Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I think the point is this: Accepting the Gospel is not some hobby to take up. It isn't real to simply say, "Yes, I believe Jesus died for my sins." Prove you believe. There is no such thing as a passively indifferent faith.
It is completely entrusting ones life to Jesus. As I said before, if it means dying, I will continue in faith. Following the Lamb where ever he goes, as far as my understanding goes, means believing the Gospel no matter the cost, even if it costs me my life. In America, we probably don't have to worry about that sort of persecution, but if need be, we must follow Jesus where ever he goes.
I think making following Jesus into how good we behave may be wrong. Who can behave well enough? Yet in Revelation, it says that the Church follows the Lamb where ever he goes. That, I think, can only mean that they persevere in their faith to the very end. "To the one who conquers". The Saints who conquered are those who continue to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ even to the point of of being killed. They hold on to the end, no matter the end.
"They loved not their lives even to death."
Now I know in the grace community, we can easily get the idea, "My Father doesn't want me killed." He desires you to have faith in his Son to the very end. He desires that you conquer and overcome just as Jesus did. Faith is the only thing that pleases him. Faith in Jesus.
"If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."
"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and save their souls."
Sunday, June 21, 2009
But I do believe there is a commitment we ourselves make to God when we come to Jesus Christ. I'm still not quite sure what that commitment really is, but it is there.
It is the commitment of myself to bring my life into alignment with the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and he has died on the cross for my sins and has been raised from the dead. I don't think there is such a thing as someone saying, "I believe Jesus died for my sins" yet showing absolutely no interest in God. That is totally foreign to the Scriptures. There is no such thing of such a 'faith'.
Faith is the ruthless commitment to believing Jesus is Lord and he alone. When push comes to shuv, I confess Jesus as Lord. Faith ruthlessly and dangerously believes in the finished work of Jesus Christ even if it means martyrdom. Jesus is the King.
That is the ways it is and I feel no embarrassment about it.
The heart of it is love. Even when you do not feel it, it is there if you are a believer. It is the yearning of the soul that leaps inside you in rebellion against any man who dares exalt himself above your Jesus. It is having the attitude of 'Give me Jesus or give me death.'
This world has nothing to offer me. The only One who satisfies my soul is God. I am my Beloved's and He is mine.
"Whoever loves his life in this world will lose it".
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Do you remember the song of Moses? Exodus 15 – When was Exodus 15? The plagues were all over now. God had warned and warned and warned Egypt. In fact His judgment of Egypt in the death of the first-born had fallen. But then God lured Egypt. I use that term advisedly. His judgment was going to be final. His judgment on Egypt will be Universal. This is IT – and He says, Come Pharaoh, you wanted this, now you shall have it, and Pharaoh like and insane maniac follows after Israel to the Red Sea and there the final judgment came upon Egypt. I mean the final of the final, and all the troops of Egypt, men that had dedicated themselves to defy God had died in the Red Sea, and the next morning as Israel stood on the far side of the Red Sea, having come through it, and they saw everyone who had sought their destruction, and defied God to the end, they saw them laying on the shore, and it says, then they sang. Miriam grabbed the tambourines and said, ‘The Lord has triumphed and cast our enemies into the sea.’
That sounds to us, almost terrible. Let me say this, and I hope you understand it. But our ideas of the terribleness of God’s judgment and the way sometimes we talk about His judgment as if we are saying: Do you know God, I do not think you are so much love. I have a problem with your judgments.
Hold it, think about it for a week.
Those ideas we have about God’s judgment in our sloppy sentimentality about it is borne out of the fact that we live in a society which has no absolutes and there are no laws, and any man can do what he wants and get away with it. And if we do believe in law, then I am the absolute. If a man is as good as me, he has got to be alright. And I can’t see why God should judge, he is as good as me. Aren’t we really made at God for judging him because if he is judged, I’ve had it too. So I get mad at God for judging him. When I walk into the Bible I meet a God who says, this is absolute. You violate that and you have violated life. Violate life and you meet death. You violate that and you violate love, and that is death. Violate light, you are in darkness and confusion. A God that doesn’t judge is not God. I stand with horror and awe before the judgments of God but I have to join with the song of Moses and sing, ‘Great and marvelous are your works Oh Lord, Righteous and true are your ways’ If God did not judge we would not have a God. If God does not judge there are no absolutes, there is nothing right, there is nothing wrong. It is all neutral, it’s a blur. - Malcolm Smith
This makes me think of those who make light of God's law and relax it to where they believe they are able to keep it, ever so subtly sneaking in ideas of being right with God apart from faith in Jesus Christ.
It also causes me to think of the ridiculous notion that God will not punish people for their sins if they reject Jesus Christ. Whoever is not in Christ is under the law and will be judged according to their works.
