Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This morning's Scripture is Acts 14:1-3 but it's what verse 3 says that I want to focus on.
Many times, when i feel troubled by an issue going on around me, or if i feel concerned about the sinfulness society has come to, a well meaning sister or brother in Christ may say 'Well you need to speak out, be Bold for the Lord!'- however, i think that when the Church (especially here in the US) talks about being bold, we really mean being loud, noisy, and in the worst of cases, combative.
When speaking about being bold for the Lord, we should use the example of Paul and Barnabas:
1. They Came into the City doing what God called them to d0
This is important, because it shows that Paul and Barnabas did not go out 'looking for a fight'. This conflict came up after they found themselves in a position where all they were doing was following God's plan. They were called to spread the Good News, so they did.
2. When things started to turn sour, they continued to follow God's will
Here we see another key point. The act of boldness was continuing to do that which they were called to do. To be bold in the Lord is to continue to walk in His word and to walk in His will when the currents of the World tries harder to push you in every which direction.
3. God gave them the 'Stamp of Approval'
Finally, and maybe the most important lesson from the scripture, is the fact that God himself confirmed their actions by exposing his power and glory in their favor. If you are doing what God wills for you to do, he will ALWAYS give you his blessing- a signal that what you have done in His name was good.
God may call us to be his body, but he does not call us to be his soldier- He may give us his Holy armor to fight the spiritual battle that we face everyday, but it's for self-defense. We do not go looking for conflict, we stand firm in conflict. The only offensive move we make is speaking truth and acting in love.
Peace be with you,
Sunday, December 20, 2009
These past few weeks I have been confronted by the idea of God and love. Including myself, many Christians find love to be the focus of God- God is love. However it has become clear to me that the definition of love for a lot of Christ followers has become watered down. More specifically, because God is love and because i am to strive to become like God, I must not judge; judging does not come from love. I do not know where this idea of a separation between Love and Judge came to be (i mean i have some theories but i won't get into that here).
There is a type of judging that is unhealthy and comes from a heart of malice- this is the one that people dislike and the one that many today try to stay away from (you are in the wrong with this kind of judging). However, to judge is not something that is wrong in itself. When an individual has a problem with heroin, isn't it out of love that their family and friends come to him to speak truth about his addiction? That is judgment being made and it is out of love.
If we look at the relationship between parents and their children, do not good parents put boundaries around their children and have consequences for crossing those boundaries? Do not good parents punish their children for doing wrong? And isn't all those things done out of love lest the child finds out the hard way what consequences and punishment does follow out of wrong doing. That is judgment and it is done out of love- I'd rather learn what consequences mean by my loving parents than by the state prison.
Many Christians forget that it is possible, and sometimes necessary, to judge and punish someone out of love. Of course the next question would be how do we know a punishment is coming out of love?
"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Unlike what we may hear at weddings, this description of love was intended for the brothers and sisters of the church. This is what love looks like to each other. And when we judge one another this is the heart that it must come from.
But how do i know that we are called to judge one another? after all Matthew 7:1 says 'Do not judge, or you too will be judged.' however if you take time to look at the context that scripture comes from, you get this:
" Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the lank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
The command isn't to never judge under any circumstance, but to warn the brothers that the measure that we judge each other is the measure that we God will judge us. How do we make sure that we do not judge in hypocrisy? we make sure we judge in love.
A point that i want to make clear- I do not say that judging includes people outside of the church- even in the scripture above it refers to the other person as being your brother. Again, in 1 Corinthians:
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you."
This is where the Christians who focus on love are right. outside of the church, or outside of the family, our job is to love- Love like Christ loves. We do not condemn those that our not yet our own. However, inside the church it is a family- we are all part of God's family and we are all part of God's house. God is as holy as he is love, therefore anything that is not holy in the body must be confronted- but confronted out of love (the last scripture here is taken out of context- read all of chp. 5 to understand what Paul is speaking about). A family that truly loves one another will confront a member when they are participating in acts that are harmful to themselves (like the intervention with the heroin) and to do things that are not holy is something that affects our spiritual walk, let alone our spiritual peace, with God. Therefore, if i care for my sister or brother in christ, i will love him or her, yes, but i am responsible for judging her as well.
