of the Word should gulp it down easy.
Thanks again, Brian for posting this. More amazing words by brother Spurgeon.
Random thought - I wonder if men grow beards in heaven?
One reason is I simply forget how! Maybe it's fear I won't be accepted anymore if I am truly myself? Maybe people will think I'm weird, unregenerate or ugly or gross? Mostly unregenerate. Always trying to prove myself to myself and to others and when they approve of me, I approve of myself. I feel Jesus leading me to freedom in this area now. I wanna be me. I don't want to impress anyone anymore. It makes love and relationship really hard, if not impossible.
But the fear of being myself is one of my biggest hindrances to brotherly love and enjoying other peoples company. Sometimes I want them to go away so I can relax and be myself. I can't love others if I don't accept the person I am. Nor can I allow others to love me. Well, not the real me anyway. And so that can breed bitterness towards even our friends because we refuse to relax and be ourselves. It makes us bitter because we're so stressed out every time we're around them and we just wanna take a break! And so we begin to despise their company because of our inability to be free to be ourselves.
I don't wanna avoid anyone because of exhaustion of trying to present some beautiful image of myself to them. I wanna let them in to my life without trying to be a people pleaser.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I understand what people mean when they say that. Maybe I am being picky, but that word aggravates me a little when people use it to describe their salvation or whatnot. My part is to trust, not to work. But I do understand the commit thing. But I would rather call it an infatuation or love. I don't "commit" my life to God. He gave His life for me.
Like Steve McVey mentioned in his recent post "The Lordship Salvation Debate", everyone who believes in Jesus has a desire to please Him. I believe that a love for the Lord, not a dedication or 'buckling down and gritting your teeth' type of thing is what controls us. Not your commitment. It's your infatuation, not your dedication. It's a desire, not a duty.
It just slightly askews the Gospel for people I think.
It sucks to dissect the meaning and happenings of relationship, but I guess it's necessary with so much religious mentalities that spring forth from feelings of inadequacy or distance from God or fear of being rejected.
Jamie and I were speaking the other day on the phone and she mentioned she didn't want us to make the mistake of turning grace into the next 'it thing' of Christianity like praise & worship music was in the 90's. And then after we've had our dose of grace we move onto the next spiritual adrenaline shot. No, guys. We're not preaching grace. We're preaching Jesus. Who He is, what He has done, the way He feels towards us and His power towards us who believe in Him.
Grace is not the next popular thing to give you a new surge of spiritual energy in your Christian life, guys. Grace is Jesus. When I say grace, I mean Jesus. That's all this grace teaching is. It's Jesus. Grace is what is in His heart. Grace is simply a word to describe the love of Jesus. Unconditional love.
I've noticed Joyce Meyer and everyone seem to be jumping on the grace bandwagon in one form or another. But this isn't just some doctrine to help you in your Christian life! Jesus is the revelation of God's heart which is unconditional love!
- By the way, I am not picking on Joyce Meyer. I think she is great at sharing the truth of God's grace. I in no way intend to put her down. I just meant that I don't want this to become some new doctrine to add to the doctrine file folder so that you can whip it out whenever you need it.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
A lot like when you fall in love as a teenager. You don't want to think about or talk to any person other than the one whom you're in love with. You don't wanna go anywhere or do anything but talk to that person.
I don't want my heart stolen from undivided devotion to my God, my Jesus. Love is the most exciting thing there is. I don't want desires for other things to quench my fascination and devotion.
Sometimes when I open my Bible, I am longing for it to tell me something, but I don't know what. I want it to show me His face.
The first day He set my eyes on Him, sin just became bland and stale. I found the most amazing person. The most amazing and exciting love. A "divine romance". Sometimes I wish I could feel that way all the time. To feel that passion every second. To see His face all the time. Jesus Christ has provided the Way beyond the veil into God's room. I can go in anytime I like. I don't want laziness or passivity to hinder me from simply looking at Him. The knowledge of Him transforms hearts. It's the most exciting and thrilling thing to just focus on Him and to think of Him.
I want my affections constantly to be set on things Godly. Love, holiness, purity. I don't want distractions. I only want Him.
This is no cliche when I quote the Psalm:
"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life."
Friday, December 12, 2008
I've come to the realization I do love people who don't understand grace and I want to abound in love and show the grace I have received myself. The devil can easily use our hatred for legalism and try to use it to turn us against our brothers and sisters. We have to be on guard against cynicism and fear which creates bitterness and that breeds dissension with our family in Christ in our minds.
The truth is, I do love being with Christians...There is comfort and familiarity there. But when it comes to hearing them talk about their perceptions and understandings of some things in the Scripture, I would rather not hear it lol. I just want to be with them.
Just because you feel anxious around Christians who don't understand grace doesn't mean you hate them. It just means you need to have a more solid footing on your understanding of grace. You don't hate them or dislike them. You dislike the teaching. Don't let satan use your doubts to create fear of your brothers and sisters in Christ. He is only trying to stir up dissension. No matter what legalism they may say, they cannot separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The enemy is always trying to cause dissension among us Saints of God. By ourselves we are weak, lonely and very susceptible to sin and doubt.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
One of the most common things is universalism. They get a revelation of how loving God really is, they take that and run off into myths and heresies like universalism. This heresy is a corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A major corruption. A major lie. "If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." I didn't say it. The Holy Spirit did. There is a literal hell. There is a literal lake of fire. Don't like it? Neither do I.
