Thursday, December 31, 2009

new year vs New Creation

I really don't understand all the enthusiasm about new years day.

I don't capitalize stuff I don't respect.

It seems in particular that Christians are very excited about it and it's "new beginnings." Ah. A chance to rededicate yourself? I guess instead of the yearly animal sacrifice, we make the yearly oath of trying harder, and year after year there is a continual reminder of sins.

Perhaps I am just being a Scrooge, but I get an agitated feeling when I hear of such things. Jesus Christ has already made you new. The resurrection of Christ is your new beginning. You don't get a new chance to try harder each year. You rest in the once for all sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. He has bought and paid for you, and the punishment that God put on Him was more than enough to satisfy His justice against sin.

It's okay to celebreate new years, but don't act like this new year marks another chance for you to, "be better for God." Good grief, did He not already make you righteous!? You would think the wrath and agony He bore would have satisfied your hunger and thirst for righteousness!

And if you speak of anything you have accomplished for God, speak only of the things which He has done through you.

Are you really ready to count all your righteous deeds as rubbish? Are you willing to stand before God as Abel did, with no fruit to bring, but only the blood of a lamb? Have you an honest, and sincere faith that clings to nothing but Christ alone? Anything else is a counterfeit faith.

Be honest; why are you really doing the things you are doing for God? Examine the foundation your works are built on and consider Paul's words concerning the zeal that comes from an effort to have God accept you.

"What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law of righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law? Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,

"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame."

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them 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."

You see? He created us zealous for good works, NOT in order to get Him to accept us, but BECAUSE we are accepted in the Beloved. From love and not fear.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"...Where Moth and Rust Destroy"

Listening to another Malcolm tape on Grace Walk Radio got me thinking about something that has been a cause of underlying stress for me.

"In the world we live in now, we are under more stress than at any other period in time."

Why? I say it because we are so totally dependent on man and man-made things. People wouldn't know how to take care of themselves if all power plants shut down, oil refineries ran out of oil, and supermarkets ran out of food.

I've been thinking about it and I realize how we are so dependent on the dollar. No one, especially in my generation, growing up, knows how to take care of themselves without man-made technology. They don't know how to build a home, start a fire, grow crops, raise animals, etc, etc. We rely on our electricity for heat, the grocery store for food, our lighter for fire, and our cars to get around in.

This is especially true for me. Even if I did know how to do these things, I wouldn't be able to. I am entirely dependent on God to provide for me. I can't walk for miles and miles if need be. Especially if this prosthetic broke down. I couldn't do farm work. I couldn't do anything without a prosthetic, and even with a prosthetic, I am limited.

I would ask you to refrain from the stupid, "You can do anything anyone else can" mumbo jumbo. Please. Try to understand what I'm saying. It doesn't make me feel better when you try to give me some disabled-olympian speech.

Anyway, I just feel that relief from this stress comes from understanding that God gives us grace to endure whatever will come, and that this earth is not our home. The things we own, whatever they may be, may look nice at the moment, but they will eventually perish. It's okay if you live in a trailer like me. It really is, because this is not my home, and though others may have amazingly cool mansions, those too will inevitably pass away and rot out. Whether you drive a Cadillac or a rusted clunker, it does not matter. This world is already fading.

What will it matter if I have nice clothes, a cool car, a mansion, or the latest technology when I die? It won't. It doesn't matter if you do have these things. Not at all. Just don't put any hope in them. Enjoy them in their proper place, knowing that they are passing away.

Relief from the stress of worrying about ourselves, what we will eat, wear, live in, etc. comes from understanding and being FULLY ASSURED of the hope we have in Christ alone.

Amen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

HeBrews Guilt-Free Christianity

If you ever feel stressed out, burdened or just plain nauseous with your brand of Christianity, you probably ought to check it out and make sure it's au naturel.

Lately I am so angry lately and I honestly do NOT feel like feeling guilty anymore. I didn't sign up for a burdensome brand of Christianity, constantly feeling remorse and regret for all my imperfections. I am absolutely tired of evaluating my spiritual growth. It makes me nauseated to even think about it. I don't have the strength or the desire anymore.

I want that brand of Christianity Jesus talked about. You know, the one where anyone could join, regardless of their strength or willpower. That Christianity in which it's Covenant is based entirely on the unearned favor of God. That Christianity that is by grace through faith from the first moment I become a believer until the moment I breathe my last.

I want the easy yoke, and the light burden of Jesus. I don't just want to pretend that His commandments are not burdensome, but I want to actually experience the easiness of His yoke. I want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and not my own re-dedications.

I want that guilt-free flavor Christianity that Hebrews speaks of, that because of the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the Cross, I should no longer have any conciousness of sins, nor should I feel guilty for them! He has vowed never to remember them again. He is faithful and just not to remember them because His Son took them already.

HE LOVES ME!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

True Riches

"Christians can truly enjoy luxuries because they do not depend on them for contentment." - A rough quote from Malcolm Smith

It makes me sick to think of how I used to covet so much of the worlds luxuries and technology before I was reunited with God. I get sick because I think of how I would look forward to every Christmas for the sheer benefit of gift-getting and when those gifts had been proven empty of any water for the spirit, I looked forward to the next luxury only to have the same thing happen. I would covet peoples possesions, feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have what they had and I thought that if I just had what they had, I would be content. But when I did get it, I would realize how quickly I grew bored and uninterested with it.

Christ brings us contentment with with much or with little because we no longer seek life in things, but we have found life in Him. As unbelievers, we lived as locusts, moving from thing to thing, sucking whatever we could get out of one thing and moving onto the next, never finding our fill.

You can have the priciest home, coolest car, craziest technology, but you will invevitably become bored and uninterested with each. Life is more than these things.

That being said, we Christians do not overcome this by sheer self-denial. Not at all! You know how I was able to quit smoking? It wasn't by effort, I swear to you. It was because I didn't need the cigarettes anymore! I had all I could ever want or hope for in Christ. That isn't to condemn or shame anyone who does smoke. God works different things into various parts of the Body. That is just an example of how Christians are able to live with or without.

We Christians have the greatest treasure of all in these jars of clay.

I'm Not The Super Christian You're Looking For

You will have to excuse me as I have just been very angry for the past few months. I don't know why I have had such a short fuse and zero tolerance for people. It feels like every curse in the English language is rising up inside me, itching to make their way to my tongue.

I am irritated ALL the time and I want people to LEAVE me ALONE. I hate it when anyone asks me to do ANY thing right now. I am so exhausted of trying to be good that it makes me nauseous to even think of doing something born out of fear and guilt.

I am so SICK of people feeling as though because Matt is a Christian, he will do anything I ask him to do because it is his obligation if he wants to be a good little boy and go to heaven someday. I know that people across America heap guilt and condemnation on Christians because they can NEVER do enough to meet their own standards, but Shanaynay won't have it.

I am not Super Christian!!!!!! I am a jar of CLAY. If ANY thing good comes from me, it will be from the LORD.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Logging Out

This may be my last post; I don't know.

All I can say is that I am frustrated and exhausted.

I have learned so much from everyone here and I love you all. I don't know if this is permanent, I just know that this transition to grace is more complicated than I originally thought.

If you would like to keep in touch, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll e-mail you my cell phone number. I just have to get away from the computer for a long time.


...End transmission....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Knowing Jesus

I can't believe I never understood this before, but it dawned on me last night.

"Now Adam knew his wife..."

Whenever the Scripture speaks of sex, it uses the word 'know'. It also says that whenever one 'knows' a person, those two people are made into one. Paul said this has to do with Christ and the Church. The Church 'know' Jesus and become one Spirit with Him.

I wonder if this is the same sort of 'knowing' Jesus had in mind when He said, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' "

Who is lawless but the ones who have not had the Law written on their hearts and minds? And who are they but those devoid of the Spirit of Christ?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Together Forever

I use to think God never knew what it was like to be me. After all, Jesus never had to deal with amputation. He never went through what I went through!

