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."