Monday, August 23, 2010

Empowering Grace

After finding grace difficult to continue in after seeing some sins of mine come to the surface, I realized that grace is not the cause of sin, but it is the cure. God's power works through my faith in his gospel. His Word (the gospel) will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it.

I still have to meditate on and begin to allow the grace of God to work into me every good work God has purposed for me. If I am to accomplish any feat of holiness or piety, it must be from the power that God provides, and that through his gospel.

"The gospel is the power of God to salvation for all who believe."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Washed Clean

It's such a relief to let go of all my rules such as not allowing myself to listen to certain songs from certain bands. I guess it was necessary for a season. With a lot of that music, the stain of who I used to be still clung to it in my memories and made me sick to my stomach. I absolutely despise that person I was before Christ.

That life was meaningless and without hope or purpose. I hated God and man. Day in and day out I lived out my life in envy, vanity, self pity and hatred.

Today I realize Christ has redeemed me and has washed away my sins. The music is clean for me now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I was just thinking about the man I so desire myself to be. I have seen Christ in this way in other men and I want it to be seen in myself.

In some men, one of whom leads our Tuesday night Bible study, there is a loving strength from Christ in them. It's as though Jesus himself is touching you when you see these strong hands leaning over to lay hands on you and pray for you. There is something about that that gives me great comfort, peace and security.

I remember feeling this as a kid, not with my own father, but with a boyfriend of my mom's who I believe sincerely loved and cared for me. I remember on one occasion this man was carrying me up some high stairs in a building and I remember looking down to see how far up we were, and though I am scared of heights, I believed this man could hold me and keep me from falling no matter what happened.

I want to be a strong hand for those who need one. I want to be Jesus for those who can't see him. But when I look at who I want to be, it's like looking at a towering mountain I have to scale and I have nothing to do it with or any strength to even begin climbing.

I pray for strength from Jesus Christ.
I'm writing right now because I have a heavy heart that is longing for something, but I don't know what.

I've been having dreams about a particular person lately and it's probably the source of the longing and feeling of a desire that cannot be fulfilled. This person is an old friend of mine that I don't talk to anymore. I don't miss them at all, but I miss what we had. I miss being loved like that, which, looking back on it, seems so surreal now as though it were a very strange thing that someone should love me like that.

In these times when I desire something that, even if I were to attain it, it could not satisfy, it's then that I remember the scriptures that tell me I am not of this world; I belong somewhere else. And then I desire to leave and be in that place where I belong.

I hesitate to post this blog because this feels terribly personal.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Time to Rest

Honestly, it's difficult for me to be in a lot of today's churches as I'm sure I've mentioned before. Even though I believe works and activity are of vital importance for the Christian, I also think churches have too much of a fascination with works and activity. Some seem to be drifting asleep, subtly implying that works have some role to play in our salvation or in our experience of grace.

I think the church's unhealthy infatuation with works is going to be harmful to it. I think some people are getting wise to it and are looking for something else; something that will give them that original 'fire'. I think they realize they're becoming too preoccupied with doing that they forget Jesus.

Our works must rest on a solid foundation of rest in Christ's salvation. Until we come to a place of rest, we can do no work. I think leaders of most churches often neglect to stress the importance of having a sure foundation. They are indeed quick to say "faith in Christ produces good works" but they skip rest in Christ and move straight on to working. This is a serious mistake. One needs their roots to grow down into Christ and grasp a firm grip on his grace or else they will forever be in limbo.

We can't mature Christians at our pace, but we must let them first come to rest in Christ and allow the Spirit to work into them that which is pleasing in his sight. We forget to do as the apostles did when they, "waited for power from on high".

In an Old Covenant law, it was forbidden a man to leave his wife for war during their first year of marriage. They needed time together to enjoy each other and celebrate their union. The time would come for the man to battle and sweat, but it was not immediately. He needed a time to establish a solid relationship of love with his bride.

So it is with Christ and his bride.

Friday, August 13, 2010

He Seeks Our Glory

The road really is narrow.