Therefore, as a final note; when you are being judged, if it is from a loved one, do not get defensive. Instead, trust the character of the person talking to you- wouldn't him or her have your own best interest in mind if they are confronting you? Wouldn't they say something to you if they thought it was in your own self-interest to listen? If that is the case, examine the speck in your eye because they probably have already examined the plank in their own eyes.
My pastor back at school said this in a sermon not to long ago: It is wrong to say God is Loving and Just. No, because God is love, he is also just.
I'll leave with a hymm performed by Sufjan Stevens:
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come Thou Fount of every blessing; Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, Mount of God's unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I'm come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be! Let that grace now like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above
Peace be with you,
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
on the bright side- i think i've got myself back on track, though i'm no less busy. Hopefully i'll be able to blog more this thanksgiving weekend/christmas.
I have decided to take some time out of my busy sched. to introduce to you a blog i stumbled upon thanks to stumbleupon.com (which is the best thing EVER)
it's Skeptical Christian (link going on the side bar). I haven't read through all of it but from what i have read, i do agree with the points given.
check it out when you get a chance to!
and to leave you, i've been listening to Sufjan's music recently and just falling in love with this song:
All the trees of the field will clap their hands
"Then peter said, 'silver or gold i do not have, but what i have i give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'"
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Though i will say that my personal time with God has suffered greatly because of my business and i don't like it at all.
I actually have a few revelations to share but no time to write about them so i'll just settle for a new song that i fell in love with:
You are My Joy- David Crowder Band
i know i usually go for a video with words to go along with it but it's a cool enough video w/o it (i like the candles) plus, i think the words are clear enough to understand : )
Peace Be With You <3
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
However there is one thing that has been on my mind as of late- not really inspired by anything i read in scripture during my devotions but on my plane ride over to Hawaii last week.
As we began our first of many flights over to Maui, our pilot shared a very interesting- and eye opening- piece of knowledge with us: The airplane we were flying in took 3 miles a gallon. Of course, as an environmental policy specialization (my major is International Relations) I almost had a heart attack- i had read somewhere about the importance of only taking vacations accessible by car, but i didn't realize the amount of gas wasted with just ONE plane ride!!! (though this is an entirely different topic...). After i recovered somewhat from that first shock (and after vowing to never ride an airplane again if i could) I started thinking about what God meant when he said we were creating in his own image.
I know as Christians we tend to emphasize how much we do not matter compared to God and how insignificant we are when compared to time, but I think we sometimes need to realize that we are God's greatest works! Though we were created lower than the angels, we were made in the image of God. Think about all the achievements man has made- we can advance in technology, we can create, we can build upon our knowledge, we can love and hate, we are capable of compassion in one instance and malice in another, we can choose to be or do or say or not choose at all. We imitate the characteristics that God has but yet, we don't imitate him well.
Take this plane for example- It resembles and was inspired by the bird of the air. Man said 'I want to fly' and found a way to. However can the airplane fly like the bird? No it does a terrible job imitating the bird God had created- It's clunky and big, it's heavy, it uses/wastes TONS of resources just to get it off the ground, it's loud, it's expensive, and takes a lot of maintenance.
It's like we're poorly made replicas of God. If your a little kid like i still am, you may remember that classic spongebob episode where spongebob and Patrick stumble upon the magic pencil and decide to make a poorly drawn doodle of spongebob. The doodle made a poorly drawn pineapple house along with poorly drown furniture, yard, everything. At the end of the episode the doodle says 'no. Me spongebob, you doodle.' In short the created wanted to replace the creator. (I can't believe i just tied in spongebob to God...wow...)
It is in this praise in humanity- the complexity of man- that fools us into believing that we can control the things that we cannot. I think we, as humans, suffer from a big fish in small pond complex. Compared to all the things in this world, we are the most advance, promising, and intellectually sound. There is nothing that lives and grows on this earth that even comes close to meeting our potential. However, if you put that big fish in the ocean- it soon finds out that compared to the real players out there- it's not that great, it's not that advance or all knowing. When we encounter the holiness and sheer power of God himself, we realize how insignificant and how flawed we are. We understand our place and realize how much of a poor doodle we are compared to the creator himself. That is why one says Nothing Can Compare to Our God!
