Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blessed Assurance, Third Day

I found this posted at Brian's blog and thought I would post it up myself. Music can definitely aid us in setting our mind on things above.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Union

As I've been reading the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, I've been wondering if maybe God is trying to speak truths about union with Jesus to me through the books.

In the books, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira are joined together. They are pretty much in union with each other. They feel each others feelings and are able to be inside each others minds and they communicate telepathically. Eragon can speak out loud to Saphira, but Saphira only speaks to him in his mind. So most of their communication is done in their thoughts. They are constantly connected to one another, even if either of them decides to block the other out if angry or upset enough. Eragon can also draw power (in order to use stronger magic) from Saphira.

I realize this all can come across as new age sounding. But Jesus did say that when The Spirit comes, He would be in us and we in Him. "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." His power is the power that works within us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. So we can feel his feelings and His desires and draw upon His own strength. The scripture also says we have the mind of Christ.

Anyway..It scares me because this all sounds really weird, but there is truth in it I think. We are connected to the Lord whether we feel Him there or not (we walk by faith, not by sight). We are one with each other. Recognizing this takes prayer to a new level. No longer is it me talking...It's both of our spirits joined to one another, fellowshipping with each other on a spiritual level. Even when we think we are not praying...The times when we feel burdened and unable to pray or read the Bible...It's possibly those times that we are praying our hardest. Not from our mouths, but from our spirits with groanings too deep for words.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Prayer and Silent Prayer

I've been thinking about silent prayer lately. I realize my prayer life is very feeble and goes up and down. Some days I pray a lot and other days I barely pray at all. But if I stop and take notice, I do hear myself praying, though not in my words.

The exhausting thing about prayer to me is the constant feeling that I need to articulate everything. Everyone else seems to do so, so I guess it's become burned into my brain that in order for God to hear my prayer, I need to pray very specifically or whatever. But most of the time I don't know what to pray for except "Father be with so and so" or "Help them, Father."

I like being short and straight to the point. It's exhausting for me to tell God what I want Him to do in a persons life. I don't know what they really need. I just want Him to be with them and give them help, strength, guidance and joy in the midst of whatever they're going through.

And when I pray for healing it usually ends up being "Father, heal so and so of this and that."

But I was wondering about silent prayer and if anyone in our group prays most often silently. I am mostly verbal which I find tiring. I don't want to give speeches. I just want to tell God what I want for myself or someone else!

Predestination

I was wondering if anyone had any insight on them matter of election. Of course, I've heard from Bob George countless times his belief that predestination concerns Jews and Gentiles, not you's and me's. He always points to the book of Ephesians to explain predestination. However...I can't reconcile Romans chapter 9 with the belief that election only deals with the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. Also in Acts, the Spirit says: "And everyone who was appointed to Eternal Life, believed."

The idea that God chooses to harden some and save others doesn't sit well with me, but if it's the truth, then I can't do anything about it. But if Bob George is right, I would really love to hear the explanation of Romans chapter 9 and that verse I mentioned in Acts.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake

Ever been made fun of, criticized or put down because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Free Gift of Righteousness? I haven't, but if any of you have, let me encourage you with Jesus' own words in Matthew:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets before you."

I've read these and heard these words of Jesus preached as people who are persecuted for being nice or trying to live righteously. While it's true that people can catch insults for not participating in what the world does, Jesus is not talking about that. He's talking about people who are persecuted and insulted because of the Good News of God's unconditional Love and Grace towards us in His Son, Jesus. "Lawlessness! Antinomian! Heretic! False prophet!"

Do not fear men, brothers. Jesus loves you freely. Don't let people intimidate you with accusations and insults. When they make fun of you, just keep your eyes on Him alone.

The Comfort of Condemnation

On the way home from Wal-Mart today, I noticed a car with an interesting choice of bumper-stickers. One was a Jesus fish and under it was a sticker of the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

We like to preach the theory of Grace, but we're very quick to put some fine print (The Law) at the bottom of the contract in order to keep control of things. And I agree with legalists. Control, constant self-analysis and condemnation make me feel very safe. Without such things to keep me on my toes, I'm liable to live in laziness and sin! Don't take the whip I use to beat myself in the back with! It is the only thing that keeps me in the faith! It's the only thing that keeps me motivated to serve God! Without it, I'm just another sinner like everyone else, doomed for hell!