Jesus is the only way and it's such a difficult thing to keep your mind set on what truth is and to live in the light of that truth.

I don't want to be a coward or a people pleaser. I despise the idea of me acting the hypocrite and behaving a certain way just to please others or to keep from being criticized or made fun of. In the past I have been accused of acting 'holier than thou'. Just because I make the decision to submit myself to Christ does not make me 'holier than thou', but if you feel guilty because I choose to submit to him, that's your problem. I don't mean to condemn anyone. The message I preach is one of grace and of judging no one.

Jesus judged no one while on this earth but he entrusted himself to God. He came in humility, knowing that the Most High would exalt him in due time and would make those who condemned him or spoke evil against him bow the knee before him on the Day when God will judge the world.

Press on. Entrust yourself to God. He will exalt you in due time and raise you above every thing you're momentarily suffering. Things aren't really what they seem to be.

"Keep your head way up in the clouds, and never let them get you down."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fear God?

I feel like I'm caught between two worlds. I can't go back to legalism and I don't know how to move forward in the light of grace.

Believe me when I say I have tried to go back to fear. I have tried to be as afraid and anxious as I used to be, but since I have trusted in grace, I'm ruined. I can't get that fear back. But now I find myself in a position that I'm not sure is any better than legalism. I find myself in sins I never dealt with while living under constant worry and anxiety.

I don't want legalism, but neither do I want licentiousness. Grace isn't licentiousness, but I find it harder (yes, harder) to say no to sin now that I know my sins are taken away forever by one sacrifice and that I'm no longer under the law.

I feel like I've been duped. I thought when I began to live in grace, it would be easier to say no to sin. Paul said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Yet I find myself more prone to make the decision to sin rather than to obey and I hate it. I almost hate the freedom from fear that I have. I depended on the fear that I might be an insincere Christian to keep me from sinning.

Yet, I do understand there is to be a certain fear of God. Paul says, though I don't understand what he means, that all of us will stand before Him and receive back for what we have done, whether good or bad. "Therefore, knowing the terror of the Lord..." Those are exact words from Paul in the Bible.

Ought I not to fear God? I wouldn't say constant anxiety is what we need, but I believe in a healthy fear of God. The scripture talks about it often. Such as when fear fell on the church when Ananias and Sapphira died after lying to the Holy Spirit; so fear is not a bad thing I don't think.

But how do I get myself to fear God enough not to make the choice to disobey him?

Well, that's what I'm setting out to discover...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This evening is the evening I go to set up my class schedule. I'm praying this works out so that I can begin school without too much hassle and stress.

My FAFSA will take 2 more weeks to complete and I have until the 12th, two days from now, to get financial aid or they expect me to pay a certain amount up front for my classes. So I'm really hoping God will work this all out for me and I'm setting my thoughts on him to keep from being too worried about it. I need to start school ASAP. I've put it off for too long out of indecision as to which direction I should take in a career path.

I was listening to the Bible earlier in Luke and came to a place where it was said Jesus continued all night in prayer to God.

Prayer is essential for us. Prayer is my place of refuge from the stresses and worries of daily life. It gives me a clear head and helps me to refocus my eyes on the Lord. Jesus is the king, the president, congress, whatever. He has ultimate power in what goes on in this world. The government rests on His shoulders.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sometimes I feel so pressured and weak. Vulnerable. Like this world is just too big for me.

I want to be good, but I just can't. I'm such a contradiction and I try to do good, but it seems like nothing I do makes a difference and that I'm always straining out gnats while swallowing a camel.

I haven't been as zealous looking for a job or following up on applications because I'm nervous about working a cash register, but I know I need to just suck it up and do it anyway and that if I get a job with a cash register, eventually I'll get used to it. But I'm just so tired of stepping outside of my comfort zones. It seems like I've constantly pushed myself the past 4 years to do stuff I didn't want to do and I'm tired. I just want to lie down and rest sometimes.

