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.


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.


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.