Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Wine

Here's a great post from Brian entitled, "New Wine".

Why Obedience?

Initially, upon having a revelation of grace, I had a lot of unlearning to do.

Well, I am not so sure that it was unlearning, as it was learning to trust, depend, and rely on Christ alone. The core of my experience was knowing theoretically that Christ loved me apart from my behavior, but I believed that was only for my conversion; to woo me in. I didn't realize it, but I viewed God's love as something He used to bait me with, but once I bit down on it, I was to become His employee. I had to discipline myself to believe that it was because of Christ alone that God continues to give me his favor and love. It's because of Christ alone that I am a not a slave, but a son.

I am not writing here to say that faith was wrong. By no means. I continue to search out the depth of God's love. However, there were some things I picked up along the way that are wrong.

Such as?

Such as the belief that there are no "shoulds" for the believer; that there are no commands.

There are indeed commands and "shoulds", but they ought to be built on a foundation of grace, knowing that it is not our behavior that gives us good status with God.

Jesus shows us this in Luke 17:7-10

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?
Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

There are commands. However, if you obey commands, don't suppose it will earn you a better status with God. Christ is your status with God, and the commands you obey, are not to be obeyed with the belief that you will somehow get some bonus points. Remember the laborers in the vineyard? Those who worked twelve hours had the same pay as those who worked only one hour.

We obey, but we obey from the heart. Not from compulsion, but from the freedom we have in Christ.

This has got to be the toughest discipline that I have not yet acquired. I want to obey, but no one, not even God, will make me obey. I can only choose to. And the "reward" is the action itself. (There may be rewards for us upon the return of Christ, but Paul is very vague on the subject.)

I can choose to have joy in my spirit by obeying God, or I can choose for my spirit to be in torment by obeying sin.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don Francisco - I Dont Care Where You've Been

Charles Spurgeon - Deliverance from Sinning

"If, however, you are troubled about the power of sin, and about the tendencies of your nature, as you well may be, here is a promise for you. Have faith in it, for it stands in that covenant of grace which is ordered in all things and sure. God, who cannot lie, has said in Ezekiel 36:26:
    A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    You see, it is all "I will," and "I will." "I will give," and "I will take away." This is the royal style of the King of kings, who is able to accomplish all His will. No word of His shall ever fall to the ground."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

REO Speedwagon - Keep On Loving You

You should've seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was somethin' missin'
You should've known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn't listen

You played dead but you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin'

And though I know all about those men
Still I don't remember
'Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we're still together

And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you
I meant that I love you forever

Home's Where The Heart Is

I was thinking about something a bit random while driving to work today.

A coworker and friend of mine, who is an Atheist, told me that his problem with Christianity primarily stems from the way he was raised. He was raised to attend Church every Sunday, regardless of whether he wanted to go or not.

He never wanted to go.

He mentioned to me that his brother, and all of the other kids loved going, but he hated it. He would rather stay at home, watch television or play video games as kids are wont to do.

Now, I can understand the reasoning behind a parents desire to have their children go to Church. It's not wrong to desire that your kids learn about Jesus. However, if that is the reason behind you forcing your unwilling child to attend Church, then perhaps your good intentions are misguided. If your sole purpose is for them to learn about the Lord, then mayhaps you should learn about Christ yourself and teach your son or daughter in a more comfortable fashion for them. That is, if they are not comfortable in a Church-type setting.

Many, including myself, are not comfortable in that type of setting. I would have loathed obligatory Church attendance as a child and it would have only served in embittering me toward God.

But, learning at home, from your own mother and father, could be a much better way for a kid to experience the love of God. What better way to learn about the love of The Father than from your own father?

Not that I'm a parent.

I feel a tugging at my heart for this friend because I feel if he only knew what I saw 6 years ago this month, those bitter memories would be brushed aside like an unwanted cobweb.

It's imperative for people to understand that God is so different from the way he has been portrayed by so many well-intentioned believers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Open Minded?

I was speaking to a brother tonight over the phone. We spoke of a few things, but we always tend to discuss the topic of the surging popularity concerning the disregarding of scripture. Is it for fear of being labeled as a religious bigot? Whatever it is, it isn't from God. We know he is not the author of confusion.

In my debates with Universalists online, they often seek to persuade me to "open my mind". My question is, why? I've read the scriptures. If I know the truth, why give thought to a lie? What they would consider "open minded", is in reality a willingness to harden your heart to truth.

The brother I was speaking with tonight made a great example of this when Satan tempted Eve to eat from tree that God had told her not to. She knew the truth already, yet Satan wanted her to open up a bit and, shall we say, "think outside the box".

"Did God really say...?" Maybe he didn't really mean what he said. Maybe you should explore other interpretations, Eve. Let's dissect his words a bit and find out what God was really trying to show you. The truth that was so simple, was it really meant to be so simple? Or was it a ploy to get you to eat from the tree and gain knowledge?

This is the way Satan works. He clouds clarity, and where there is assurance, he seeks to create doubt.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lord, I Need You - Chris Tomlin

Thinking of Truth

I deleted my Facebook. And not without good reason.

I felt that it kept me distracted. I do not believe Facebook to be a bad thing, however I desire that my time spent on the internet be another tool to utilize in order to renew my mind with God's truth. Which, in my experience, is the only way to be free from sin. The word says we are transformed by the renewal of our minds. There is a very close connection between the mind and the heart. It seems they work in unison, and I base that reasoning on scripture. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." One may even question whether or not they are the same thing.

The reason I desired to be rid of my profile is that I've discovered that the saying, "Bad company corrupts good morals" is quite accurate. It's so easy for my mind to become muddled by what I see and hear. I would like to say that I am strong enough not to allow lies affect me, but I would not be acknowledging the truth. The truth is, I am weak; I am unstable as water. I'm relieved to know it's no sin to be weak. It's no wrong thing to need Christ every moment.

Before, in my askew view of Christianity, I needed to be strong enough to live without Christ. I had to be independent and self-assured. That's a lie. I am susceptible to sin. It's delusion to believe otherwise.