It's amazing that is no longer true. Every torture Christians have endured, every trial, every persecution, every hurt, every pain, every sin, whatever it is, Christ has been in them, going through it with them. Jesus feels my feelings and He is an amputee through me. He knows what it's like to wake up, roll on a freezing cold liner and feel the aggravation of relying on a made-made object that breaks down to keep Him walking on His feet.

He knows what it's like to have cancer, unbearable sciatic pain, He knows what it's like to be raped, He knows what it's like to be tortured, burned at the stake, decapitated, boiled in water, crucified upside down, thrown to lions, etc, etc, etc.

"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?"

"Truly, I say to you, whatever you did to the least of these, you have done it to Me."

We only ever refer to Christ's sufferings in the past, but what about those sufferings that He endures NOW in you? What kind of love is it that chooses to endure such things just to be with you?

Amazing...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Isaiah 35:3-10

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you!" Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For the waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the Way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Friend



The man to my right in this picture is Trey Maurice. He passed away sometime in his sleep last night. I wanted to post this in memory of him. Trey was always very kind to me and he is the man who gave me a little Siamese kitten shortly after this picture was taken, whom we later named Peaches.

This picture was taken at the Biltmore Estate in the summer of 2007.

"May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Concerning Tapeworms and Man-Hair

So, I had a great lunch with Jamie and Ryan today! It was so good to see them again and a little hard to believe it has been just over 1 whole year since we first met in person at the Olive Garden. Jamie has a tapeworm and Ryan has a phenomenal beard. I'm a sucker for beards. Every man should have one. I would if they were not so dang itchy. Shall I elaborate on Jamie's tapeworm? Nah... =P Suffice to say that she looks wonderful. She's so classy.

We chatted about all of our friends. Yeah, MAJOR gossip. =) And of course we talked about grace. How can we not? "We cannot help but speak of what we have seen and heard".

Lunch was DELICIOUS. Good grief, Ryan spoiled us. I had a grilled shrimp pasta that was delicioso! We also had Calamari, stuffed mushrooms and fried mozzarella for appetizers. Not to mention the salad and endless breadsticks. I took some home with me and had left-overs for dinner. Mom wanted some. I didn't give her any. It's our precious.

Jamie and Ryan mentioned moving eventually. Shall I suggest Rock Hill? Or maybe Charlotte? One can hope. :)

I always forget how much I love them and miss them when I see them again.

The love of Jesus drove 4 hours just to have lunch with me. :)

I just wish the rest of our friends could have been there with us. We love you all.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Leaven of 'Balance'

Why does it feel like night today?
Something in here's not right today.
Why am I so uptight today?
Paranoia's all I got left
I don't know what stressed me first
Or how the pressure was fed
But I know just what it feels like
To have a voice in the back of my head
Like a face that I hold inside
A face that awakes when I close my eyes
A face watches every time I lie
A face that laughs every time I fall
(And watches everything)

So I know that when it's time to sink or swim
That the face inside is hearing me
Right beneath my skin

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back
It's like a whirlwind inside of my head
It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within
It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

I know I've got a face in me
Points out all my mistakes to me
You've got a face on the inside too and
Your paranoia's probably worse
I don't know what set me off first
But I know what I can't stand
Everybody acts like the fact of the matter is
I can't add up to what you can but

Everybody has a face that they hold inside
A face that awakes when I close my eyes
A face watches every time they lie
A face that laughs every time they fall
(And watches everything)

So you know that when it's time to sink or swim
That the face inside is watching you too
Right inside your skin

Linkin Park - Papercut

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flavius Josephus

I checked out The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus to get more insight into Jesus' world and to catch a few mentions of Him.

I found this today:

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

His Workmanship

For a while now I have understood the theory that our love for Christ is our motivation for godly living. In fact, I have to give up fear and embrace the assurance that the Gospel of Christ offers me. Fear is not the God-designed way of obedience, because, "fear involves punishment, and whoever fears is not made perfect in love." Outwardly, I can change due to fear, but inwardly nothing will ever change. The heart will remain dead and grow even colder over time. Trusting in oppression is folly.

Guys, I can't cause myself to love God. I have to have revelations of His love to me, personally. I can't thrive from mere comprehension of theory or someone elses revelations.

I feel like God is bringing me back to the place I was meant to be and He is showing me how real holiness and love come about.

God, I am totally dependent on You. You said that You love me and that You, Yourself would work in me to will and to do. You said that I am Your workmanship, so now I change my mind about working up obedience through constant anxiety and fear, and am willing to recognize, with humility, that it is only You. I can do absolutely nothing apart from the love of Christ abiding in me. My fruit is only for a season, Lord, but Your fruit is said to abide. Love never fails. Fear and condemnation eventually make the heart cold and distant. But love -- love endures forever. True love can never fail, because true love is from You.

I have understood for some time now that it is the love of Christ that controls us, but now I want the real, living love of Christ to control me rather than the theory of it.

I'm letting go and trusting You as I always should have. I cannot change one thing about myself. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also do good who are accustomed to evil."

Love covers a multitude of sins. Father, in the history of Israel I have seen how long man's commitments last under fear of condemnation. Though they were threatened with even the worst consequences from You, they could not change one thing about themselves. Time and time again they failed. But where they failed, You will succeed.

You will become in me, rivers of Living Water.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Whole New World

To me, this is the perfect description of the grace awakening. Suddenly the cloud distorting God's face is removed and you see things from a heavenly view point.

Unity in Christ

God gave me an amazing sense of freedom tonight as I met with two of my dear brothers in Christ, Don and Tony. God gave me the freedom to pray without trying to impress men and I was able to talk to just Him.

There is something different about praying with others, the same way there is something different about reading the Bible with others. There is intimacy and connection there as we are all communing with our Father. Though we obviously disagree on some things, we all have a common faith in Christ. Jesus unites us. His Blood has cleansed us and made us family.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lazy Days

Today is a very lazy day and I feel fat. I woke up, finished off my snickerdoodles that were sent to me from our dear sister, Jessica. Then mom began tenderizing a big piece of steak taken from a roast we bought two days ago, and cooked it for our breakfast. She's trying to get me fat, I swear. I acquiesced to eat it only because I didn't want her labor in tenderizing to be in vain. I'm still feeling the effects of it.

Right now it feels like I have much to do and no energy to do it with. I haven't felt like doing anything. (Perhaps due to the fact I've had cake for breakfast {and sometimes lunch} since my birthday?) I've been studying here and there for my math test on the 31st and have finished fractions. I'm hoping that knowing fractions will be enough to get me a passing grade, but I will keep on studying until the test.

Mom has fallen asleep watching that show "A Haunting" on Discovery. Such rubbish. Before I was a Christian, I was fascinated with those shows on ghosts and that sort of thing. But after becoming a Christian, I didn't notice it, but I lost all interest in ghosts and whatnot. It was like death had lost it's power and it's mystery over my life. The idea of humans staying on earth after death, reliving the same event over and over after they die is just absurd to me. Anyway, I wish she wouldn't fill her head with nonsense like that.

That's it. I just felt like writing a little.

...Hey, I am picking up my neighbor's CB through my headphones. Weird.

Friday, October 16, 2009

600th Post

Watching The Polar Express has made me think of the first year I was a Christian. I was so in love with God, and I wanted Him, craved Him and sought Him, but could never quite get Him. He was always just out of reach due to my lukewarm performance. I thought that if I would just learn to get this Christian life down consistently, I would have Him. I thought that if I just faithfully, zealously, and with my whole heart, read my bible every day, prayed everyday and loved people enough, I would have that closeness with Him.

Sin was ever in my consciousness. I was afraid to hang around unbelievers for fear that I might get caught up in the moment and act like I used to. I tried so hard to get away from temptation, but the more zealously I tried, the more the desire rose up, despite my scrambling to keep it suppressed. The problem with that was that eventually, my flesh would tire of acting holy and would want to indulge in it's passions that were made stronger through the law I was putting myself under.