All that we are, that this world universally deems as good, is a direct reflection of God. our love for each other reflects how God IS love- he makes up all the forms of love we see on this earth. Creativity and creation reflects God's ability to create (the earth, the stars, the Galaxy, heaven, the angels, ourselves, etc.). Our advancement in knowledge and understanding is a reflection of God's knowledge of everything and anything! In fact all knowledge comes from God. The emotions that we feel all come from God- Joy, Peace, pleasure, satisfaction, even hurt, pain, anger, heartbroken-ness. It is not that God is made in the image of us, but-again- we are made in the image of God.
Then why then, one might ask, is there hate, prejudice, guilt, and yes pain, hurt, heartbroken-ness- all thing you wouldn't expect God to be. Why is it that the good in us coexists with the bad? That is simply because of the sin in us. God did not create us with the bad, but we introduced it in our lives- it's a perversion of our spirit- i heard it explained not too long ago as a 'spiritual illness.' All men have the capability and will to do good because of the Godly reflection we have within us, however we all have a tendency to do evil because of the disease we have inherited from our ancestors before us.
So in the end i wonder how can we have this attitude? How can proclaim ourselves righteous and Godly if we cannot even fill the shoes of God? It's like a five year old deciding he wants to switch places with his parents. I've met a lot of people who tell me what they believe happen when they die or tell me nothing happens when they die- i cannot help but say, what does it matter what you 'believe' or 'think' may happen when you die? You (which really means we) do not have any control over the afterlife of yourself or others just like you do not have any control over what the weather is tomorrow, whether you may die tomorrow in a freak accident, or whether the world is going to end with a big fire explosion from the core. What is it that makes us think we can decide our life (or lack of life) after death when sometimes we cannot even control what's going to happen to us tomorrow? Someone has to be wrong and I know that it isn't me (i remember going into this subject in a post on Jabberwocky. If you are interested just click on the link- it's not that long ^_^)
Peace Be with You
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Some, God speaks to through emotion
Some, God speaks to through others
Me, God speaks to through his Word.
I am going through the book of Ezekiel right now. I don't know a lot about him other than what i've read so far but he was a prophet and God spoke to him in visions. I know i've had a hard time understanding what it means to hear God speak to me, to have a 'conversation' with God. The way people have said it made it sound like they say something and then God answers them in their head- like a quiet voice speaking. That doesn't happen to me so I sometimes say- God, why don't you respond to me? I'm calling and i don't hear you saying anything back.
recently i've realized that the way God communicates to his people vary from person to person. To explain the blurb above- Some people converse with God like Ezekiel did. They pray, God shows them- whether that means an actual vision or hearing God audibly in their head. Some people converse with God through feelings and emotion. Sometimes people get an intense feeling to go a certain direction. Some people converse with God through others. They pray, God answers them through another man's mouth. I'm not sure if this is necessarily exclusive to a certain group of people (actually none of them are exclusive- sometimes God switches it up on you) but i bet there are some people who always seem to find themselves getting unusual answers from people they didn't expect to get answers from.
But Some, like myself, converse with God through scripture. I've realized that God usually, if not always, answers me through his word. I pray, I read scripture, and God answers. It's kind of silly but being in a Pentecostal church and hearing people prophesy and speak in tongues all around you can be disheartening when God has given you a more reserved spirit. But God is helping me come to terms with that- to accept the spiritual gifts he has blessed me with so i may use them to further his Kingdom.
Even though i do not fully understand it yet, i know there is a reason i cannot speak in tongues, why i am not as emotionally 'in-tune' as other people, and why i have no period of darkness in my past- it's preparation.
I am actively waiting and i'm finding peace in that,
May there be peace with you as well.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
it's a pastor and wife duet who go by the name Welcome Wagon.
Sold! To the Nice Rich Man (i guess this is what most would call a Praise Song- it gets better as it goes along :P) is good.
