Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ploughed up and Re-sown

"Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown." 
-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


For the record, this is one of my favorite books - Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. It's definitely a must read!

I love this quote! It's so true! When you decide to accept Christ's offer of salvation, it's not as easy as it sounds. Well, it is and it isn't. It is easy in the way that Christ has already done everything, all you've got to do is let Him come in. It isn't easy in the way that it's going to flip your life around if you allow it, and it's going to make your life harder in the eyes of the world, but oh so much better in the eyes of those who know Him!

But it isn't know, saying a little prayer, asking Jesus in your heart, and all that milky stuff that many of us in the U.S. are taught today. It's a decision. The biggest decision of your life - and it matters for ETERNITY.

And, as I learned just recently from a Bible teacher named Michael Pearl, this life, this present physical life that we have been given on this earth, is the one and only opportunity we have for building our character. After we're physically dead that's it for the character building process. Up in heaven we'll be far to busy worshiping God around His throne to have any time for character building exercises, if it were even possible. 

So it's here and now that you've gotta live "the hard life" as it were. It may be harder than anything else, but it's going to be SO worth it in the long run. 

Cutting the grass just keeps it short. That's it. You aren't going to change the your grass crop into a wheat crop by cutting the grass shorter. It doesn't work that way. 

In the same way, you can't produce a crop of good works and good character if you are just cutting back on your bad works and bad character.

It's 180 degree turn.

You've gotta dig up all that grass and keep it out of there. One little blade allowed to live can multiply and destroy your whole new crop of wheat. 

The older I get, the more I see that being a Christian is an all-or-nothing deal. It's an all-or-nothing deal because that's exactly what Christ requires of His children - all-or-nothing.

In Christ our Deliverer,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Smack Down on the Ground

"All of us fail, but this doesn't mean that we are failures. We need to understand that failing can be a step toward maturity, not a permanent blot on our self-esteem...we don't have to allow failure to prevent us from being used by God." 
-Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance


Failing can be pretty disheartening. 

Or, maybe you just laughed at my statement and thought "That's an understatement!"

If you are a goal oriented person, and you love accomplishing things, setting goals, making schedules, and everything working out just right, then this post is for you; because this post was written by just that type of person.

I love making schedules, setting goals, seeing things accomplished and completed, and everything working out just as I planned, but it seems that most of the doesn't work out that way.

I usually put too much in my schedule and get overwhelmed...but wait wait wait! That's the schedule! You must follow it because you made it this morning and it's faultless! Nothing is wrong with the schedule, something must be wrong with you. Yeah, you just witnessed my train of thought. 

My schedules, more often than not, look more like a list of unachievable goals than a list of things I must (and logically can) accomplish that day. So it's no surprise that I've thought of myself many times as a failure.

But, just like every other time, I found that I wasn't the only human being in the history of mankind that was apparently unable to get anything done. I read The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee, and he gave me some answers.

"All of us fail, but this doesn't mean that we are failures. We need to understand that failing can be a step toward maturity, not a permanent blot on our self-esteem...we don't have to allow failure to prevent us from being used by God."

If God could only use perfect people, He would have created robots.

But He decided to create us. He created people that rebelled against Him, people that had a free will whether or not to obey Him. He created people that He knew would fail Him time and time again. Why?

Because He desired people that would serve Him because they wanted to serve Him. He wanted people that would obey Him because they wanted to obey Him. So He did it. And He got me, and I failed Him...right?

Well, God uses failures. Take that back. God uses people who fail. McGee makes it clear in this section that just because you fail (no matter how often) that doesn't make you a failure. 

But as long as you are following after Christ, God can use you. He doesn't mind if you miss doing your math, or you forget to sweep the kitchen, or you are too tired to fix dinner and go out for fast food...He doesn't hold that against you. His mercies are new each morning. Each day is a new start. What happened yesterday...guess what? It happened yesterday. Its over, it's done, there's nothing you can do about it so quit fretting over it. 

God's got it. God's got you. God will use you, if you let Him. 