Go back and read my older blog posts in 2007. I'm sure there were times I masked it, but don't be fooled; the ever-present anxiety and dread always loomed. I would search and search for grace and grace alone, but every time I took hold of it, it pulled away from me. Or rather, something pulled me away from it. You see, whenever I was taught grace, the law followed soon afterward, thus shattering my hopes of a life where I was freely given a totally, unconditional peace with this God that I so longed for.

And then I did it. I actually did it. I sat at my computer, logged onto this blog, took a moment, and got brutally honest with myself, with no-holds-barred introspection. I didn't sugar coat one damn thing. Read here if you don't believe me. And then I did what I had previously considered rebellion. I jumped without warning. There was no thinking, I just did it. I refused to go any further in the direction I had been heading, which had been circles. I could go back to that time and honestly repeat the Scripture as so:

"...And Matthew believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness."

I did it! I got crazy enough to actually believe what God had told me and had been telling me. I embraced grace and grace alone, without one hint of law or fine print added.

It was all down-hill from there, right? Ah, I wish. But don't let that discourage you from leaping into the arms of Jesus. It is most definitely worth it.

But what I really had in mind when I sat down to write out this particular post was that after all of that, I still find myself wanting to go back to how it was before. To that place between dream and reality. The, "darkness before dawn" so-to-speak. It's not that it wasn't without it's good times. I really had some fond moments in trying to get to know God.

I guess being so introspective and fearful had given me a great awareness of God in the world, and now being free from condemnation and fear, I long for something to give me that same awareness of His Being. Am I making sense? Perhaps someone can relate, and if not, at least I believe God tried to get something across to me tonight in watching The Polar Express.

The kid, at the beginning of the movie, was hesitant about climbing aboard the free ride to the best place on earth for a kid: The North Pole.

As I watched that particular scene, I felt like God was trying to tell me that I'm being silly. He was apparently telling me how ridiculous it is to be in a place where you desire to behold the train with wonder, dreaming of what it would be like to go to the North Pole, more than you desire to actually BOARD the train and EXPERIENCE the North Pole.

Van Halen - Dreams

I watched this video over and over when I experienced my grace awakening. It was when I abandoned everything and decided to stand naked before God, helpless, with nothing to offer but the Blood of Jesus. I remember e-mailing Joel very soon afterward and asking him, "Is it really this easy?" To which he replied, "Yep. It really is this easy."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lee Strobel - The Case For Creator

It's a little lengthy, but if you're interested how science actually disproves Darwinism and proves Creationism, then check it out.

Who Then Can Be Saved?

Blessings for Obedience:

"Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall you be in your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out."

"And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them."

So, with words like these in the Old Covenant, what would be a natural thought towards someone who was rich inside the Jewish nation? Would you not think that they are rich and prosperous because of their obedience to God's commandments? Of course you would.

Yet Jesus begins to preach something radically different and seemingly contrary to the words God had previously spoken to Israel under the Law of Moses:

"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 who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."

Again, I ask you, what do you think the Jews thought of rich people in Jesus' day, being under a Covenant where you were blessed for your obedience to God's commandments? You would think rich people are the dedicated of the dedicated, the committed of the committed, the obedient of the obedient.

But read these words from the Gospel of Luke:

Jesus: "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

Jews: Those who heard it were exceedingly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?"

Jesus: But He said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Seether - Remedy

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Walk By The Spirit

All these sermons on rules, principles and behavior change are killing us! Jesus' voice is being drowned out by what men are telling us to do. We are setting aside intimacy with the Holy Spirit living in us, so we can listen to men tell us how to live, what to do, what's right and what's wrong.

This is utter nonsense! Stop listening to what men tell you so that you can learn to hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit! God has made His home in your very body. Talk about closeness! Talk about intimacy!

In the physical way that a man and woman have intimacy, that one comes inside another, and they are made into one body, so Jesus, by the Spirit has come into us and we have become one spirit with Him.

We are blinding ourselves from the realness of His Spirit living in us by insisting that we listen to men and follow their teachings, their ways of managing sin, their strategies, their techniques.

"They made kings, but not through Me. They set up princes, but I knew it not." (Hosea 8:4)

People have devoted their lives to setting up ministries, telling people how they ought to live rather than pointing them to the One who dwells in them. You can not live up to man's expectations. Their rules are heavy and burdensome and give you no provision for living up to the expectations they give to you, save the advice of, "Just try harder!"

I tell you, Jesus does not expect righteousness to come from you, which is precisely why He died for you. He died so that He could give you His righteousness instead. So let go of the ever-present anxiety and feelings of inadequecy. Of course you're inadequate! What did you expect? Don't you remember how you were saved to begin with? You were inadequate! You could not attain righteousness by the law and God turned the light on and revealed grace to you.

So rest in His gift and give up the circus act of guilt and false humility so that you can learn to hear His voice! As Joseph Prince rightly said, "God's voice is not on the frequency of condemnation." Nor is it on the frequency of what most would call, "conviction". Conviction is for the guilty, and you my friend are no longer guilty! You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Well, I guess there is conviction, but it is not of your sin. It is of your righteousness in Christ.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Christ In You

Do you ever feel the desire to love people, to walk in love and to live a holy life yet you're tired of trying because you know you can't, and you're tired of hearing people tell you how to do it? Even tired of hearing teachers who understand the message of Christ in you telling you how to work it out?

I am.

I want to love, but I can't. I don't know how this works and I don't want you to tell me right now. It's me and Jesus. I don't follow men, their strategies or what they say. I have listened to all the sermons. I know all the theology; all the grace jargon. Now I want the experience, and to have the experience, I have to be free to make stupid choices (over and 0ver) and learn from them. I have to be absolutely free to fall and get hurt. I have to be absolutely free to be immature. In order to learn to walk upright, I must by necessity be free from any and all condemnation. If I am not, then I will weep and mourn over and over for my sin instead of learning to live from Christ, who is my very life.

You see, I have always been one who needs to learn for himself. I have to figure this out myself...I can't let men make rules for me. This has GOT to be real. This has GOT to issue from MY intimacy with God and not someone else having intimacy with Him for me and then teach me what He taught them.

Jesus looked at Peter and said, "You follow ME". We tend to interpret that as though following Jesus would be more burdensome than following a man. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke and learn from Me."

How interesting...I just took notice of Malcolm Smith's voice in the sermon I am listening to as I type this and he said the same thing I just did: "You can't live by what people tell you to do. You have to learn to live from the Christ in YOU."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Know God

You can only grow in God's grace BY God's grace. Only God is able to move us onto maturity from works and law. Not that it isn't important for us to continue to soak in the truths of the New Covenant and what the sacrifice of Jesus changed about our relatioship with God.

If you're wondering whether or not you will ever make it out of that legalistic mindset that still has traces of Old Covenant imprinted on it, just continue to seek God's grace and seek truth. Growth comes without us knowing it until we stop to realize that we're actually doing it! We're maturing and growing in grace, learning to walk free from condemnation and fear!

Peter walked upright on the water only as long as his eyes were fixed on his Jesus. The storm was raging around him, but he wasn't conscious of it, therefore it didn't cause him to stumble and fall. He was God-conscious with his eyes set perfectly on the Author and Perfector of his faith.

Setting your eyes on Jesus alone will keep you from being tossed around by every wind of doctrine. But when a very strong wind comes and averts your gaze from Christ, and puts it back onto yourself and your own abilities, let's get real -- you can't do it. It is physically impossible to walk on water. "It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is of no avail."

It is only when we observe and gaze at the face of God in Christ Jesus when we experience growth and are matured into the people God has planned for us to be. Knowing God transforms us, contrary to the popular belief that getting busy for God is what transforms us. You cannot perfect yourself by the flesh, Galatians tells us.

Jesus told Martha, who was distracted with trying to serve Him, that only one thing was needed, and her sister, Mary chose it. Mary chose to sit at His feet and listen to His teaching while Martha was distracted from Him with much serving.

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

"When we see Him we'll be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is."

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed from one degree of glory to another."

To know God is to love Him. You cannot know Him and not love Him. Which is why John says that no one who hates his brother has the love of God abiding in him. Does the Scripture say that we love because we dedicate our lives to serving Him? No, but rather it says, "We love because He first loved us."