There are also others who just sort of go on and on with speculation. I will say this now...I despise speculation. Speculation is just that. Speculation. There is no truth in it. It's all speculation. Call me old fashioned and dogmatic. I don't care.
Watch out for weirdo theology. Grace doesn't mean "anything goes theology". Grace is grounded on truth. Grace and Truth. Grace doesn't mean we think like idiots. It empowers us to be mature and sober minded.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I preach against it and know it's wrong. But the reason I hate it so much is because I hear it so much from myself or the accuser. I am quick to attack others and be cynical of them, wanting it to be their fault, when in reality it isn't. Of course people can make the situation worse by not preaching grace, but ultimately, it is within our own minds, not from the pulpit that we hear the most legalism.
As for me, I am very prone to constantly whipping myself mentally for being so worldly, selfish, proud and foolish. It's beating me down and every time it does, I receive a fresh revelation of grace and the offer of Jesus to again make the effort to rest. I can choose to go on, mentally smacking myself around for not doing something, saying something, thinking something. I hate legalism, yet I hold onto it out of fear. I am afraid to let go of allowing myself to be smacked around. What if I get worldly and sinful?
"O, afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires."
I know grace in my head. But it hasn't completely taken over perception of myself and Jesus. I am constantly pushed around mentally, always examining my actions.
I always feel Jesus is exasperated with me. I never see myself as someone yielded to God and bearing fruit. I never allow myself to think such things. Oh no. Grace seems to be for everyone else, but not for me.
I remind myself of the scarecrow, the tin-man and the cowardly lion all in one. While the scarecrow always thought he had no brain, he was the one who came up with a plan to rescue Dorothy from the witches castle. Tin-man always thought he was without a heart, yet he was the one crying when he started thinking about Dorothy in the witches castle. And lion thought he had no courage, yet he was willing to go into the castle and bring her out, risking his life. They all had what they didn't believe they had. They had it, they just lived in constant stubbornness and false humility of not believing it.
I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, yet I can believe otherwise and allow myself to be miserable.
The truth is I don't need rules anymore. I have the life of Jesus Christ. I quench the Holy Spirit by introducing Mr. Law back into my life. I have to let go and trust Jesus to control me by His love. Freedom. I'm always speaking against legalism but constantly allowing myself to be hammered with it. I am 139 pounds of contradictions.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I was sitting on the trunk of my car, waiting for my cousin Paul to pick me up and drive me to the DMV when I was reminded of Moses coming down from talking with God and how his face was shining. The Holy Spirit gently whispered and told me that Moses' face wasn't shining because he willed it to shine. He could have tried to shine until his face turned blue and not an ounce of light would have come from his face. He was shining because he had been communing with God. He was just looking at God and listening. And his face was transformed and he started to glow. Paul then goes on to say after describing this in 2nd Corinthians chapter 3, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree on glory to another."
Now with us, it's not like Moses in that our physical bodies do not glow. It is Jesus in us who burns and He is our light by His love expressed through us. And how do we glow? By struggling to glow? No...By gazing into the face of Jesus with an unveiled face. After all HE is the light, not us. We're containers of that Light. We are not that light. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but came to bear witness about the Light" (John 1:7-8)
I go back to the example I expressed somewhere on this blog before. The moon is a big ball of dirt. It has no light of itself. The moon is a reflection of the glory of the sun. The moon simply gazes into the face of the sun and it glows with the light of the sun. When the sun goes away at night, the moon remains as a light for people dwelling in the darkness. In the same way, Jesus shines on us and makes us glow in the midst of a dead world. You see, if I initiate ANYTHING, it is no longer Jesus doing it. It is me. It's no longer the Light Himself, it's me, the container of the Light (a ball of dirt) trying to make my dirt shine. It ain't gonna work. Flesh will always be flesh. It's dust. Dust only reflects the light of the Son. It is not that Light itself.
Gaze into the face of Jesus Christ, receive revelation and knowledge of Him and He will shine in you. He will burn in you. Drink of Him and He will flow through you.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I know there are a lot of Christians who hold the belief that we should not allow gay marriage - besides, God doesn't approve of it anyway. But should we really force morals on the outside world? "Does not God judge those outside?"
Here is my point: In Romans 1:24 Paul says, "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."
Now, if God gave them up to do what they like, should not we also? I'm not advocating gay marriage in the least. It's sinful. But should we try to keep the world moral? I don't think that is our job.
Now, when it comes to abortion, I am all for putting a stop it. Murder ought never to be legalized, regardless of the persons size or age. To what point do you consider it murder? where is the line drawn? At what point in time does the child enter into their right to live? What size or age must they be before it's considered murder to kill them? Of course one may say, "You are forcing your ideas and beliefs on me by outlawing abortion." But you seem to think it alright to force your ideas on the helpless infant by condemning that defenseless person to death. And that for the sake of your convenience. "But", one may say, "I was raped". Does that make the child in your womb any less a person because you were raped? What about their ideas and beliefs? Or would you kill them before they are able to voice it? Who's ideas and beliefs are being forced on who?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Okay, so Jesus and I are going for my license this week!! I can drive all cars through Christ who strengthens me!