And i also enjoy There is a Fountain Filled With Blood
You Made my Day is ok. Though it's like it get's a little to folksy for me then they pull it back right after the 'ew, country' feeling.
Apparently they were produced by Sufjan Stevens (shocker right?). But speaking about SS, he made a song that i found pleasing to the soul.
You are the Blood-
sorry for the unexciting video- there wasn't much i could do.
Both Sufjan and WW's style are acquired tastes i think. I know it took me a while to realize that i did actually like Sufjan Stevens and i know i wouldn't have warmed up to Welcome Wagon as quickly if it wan't for him.
I hope this music has blessed you as much as it has blessed me
Peace be With You.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
God has been really stretching me and allowing me to grow in so many areas. I've been seeing him answer prayers in others and making me a better servant in him. Today at church my pastor did a message about Lazarus (John 11:1-45) and his death. This scripture spoke to me like it never had before:
"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in the spirit and troubled." John 11:33
God doesn't enjoy seeing us in our difficult spots. I know there have been nights where i am weeping and crying out to God, "Lord why make me go through this pain! I'm hurting inside, where are you????" But i never saw him as being there and crying too because he sees me, his daughter who has faith in him but doesn't understand why she's going through this pain. I can just hear him saying, 'i know it hurts and i know you don't understand but you have to trust me, you will be better off in the end. It'll be over soon, just keep pushing through this hard time, i'm still here.'
It's like a mother who knows that their infant child is sick and needs surgery in order to get better, but the problem is the child has to be awake for the procedure. I could just imagine seeing a poor innocent child, looking up at me with fear and helplessness crying out because it hurts and they don't understand why I as it's mother, who says i love them, is allowing this pain into their life. I would probably cry with my child. holding their hand and trying to comfort them as they go through the surgery- telling them it will be over soon. Sure i could stop the doctors from doing their job but i know that she would be worse off later- and would probably have to suffer even more- than if we took care of the sickness now.
That realization brought me to tears today. Knowing that God would sit along side me and weep because I, his daughter whom he loves, is weeping too.
Jesus, no matter how much it hurt to see his followers weep the death of their good friend, had to let Lazarus die so that the people there and us today would know that Jesus can conquer even the most impossible of situations; not even death itself can stop our God from working in our lives. the little suffering of the people then was made up with a deepened relationship with Jesus and the miracle of raising a more than dead person lead to more people putting their faith in Christ.
Monday, July 20, 2009
At this rate, i'll be able to just blog about the random things that come in my head without having to leave a long list of verses from backed up days and whatnot's.
Nothing much to say other than i'm a page away from finishing that bible journal and i've already bought a new one that's more than ready to take it's place.
Instead of putting down ALL the verses i have written down so far (cause that's a butt load...) i'll just put up the ones i really REALLY liked.
"Though I an free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible."
1 Corinthians 9:19
~Paul talking about his role as a preacher of the Word
"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."
1 Corinthians 9:22
"1For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6Now these things occurred as examplesa]">[a] to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did."
1 Corinthians 10:1-6
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
1 Corinthians 10:13
"'Everything is permissible'- but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible'- but not everything is constructive"
1 Corinthians 11:23
"In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God."
1 Corinth 11:11&12
"therefore my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues."
1 Corinthians 14:39
"we are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."
2 Corinthians 5: 20a
" 8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."
2 Corinthians 8:8&9
"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."
2 corinthians 8:21
"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
2 Corinthians 9:11
~'us' being Paul and his crew- one of the things Paul did as he visited different churches was fund raise so that he could spread the wealth to the churches that needed it.
Peace be with you.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
(it's more like an oldie but a goodie : )...)
Verses for Today:
"The wife's body does not belong to her but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."
1 Corinthians 7:4
"But if they cannot control themselves [widows], they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
1 Corinthians 7:9
~don't worry ladies, if you have the desire to marry, you will find a husband- it's called the gift of singleness for a reason :P
"To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else reconcile to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife."