I want to be the man God wants me to be, bold and strong. But I'm not.

I know Jesus said when we know the truth, it will set us free, but I don't feel free. It seems like I'm getting worse rather than better since I began listening to the "Exchanged Life" teachings.

I want to start school, but it's being delayed and it may not work out. It has to work out. I have to start pursuing a career now. I'm almost 24 years old and have never even held a job because I foolishly took a job that was too much. No one will hire me and I keep trying to find jobs I'll be relatively comfortable doing instead of being bold and applying anywhere.

I'm scared of working at fast food restaurants because of the fast-paced, multi-tasking. I'm not very good at it.

He Chose...

I was thinking about the salvation we have in Christ while mopping the floor of our kitchen today and realized how insane God's unearned love is.

God created man for himself, and man disobeyed God, choosing to live apart from him. And so all men died and were thenceforth evil men, hating God and hating good.

But God, in His grace, decided that He would choose a people out of the world, for himself to shower his mercy and grace on, which would stand in stark contrast to his wrath reserved for the vessels of his wrath.

He didn't have to save any of us. He could have wiped us out and been done with it, but he chose to put on a body, live here for 33 years, and endure the torture and execution of a cross.

It made me think that love doesn't need a reason to love. Should love need a reason, it would cease to be love. God loves us simply because he chose to. It wasn't for who we were that he chose to set his love on us; it was his choice to do so.

He chose to love.

Paul Washer "I don't understand election."

I post this video not because I agree with everything Paul Washer says, because there are things I highly disagree with, such as what he says concerning being born again before faith in Christ. I believe faith in Christ must precede spiritual re-birth. We receive the gift by faith even though that faith itself is a gift.

Anyway, I just think it's good hearing him explain man's total depravity, because it's easy, being born in this world, to think men aren't really that bad.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

According to the Grace Given...

I've haven't been doing anything the past two days except playing on my new laptop.

But I have wanted to start up my blog again and see if I can help rekindle the blogging community a little. I realize Facebook is helping a lot of people learn about grace, but with Facebook, there are so many people that it is difficult to get to know people and there are so many different opinions out there and people who do not know you, who are not going to be very gracious should they dislike something you say.

I am in a hard place at the moment, as you can see with a few of my more recent posts. I seem to have went back on grace, which isn't necessarily true. I have learned a lot from people like Steve McVey, Malcolm Smith and others. But, that being said, I do think there are truths and things about God that some people within the 'grace community' tend to overlook.

I am really sick of listening to people teach the Bible. Not that it's wrong to teach, but I myself have heard just about everything there is to hear and I've had a belly full. I want to begin to learn from the Scriptures myself and to learn directly from God.

In the 'grace community' there is a fear that someone may lay commandments of do's and don't's on them. Yet I see Jesus in the Scriptures giving commandments to His disciples.

In dealing with the Christians who tend to be more works-oriented, I simply get sick to my stomach when I hear people tell me what to do. I'm fine hearing it from Jesus, but hearing men tell me what to do makes me lash out irrationally (I pulled that line from the film "Santa Clause" with Tim Allen). Well, maybe I don't lash out irrationally, but I definitely don't like hearing men tell me to do what they think I ought to do.

The yoke of men tends to be heavy and hard, whereas when Jesus commands me to do something, He gives me the ability to do it. The Scripture says that His commandments are not burdensome. Paul says that in Christ, we overwhelmingly conquer because grace is given to each of us to do what God would have us do while on this earth.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all children of Abraham are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son." And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call - she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

When you are born spiritually dead, you are just that. Spiritually dead.

You cannot accomplish any feat of spirituality. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." and "You did not choose me, but I chose you." I cannot even repent and believe of my own accord. It is all a work of grace by God.

So then, the natural question would be, "If it's all up to God, why doesn't He just save everyone?" That was the question I asked when I first heard about election and I found absolutely no solace in the answer I received from Scripture...

"What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"

Another answer from which there is no comfort for me...

"But w
ho are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to it's molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy which he has prepared beforehand for glory..."