Peaches is currently bathing herself on my bed. Idiot cat. She thinks I need cleanin'. She latches onto my bare skull and licks my shaved head. It's funny though. I am not dirty. But I do kinda look like one of those hairless cats since I shaved my beard. Isn't it funny how your head looks like a peanut after you shave your beard? That's just 'cause I have a small chin I guess. It's funny.
Love you guys...Random post, I understand.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
At their Church it was amazing to worship with them!! The worship level, when grace is being taught without mixture is absolutely beautiful. When the lyrics to a certain song said 'You are my God', I could believe it!!! My eyes watered up while I listened to Ryan and the band play and Jamie give her word. It was incredible!!!!!!!!!!
Jamie and Ryan sent me home with a bunch of grace-goodies to read and listen to. I got my hands full. ;)
Right now I just miss them all. I just love their company. Even if they ain't sayin' anything (I think my southern accent is resurfacing a little).
The only thing I wish I could take away was the stupid timidity I feel! Ahh!! I long to be affectionate and just to be me.
Another person I absolutely LOVED meeting was Tommy, a close friend of Ryan and Jamie. He has the most gentle, loving, humble and honest spirit. He hugged me! A GUY, the first time I met him, hugged me and told me he loved me! And the crazy thing is is that I love him too!!!! I just met him!! It's because Jesus is in him and me, burning us beautiful. Burning us holy.
And TERRI! Jamie's sister! Ahh...She is so wonderful and free. I want to be free like her. She is wide open with nothing holding her back. I wanna be like that. The thrill of no borders or boundaries...She is so funny and kind...I hope she knows she never offended me in the least.
And Jamie's mom!! I only spoke to her briefly. But the tender, warm love of Jesus is burning in her eyes. Every last one of them were like a warm fire. A place of security and sincere love. Not their flesh generated fake love. It is Jesus' own love burning in them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has lit a fire in their hearts to be a light for the blind to see, and a warmth for those shivering in the cold of legalism. I wanna love, I wanna love, I wanna love!!! I just wanna love.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So here I am guest posting on Matt's blog...YIKES!! Probably, he shouldn't have trusted me...
About our long week-end...
we have talked, laughed, questioned, concluded, smiled, gotten sad when we thought about good-bye, laughed some more, and mostly just loved each other. We have agreed boxers, not briefs; the cross, not anything else; freedom, not bondage; and faith, not sight. We have decided Jesus is all we need and He is more than enough! Grace has made us a family. God is SOOOO GOOOOD like that.
We watched Tyler Perry's Diary Of A Mad Black Woman and we think Orlando makes a REALLY HOT Jesus with cornrows. It gets the Campbell/Weeks "two thumbs up!"
We're not sure what tomorrow will look like but we only have to live right NOW, in this moment, and our hearts and souls are saying, "Yes!" Yes to Life, Love, and Liberty in Christ!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
"I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD am your Savior and your Redeemer the Mighty One of Jacob.
Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; it its time I will hasten it. "
Saturday, November 1, 2008
And again in Isaiah 51:11: "Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
None will make us afraid (Ezekiel 34:28).
If God has justfied me, who can condemn me? Jesus has sown and I have reaped. It is not mine, but He made it mine. Who is going to take it away from me?
Jesus gives to the poor, the unworthy, the evil, the wicked, the ungodly. But He sends away the rich empty handed. "He fills the hungry with good things" and, "He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate."
He makes humble the mountains and exalts the valleys. Jesus is the only God. There is none as beautiful as He.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
When Jesus loves me, it's because He loves me.
If you had a husband who bought you jewelry in order to get you to do something for him, is that really love? Isn't that a selfish motive? God gives without expecting anything in return.
Jesus took our punishment in full and we have the love of God handed to us, free for the taking. "All sins and blasphemies will be forgiven the children of man. " Just take it. Will you believe this? "When the Son of Man returns will He really find faith on the earth?" Ah...My brother or sister...Jesus loves you more than you can imagine.
If you are not a Christian but have stumbled on this blog, it isn't for nothing. God meant you to read this. He entreats you to come inside the to party so that He can love you. He pleads with you to come in and let Him love on you through His Son, Jesus. Jesus has taken away the judgment against you. No amount of begging, crying, pleading, or trying to be good can save you. The entire work has been done. Now He dares you to believe it. That is your job. It isn't a trick.
One reason I love the movie the Polar Express is because of the message in the song, "You can ride for free and join the fun, if you just say yes." Repent and believe. Repent of your skepticism, repent of your unbelief and repent of wondering, 'is this too good to be true?'. This isn't a trick. God entreats you through His sons and daughters to believe and to receive this great gift of Jesus. It isn't about being good. No one is good. This is about faith. Do you believe or do you not? "The fearful and unbelieving will their their part in the lake of fire."
"My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My Soul has no pleasure in him."
God has done everything for you. There is no excuse. Just believe.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.' But you were unwilling, and you said, 'No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, 'We will ride upon swift steeds'; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as He hears it, He answers you."
Jamie and I were talking today on the phone and I asked her a question. The question was basically, "Does God love me in order to get me to do stuff for Him?" A lot of people would have you believe so.
But how is it that Jesus, God Himself, can say that the Law says to lend, expecting nothing in return, and yet we believe that God does expect something in return?