Paul speaks of unbelievers as those who are, "alienated in their minds" and "hostile in their understanding, doing evil deeds." They don't know Him. The god of this world has blinded their eyes so that they cannot see. (Ephesians 4:18-19)

Just get to know Him.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Daughtry - What About Now



My friend, Jordan told me about this song and said he had heard God speak to him through it. I stopped to listen to it and thought it had a great message, very relevant to the doubts he is going through. I believe Jesus did indeed use this song to speak to him.

God uses our struggles with sins, our struggles with doubts, and all our trials in life to get what is inside, outside. It may not feel like it, but God is making you all that you were meant to be. Even though we don't understand what is going on, God is involved in our lives (for our good) and He will in no way leave us. He swore by an oath. He swore by Himself.

Malcolm Smith described God's oath as God saying, "May God strike God dead" if He does not remain faithful to His covenant of grace with us that is because of Jesus.

"Your sins are forgiven for His namesake."

Monday, September 28, 2009

...And Grace My Fears Relieved

Getting your footing on the grounds of grace is scary. It hurts so much to come to the realization that I am not in control and I can not trust myself.

I don't know if Jesus was referring to the road of faith when he descirbed the narrow way that leads to life as being difficult.

I'm not allowed to control my behavior with condemnation. How can I when I am confronted with the fact that I am loved unconditionally? I am no longer under the law and therefore am no longer condemned. Understand that when I say I can't be condemned, I mean that a lot of times I would like to go back to law, but I can't. I just can't be afraid of God anymore. I know who He is.

Jonah KNEW who God was. He KNEW God's ways and that God was abounding in lovingkindness. That is why he didn't preach to the Gentiles. He knew God would love the people that Jondah thought were absolutely unlovable. He didn't want Him to love them. Jonah was not afraid of God...He ran from Him and talked back to Him: "Yes I do well to be angry! Angry enough to die!"

Even Cain, after he killed his brother, knew of God's lovingkindness and how it endures forever. After Cain killed his brother, Abel, God asks him what he's done, and he back sasses God with a smart attitude: "How should I know? Am I my brother's babysitter?" And how does God respond? By putting a seal on the murderer, protecting him!

I'm not saying Cain was saved since the Bible doesn't ever hint at him being saved. He tried to offer God fruit rather than the blood of a Lamb. I'm not saying he was saved, but I am saying God clearly demonstrated His true character of Agape by putting a seal of protection on someone who just murdered their own brother.

We have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. We have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. You are not a slave, but a son. You are not God's employee, you are His son. If God protected Cain, a faithless murderer, will He not much more protect you from the wrath to come?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just Thinking Outloud

Often I feel like "Who am I to call myself a Christian?" Ever feel like that?

I feel like I don't do enough and I'm not fanatic enough to be a Christian. I don't lay hands on people and pray. Actually, I never pray in front of people unless it's silent or someone else is praying. I'll pray for people, but not with them. It always feels as though I'm talking to them and not to God anyway.

I always feel like when I'm talking about Jesus, people are looking at me, thinking, "Is HE suppose to be a Christian? HA!"

A friend prayed for me today at Church. Her name is Rita, and she is so gentle and kind. She pressed her head against mine and sat there and prayed for something I've been struggling with lately. I wanted the boldness to do things like that...But I feel I'm just not ready. It didn't make me feel condemned or anything, but I do want to be free from the fear of people so as to just lay hands on people and pray when they need me to.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Daily Bible Reading

Are we really obligated to read our Bibles every day? If so, why?

Well, in my honest opinion, I don't see why we urge and guilt people to read their Bibles every day. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but I honestly don't see anywhere in the Bible where God says it is detrimental if we do not read it every day. In fact, I think it was something like 70-80% of the people in the early Church who were illiterate. Of course they were taught the Scriptures and had the Bible read to them by others, but they were not able to read it every day since they could not read.

I know we use the Scripture in Psalm 119:11 that we are to hide his word in our heart that we might not sin against him, but I wonder if that is not a prophesy of The Word (Christ) in our hearts. I don't want my relationship to be with the Bible, but with Christ Himself. The Logos, The Living Word of God.

So for me, I don't read my Bible every day. I do read my Bible and it is not wrong to do so every day, but if I am doing it in order for God to be pleased with me and think I'm a good boy, then I am being absolutely silly. We have God on the inside of us, guys! The written word should never take the place of the Living Word, Jesus Christ!

"You think that in the Scriptures are eternal life, but these are they which speak of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."

We have life on the inside of us, being Christians. The written word of God is precious since it tells us about Christ, but we should never prefer the Bible over it's Author.

Friday, September 25, 2009

God of Second Chance or Chances?

Julie has posted a blog with some GREAT thoughts in it on the idea of grace being about God giving us more chances.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Can I Keep From Singing?

I was listening to Enya sing this song just now and I began to think of grace and when, and how it comes.

Grace comes to us when we do not deserve it. That is the meaning of grace. It comes when we have just committed the sin we never thought we would, or the the sin we have repeated over and over and have made vows never to do again.

In the past, when I sinned, I viewed God's face as hidden from me by the dark cloud of sin. But now, when I sin, I am shocked to lift my head and see the light of God's face shining intensely on me. Only the light does not expose my sin, but it shines through my flesh and exposes the righteousness inside that I have from Christ. He convicts me of my righteousness and urges me, even when I insist on self-flagellation, to receive His grace and love. He proposes to me the preposterous idea of continuing in my freedom from fear and guilt, and invites me to sit down and eat with him, taking no heed of the sin I just committed, but to continue to enjoy Him and feed off of Him.

He insists that over time, His love will begin to restrain me. If I just continue in His word, I will know Him and begin to be set free.

Even growth in grace comes by grace. I could never, in all my struggles, even begin to be set free from fear of condemnation. It is truly God who gives the growth.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Matisyahu - King Without A Crown



I know, Matthew is into Judaism, but I listened to this song so much when I first got saved. Everything was so new and exciting. God was so new to me and so beautiful! I had never knew anything or anyone like Him before. I was still very immature in my thinking, but that didn't matter. I loved Him. I was drunk with love.

What was once new has now become, as Aida said, normal. It isn't always that exciting now, though one day it will be, when I see Him face-to-face.

I remember when I first got saved. For some reason the name Father came to my heart. No one taught me to call Him Father, I just did it because, well, I knew He was my Father now. I still remember telling my friend, Tony on the phone, "I call Him Father now!!" I still don't know if Tony understood what I meant, but the Spirit was witnessing with my spirit that I was now a child of God. My heart was crying out, "Daddy! Father!"

And so, this post is more of a sentimental thing between my Father and I. He remembers. This is one of our songs.

This is my witness. My love for God, my affection for Him is my witness to others. He gives us new hearts through faith in Jesus Christ. He cleanses our hearts from all evil and gives us the Spirit of His Son in our hearts.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Are We Free To Sin?

Interesting question, don't you think?

Well, I'll get straight to it. In a sense we are free to sin, and in another sense, we aren't.

You see, we are no longer under the law, and where there is no law, the Bible says, there is no transgression. How can I be guilty of sin if I am not under the law? So then I could indeed use my freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. I can not out-sin the grace of God. Period. So, in a legal sense, I am free to sin.

But Paul also tells us something else in Romans chapter 6. He makes the point that since we have died with Christ, we have also been rasied with Him, in the spirit. He made us new creations by way of His death and resurrection. We, when we believed the Good News, were made dead to sin through His death, and were made alive to God through His resurrection. So now, in my spirit, I am (humanly speaking) a slave to righteousness. Whereas I used to be a slave to sin, I am now a slave of righteousness. So, in that sense, I am not free to sin because it is no longer my nature to sin. John says no one who abides in Him keeps on sinning because God's seed (Jesus) abides in him. Jesus destroys the works of the devil, we don't. It is not by our struggling and striving, but by His work. His seed abides in us and He causes us to walk in His ways. For a Christian to live in sin is like a fish out of water. It isn't natural, and sooner or later he is going to stop. Peter tells us that the Christian has been made a partaker of the Divine nature.