1 Corinthians 8:12&13
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I'm a little excited actually because i'm fairly close to finishing my first bible journal (i started it last summer). Just thinking about how much i've grown and how much God has stretched me this year is very interesting. One of these days i'm going to have to read through the whole thing and just see how it has progressed- though it's been more of a list of bible verses and random bits of writings, prayers, sermons or comments. haha, journal-ing has never been a strong point.
did you know i took pictures? well now you do :P
(p.s. the one up top is an original ^_^)
Verses for Today and Yesterday:
"you are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?"
1 Corinthians 3:3
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow"
1 Corinthians 3:6&7
"the man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor."
1 Corinthians 3:8
"13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
~I LOVE this verse sooo much that i bold-ed it :P
" 6Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another."
1 Corinthians 4:6
"Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?"
1 Corinthians 5:6
~Paul is talking about sexual immorality in the church but this can be applied to all evil that is in the church. It doesn't take a lot to contaminate the Church, just one person doing evil can make the whole batch go rotten. The best example (pertaining to the issue Paul is speaking about) is the African American church. There is a coexistence of sexual immorality and Christianity that's more than wrong but has contaminated the batch to the point that sex before marriage becomes widely accepted. I'm not saying, and Paul's not saying, that the Church's job is to throw out anyone who doesn't fit into the perfect cookie cutter christian, he's saying that if a person of the church decides that they are quite content living in their sin and are unwilling to change, for the sake of the Church, he must be treated as an outsider. Of course, putting that in the context of the church today seems terrible but back in those times there was a lot of protection that came with joining a church. However the church did right to love outsiders of the faith as well. The throwing out is almost a rebuke that the Church makes to the individual for the individual's sake as well as for the congregation's sake. God's house can't afford to let sin creep into the building, the individual cannot afford to live in Sin when God freely gives us his forgiveness to wash that away.
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside, 'expel the wicked man from among you'"
1 Corinthians 5:12
~an example of the relationship the the Church and 'outsiders.' we don't Judge people outside because that's not our place but we judge the people in our own Church; not to create distrust or disunity, but out of love. We want to keep each other on the right path.
"18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
That's it for today,
Peace be with You.
Monday, June 15, 2009
but without understanding.
because I'm following you hard
I'm a target in Satan's eyes.
Lord how long has he had a finger in my soul?
How long have I been bound in these heavy chains?
I run for you but I'm constricted
I search for you but I'm choking inside
I've been unhappy for so long I'm used to the pain
-but just barely
why don't i feel like anyone's there?
how many years have i felt this lonely?
It's funny how he knows my weakness long before I do.
It's scary that he understands my insecurities before me.
But Lord, you know me
not just my weakness but my strengths.
my heart, my mind
you know all about me
and you know how to help me overcome
Lord Jesus set me free
Break me from the bondage I was too blind to see
I want to live in victory
I want to see your supremacy
Let your majesty wash over me like a flood
So that I may rise again praising you
Hosanna In the Highest
You are able the make me Stand
"He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are. So that no one may boast before him."
1 Corinthians 1:28-29
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5
Thursday, June 11, 2009
a mixture of business and nothing to say i guess (but on the bright side, i've been doing the devo's thing fairly regularly these past couple of weeks ^_^)
Right now i kind of feel like God is revealing and telling me all these different things but i don't really know what to take from it just yet, like what he wants to use it all for. I realized that one of my biggest frustrations with the Church (meaning the body of Christ) is the lack of kindness seen- like if you ever just read the opening greetings or final greetings and, a lot of times, the in between's of Paul's letters to Churches, the early church did A LOT to help out their community, and their members. They cared for the poor/unemployed, they took care of the elders who did not have someone to take care of them, made clothes and fed the unfortunate- why don't we do that? why do we just sit on our butts and totally miss that part of scripture. I mean at one point Paul had to tell a church to only help widows who had no family instead of everyone. One of the major works of the church was taking care of their community- not just preaching at them. I think today the church has found itself in a position where it focuses too much on the individual's responsibility and not the group's responsibility. It's always how can You feel God more, You need to pray for people, You should show God's love to others, You, you, you, me, me, me, I, I, I- What about Us?