Is fear of hell a bad thing? Not at all! If not for fear of hell, thousands -- millions would not have been saved. Fearing hell is not a bad thing for the unbeliever. But for the believer, fear of hell makes no sense. How can I fear hell, yet believe Jesus has saved me at the same time? Then I am stripped of the confidence I am urged to have in the book of Hebrews.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
1 John would get me all the time. I could see bits and pieces of love in my life, but nothing close to Agape or Jesus' love. Every time I tried, I failed and became bitter. I was much too selfish and fearful to love. And I am still afraid of looking like an idiot and exposing myself to people. I still become afraid that if I were to be myself, people would think I was insincere and question my legitimacy as a Christian. I'm afraid someone would scare me or hurt me. Maybe even cause me to feel embarrassed.
I guess it's also fear that if I expose my true self, I won't find what I hoped was there. I worry I'll find the same dead person I was before I knew God.
When I first knew God, I could hardly contain my excitement. I wanted to be with Christians all the time--I loved them. They knew what I knew! I didn't do much, but my heart was burning on the inside from seeing the face of God. But slowly, after a little while, doubts crept in. Worry came in and some things I heard taught scared me and caused me to be unsure of whether or not I could trust in Jesus' work alone. I always heard that it was grace, but it was also that we were to commit our lives to God. I didn't understand what I was suppose to do for him and no one would tell me, I just had better be sure I was doing it. What level of commitment does he require? If it isn't 100%, then how much? 60? 90? What if I sin? That means I'm not totally committed. People call me over-analytical, but I think I was being brutally honest.
"If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone were to be raised from the dead."
I'm sure people would have said the same to Marin Luther for his critical mind. But without being totally honest with himself, he would have never saw his need for grace and would never have had his revelation from God.
I was told by my conscience to sell all I have to buy the hidden treasure, yet here in America we have automobiles, houses, television, unlimited water from the faucet, groceries stores, restaurants around every corner, schools and whatever else we need. Solomon didn't even have what we have! And I live in a trailer! No one would ever consider me rich! Yet I am. If I am out of a job, I can apply for food stamps. I have it made in the shade as far as physical prosperity goes. Yet they say I am to sell all I have, but I still see myself and them with with a lot of possessions and distractions.
And we think we know something about dedication and zeal.
John the baptist wore camel skin and had only bugs and honey to eat! Talk about devotion and commitment! Jesus said even HE didn't reach God's standard. So how am I, with my air-conditioned home, suppose to consider myself totally sold out to God? Give me a break!
Jesus said if we wanted to be perfect, to sell all we had and give to the poor. That was a TRUE test of loving your neighbor as yourself for someone who boasted in their keeping of God's law.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I've not yet found another job. I've put in applications, but so far, nothing.
I dislike being busy, but I enjoy working. Work is a great way to express the Life of God by self-control, organization and being productive. I enjoy working--I just don't enjoy stress.
I'm not familiar with being busy and so it's a big change for someone who, since he has been a Christian, has had all the time in the world to daydream and, 'practice the presence of God'.
Too heavenly minded for no earthly use? Personally, I don't think one can be too heavenly minded. Too God-conscious? No such thing.
Another thing that is worrying me is that I've not been stressing myself about keeping the house clean and playing Halo. Normally I'm so stressed and paranoid that I'm drifting from God if I let go of paranoia and worry of becoming worldly.
I chatted briefly with my friend Crystal about it on Facebook. She can't relate much to my over-analytical mind. But I think her husband, Matt can. I need to meet with him for lunch soon. Maybe I'll call him tomorrow.
I worry, worry, worry that I will lose my love for God and that I will drift into the person I was before I knew God. A dog returning to his own vomit so-to-speak. Now, I know the theology among the grace people--I'm not the person I used to be.
I also know that grace isn't a license to be lazy, but lately, it seems I have been. I haven't went to the store for my mom when she asked me to a few times. I used to do everything, feeling it was my duty as a Christian to cater everyone, always, never to say no. Now I'm not so sure that is right. But at the same time, I don't want to be completely selfish.
Basically, I struggle with love and what it means to love. Who is to say what is love and what isn't? How do I know when I am loving?
I just wish Jesus would come back--or at least make a special trip for me, to pick me up early. I'm ready to go. This world is too annoying and distracting for me. I don't want to be choked by the cares of this life. This world has nothing to offer me; nothing that I'm interested in.
And good grief, I'm not talking about suicide. So don't even think that. I'm saying I want to be in a place with no distractions from the One I love.
A lot of the time I feel like all I want is him and I could go to be with him right now, knowing he would take care of my mom and my little brother. She gets angry when I tell her I'm ready to go--but she doesn't understand. She doesn't understand I would be much better off.
