Tuesday, July 28, 2009
-Taken from the Bonsai Conspiracy by Paul Anderson-Walsh
Monday, July 27, 2009
"For the joy set before him he endured the cross."
Saturday, July 18, 2009
He hears you because of Jesus' precious Blood.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
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
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.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
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
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
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
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!!
Jamie's face was buried in her laptop and Savannah and I were playing cards when we heard Joel yell from behind in his flashy PT Cruiser rental. It was so good to see him again.
Then Joel and Tracy left for the store to pick up a few things so Savannah and I took the kids to the game room. As we were walking back from the game room, Savannah pointed out that Bino and Leonard were chatting with Jamie up ahead at the place we were staying at. I was very excited and immediately tested their handshakes. Very good handshakes, Leonard and Bino. Good ol' fashioned knuckle crushers.
Thats the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it!!
I got to have some great conversations with Bino and Leonard while I was there. It was great. I felt very comfortable with the both of them, like we had known each other for years. There was no facade I felt I needed to put on. We talked honestly with each other, had a few beers (Not me of course. I'm too holy for that) and encouraged each other in grace.
Catchphrase (which Joel keeps calling Password) was probably the funniest part of our time together. We all laughed as we made fools of ourselves trying to describe the words we were given. Or maybe that was just me? Bino won MVP for the night. The clue was, "Where you go when you find out if you are guilty or not guilty." And Bino, sounding very sincere in his asking, said "Church?" It was actually court or something like that. I'm sure you've heard the story already.
I just loved the atmosphere of grace without religion. You can kick back and relax. There is no fear, no anxiety. Just people with sincere and honest hearts, being real with each other and receiving the grace of God without question. In those places you can see God's face clearly and you're not introspective. Everyone understands th basis for their acceptance and therefore there is no cause to judge each other or feel that we are being sized up.
It was REAL fellowship. It was fellowship as it was always meant to be. Just being together, encouraging each other in our faith, sharing meals and enjoying each others company.
Joel shared his coffee with me and Tracy cooked us some delicious tacos our last night together. She is a great mother to her two children and is even prettier in person. Don't beat me up, Joel! I'm just sayin'!
I wish I could explain how comforting it was to be with each one of them. I can't find a favorite.
I love them all.