With that first revelation (the fact that i am very bothered about this topic) has lead me to this new possible vision for my life. I want to see this happen to just one church, see if it can be done with the state of the God's people today- ESPECIALLY in this country- I want to see just one Church able to fulfill the kindness factor in the God equation (pft that was so corny...). And i think that in order to make it legit, it has to start at the very beginning, it needs to be part of that Church's core values, it has to be hammered in from the very beginning not 'worked' in later on.
And i want to be there, i want to see it happen from the beginning and be apart of that ministry in that new church. I want to see God's love pour out of that building so much that it truly becomes a City on a hill (well in this case a Church on a hill) and i think because of that, because we're acting out God's love instead of just talking about it, we will see a revival in whatever town or city we're in. We'll see a plethora of people giving their life to Christ. We don't need, and should never tone down scripture, but that's one major part of God's command for the church that's definitely looked over.
but again, now that i have that, what do i do with it? i have no idea what i'm suppose to do in order to get to that end point- ugh, this always happens to me too. Just the other day actually, i was in church yesterday and the pastor was talking about taking the responsibilities that God has given us and putting it to work (the story of the Talents Matt. 25:14-30). But i don't know what responsibilities He has given me to invest. maybe another lesson in active waiting? *sigh*
ok, devos time- verses that popped out for me this past almost-month :P
"12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
"18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
~man and woman are equal under God, this passage gives the relationship between husband and wife room for change. What's important is the principle of the matter: a wife respects her husband for his sake and a husband respects his wife with love for her sake. Think about it, it does nothing for the family to see you mom always cutting down your father. All you would want to say is man up.
"Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful,"
"Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most out of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone,"
~this one hit me hard
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands just as we told you, so that your daily life my win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody,"
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are Idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
"for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'if a man will not work he will not eat.'"
2 Thessalonians 3:10
~Jesus does not support laziness
"15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Timothy 1:15-17
~Paul speaking about himself
"This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the savior of ALL men, and especially of those who believe."
~if God only chose the few to save, why does Paul say that he's the savior of all men? i guess he didn't get the predestination memo...
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set on example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:16
"Watch you life and doctrine closely. persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourselves and your hearers"
1 Timothy 4:16
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
1 Timothy 6:17
"I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also"
~I've been wondering if maybe it's possible to inherit the same kind of faith that you had in you family. It's no that important but i was curious about it : )
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7
"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."
2 Timothy 1: 8
~Paul speaking again
"that is why I am suffering as I am, yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom i have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day,"
2 Timothy 1:12
" 11Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself."
2 Timothy 2:11-13
~i think what is important here is the difference between disowning and being faithless. It is possible to lose your salvation but that's only if you decide to disown Jesus as your savior. But it is also more than possible to fall back in your faith and be in God's permissible will as well. As it says in Hebrews 6:4-6, it is impossible for a believer who has felt, tasted, and seen God and fallen away to be brought back. It's like Crucifying Jesus all over again.
"avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly,"
2 Timothy 2:16
"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments because you know they produce quarrels."
2 Timothy 2:23
~how many times do you see a christian argue and argue over theology? yea...
"1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."
2 Timothy 3:1-5
~sound a lot like today
"In fact, everyone who want to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
2 Timothy 3:12
"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped from every good work,"
2 Timothy 3:16-17
~don't get me wrong, sometimes you have to take into consideration the time period and culture but all scripture is influenced by God, that means there is always a principle at work with it. example, the scripture about women having to cover their heads and not yelling out in Church is basically getting at women of the church should be seen with respect and modest (not necessarily Mormon modest, but you get it)
"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction."
2 Timothy 4:2
"6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:6-8
~ahahah! I LOVE this scripture. This is Paul speaking as he sees the end of his life approaching. I want to be able to say this on my own death bed *goal one* ; )
"11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age"
" 3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone."
~i know, it's a big one, but something to stress (as it says)
and there's today (which hasn't happened yet :P) so i'll end on a worship song by Hillsong- Your Name High
Peace Be with You.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"so then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of his world rather than on Christ."
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I think- and i'm thinking and typing here so bare with me- I think that what i'm trying to say is that The bible deals with the big important parts of life, the things that we need to focus on because when everything else fades away, those fundamental parts of life are always going to be standing. However, it does not mean that those smaller details of life are not there- or that we do not spend time being involved in them. we just, as Christians, are not suppose to be obsessed with them.