We, who were diseased trees before Christ came, naturally bore bad fruit. The root determined the fruit. Identity and result. I could not be a healthy tree by trying hard to bear good fruit. "A diseased tree cannot bear good fruit". But in Christ, I have been made a new tree; a healthy tree. And Jesus says of us, "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit." Why? Because he is healthy! It's nothing to do with how hard he tries or a law he is under. It is his nature to do good.

So why not stop all the sin and behavior focused sermons and just proclaim the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and what He has already accomplished!? You are a saint! There is no need to try hard to make yourself into someone you already are! Just rest and abide in Him! How do you abide in Him you ask? Well, how did you get in Him to begin with? By faith. Faith in what? In the finished work of the cross and resurrection! So how are you now to walk? The same way you were saved! Hello! "Having begun by the Spirit, are you now going to perfect yourself by your flesh?"

The law was part of an Old Covenant and what is old is passing away and has now become obsolete. And forget about "balancing" two covenants that are contrary to one another. The Old is obsolete. It isn't just an 'upgraded covenant'. It is a NEW Covenant.

Forgiveness By The Cross

I often get frustrated when trying to get people to understand grace because I try to prove it to them by theological debate, desiring to show them that I am right and they are wrong. I believe this is the wrong way to approach people. I think we are to give them grace at their level. I don't mean they're dumber than we are, I just mean that we need to get to the heart of grace rather than trying to show them why grace is right and mixture isn't. Rather than trying to persuade them to accept that what I am saying is true, I need to recognize their need of grace and just give it to them.

Sometimes people don't need a well laid out argument for grace, though that does indeed have its place, but sometimes people just need to hear something as simple as, "God isn't mad at you." I need to see the heart of the person that I am speaking to rather than wondering how I can make them believe the truth about grace.

I guess my point is that we don't have to have the most persuasive arguments, though we do indeed need to be able to back up our claims with the Scripture, but we just need to get real with people and get to the point: The Cross of Jesus Christ has provided forgiveness of their sins once for all, not through their repentence or even their faith. Our faith doesn't forgive our sins, our faith receives our forgiveness. Forgiveness is already there. It has been here since the Cross, but now all we have to do is reach out and take it. So the message is simple: Return to God, He has redeemed you. You're forgiven! Take it while there is still time!

I do not deny the coming of judgment for unbelievers, but it won't be because they were not forgiven. It will be because they did not believe the Good News that was spoken to them, not because they sinned. No human being goes to be with the Father because they didn't sin. They go to be with Him only by the righteousness provided for them through Jesus Christ.

Your sins are taken away, they are removed, they are washed, and cast as far as the east is from the west. Jesus bore all the wrath of God against sin and no one will ever be judged because they sinned, but because they rejected the gift Jesus bought for them. They will go to hell because they insulted the Spirit of Grace, by counting the precious Blood of the Covenant as an unholy thing. They go because they sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth. They persist in unbelief even after someone has proclaimed forgiveness to them through the Cross and through no merit of their own. For that hardness of heart there is no excuse.

It is bad enough to sin even after hearing God's law, but it is even worse to reject the free gift of forgiveness for that sin. Everyone who disobeyed the law of God died without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the one who has rejected God's own Son after everything He went through so that you could be brought back safely to God? It is the religious, not the filthiest sinner that will receive the harsher judgment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bellamy Brothers - Let Your Love Flow

Now That We're Christians, Do We Keep The Law?

Well, do we?

To say that we do would be wrong. If I am still in any way in relationship to the law, then I am condemned by it and justly so.

But I, and many Christians have believed a widespread theology that because we have received the Spirit of God, He then enables us to keep the law. Nothing could be further from the truth! If I were still under the law, I could not be indwelt by the Spirit! But where there is no law, there is no transgression.

Malcolm Smith gave a great analogy as to how silly it is to put a Christian back under the law after being saved by grace. I don't remember the exact words he used, but I do remember the gist of the story.

Malcolm, growing up in the town he was from, didn't have electricity until he was a bit older, so they were forced to light their homes by candle light at night. But as things progressed little by little, the town he lived in eventually got electricity. Then one day, being at an elderly man's house, (who belonged to Malcolm's Church) he noticed the old man nodded toward his wife, telling her to turn on the electric lighting since it was beginning to get dark outside. And then after she turned on the lights, he began to light the candles that they had used before they got electricity, saying that it would be much easier to light the candles now that they had electricity.

The Old Covenant is said in the Bible to have had glory; it had a light. But now, Paul says, the glory of the New Covenant of grace much more surpasses the glory that the Old Covenant of law had. It would be silly to go back to the law (the Ten Commandments) now that you have God on the inside of you. You have the fulfillment of the law living on the inside of you! Why now do you retreat back to the law, believing it has some work yet to finish that God has not already finished?

The works that were to be done in order for God to be pleased with you were done by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law and the prophets, and through faith, that same righteousness that He accomplished is now fulfilled in you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grace and Truth

You know, I want to be free from this attitude of pride. Pride that I understand more about God than other Christians because they don't see Him the way I do. That isn't grace. I need to let go of that attitude completely.

I guess what has kept me from my own Church is fear. Fear that this message may not really be true, but that I am giving myself to it so that I have an excuse to be lazy. I know that isn't true, but I want to let those hurts and fears go. I want to forgive and show grace and love to those who just haven't received the revelation yet. I am no more spiritual or saved than my other brothers and sisters.

I pray that God would cause me to walk in freedom and love for my family in Christ. I'm sick of this cynical, proud attitude I get whenever I listen to another Christian speak. I just need to allow the Spirit to brush aside error, gracefully, in love.

I know we pick on the Pharisees and say Jesus rebuked them strongly, and I do believe there is a place for rebuke and correction, but I believe that for our brothers and sisters who don't "get it", we are to be kind and gentle with them. We are to love them and show them the grace that has been revealed to us.

I pray that none of us would be puffed up in our hearts against each other, but that we would speak the truth in love and sincerity of heart, fully assured that the grace we speak of is true.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Clean Heart

Believers need to understand what salvation really is! That God has killed the old person we were before Christ, not symbolically, but literally, and then He raised us from the dead and seated us with Christ in heaven. We don't need rules or principles or self-discipline!

God dealt with the heart of the matter, literally. In salvation, He gave us new hearts, not hard as stone, but soft as flesh.

Self-discipline is nothing more than a work of the flesh and sooner or later your flesh will get tired of trying to be good (out of pride) and will want to act like itself. Self-discipline only lasts a season!

You see, Christians believe they cannot trust themselves with freedom, because they believe they are still sinners at heart and therefore they renounce the freedom they have in Christ, and in doing so, they remain as children, never moving on to maturity! "O foolish Galatians!"

My point is this: You can trust your heart. It is no longer deceitful, but God has performed a spiritual surgery of the heart. Your heart is no longer filled with sin, but with light, righteousness, purity and self-control. The Holy Spirit brings you freedom from sin IN freedom! You are free to sin, but Christians are not sinners! They died to sin and came alive to God! So the fear of licenteousness because we are not under law has absolutely no basis!

You don't have to discipline yourself anymore. The Holy Spirit, from the inside, will produce self-control in you. You're free to stagger and stumble on your way towards learning to walk upright as a fully mature child of God. Your Father isn't frustrated with you when you fall. In fact, you're not seeing Him clearly if you see Him like that! He is full of delight with you as you learn to walk. He doesn't notice how many times you fall, but He takes notice of how many steps you make.

He coaches you, encourages you and strengthens you with His love. He never discourages you or rebukes you. He is never angry with you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Issue of Identity

One thing that irks me when I listen to Christians speak on living the Christian life is this teaching that we must, "die to self."

In coming to further understand what the sacrifice of Jesus accomplished at the cross, I realize how silly this is to try and kill off the old sinful nature, or as Paul calls it, "old man."

It would be impossible for me to kill my spirit. And whats more impossible is for me to attempt to raise myself from the dead! So, what the law couldn't do, (make me a new creation) God did by sending Jesus.