Does God bless me and love me to get me to do stuff for Him or just because He loves me and He delights in doing good to me?
Am I saying that I don't get full of the love of Jesus and it spills into the lives of others? Absolutely not! But is God's motivation in giving grace and love so that I will return the favor? Absolutely not! "Even sinners lend to sinners to give back the same amount." (Luke 6:34)
God gives blessing, love and grace because He loves you, not because He expects anything from you.
Wallow in the love of God, freely. There are no hidden fees.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
P.S. We went to Caffino today before they left and we played Blokus outside and had coffee and took a few more pictures. It was a beautiful day. Jesus has blessed me with such a wonderful family. I will be going to their house in two weeks though!! So it won't be long!! :) Can't wait!!!
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the GOSPEL (AWESOME NEWS!) that you heard."
People use this as a condemning verse. Oh no, please, anything but making me believe the wonderful news of the Gospel!! (sense my sarcasm?) Please don't make me bear the burden of believing God has taken away my sins forever through Jesus' Cross!! I am only saved if I don't shift from this wonderful hope, not returning to self-effort. Haha.. Threaten me with grace!!! I LOVE IT!! BRING IT ON!!! The more grace the better!!! I will allow Him to love me forever. Even when it hurts and makes me feel like a dirty beggar.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The dinner was great. Honestly I was so excited by their company that I barely noticed the food, which was great too. Thank you Ryan and Jamie. You both are amazing. I am quiet and hard to discern on the outside, but inside I am glowing lol.
The initial seeing each other was really scary for me, but we quickly warmed up with each other. Ryan isn't 6 foot tall!! He is taller than I am though, which you will see in the pictures we took tonight that Jamie will post on her blog soon enough. I'm a small guy.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for our dinner. It was wonderful. Ryan, Jamie and their daughters, Devon and Savannah were so comfortable to be around. Devon and Savannah are highly intelligent and very funny. OH! We saw a guy with a tail too!! I sort of stared and giggled and kept to myself but Jamie, bold as she is, told the guy she loved it and that she wanted one which was hilarious. We should have gotten a picture, but I guess no one thought of it at the time. Darn it.
I can't wait to visit them again. I hope to in November to visit their home and their farm. Only Devon won't be there though. :( It was so cool to be around someone my age who is a Christian and UNDERSTANDS GRACE. Whoa! But I would love to meet Reagan. He sounds very fun. He likes Eragon and Halo, so he is my style.
OH! I forgot to tell him, but I will say it on here for you to read to him, Jamie. Tell Ryan he has a has a good handshake! LOL! I appreciate a good handshake. And thank you again so much for the Rob Bell books! I'm excited to read them! I like his style of writing too. It looks like a good, smooth read.
Tonight was wonderful. I'll never forget it. I love them!!!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I just wanted to say that I don't ignore your comments on my blog. I read them all even if I don't reply. After gaining so many friends, it's difficult to keep up with you all. But thank you for visiting my blog and I am glad you are encouraged by what I post up on here. I pray that it is used by God to deeply root you in His love. I can't love you perfectly, but I will point you to the One who can.
Much grace and peace to all who love and trust our Lord Jesus Christ, His Cross, His resurrection and nothing and no one else. Continue in the truth. :)
We agreed we would both post blogs before and after the dinner.
I think it was Joel who first pointed me to Ryan and Jamie's blog in his own blog post. I knew that this was a must read blog from the get-go. Jamie always points to Jesus and never to us. Since then we have e-mailed everyday, talked on the phone and now we're all going out to dinner.
I am very excited but very nervous. It's always scary the first time. But I have a feeling I will feel right as rain with them. I feel security over the phone even. It is like being surrounded by the grace of Jesus. I always expect to hear things I hear from every other person in the faith older than me, telling me about all the obligations I have for Jesus. But Jamie never does that. She always points me to His love for me and that His love will not fail. Ryan and Jamie are so convinced of the power of His love that I don't sense one hint of religion in them. They are so filled up with Jesus because of their ruthlessly entrusting themselves to His love. I can't wait to speak with them face to face.
I am afraid of whether or not I will hinder Jesus loving them through me because of fear. But I have sneaking suspicions that He is greater than my fears. I have expectations of feelings of security and comfort tomorrow. Talking with them is sort of like coming to a heavenly embassy. There is safety, protection and familiarity there. The love of Jesus is so evident I can sense it. The protection of His unfailing love is in them and through them for me. I don't understand why He loves me so much. I am not being modest, I honestly do not understand it.
I tell them in my e-mails that they love me too much. The truth is, is that I don't know how to handle all of it. If I could draw you a picture, this would be it:
I picture myself standing here, arms loaded with presents from strangers, wondering why they love me so much and how they could be so generous.
I think God gives a better picture, though. I was just reading the story of Mephibosheth yesterday. Mephibosheth had nothing to offer. He was cripple in both his feet, and the king, David himself, commands that Mephibosheth be blessed with servants, a house, food and everything he would ever need. Not only that, he is to eat at the king's table EVERYDAY!
Jesus' love is in your face and makes you uncomfortable, because He loves you with this perfect knowledge of you and insists that He joins Himself to you despite all of the sins you would love to hide. All of your most filthy sins, His love being so vast, He, "brushes them aside like an unwanted cobweb." He loves us now through each other. He hugs us through each other. It's scary and I will feel very nervous about this post tomorrow.