Imagine if someone considering me for a job were to read this blog. "This boy wants to die!" HAHA! Well, sort of. But death has no power over me, so it's not really death. We believers like to call it "sleeping". You can hire me, I won't kill myself. I'm not a loony toon. Really.
If I WERE to leave, if he did decide to take me home early as a surprise, no one ought to grieve in the least. Jesus has cleansed me once for all. I'm more than ready to go.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
But it does aggravate me to see America trying to apologize to everyone, so concerned about what the nations think of them.
I see it in the Church as well - everyone is scrambling to apologize to atheists and godless people who try to tell us how bad we are, and with weak consciences, we believe them.
Church, you are the spotless bride of Jesus Christ. He has made you beautiful. If you yourself have done something stupid, then apologize. But if not, then to hell with what people say. Are unbelievers to judge believers? I think not.
God is our judge. And since he is our Father and our Husband, I'd say you have a pretty good chance of approval. Furthermore, once you put your faith in Christ, you pass out of judgment and into Life.
There is no judgment for you, child of God.
Let no one defile your conscience.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I was slow to believe the absurdity of grace. So were the Berean Christians that we talk so much about. It's said that they "diligently searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so." It sounds too good to be true to us, so we need confirmation.
"If anyone's will is to do God's will he will know whether the teaching is from God."
I totally relate.
I don't care how pretty your reasoning sounds, I wanna see it in the Scriptures! PROVE it to me! You can talk and talk about your understanding of God and his love, but until you prove it to me from the Bible, it means diddly squat to me. I rarely get excited when people tell me about God's grace and love but fail to mention any Scriptures. I hate that. It's grace without truth, even though the grace they speak may be true. I would like to hear it from Jesus Christ or his Apostles. Your opinion means nothing to me. Your opinion is speculation. My faith cannot be based on speculation and opinion.
But then, I don't always understand everything the Scriptures say.
But I can say that after receiving so much revelation, you learn to settle down and wait for more revelation. You know that truth cannot contradict itself and that if grace is true, then it must be grace, and grace alone with no sugar added. The Gospel is sweet enough by itself. It doesn't need a balance of any sort. Once you balance the Gospel, it becomes unbalanced.
"God is an extremist." - Rob Rufus
It's either the law of God without any hint of the grace of God or grace without any hint of law.
Jesus told one of his Churches that he wanted them either hot or cold. Now we would say, "Surely he doesn't want me cold!" Not necessarily...
"Would I that you were hot or cold! But because you are lukewarm, (balanced?) I will spit you out of my mouth."
If I don't understand a certain Scripture, it's no matter to me; I understand the truth and am competent enough to know that truth cannot contradict itself. It cannot be grace and works. So I rest in what revelation I have received and not in revelation I have not received. I am not called to understand everything and then have faith, but to have faith regardless.
I am not called to see and then believe, but to believe in order to see.
Once you take hold of grace and believe it, I would venture to say it is impossible to go back to a lifestyle of balance. If I know the truth that through my trust in Christ I cannot be condemned, then how can I be afraid? I can't be scared even if I would like to be!
I know the truth now: "None shall make them afraid."
When one dies to the law in order to be married to Christ, for a long time it can throw off your spiritual equilibrium. When the fear of condemnation is no longer my foundation or motivation, it can be a difficult process of learning to rely on the love of God. What is to be my motivation now that I know for certain I am accepted by God? The chains are gone and I am free - now what? I've finally arrived at the place, that for so long I have struggled to reach, now what do I do? I've got the righteousness that I've hungered and thirsted for in the wilderness of sin and death. Now what becomes my motivation for living a godly life?
"And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." - (2 Corinthians 5:15)
Monday, June 1, 2009
I want that excitement I felt when I first began to seek God. I want that wonder, that anticipation and the feeling of everything being new and amazing. I remember seeing everything with new eyes - the sky, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, the smells of Spring. I knew for sure I would instantly die for my faith in God. The thought of being tortured or martyred didn't bother me a bit.
Why don't I see things as clearly as I once did? Is the "honey moon feeling" over? Has reality set in now?
I believe this is where faith comes into place.
Maybe worshiping God doesn't mean I have great loving feelings and excitement all the time. Maybe true worship is during the ordinary days of life when I feel nothing. Some days I feel as though my heart is as soft as flesh and other days I feel it's made of stone.
Regardless, I belong to the one true God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ.
My salvation doesn't come from my works, feelings or experiences. My salvation comes from Jesus Christ. Likewise, my assurance doesn't come from works, feelings or experiences. Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed.
Blessed are those whose every feeling and circumstance seems to say that God doesn't love them, yet still believe. Blessed is the person who is insane enough to choose to believe God loves them regardless of their behavior.