These are actual thoughts I have. They may not be so blunt, but that's basically what I hear from myself all the time. Kent's blog post inspired my thoughts on this subject today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Quiz-majigger

Three jobs I have had in my life
1. Astro-nut
2. Swashbuckling
3. Self-Analysis

Three movies I watch over and over
1. Fellowship of the Ring
2. Braveheart
3. Forrest Gump

Three places I have lived
1. Catawba, SC
2. Rock Hill, SC
3. We once stayed at Myrtle Beach for like two months. Does that count as living there?

Three shows that I watch
1. AFV
2. Destined to Reign
3. The Big Bang Theory

Three places I have been
1. Ocho Rios, Jamaica
2. Haiti
3. Cozumel, Mexico

Three people who e-mail me regularly
1. spam
2. blog comment notifications
3. junk

Three of my favorite foods
1. steak
2. buffalo wings
3. bacon

Three places I’d rather be right now
1. bookstore
2. somewhere beautiful and secluded with a good book
3. flying somewhere

Three friends I think will respond
1. i don't like to make such bold assumptions!
2.
3.

Three things I am looking forward to this year
1. Getting to know more about Jesus and His love for me
2. growing in freedom and being empowered and led by the Spirit of God
3. reading the new inheritance cycle book "brisingr."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vance Havner Devotional

EATING THE COOK BOOK

Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
John 6:53

Many dear people have a lovely doctrine or theory of the victorious life or the indwelling Christ or the Spirit-filled life, and they try to live on their theory, but thy do not feed on Christ. They are like a man trying to live on a cook book instead of food, chewing on a seed catalogue instead of on vegetables. They may be very orthodox Bible students, but they do not chew and digest the words which are spirit and life.

It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls. It is not the Word hid in the head but in the heart that keeps from sin. To appropriate Christ Himself, the Bread of Life, is to live by faith and grow. You can starve reading books on bread. You can search the Scriptures and not come to Him for life.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Eragon

Just wanted to encourage anyone who might be into Medieval fantasy books to start reading the Inheritance Cycle. I've nearly finished Eragon and I absolutely love it! Though, not quite as much as I love the Harry Potter series.

This is a video I found on YouTube. I enjoyed the song.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thinking

You know, I've always wondered why Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. But last night I feel I got a revelation from God's Spirit that I had never heard from a man before, but had always had a sneaking suspicion of it.

It occurred to me that the Old Covenant was a Covenant based on merit. You do good, you get good. You do evil, you get evil. Apparently rich people were regarded as being very holy and devout, because they were blessed with wealth.

But, "The Law and the Prophets WERE UNTIL John. "Since then the Good News of the kingdom of God is preached and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void."

If you're putting your hope in your keeping of the Law, you had better keep it perfectly. The Law shows no mercy. It is exacting and precise. Not one dot of it will pass away. There is no grading on a curve. There is no second chances with the Law of God. God is Holy and God is just and He has dealt with sin once and for all, satisfying His holiness and justice. Who are you to say the message of God's Grace says God is "soft on sin?" It doesn't seem to me that God's justice was at all soft on Jesus at Calvary. I say that reverently. Have you completely forgotten what our Lord Jesus did? Or are you unwilling to humble yourself and receive His abundant Grace and free gift of Righteousness?

"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Can't Stop to Smell the Roses!

...Seriously! I can't smell Don Juan roses! I don't understand it...I can smell every other flower in our yard, but I cannot smell the Don Juan roses. Supposedly they're supposed to be very fragrant but I can't smell a bit of it. Mom doesn't believe me because they smell so strong and we were laughing about. I dunno...I just thought that was weird and figured I'd blog about it. I love seeing the beauty and wonder of our God in flowers, trees and plants. When spring first comes and the late afternoon sunlight hits the green trees, grass and the bright, deep colored flowers, everything is so deeply colored and beautiful. I can't wait to see what the new heavens and new earth will look like!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spurgeon Quote

I read this in the Charles Spurgeon sermon that Brian linked me to. Thanks, brother.

Only by faith in Jesus can you be saved, but complaining of yourselves is not faith.