It feels almost embarrassing to say things like this and act so loving because you're so used to being who you used to be, it feels strange to have these new desires and affections. I am so accustomed to the old, dead sinner I used to be that behaving like the righteous person I am seems embarrassing. But with the push of love from sincere brothers and sisters who are filled with Love, that should give me the hang of it.
I am nervous and excited. I am so glad I know people close to me who really know Jesus.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Remember, under the Old Covenant, people were blessed for their obedience to the law and cursed for their disobedience. If you kept the commandments, you got health, wealth and prosperity. Outward blessings for outward obedience I am assuming. And if you disobeyed the commandments you got the opposite: Sickness, poverty, famine. Get it? Under the law, if you do good, you get good. If you do bad, you get bad. Simple enough. A covenant based on performance.
Now, poor guys were considered poor because they were not as obedient. The rich were considered blessed because they were obedient.
Understanding this, Jesus' very first words before the sermon on the mount are this:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
"Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied ."
"Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh."
And for the rich He says,
"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation."
"Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry."
"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Jesus is the only reason I am blessed and He is the only reason I have peace when heartbreak comes. Let us boast only in Jesus and His love for us. He HIGHLY favors me and ridiculously loves me. Why? Because I'm so beautiful? YES! But He has washed me and made me beautiful!! I am His work of art in the spirit, by the Spirit! Don't complain about me, God judges me. And His court has declared me righteous forever in Christ! Everlasting righteousness!!
His banner over me is love. It fills Him with joy to lavish His grace and give His kingdom to me.
Not just me. To everyone who has trusted in Jesus' work on the cross and His resurrection. He is our life and righteousness. The Father loves you!!!! Yes, you!! How? Because Jesus has satisfied His justice completely! He is NEVER angry with you. You are no longer a slave, but you are His son or daughter. Loved by God perfectly, free of charge to you. Jesus paid the price! You are loved forever!!!! FOREVER!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I e-mailed this to a few people so you may have read this already, but I figured I would post it for anyone who may not have seen it.
Here ya go:
'Now Adam knew Eve is wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.' And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.'
Now, I always wondered why God didn't accept Cain's offering but He accepted Abel's. But the book of Hebrews gives us a hint in Hebrews 9:22: 'Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.'
And again in Hebrews 11:4: 'By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.'
Now remember that God had told Adam, 'By the sweat of your brow you shall work the ground.'
So we see that Cain was trying to make himself acceptable before God by his own labor. His own works. He probably thought to himself, 'I know God said He wanted blood for the forgiveness of my sins, but that's just too easy. Surely I have to do MY part.'
But his brother Abel simply brought a lamb sacrifice. So we see that Abel BY FAITH, (not by working his butt off) was made righteous before God. Why? Because the blood of the lamb was a picture of the one whom He loved. His Son, Jesus. The only One in whom He is well pleased.
So at judgment day we can either come to the Lord with our works to be judged (All who are under the works of the Law are under a curse.) or Jesus' work on our behalf. You can either be under Law or Grace. It cannot be both. New wine cannot be poured into old wineskins. You cannot mix the old covenant of law with the New Covenant of Grace in Jesus' blood.
What's it gonna be? Works or Jesus? Law or Grace? Unbelief or faith?
Luke 18:17: 'Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well, if the shoe fits! I was thinking the other day about how dumb it is I must clarify that grace is free. "Free grace"...When you think about the definition of grace as being unearned, the phrase "free grace" is redundant. But because of people sneaking in heresies into the Gospel, we must clarify. Do I believe in 'free grace'? Grace is free, so yeah...I believe in free grace. Quit being ridiculous. I know it makes you feel special and above others when you bring performance into the Gospel of Christ, but if you insist on corrupting the Gospel, please, don't bring others down with you. We need not make it about what WE do again, no matter how good your reasoning sounds. It's manipulation and guilt. You remain in slavery as a child of Hagar, but our Jerusalem above is free.
Having to clarify truth isn't new either. Paul himself had to be redundant with the Galatians. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free."
Why did Jesus set us free? For freedom. Redundant? Yep. Why do you make God repeat Himself? Do not be disbelieving, but believe. Repent and BELIEVE the GOOD NEWS.
People everywhere couldn't help but love Jesus. He was so beautiful. Even Pontius Pilate couldn't bring himself to want to condemn Jesus. Only those who believe they have no need of grace hate Jesus. The only way to rebel against Jesus is to refuse His love for you. You cannot rebel against Someone who doesn't take into account wrongs done to Him. His love is so persistent and wrecklessly committed, He wouldn't even take into account the the torture we inflicted Him with on the cross. Still, He cried, "Father, forgive them!!!"
The only people who hate Jesus are those who refuse to see their need of Him. The proud. The ones ashamed to beg. Grace just doesn't sound right to them. They cannot grasp it because they have not yet seen their need of it. It sounds heretical to them. But if they could only see how blind, pitiable and naked they really are, they would cling to His love like white on rice, never again returning to the ministry of death and condemnation.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I just wanted to thank everyone for their kindness in just taking the time to tell me happy birthday on their blogs. That was very special to me and meant so much. Thank you!!!
