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.