Salvation doesn't only mean forgiveness of sins. It also means that Jesus, in Himself, kills the old man who is alive to sin. So the question of us (believers in Christ) sinning because we are no longer under the law is absolutely silly! That old sinner that we used to be is dead! And furthermore, God made us alive to Himself by raising our spirit from the dead when He raised Christ from the dead. We were baptized, not into water, but into Jesus' death. And we were raised, not from water, but from the tomb. So Jesus' death was our death. His resurrection from the dead is our resurrection from the dead.

So you see, it isn't that we must "die to self". We don't need to be killed again; we simply recognize that it has already happened in Christ. We don't try to attain some experience of dying. Jesus experienced death for us. His death was our death, and furthermore, we don't try to raise ourselves from the dead; we recognize it has already been done when we believed on Christ.

You are a new creation. You are alive, not dead. It is the dead who will be judged by what is written in the books, and it is the dead whose names are not written in the book of life.

Have you ever wondered how God could let a "forgiven sinner" into His heaven? Sinners do not go to heaven, but they are reserved for wrath. Not by their works, but by their very nature. (Ephesians 2:3)

A sinner cannot produce good. Likewise, a saint cannot produce evil.

Let's say sinners are apple trees and saints are grape vines. Apple trees cannot produce grapes. Why? Because they are not grape vines, but apple trees. Their nature determines their fruit.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Unspiritual?

Do you ever feel unspiritual? By that, I mean do you ever feel as though you have lost your witness as a Christian because you have stopped doing everything someone asks you to do in an effort not to feel guilty?

I may not be explaining myself well. Lately the thought crossed my mind that I am no witness for Christ because my lack of ...busyness? I don't attend our Church on Sundays anymore and I've become more relaxed in my thinking, my conversation and my doing. Sometimes when someone aks me to do something, I say no. And sometimes I get irritable when asked to do something. And I don't preach the Gospel and talk about God all the time to people.

I think these feelings are nothing but nonsense and I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and continue to bathe in God's presence. But will people see that I love Him if I am not busy trying to serve and influence? I suspect so.

I just want to exude an air of peace and joy and of being in love with my God. But I refuse to try and imitate that, only to give the impression that I have peace, joy and love. I want it to be real. I'm sick of masks, facades, and being a "connoisseur of moods".

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Madonna - Borderline



People have often pushed my love to it's borderline. I can't love them like they need to be loved, but I can point them to the One who can. His love has no borderline.

Above All Rule and Authority

Since believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I must admit I have lost my fear of hell. When I see or hear people preaching about the wrath of God coming against sinners, I no longer tremble. Since believing, I have begun to see a God who loves me, who sings over me and who delights in me and coaches me in my identity and encourages me towards living righteously since I am a righteous being.

I still get a heavy heart when I think unbelievers, especially those whom I love, going to hell. Hell exists and I do not deny it. But I can't be afraid of it anymore. I understand what the finished work of Jesus did for me. It is a finished work. I'm seated with Him, far above all rule and authority and any who would judge me or accuse me. My accuser has been thrown down once for all, because He canceled the record of debt that stood against me with its legal demands. He set it aside and nailed it to the Cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Himself.

I know Whom I have trusted and I believe with full assurance He will guard me from the wrath of God that will come in the end.

"Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

For Carol

Hey guys,

If anyone of you have ever been to Bino's blog, you might have seen a guy posting by the name of Ike in the comments section. Well, his wife, Carol has cancer and she is in desperate need of financial help. While I don't have a job at the moment, I will offer what I can, and pray and pass this link on so that anyone who is led may donate as much as they will and offer prayers.

Here is the link to donate. This is Ike's son's blog.

Even a dollar is significant.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Facebooking with Malcolm Smith

It was so cool to see him reply to a message I sent him! I was very excited and encouraged when I received it.

I had messaged him privately, asking a question that sometimes still nags at me. I asked him for advice in dealing with fear of what I might do if I was tortured, persecuted or threatened for my faith in Christ. Would I renounce the faith and deny Him?

I just wanted to share his response with you all in hopes that it may encourage someone else who may be dealing with the same doubts and fears:

"Yes I have faced those same thoughts and travelling in Moslem and Communist countries it was heightened. The fact is that when we are faced with any challenge there is the grace and strength to meet the challenge and preeminently so when it comes to dying for Christ. Speaking to those who have come close to it and others who have spent years in prison for His sake they all report the same that they had grace that included supernatural joy to face the moment and all it held. Facing communist guards in my meetings in the Philippines the Spirit spoke strongly to me that I had been given grace to live and teach and when it would come to death I would have the grace for that but now to boldly live and teach with the unique grace He was now giving me. This gave me immediate and great peace and I believe that it is truth for all that you can receive as His word to you."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Making a Whip of Cords

Watching Gordon Ramsay, the hot-headed chef on BBC has caused me to think about some things.

Living under fear of going to hell because I might not be sincere enough, I was afraid to be forward with people. I thought that if they got mad at me, then that meant that I had sinned. It was easy for me to feel guilty having the mindset I had.

But now I am admiring the forward, take charge personalities that are honest with people. I guess it's the honesty that I am impressed with.

Some people would criticize Gordon for his excessive use of the F word and his hot-headedness, but honestly, I admire it. After being stuffed up inside my head of Galatianism, Gordon is a breath of fresh air with his honesty. I always thought it was wrong to be...intense. Then I look at Jesus and He flipped over people's tables, poured out their money and hit animals with whips. Jesus was intense. He is the perfect man, not using power and authority to lord over people, but to lovingly point out wrong and to correct it. He lived perfectly in the Spirit of power, love and of a sound mind.

I'm not saying Gordon is a perfect expression of this, I'm simply saying I admire his intensity and bluntness. I've seen him tear people down and then build them up. It's impressive.

Make of it what you will. This is just what has been on my mind lately.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rammstein - Sonne

Trying to Feel God

I have mentioned this before but it's on my heart yet again.

Today, after I came back from my Grandma's house, I began to feel distant from God. I realized that when I was outside, I no longer have the rush of excitement when I see creation and I felt no holy desires for heaven. To be honest, England has been much more on my mind than heaven. That may sound funny to you, but it's true.

Then I started to wonder again if I am drifting away from my first love because I don't try to force up emotions of love for God or people anymore. I've completely stopped analyzing my feelings and moods, and so I wonder if that has made me passive and indifferent.

I felt a flush of anger earlier today as I was praying because the thought of mustering up emotion and feelings of love came to mind. I told God I was tired of it; wore out. I couldn't go back to that. I won't go back to that. It's a roller coaster ride of inconsistency.

But I also feel the desire to go back to that lifestyle: To feel something so that I know God is still here even when I don't force him to be here by my feelings love and closeness to him.

Is this really the life of faith or have I just become lazy? Sometimes I feel outright selfish and I don't feel like trying to muster up feelings of unselfishness, ya know? I'm tired of playing that game.

Really.

I'm tired.

Just let Jesus live in me regardless of how I feel.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reactions to the Gospel

I have been thinking about the reactions I have received from people after explaining grace to them, and came to the conclusion that I would be more satisfied with someone who got angry at the message rather than someone who just sits there, giving polite nods and smiling at me, all the while disagreeing with me.

At the very least let me know you understood what I have spoken to you. Please, show some sign of comprehension! I could say I somewhat understand what the Lord felt when he pleaded with a Church, "Would I that you were hot or cold! But you are lukewarm!"

If you reject the message, then reject it with passion! Perhaps then you would be zealous enough to read the Scriptures and find out if these things are indeed so. But if you sit there, passive and indifferent, then what hope is there of you ever even caring to understand?

The Gospel is not something to be indifferent about. You are either for it or against it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Setting Aside God's Grace

Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?" (John 3:10)

As I was saying in the comments of an earlier post, 'A Change of Wills', grace is not the first part of the Christian life, and after that we move on into works. Those who would consider that 'maturity' are in reality backslidden.