Peter, James and John

I got an absolutely amazing revelation from scripture that Joseph Prince pointed out last night on TBN.

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid."

And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.


Alright...This is what Joseph pointed out that I hadn't yet seen. The names of the apostles that Jesus took with Him were Peter James and John. Notice the order in which the names are spoken of in the scripture. It's always Peter, James and then John.

Now...The name Peter means stone. Some say rock, but I've heard that the more accurate translation is stone. Then, James means "He who supplants" or "Supplanter." Finally, the name John means "God is Gracious."

Now notice in the vision the apostles had, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, talking with Him. And Peter says "Lord...Let us make three tabernacles here. One for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah." Then God the Father speaks up and sort of rebukes Peter and says: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him."

Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets. And apparently Peter wants to build tents for all three of them. But God says no. Listen to My Son. Well, isn't that what most people preach today? Let's balance everything out and make temples for the Law, the Prophets and Grace. Thats not what God said. When the vision was over, they saw Jesus ONLY.

Now what Joseph taught me was the meaning of the names of the apostles. Stone, Supplant and God is Gracious. Stone, being the Tablets of Stone. Supplant basically means to replace something. And finally we have "God is Gracious." So then We have the Stone replaced by God's Grace! The Stone Tablets of the Law were replaced with God's Grace in Jesus Christ!

I was so excited after this revelation last night. I hope it encourages you guys.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Read Scripture!

Whats up, guys?

I've just been sitting here fooling around on the computer, watching videos of old wrestling matches of Shawn Michaels. Today is my mama's birthday (for her sake I will not disclose her age).

I woke up with no breakfast, so I decided (bad decision) to make some "seriously hot" Johnsonville sausage for breakfast. Sausage always makes me feel fat and lazy. I guess it's all the grease. I think I would have felt better leaving my stomach to eat itself lol.

After that I continued reading the book Eragon of the Inheritance trilogy. I had no idea, but the guy who wrote these books is very young. Just a few years older than I am actually. He has quite the vocabulary as well. He is definitely gifted at writing. I'm also thankful that in the back of the book, he lists certain names of people and places and tells you how to pronounce them. I have a tough time understanding how to pronounce words in medieval fantasy books.

Right now, I'm chillaxin', writing in the blog and I have music from Joel's myspace playing (great stuff by the way). I may go over to my neighbors house and play some chess in a few. I don't feel much like going anywhere today. I'd like to simply sit here and read the rest of the day.

The past few days I've been digging into Matthew 12:22-32. It's been very encouraging and interesting. Seeing the Grace of God and truths of the New Covenant takes some digging most of the time. There are some passages that come right out and tell you, such as the story of the prodigal son. I've always questioned in my heart "Where is THIS God in the rest of the Bible? Where is THIS kind of message in the rest of the Bible? Or is there some sort of fine print I forgot to read?"

I rarely see that God preached. I'm still learning to see. I'm reminded of the movie the Matrix when Neo is first woken up in the real world and he looks up to Morpheus and asks "Why do my eyes hurt?" and Morpheus says, "You've never used them before."

I think our view of God is not only slightly wrong, but probably and very likely nearly completely wrong. The Truths of the New Covenant have been hidden by fear, mixture of Law and Grace in order to control, manipulate and use fear as a muzzle for sin. We use a little bit of Law in order to whip people into service. We use "balance" because we still don't yet understand. There is something we're missing. We have not dug in the Word of God, rightly dividing scripture. I think we TOO often let people interpret the Bible for us. We let our seminary training teach us to interpret scripture instead of using the truth of the Gospel and the Spirit of Truth to interpret scripture. This probably comes from unbelief. People think "Why in the world would God reveal things to me? Why would the Spirit of God speak to me? I'm not a super-spiritual person like my pastor or anything."

I want to encourage everyone to go to the scripture, the parables of Jesus and dig. Some truths are deeply hidden like diamonds. You have to dig. Don't always take things at face value. Interpret everything in light of the New Covenant we have in Jesus Christ. The Gospel means Good News. There isn't any bad news about the Good News. But sometimes we have to dig deep and seek things out in order to find them. God wants people obsessed with knowing Him. "The one who seeks finds."