Don't let your feelings of failure grab a hold of you and smack you down to the ground. Smack your feelings of failure down on the ground and tell them how big and forgiving your God is.

In Christ our Solid Ground,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great song! Pieces by Red

I'm here again
A thousand miles away from you
A broken mess, just scattered pieces of who I am
I tried so hard
Thought I could do this on my own
I've lost so much along the way

Then I see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole

I've come undone
But you make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pieces in your hand,

Then I see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole!

I tried so hard! So hard!
I tried so hard!

Then I see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole
So you can make me whole

I love this song :) Hope you do too!

In Christ our Solid Ground,

P.S. For those of you who receive the emails from my blog, YouTube videos don't come through, so if you want to watch it then you have to come to my blog webpage. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When the Last Rose Dies

"He gave her 12 roses, 11 real and one fake, and he said, "I'll stop loving you when the last rose dies." 

I absolutely love that quote. It makes me think not only who God has prepared for my future husband, but also of God Himself...

But God demonstrated His own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

...How deep the Father's love for us/How vast beyond all measure/That He should give His only Son/To make a wretch His treasure/How great the pain of searing loss/The Father turns His face away/As wounds which mar the chosen One/Bring many sons to glory...

God doesn't show His love for us with roses in the mail - real or fake. God shows His love for us every day in so many ways; many of which we probably don't see as His bountiful blessings. Each breath is a gift from Him who reigns above.

Dear Lord,
Thank You so much for your undying love for us - for me.
Your little girl

In Christ our Solid rock,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Children of God by Third Day

This is one of my favorite music videos ever. I love it. Beautiful song. Wonderful pictures. Gives me chills and makes me almost cry every time I watch it. Hope you enjoy it as well!
Love in Christ our Rock,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grey Areas

My dear readers,
I was just recently talking with a friend via email and the subject of churches came up, for me and my family are still on the search for a home church near us. While we were talking, we discussed how both of our families like the King James version of the Bible best, and we like hymns best; and we were trying to find a church that used the KJV and sang hymns, not necessarily exclusively, but mostly. My friend then asked me why I liked KJV and hymns best, for she was trying to get her thoughts on the subject together and wasn't quite sure about it. I told her and then she told me of how their former pastor was adamant and would only sing hymns, and drums on beats 2 and 4 were evil, and all this stuff, and we discussed how one must not get so wrapped up in our own opinions that we force them on those around us. We recalled how Paul wrote about how if a man is convicted of a thing, then he must not do it, or it is a sin for him; and if you are not convicted about it, then it is fine for you to do (this applies to all things that are grey areas in the Bible and are not made clear to us through His word, areas where we must decide for ourselves); BUT if your brother is convicted of a thing, and you are not, yet you do it in front of him you may cause him to stumble. Therefore, you must do all in love, seeking His will. All that to say, I believe that I have learned to like grey areas.

Most people dislike grey areas immensely, and so do I a lot of the time. They are a pain to deal with and make you double guess yourself, and sometimes, many times possibly, you make the wrong decision and must pay for it later.

But I found the other day while I was talking to my friend why God gave us grey areas.

Grey areas cause you to think, and also to make a decision. The decisions you make either grow or harm your character and your relationship with God, depending on how you deal with the decision-making process. To find out what to do with a specific grey area, you've got seek God - through His Word, through prayer, and through discussing the topic with other brethren in Christ. Then you can make a wise decision based on your knowledge of the topic and what God wants you personally to do.

Grey areas are a pain, I admit it. Many times, even after you make a decision, others will try to convince you otherwise and you will either have to defend it or go back on your decision. You may even double guess yourself - something I do often with certain grey areas.

But something I always remember is that God works everything together for good (Romans 8:28) and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), and that includes standing up for something I think is either right or wrong (depending on the situation). That said, when it comes to grey areas and personal conviction by the Holy Spirit, we must be very careful not to cause a brother or sister to stumble or offend them. This is a tender area and, in my opinion, a super important aspect of keeping the church functioning properly.