You who would say, "Yes, its grace, BUT there are commandments we need to follow"... how well do you need to follow them in order to maintain this salvation that you falsely claim is by grace? This is no gospel at all. You are inviting me to a 'free' banquet, then after I have eaten my fill, you hand me my check and ask for a tip. In that case, you and I differ somewhat in our opinion of the meaning of the word 'free'.

Does not anyone read Galatians or any of the Bible these days with understanding? Do you not know it is heresy to preach grace only to turn around and preach works from the same mouth? "There are some who would distort the Gospel of Christ."

I would ask the obvious question to those who believe such a 'gospel' that is at first by grace and then ends in works: "Are you so idiotic? Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?"

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if justification were through the law then Christ died for no purpose."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lion of the Tribe of Levi?

I don't think Christians realize what they are doing when they insist on clinging to some portion of the law, attempting to mix it with grace. As far as that goes, not even the power of God can help you. The Holy Spirit will not help you attain righteousness under the law. God will not be unfaithful to the Covenant he made by and through his Son, Jesus.

By clinging to tithing or any bit of the law, you are disqualifying your High Priest, Jesus. Tithing and the whole of the law is under the Levitical Priesthood. Now, what is the requirement of being in the Levitical Priesthood? Is it not to be from the line of the patriarch Levi? Yet we see Jesus is not from the tribe of Levi, but of Judah! The law would disqualify Jesus as your High Priest! You don't know what you're saying when you insist on Galatian theology that says "Yes, its grace, but you need to do your part." You're talking out of your rear.

You're saying "Yes, Jesus saved me, but I can save myself too." You're doing exactly what Paul warned against doing in his letter to the Church in Galatia. You are cut off from Christ and found to be under a curse! You idiot! "Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" In Americanese, "Having been saved by grace, are you now trying to finish the job by works?" This is a salvation that is, "by faith from first to last."

You readily accept grace for initial salvation and then you play the whore by deserting him and turning to yourself.

You say one thing and then contradict it! You say we're saved by grace, but if we sin, we lose it. You say God makes me righteous apart from the law, but if I disobey the law, I become unrighteous.

Am I encouraging sin? Don't be stupid. But if I go to hell clinging to this promise of grace, then so be it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Change of Wills

I again felt it necessary to change the look of my blog. I oft get bored of the templates offered on blogger.

Nothing much to report: I've been watching BBC heavily the past week or so, drinking substantial amounts of coffee. Mom made homemade whip cream to go on the coffee which tasted so good it must have been...unprofitable.

I am still looking for a job. I thought I had found one at a Food Lion (supermarket) but the lady who interviewed me said she was full of cashiers and needed a bagger/cart runner. I didn't want to risk taking the job and end up quitting because of excessive walking. I told her I wanted to be sure I could do the job before I took it. I don't like starting something and not being able to finish. It makes me feel lazy, inadequate and unreliable. I'd rather not feel like that.

But there is something that I've been weighing on my mind lately about this grace stuff. I know its true, but there are some things I want to find out for myself and work out for myself. I want to get it from my head to my heart.

Some things I've heard taught from grace people doesn't sit right with me. It could be that I misunderstood them, but whether it was I or they, I have come to a different conclusion than before. I'm not looking to debate, but if you so desire, you may comment and express your opinion on the matter.

I think it is easy to wrongly think that living in the grace of God will take away our temptations and sinful desires. It doesn't. I don't think it is 'let go and let God', but I think we exercise our wills as well. I don't think anyone reading this (whom I know) will disagree with this. But I was under the impression that some mentalities I had as a legalist were wrong when they were actually right. Its the motivation that was wrong.

As far as my understanding goes now, I think the Gospel and God's grace is primarily a change of motivation. Under law, I resist and flee from temptation because of my fear; under grace I resist sin and flee from temptation because of my love.

My will is still very much involved, but my motivation has totally changed. I'm not passive towards temptation, believing God will overcome it while I rest. No! I run from temptation and I put away anger. I do rest, but my rest is in the sense that I have stopped trying to justify myself before God by my adherence to the law. But that does not at all mean that I literally rest during temptation, expecting God to somehow take over my will.

Grace doesn't make decisions for you. It enables you to make a decision.

Paul said he struggled. He said he disciplined his body and brought it under control. BUT, it was on a foundation of grace and not fear.

Jesus will not override your will. He enables you to use your will for the will of God.

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Extremo - Vollmond




I wouldn't look up the English lyrics as I have no idea whether they're...profitable or not. But I do love the music. I listened to this a lot when I first came to Christ because I loved metal, but could no longer relate to wanting to kill myself. So I turned to German metal. Bless 'em! I can't understand a thing!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Whoever Seeks, Finds

"A devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.

About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, "Cornelius!"

And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God." (Acts 10:2-4)

I had one of those "duh" moments thinking about this the other day. I was wondering why this guy seemed to get on God's good side by his good works. I knew the Scriptures said all our good works are as filthy rags, but it seemed like God made an exception for this guy.

Then Jesus' words rang clearly in my head: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

It was not because God was impressed with his good works that he sent an angel to Cornelius. "No one does good; not even one." Rather, it was because of Cornelius' great desire to be made righteous in the sight of God. And so we see that God sent an angel to Cornelius and told him to find Peter who would tell him how to get that righteousness he so longed for.
I wanted to mention the parable of the talents how I used to view this parable. I won't post it, because I trust you already know it, and if you don't, I ask you to go and read it with this in mind.

I think its interesting that if your life about making enough talents to please God, you end up seeing your master the way the wicked servant perceived his master to be: A hard man.

If you see God as a hard man, then you will get a hard man on the day of judgment. If you insist on putting your hope in the law, you will reap consequences of breaking it.

So it won't be a question of "What did you do for Jesus?" on judgment day, but rather, "What did you believe jesus did for you?"

Many will boast of what they did for Jesus on that Day (Matthew 7:21-23). But only those who know him will enter the kingdom.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hunk'a Junk!

I'm trying to sell a car and I'm no good at it.

I don't know what an alternator is and I don't care to know. If you put gas in it and it doesn't go, I have no clue whats wrong with it.

And whats worse is when people think a man ought to know these things. And why ought he to know them? I don't need to know how to fix a car to be a man. Sure, knowing how to fix it might be good if I broke down on the side of the road, but in that case, it would also be good for a woman to know as well.

I just hate people looking at me as if I am not a male because I could give a flip less about a car's innards. Working on a man-made hunk of metal on a hot day doesn't mean all that much to me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Frightening Freedom

"Now, having undergone our period(s) of disillusionment (i.e. Dark Night(s) of the Soul), we emerge on the other side only to discover that we do not like the look of freedom. This is understandably so because freedom is a scary thing. How does one function in a paradigm where there are no alibis, rules, codes of conduct, ethics, structures or law? How does one function in a world where morality has been surpassed and outclassed by the absurdity of grace? It is up to you to interpret freedom for yourself. Nobody is going to tell you what to do. All this new paradigm will do is reinforce who you are. So, you can neither control nor be controlled. Freedom is truly frightening as it is an alien and implausible structure to a bound guilt-stained soul."

-Taken from the Bonsai Conspiracy by Paul Anderson-Walsh

Monday, July 27, 2009

Finding Jesus in Secular Lyrics

"All your faces I can see; you all think its about me -- I'm about to break. This is my fate. I am still damned to a life of misery and hate. You will never know what I've done for you; what you all put me through...I do it for you."

"For the joy set before him he endured the cross."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Prayer

I ask everyone who reads this to pray for me. I won't be specific, but this a very serious problem. Just pray for God to protect me. You don't need to pray long prayers. Just ask what comes to you and let God answer.

He hears you because of Jesus' precious Blood.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I loathe cigarette smoke, nascar, country music and beer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What freedom it is to be freed from reliance on emotional highs and to worship God even when I feel nothing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm going to let God teach me. I'm letting go of man's tactics for spiritual growth, doing what they say I should do.

I'm gonna follow Jesus. He told me his yoke is easy and his burden is light. That sounds more realistic for someone like me: Weak.
Something a little heavy is on my heart right now and I'm not sure what it is and writing usually helps me.