Right now I am just listening to Paul Anderson-Walsh's new sermon "Jesus Receives Sinners and Eats With Them". I don't recommend it yet, I'm only a few minutes into it. Paul has the tendency to go off in on his own understanding. He seems to be coming back around to the truth though. Not sure yet. I hope so. We all know how I feel about universalism and new age trash. If I offended you by calling it trash, I can't allow myself to apologize.
Anyway...I went to the Renaissance Festival the other day and wanted to mention a cool moment of freedom in Christ I experienced through trusting in His grace. Under the law, I never would have done this, but there is this trampoline thing with bungee cords strapped to you to make you go really high in the air. At first I immediately declined the invitation from my little brother to join him, fearing it would draw a lot of attention to myself from everyone at the festival because of my prosthetic and I was wearing shorts. I didn't want anyone to say, "Aw, look at him, the cute little disabled guy not letting his disability keep him from having fun." Please. Just leave me alone. Just let me bungee jump in peace. lol
Anyway, all the usual fears and worries started hitting me. What if I fall? What if I can't jump properly and look like an idiot all strapped into the bungee cords and not going anywhere. Things like that...but then the thought dawned on me. Jesus loves me! He is my glory! To hell with what people think! And I gave my grandma my cell phone and wallet and got my freakin' ticket to jump!! LOL
I was nervous but was able to say, by the grace of God that I don't care what people say or think and have fun.
Though one of my fears came true, but the grace of God came as well. At the end, I was standing there waiting for the guy to unhook me from the bungee cords and he said, "Now don't fall down". And I thought to myself, "Why would I fall down?" About that time, he loosened the cords that I was attached to and *plop* I went down lol. It was hilarious. And God's grace spoke to me again saying, "Who cares? I love you".
This may seem trivial, but again, it was a big step for me. Under law and before I was a believer, I would never have been able to do it because my need of acceptance from man so that I could feel righteous and loved. But not anymore.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
It was a great adventure into God's grace that day. :)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
You don't have to do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. Anything. Nothing. Do - you - understand - this? Why are you so stressed out, wondering and worrying what you are doing for God? He has done it all! You want to do the works of God? Here is the work (singular) of God: Believe.
Beware of subtle deceptions that creep in and steal your faith in Christ. The devil will do anything he can to cause you to doubt God's love for you and your identity in Christ. And guys, it WILL SOUND GOOD. It will SOUND right. That's the whole point of deception. It SOUNDS right.
If the Gospel is me living for Jesus, then you are again making it about ME and what I do. It sounds noble, yes. But beware; it is a deception. If the Gospel is about your obedience, then what level of commitment must you reach before you are accepted and included in this so called, good news that some are preaching now? Don't you see? The devil is trying to rob you of your faith in Christ and trying to get you scared so that you start focusing on your performance again. Is living for Jesus bad? Of course not! But if it is based on a wrong motive, it is bad.
Consider what Paul says in the beginning of Romans chapter 10. One of my favorite Scriptures.
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them (the Jews) is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Brothers, please don't make it about us again. We started out by grace and we are to continue in it. It's not that grace is for the babies and works are for the mature. This is a salvation beginning and ending in faith. Don't let anyone rob you of your freedom and joy in Christ. You are free indeed! Free from the demands of the Law and free from the demands of people! If you do a good work, let it be a God work and not a religious duty. Let love be genuine my brothers and sisters. Please, don't be hard on yourselves. You are already clean because of the word (the Gospel) that Jesus has spoken to you. Now abide in Him and let your service be done in freedom and love in the Spirit. Your self-efforts will get you no where. It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh is of no avail.
Please, don't let satan steal your love for Christ and don't let legalists scare you. They themselves do not keep the requirements they put on you. Bask in the unconditional love of God.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Just wanted to say sorry for not posting so much. Not that I feel guilty, but I've just been in this funk lately where I haven't been reading the Bible much or anything. I finished my book Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini (AWESOME!!!) which took me a week or so. When I get into the story, I don't do much else but read. I love these books so I'm constantly reading until I finish. Then I feel depressed and emotionally attached to the characters in the book. It sort of shifts my focus and affections for awhile. I don't know if that is good or bad. But I've not been reading blogs very much or writing them very much. But God is doing great things in my life right now. The enemy is trying to mess with my mind and get me to despair as he always does, but he's a liar. I don't exactly know what God has planned, but I'll figure it out. His will will be done in my life regardless. I just need to overcome fear. Which I can't He will overcome it for me, through me. That doesn't stop it from being scary though. :)
I don't wanna get too proud and start trusting in myself and all that though...I just wanna trust Him and move forward. I know I'm being vague, but it's 11:02 and I am too tired to get into it all. But Ryan and Jamie have been such a wonderful expression of Jesus in my life...They are more than I could have ever asked for. I only hope to be half as bold as they are in their willingness to allow the love of Christ to flow through them.
Monday, October 6, 2008
"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."
Don't try to force up love for God or people. Allow God to work it in you. Be led by the gentle blowing of the Holy Spirit. The eagles wait on a strong wind high in the sky and use it to carry them where they want to go. Not by struggling to flap their wings, but by opening their wings and riding the wind. In the same way we are to mount up with our wings like the eagles. We wait on the Holy Spirit to put the wind beneath our wings. God leads, we follow. He inititates, I respond. We are led by the Spirit, not the Law. If I am under the Law, I am forever trying to lead the Spirit, rather than allowing Him to lead me. Those who are sons of God are led by the Spirit, not by the Law. Not by your efforts.