But reading this, you would think God is cruel and doesn't allow someone to be saved who wants to be saved. But if you go back to the case of Pharaoh, Pharaohs heart was hardened and if you had said to him, "The reason you are not letting the Hebrews out of their slavery is because the God of the Hebrews has made it so." He would have said: "No. I am Pharaoh. I am sovereign and am doing what I want to do, so I have free will." And he would be right in saying he has free will, but he is only exercising the will that God gave him.

Look throughout the Old Testament and see the real-life stories that are symbols and shadows of Christ and tell me that God did not orchestrate all those events by working through human's wills.

Friday, August 6, 2010

UB40 - Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Matisyahu - Jerusalem (Out Of Darkness Comes Light)

"I fell at His feet as a dead man."

I want to go back to the time when I constantly spoke with God and sought for him, whether out of fear or obligation, to me, it's irrelevant. but I want so much to go back to the first year I was a believer, anxious and afraid though I was, I miss those special times when I was outside at night all by myself, praying, gazing at the stars, trembling before such a beautiful, terrible God.

The God I met at the first was a God with a violent passion against sin, so much so that he poured out his wrath against disobedience and wrongdoing on his own Son. The God with the apparent conflicted feelings of wrath and love. Wrath for the sin, love for the sinner.

I want to stand before the one true God, not a God I have made up in my own mind by my own theology. Who am I to think I can understand him and his ways? Why does God choose to save some and not others? I don't know! He doesn't give me an answer. He simply replies through His servant Paul, "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?' "

I can't say I understand this God at all. Nor can I say He doesn't frighten me. He does.

I want to worship the God I met in the beginning. The one before whom I stood in awe and fear of. I don't want to create a God in my own mind who looks at sin with the attitude of "boys will be boys". I want the God of the Bible; the God of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Renovating the Mind

For the past year I have been absolutely miserable. My Christianity seems a far cry from what it was the first year I became a believer, and I look back at that first year with n extreme longing for things to be the way they were before I committed myself to the message of the "Exchanged Life" or "Grace Walk". Though I believe I, myself, am to blame for my recent turmoil much more than the teachings I have been listening to the past two years.

I have seen things missing in the grace community, such as the exhortation for good works, renewing the mind with the words of God in the scriptures, constant prayer and vigilance and the need for endurance.

I have long since concluded, though I have been hesitant to speak boldly on it, that the idea that someone is once-saved-always-saved is a bit misleading. I agree to an extent, however, I do not agree that one may trust in Christ at a single moment in time and later, by persecution or what have you, renounce his faith in Christ and maintain his salvation. That is a lie.

The one who endures to the end will be saved.

The greek word for witness that is mentioned in Revelation is an interchangable word also meaning "martyr". One must never renounce his faith in His Savior and Lord; that would not be faith. Faith overcomes. Jesus said, "whoever loves his life loses it" and "whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple". A sincere faith requires sacrifice. Sacrificing this world for the next, and this life for the life of Christ.

I have sunk so low in the mire that God is now pulling me out of it by his power, giving me the desire to know truth from the scriptures. I've had it with books and what men tell me to do or not to do. By the grace and power of God, I will begin letting the Scriptures be my source for truth and the Holy Spirit as the revealer of truth.

I am sick of myself and others criticizing other Christians for petty differences. Jesus Christ DOES have commandments. He commands that we trust in Him and love each other just as He has loved us. This involves an act of the will on our part. We must be intentional in fanning into flame the gifts of God, keeping our minds rewnewed and encouraging one another on to love and good works. These things keep our heads way up the clouds where they ought to be.

I'm not so sure that one can be too heavenly minded and have no earthly use. If one's mind is constantly tuned into heaven, one has an easier time fighting temptation, submitting himself to Christ, and loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.

We must be active. It's vital to our Christianity and our relationship with Christ. We must press on doing good, not growing weary. Definitely not from a desire to earn our salvation, but to keep up the transformation process and to have endurance.