I'm a little stressed because I don't have a job. And if I am honest, I am a little stressed about my prosthetic. Its getting pretty old and I have no insurance. I could live without it if I had to, but I would like to have it so that I can work and provide for myself, and am praying for a job at the bookstore. I really love the mood of the place and the idea of becoming more social. I love the idea of working with other people, stepping outside of comfort zones which are not so comfortable anymore. Those comfort zones are starting to feel more like prison cells.

I feel God's Spirit is welling up inside of me, longing to express himself. I want to practice love and kindness. And I mean literal practice. Like target practice.

Let me make this clear: IT IS NOT ME. I have never been a person that likes people. I loved and longed for the shadows. You could have dug for me a hobbit hole and I would have been content to stay there. But no more. God is moving.

Jamie was right. When Jesus is inside you, its like being pregnant. Birth is inevitable.

Jesus said kinda the same thing. He described it as rivers of living water being inside you, ready to burst forth.

This flesh isn't strong enough to hold back the flood. Its coming.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Whoever Does Not Renounce All He Has...

I was reading something in Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis that I didn't really agree with. And that is A-okay with me, but it caused me to think.

Rob was giving a lot of very interesting history on Jewish rabbis and the relationship they had with their disciples. And towards the end of the chapter, he said that Jesus is calling his disciples to believe in themselves and that what bugged Jesus most about his disciples was how we have the tendency to lose faith in ourselves.

I believe Christian maturity is not becoming stronger and more dependent on our abilities, but becoming weaker and less reliant on our abilities and more reliant on Jesus. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus getting frustrated with their unbelief in him. Misplaced faith is usually what I see that happened with the disciples.

Such was the case with Peter on the water. Peter had full confidence in his Master, but when the wind picked up and began to look threatening, he shifted his focus from Jesus to himself. And becoming aware of his own inability to walk on water or withstand the winds, he began to sink. Why? It was not because Peter lost faith in himself. It was because his faith lost sight of its proper object -- Jesus.

Peter, having even great faith in himself, could not have walked on water. It was physically impossible for him. He could have tried with all his might to walk on water and still sink.

We are continually, as Christians, being brought back to the place of absolute helplessness and dependence on Jesus alone. That is true Christian maturity.

Weakness doesn't exactly feel Christian. It is scary to realize you have no control and therefore abandon yourself to a God whom you cannot see.

Faith in Jesus is the only thing that pleases the Father.

You, a human, cannot physically walk on water by your own efforts. It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is of no avail.

Faith is not a practice of self-help but a practice of renouncing self. Abandoning all trust and confidence in oneself and putting that faith where it ought to be: In Jesus.
When people who get a revelation of grace begin to go against truth and, 'accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions', then I wish they had remained legalistic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Only Look to Christ

I spoke in my previous post about wanting to go back to beating myself into godliness through fear of being condemned.

I knew that people were not saved by works, but I believed very strongly that we were to prove our salvation by our works, and so works became my focus. My performance was my focus. If I didn't perform well enough or do certain things, then I wasn't genuine. And I measured my life by Scriptures like the sermon on the mount. And I came to the conclusion that I was far away from what I thought Jesus was saying a Christian looked like.

I never found assurance for my salvation in this way and I was never able to fully trust the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross because of my constant evaluation of proof that I had indeed been saved.

So I knew that salvation was by grace, but I thought my confidence and assurance came not from the Cross, but from myself. It was a very clever lie to hinder my faith in Jesus Christ and to shift my view from Jesus to myself. And everytime my eyes fell from Jesus, they immediately focused on myself and my faith. I no longer looked to Jesus, but I looked to myself and my faith and constantly evaluated both. In this way I had swerved from the truth of the Gospel. I had replaced my faith in Jesus for faith my faith. Which is a ridiculous, neverending cycle of a cat chasing its own tail.

I believed the Law wasn't necessary for salvation, but I believed it was there to keep my salvation in check, to see if I was a true believer or not. So I tried to find assurance that I was a Christian by trying to keep the Law. I never sought assurance from what Jesus did for me, but always what I did for him. I would refer myself to passages like 1 John where it says, "Anyone who is in him ought to walk as he walked."

And so of course, I never saw the things I was doing right, but only the things I was doing wrong. I was trying to be saved by Jesus, but trying to find assurance from the Law. How can anyone do that? I find assurance that my sins are forgiven, not through obedience to the Law, but through understanding that Jesus took the punishment for me.

So I finally got sick of the condemnation and figured out that I was to do one thing and one thing ONLY. My wonderful brother, Brian always said in his blog, "Only look to Christ."

If I go to hell and burn for eternity trusting and finding confidence in Jesus Christ ONLY, then so be it. But God said that would never happen. He is faithful to his promises.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No Turning Back

It is possible, very possible, as Joel mentioned in a recent re-post of his older blogs, to completely understand what the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ did and still avoid God or try and keep him at a distance.

Some things that keep me from his presence.

1. The first and main reason I avoid him is because I want to make a habit of prayer and intimacy with my Father, yet I feel like whats the use? I won't be consistent. I want so much to, not to please him, but rather to please me. I love prayer and and fellowshipping with him.

2. Another reason is I am afraid that if I approach him boldly and enjoy him without first proving myself, I will sin without a care.

3. That he will want me to change something about myself that I am not ready to change. I am afraid of going back to the exhausting, critical mind that judges everything I do. And so I avoid him.

And one other reason -- actually I like this one: He scares me. But in a good way.

I know that he is holy and righteous and hates sin. And I personally adore that about him. I can't worship a God who doesn't despise sin and looks at it with an attitude of, "boys will be boys". I love his holiness. His uniqueness, his...seperatedness. I love how big he is. But it also causes me to hesitate to approach him sometimes.

Sometimes I actually desire to return to the state of mind I used to have of God. Because if I am honest, it gave me immediate results. But even if I tried, I honestly couldn't go back. I understand the finality of the Cross now. It's impossible to go back.






Friday, July 3, 2009

Belonging to the Way

I heard and believed myself that in order to draw near to God I needed to do a, b, and c. I needed to be more dedicated and zealous. I needed to pray more, witness more, be selfless, read my Bible more, and so on. What is wrong with us? Are we really this foolish? What did you hear at the beginning? So why do you think what you originally heard has changed?

You want to draw near to God?

Wake up and listen. Hebrews tells you plainly. Believe the Gospel.

"On the one hand a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced through which we draw near to God." (Hebrews 7:18-19)

So we draw near to God through the hope we have in Jesus Christ. This hope, we are told, "enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf." (Hebrews 6:19-20)

How did we become our own mediators and high priests? Jesus is our priest. Through HIM we draw near to God. Jesus clearly said, "I am the Way."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wake the Sleeping Christians

How could we have gotten so turned around? How did we ever let the lie sneak into our heads that we are to work for intimacy with God rather than working from it?

What a ludicrous idea. The foundation, the basic doctrine is that our acceptance is in the Beloved! We are accepted and delighted in because of Jesus' heroism and the salvation he obtained for us!

Do you not realize you are the dwelling place of God? How can one get any closer? And we do not do a single thing to reach this place. The Spirit was given because Jesus Christ was glorified, not because you were glorified.

This lie is spreading like wildfire and there are few, so few of us left to proclaim the truth. Because there are few of us who have seen and believed the totality and the exacting of the Law of God. We are those who refused to water down God's words and so cried out to God for an alternative. And Isaiah says, "He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry". The Lord gave the Law to break us, but he broke us that he may heal us.

"Come! Buy wine and milk without money and without a price!"

The presence of God and his acceptance of you is free for the taking. His passion for you and his love for you cannot be bought.

Christians have fallen asleep. Though they look awake, busying themselves about with anything and everything someone tells them to do. Wake up! You know the truth! "Why do you labor for that which does not satisfy?" Drink of him!

The basic of the basic of the basic of the Gospel is Jesus Christ is the Way to the Father. You understood at the beginning that you cannot attain relationship with the Father through the flesh, how is it do you think you will now start attain his attention and acceptance for you by your flesh? Wake up!!