Waiting takes time. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac. Your anxiety doesn't please God, nor does your efforts in trying to make something happen. Your faith and patience pleases Him. There is NOTHING you need to do. Therefore you can rest and wait on Him. The wind blows where He wishes. Not where you wish.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I was speaking with Dave Lesniak on the phone tonight and he mentioned the Scripture in John 15:
"If you abide in Me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you may bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples."
Dave also mentioned that he actually knew Butch, but he knew him as a pastor in Anderson, S.C. I told him that Butch had told me tonight that he had been in Anderson on vacation all week and that Butch had been preaching this message for 16 years. So it turns out, we were talking about the same Butch. Amazing, huh? God really orchestrates stuff beautifully.
If you long for fellowship with brothers and sisters who understand the Grace of God in truth, tell God how you feel and ask Him. Don't let the enemy accuse you of being false or evil and that God won't answer your prayers. Just pray and ask God. Keep praying...don't try to force up faith. Just depend on Him.
God has opened a door and I'm so excited.
Anyway...It was a really great time this morning while the band was playing. I thought about you all while they music was being played and it filled me with joy and longing for our 'grace family' to come together. I just really hope I wouldn't be timid with my grace family, but would love them with a sincere love while totally being myself. That's the only thing I am afraid of. Not being myself.
Anyway...I love you all and I longed for you with the affection of Christ today. I longed to be in that safe environment of our grace family. Thank you all for your blogs, prayers and encouragement.
I pray that the knowledge of God's beauty and love would fill you all, overflowing.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I HATE it when a guy gives me a limp handshake! It's the grossest feeling. If you're shaking a girls hand, fine. But I'm a BOY. SQUEEZE my hand. A good handshake is when the other guy dang near breaks your knuckles. It's like he's acknowledging to you, "You're a good man." and I return his compliment with my own knuckle crusher. It's the way things are. Please, don't give me a limp handshake. ESPECIALLY if you have soft hands.
Really? If God is a God of love, why would He let someone unloving into His kingdom? Is it love to allow beings with the capacity to kill, rape, steal, insult or harm people into the kingdom? Would He let unpeace in His kingdom of peace? Would He let sinners in a kingdom of saints? People must be born again, because until they are they will remain sinners. Love casts out unlove for love's sake. Please don't ever think that God is so unjust and unloving to allow people, who's inmost self is evil, to live in His kingdom. Jesus said He will gather OUT of His kingdom all causes of sin and all Law-breakers. If you are under the Law, you're condemned as one who disobeys God. But come, believe the Gospel of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection and you will have a new identity and a new Daddy. You will receive a new spirit and a new heart, freely. It's His job to give you these things. Your job is to believe.
I can use techniques like "tithe and God will bless you" in order to get people to come to God. What person of the world doesn't love wealth? Or I could say..."Stop doing all the wrong things and start doing all the right things and you will be happy!" (that tends to be Oprah's gospel) I could also use fear and guilt and shame to get people to run to church. The pharisees did. Or I could also use liberalism to get people to want to come to my church, saying things they want to hear like "Being gay is okay!" You get the idea. I could use all sorts of techniques to get people to come.
But what about using the Gospel of God's grace to get people to come? What about using the one strategy you were meant to use? The Gospel of peace. The Gospel of Jesus' death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection. What becomes of the Gospel? Have we forgotten it? Have we gotten so lost in behavior change that we don't remember it isn't about trying to change your behavior, but changing your beliefs? We're so focused on the fruit that we have no time for what is truly important - the Root. Jesus wants to come in and have dinner with us. He just wants us. If trying to be "good" gets in the way of you and Jesus having a great relationship, He'd rather you just be with Him. It isn't about the works. It's about the two of us, knowing each other and loving each other. And how do we love Him? By growing in the understanding of who He is and how much He loves us. We don't force up love as extreme Calvinists imply. Some of them reason "God didn't die for you, He died to bring more glory to Himself."
If someone tells you they love God, but believes His love for them is based on their performance, they lie. Our performance can never be good enough, therefore He cannot accept us based on our performance. Dedicate yourself and re-dedicate yourself. Had you ever been dedicated in the first place, you wouldn't have re-dedicated yourself. Stop lying to God and to yourself and submit to His love and His righteousness. Jesus told you not to take an oath, not even by your own head. Stop trying to prove yourself and stop trying to make others prove themselves! Just preach the Gospel of God's grace!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
But yeah...the wounds from last nights worry were still in my mind and I had a dream about an ex...girlfriend I guess you'd call her? That sort of had my mind all whacky. So I didn't really do anything productive. I hope tomorrow is different. I love it when Jesus and I clean the house together.
The weather has been absolutely beautiful! low 70s to high 60's during the day with a good breeze blowing through the open windows. I had to tell God how amazing He was for it. Of course my words couldn't accurately express my heart. He is so smart for creating these breezy, cool days. Fall is my favorite season of the year. I think of how it was as a kid...My dad and I went to the pumpkin patch in 1st grade. It was chilly and we picked out pumpkins, went on a hay ride and drank apple cider. I love the sights and smells of fall and the beautiful, brisk early mornings. I look forward to Jesus and I cutting back some of our plants outside tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get done early enough to read my book which came out Saturday. The 3rd book in the Inheritance Cycle. Can't wait.