When an artist, or artists, decide to dedicate their talents to God (not necessarily an artist who is Christian but someone who considers themselves a Christian artist), they make it their duty to produce music that deals with the fundamental ideals of life that is seen through the bible. They do, and personally i think that they should, not waste their time with focusing on the smaller things in life- i mean they can, but not when they made the decision to use their music to honor God, that's their ministry and it should be treated as such. let the secular artists deal with the small things of this world.
I believe that God is a simple God- Jesus even said that we should not pray long and complex prayers like the pagans do. He takes the unappreciated,the unattractive, the overlooked, the unimpressive and makes it into something extraordinary. God uses this pattern all through the bible: Moses, Abraham, the 12 disciples- THE 12 DISCIPLES! they were illiterate fishermen! and they ended up being the foundation of the Church. Jeremiah was a young prophet who could be seen as inexperienced. The burning bush was first, before all else, a bush. People look pass bushes!!!
Knowing how God prefers to move I think it is better to be simple with the medium that we use when we want it to be used by God. A sermon should have as little pomp and circumstance as it can because when God moves through it- you can give Him all the glory. In the same way, when a song is being composed by a Christian artist it should lose the complex and intricate metaphorical stuff because people can't worship to that.For me personally, i first have to sit down and break down all the metaphors and figurative language and imagery then see if the end product matches up with scripture. Then i have re-assemble the song to make sure it makes sense and only then can i even fathom worshiping to that song. It really shouldn't be like that. Poetry is beautiful yes, but i feel like it's place is for personal worship. I can't copy those songs and jam out to them with my youth band. We need simple songs that speak nothing more than God's truths: God is Love. Jesus saves us. I am Alive through his death and resurrection.
Sufjan Stevens is an artist who worships through poetry. However he does not label himself as a 'christian artist.' Therefore i can see that he uses this play on words and his writing as a personal worship to God- i'm fine with that and i wish that many of these poetic 'christian artists' would follow his lead. There's nothing wrong with being a christian playing secular music, take pride in that. Just don't waste my time when i'm trying to find some different kind of worship music and i get this metaphorical stuff...
I'll give you two examples. One is Sufjan Stevens: seven swans
I don't know. Maybe i'm slow but this song, like most of his songs, I only get half of. I'm baffled really at what his point is (no, and i did not enjoy breaking down poems in high school either...) so it's hard for me to see if his understanding of the doctrine is solid as well.
Now here's Tye Tribbett again- Everything (i know. same song. but i'll even use a diff. video :P)
see? simple- they just use words. Master, savior, father, protector, everything, Jesus! I can follow that and so can everyone else. That's a good worship song (lol- and isn't he the craziest? ^_^)
um, that's about it for my rant. Here are my verses. I might stick to Jeremiah but we'll see :)
"But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say "I am only a child." you must got to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them because i am with you and will rescue you,' Declares the Lord."
"They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord."
Peace be with You.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what i have said and done"
said by Paul. This shows how careful Paul was with his words and actions, so that God could be seen through him as clear and he could.
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teachings you have learned. Keep away from them."
Recently i've been wrestling with the historical facts of the bible- i must say that it was in lack of faith i always avoided this topic. I was too scared to look at historical proof or documents because i was worried i'd find something that didn't add up. However this past Sunday i asked my father about it and realized that going through the history of the bible and how it has become the book it is today is a natural stage of development in a Christian's life.
i haven't done much research yet (actually i haven't even started researching :P) but I will definitely put up any good stuff i come across on here to share with anyone who wants to see.
From what i got from talking with my Dad, what's wrong about these skeptics of the Bible's authenticity/accuracy is that they focus on the surrounding material that is not in the bible and not on the bible itself. apparently there was a very high pass or fail mark for what got into the bible. If there was any doubt at all about a certain book it was thrown out.