All that simply to say, when you come across something that isn't very fun, be it grey areas, trials and temptations, or anything like that, remember that God's got you in the palm of His great and mighty hand, and He won't ever let you go. He will always be there guiding you, all you've got to do is seek, listen, and obey, and He'll take care of the rest.

In Christ our Solid Rock,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1 John 1:1-4 (study part 2)

1 John 1:1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.


"...For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us..." - For the definition of "life" in each instance, you really have to look at the context, because thus far, almost every time, if not every time, "life" has referred to Christ Himself. The Word, Jesus Christ, is life because He gives it to all who believe on Him. Jesus lived a physical life and died a physical death, and (obviously) He has lived and will live for all eternity. He had to die to pay the penalty for our sins, but He did not die spiritually or eternally. God required the shedding of perfect blood to cover the sins of His people, and Christ fulfilled that requirement. The price has already been paid. Because He was our substitute, He can now offer this gift of eternal life to all people. Because it was God who offered Himself for His people, that blood payment is so large that it can easily cover the stains of all people. Though, sadly, so many reject this offer and therefore must pay for their own sins, seeing that Jesus is our only other option. John 14:6 says that "I (Jesus) am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father except through me." In order that this purpose might be fulfilled, Jesus (the life) was manifested. This means that He was made clear/shown to the world/revealed to the world as the Son of God, Savior of those who believe in Him. John states again that they (the disciples) saw Him; therefore they now bear witness and testify that Jesus was/is the Son of God, the Life.

"...That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you..." - John makes it clear that he and the other disciples witnessed Jesus Christ first hand. Second or third hand witnesses are harder to trust because the story may have gotten messed up in the multiple re-tellings; but when you hear a story told from one who was actually there, and the person is trustworthy, you should easily and rightly believe them. The gospels and really, the whole New Testament , are written about Jesus by direct witnesses; the book of First John is no exception, this book was written by an eyewitness of His majesty.

"...That ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ..." - When you share knowledge with someone, you are then able to talk with them about it. For how can one talk with another if one is not familiar with the subject at hand? When one becomes a believer, they enter into the family of God and can therefore truly fellowship with their new adopted brethren. Fellowship is spending quality time with someone or multiple people. Fellowship with the Father can only be obtained after one becomes a believer for before one receives Jesus Christ, they are utterly separated from God, but because of Christ and His work, we have been brought near and may fellowship with God because we have been covered by the blood of the Lamb. Fellowship with God implies fellowship with both the Father and the Son; and the Holy Spirit is constantly with us, helping, guiding, comforting, and leading us where God wants us to go. 

"...And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full..." - This is the second reason why John wrote this letter; the first was: "that ye also may have fellowship with" God and all believers. The word "joy" implies a lot if you think about it, for you can take/have joy in many things. Joy, as I understand it, is more than happiness - for even happiness can be easily faked by some. Joy is like a true, or pure, or utterly real, happiness. In the book of James we are told to joy in tribulation. We can only do this when we draw our joy from Christ; who, we know, works all things together for good for His people. We may not always feel an earthly happiness about trials, but we can have honest joy in it if we are relying on Christ. In this certain passage, however, John is not writing of joy in tribulation, but rather, joy in the knowledge of what Christ did. Same kind of joy, drawn from the same place. I think it interesting that John doesn't just say "that you may have joy", but he says: "that your joy may be FULL" (emphasis mine). I believe the implication of that is clear: John knows that the love of Christ doesn't just bring joy, but that is is so vast that it overflows ones heart with an immeasurable amount of unspeakably huge joy. The joy that Christ brings fills you up to absolutely overflowing! More than enough to fill your life and more share with the world! Allow Christ to fill you with His joy daily so that all may see Christ through you as you bubble over with His great, priceless joy!

I must admit that this exact thing is something I am working on right now. Finding joy in not only daily tasks and work and life in general, but also in trials. I pray that God may teach me how to find joy in Him!

Oh praise God for blessing us so richly!
In Christ our Rock,