I'm sort of anxious about my appointment with Vocational Rehab this Thursday. They will hopefully (I'm leaning on God for this) provide me with a job with good insurance to get a new prosthetic. This one is only still functioning by God's provision. But I just need to trust Him and take it one step at a time. He will give me the ability to do my job. Hopefully I can get registered to vote while I'm there. Palin for VP! I won't get into that right now though. :)
Also...I don't know if anyone caught Fox and Friends yesterday morning but I was watching it and they were answering an e-mail question from our brother Andy in my Church. I thought that was pretty cool. I love that show.
Monday, September 22, 2008
This got me scared honestly. Anyone have any thoughts?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Check it out
RJW (Ryan and Jamie) gave me a heads up on this girl. I love her voice! The lyrics aren't like most of what I hear in contemporary Christian music today...It all feels like forced up emotion. Pretty much the same words in every song, just rearranged and repeated over and over. No offense...lol
But I love this.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I find the fellowship with Jesus is very good when I just quit trying to make Him do stuff and rest in Him that He is doing it through me. In brushing my teeth, cleaning the house, folding the laundry, making a grilled cheese sandwich or even writing a blog.
Don't try to force Jesus to do stuff through you...Just let Him. Go about your normal daily lives just resting that He is living through you, moment by moment. It's not a passive thing...It's more of a "whistle while you work" thing. You release the burden to Him.
I'm still wrestling with feelings of condemnation because I'm not as bold as I would like to be with my faith..But it comes and it goes. I choose not to let the thoughts enter my mind. Which is difficult. I worry "what if" all the time! What if Jesus tells me I was a coward? What if I am among the fearful and the unbelieving who are cast into the lake of fire?
Could this just be another attempt of the enemy to shake my foundation? If I can't believe I am truly God's son, what do I have left? I can't return to a hopeless life. Sin gives temporal pleasure, but now that I've tasted God's pleasures...They're cheap substitutes. I want my Jesus.
Friday, September 19, 2008
God never fails.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I think this shows how we're to walk in this life by faith. In reality, Neo is seated aboard the ship Nebuchadnezzar. He must learn to believe that and understand that he doesn't gain victory by trying harder, but by resting in the truth.
Monday, September 15, 2008
We had a good time but it was very hot down there in Georgia. VERY humid. I hated the heat, but on the pier with the sea breeze, it felt great. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time on that pier when we were not off doing something. It was a very great place though! The people were amazingly friendly. It was a really small village we stayed in and they were all very laid back. The food was amazing everywhere we went. We went kayaking, and went to an all but deserted island on which only 30 people were allowed on at one time, not counting the staff. They had power but no TV or radio. I think they read a lot. ;) That was my favorite part of the trip. The trees are so beautiful and old there. Tall oaks tower over you everywhere with Spanish moss dripping from them. They make a canopy over you nearly everywhere in Georgia, so there is a lot of shade. But some are very old and beautiful. My favorites were near an old 1800's Christ Episcopal Church building. That was absolutely beautiful! The stained glass windows were in primary colors and to be so old, the colors were still bright and deep and beautiful!
We did a few other things, but those were my favorites. I was anxious to get home to check on my cats and to get back to you guys, renewing my mind with truth. I've had a lot of anxiety mixed in with my vacation because I wasn't reading my Bible enough and keeping my mind renewed.
Hope you guys had a good week. I did!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I listened to this song after reading a message from our brother Brian (Only Look to Christ) today. I was really feeling a lot of questions about whether or not I denied the faith and got so caught up into introspection that I started to despair.
It's so very hard for me to believe that I am near to God's heart. I know it in my head, but when I actually see it on that Day...It will really become alive. I just hope that I don't have to wait until that Day to fully experience His love for me.
Monday, September 1, 2008
"Sing O Barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married," says the Lord.
"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.
"Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid My face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer.
"This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
"O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from Me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from Me, declares the Lord."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
If I am cynical of the brothers and sisters in my Church and get angry with them because they don't really "get" grace the way I do, does that mean I don't love my brothers? "Whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"
Here I go examining my sincerity again.
I just wish we would come together and learn more and more about God's grace. But that's not my call.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How can I overcome my fears of people and their opinions of me? I want to be bold about my faith in Jesus. I want to be that picture perfect Christian. I want to be like Jesus!! I hate waiting. I feel lazy! Why doesn't God just talk to me verbally? I only want to do what He wants me to do. Because what He wants is not bondage. I can do whatever He gives me to do. But I set out to do things I'm probably not equipped to do simply because I start thinking "A true Christian would do this..." and so I do it. Perhaps it is a good work, but not a God work. I know who God is. I know He loves me and accepts me unconditionally, but I can't feel it or see it. I'm selfish and lazy! I need to re-dedicate myself!! Seriously. I don't want to do everything right, I just want to do most things right. Then I will feel better. I don't like being humble. I like feeling honorable and worthy.
Anyone relate? lol
I'm not going back to the Law. I'm just writing how I feel this week. :)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
"What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them (Jews) is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, (they're dedicated) but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, (dedicating themselves) they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
"For all who rely on works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the Law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." But the Law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us."