I leave you with Lerae- Go Hard
I have this snobbish attitude about christian rap- it kind of sounds a little crappy to me, but Lecrae has such a great testimony i feel- you can see that he really has a heart for God and it shows in the truth in his lyrics. Check it! : )
Peace be with You.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.a]">[a] Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"b]">[b]says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."c]">[c] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Everything- Tye Tribbett : )
Monday, May 4, 2009
(and yea, i meant the 4th not the 2nd :3)
and i don't think i did too shabby on the devotions thing- i mean there were weeks...but i had a really good week as well where i was mad busy with school but still managed to do the devo's everyday- gooood ^_^
I decided that I'm going to try to stop preaching- so i'm working on that
Now when i decided to create this blog- i decided to be as real with it as i could about what is going on in my spiritual life: what am i wrestling with what are my doubts what are my praises what are my revelations.
One thing that God really has me thinking about is this idea of predestination: does God already know who is going to dwell with him in eternal life, or do we ask him to dwell in his eternal life. Now, i believe in Jesus- i will call myself a Christian. I do not believe in full predestination- as in i do not believe that God already knows who is going to dwell with him in eternal life and who is going to forever be condemned to hell. Now to most Christians this is a crazy concept and usually i don't share this view of mine unless pushed on it but it's become clear to me that the full predestination thing is something that needs to be squared away with- because it can be the difference between someone getting saved and someone not getting saved i think.
The idea of predestination is this:
God knows all- obviously because he is God. And it is only by grace we are saved- it is by no decision that lets say, I made to be saved from the eternal fire. With me doing nothing God has chosen to save me unconditionally and to have mercy on me and for that I am eternally grateful.
see, i understand that argument and it makes sense to me as well but the bible also speaks about God being love. And i cannot ignore the fact and the inconsistency of God being love and creating man in his image and as something to love and then to condemn more than half of his creation to hell. because the bible also says
My understanding on this subject of the few:
I believe that God is all knowing and all powerful, but there are things that God is capable of doing but wont do. For example- God is capable of doing evil but he can't do evil. That's because he won't do evil. I think this pattern is seen elsewhere. I believe that God is capable of knowing who is going to go to heaven and hell but, for the sake of giving us free will, chooses not to know that that end result. i believe in a partial predestination where there are things moving in our life and in this world and in reality that God wants to happen. So no matter what people decide, God's end result is going to be the same. But God still gives us room to decide things- one of those things is if we want to be saved or not.
Do not get me wrong, Acts 15:11 says,
"for, 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." -Romans 10:13
God created Adam and Eve and they loved Him. But there was no choice but to love God, so Adam and Eve's one rule of never eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge was the choice God gave them to show their love for Him. God basically said, "if you love me, you will listen to my one rule for you and not eat from this tree." God is giving us that same choice with salvation. but instead of being able to take the fruit, we have to come up and ask for some fruit.
I could go on on this topic, but like i said it's finals week and i need to study
I also want to make it clear that i am always open for God to change my mind on this subject as well. God knows how i am because he created me and he knows how to open my eyes through his word so that i can have understanding in things that are not made clear right now. There are many verses about predestination in the bible- i'll give you one even Romans 8:28-32
i'm ready to tell you right now i don't know what to take from it. but i will be patient with God, like he is patient with me and have faith that he will reveal his truth like he has countless times before.
Scripture that has caught my eye since April 10th:
"not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
"for just as though the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one. man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:19
"what shall we say then? shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? by no means! we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1-2
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of the sin might be done away within, the at we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." Romans 6:6&7
"Therefore don't let sin reign in our mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instrument of righteousness." Romans 6:12-13
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but hose who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5
"because those led by the spirit of God are sons of God," Romans 8:14
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. and by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'" Romans 8:15
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
"for the creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Romans 8:20&21
"In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes from us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26
"And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" Romans 8:27
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; hose he justified, he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30
~there you go, but here is where my faith steps in. I have faith that God will open my eyes and i refuse to let this present and apparent inconsistency hinder my faith.
"no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, either angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 8:37-39
"it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring" Romans 9:8
"it does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" Romans 9:16
"therefore God had mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and hardens whom he wants to harden" Romans 9:18
~this part made a reference to how Pharaoh's heart was hardened when moses asked him to let the Jews go
"for, 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can the call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear w/o someone preaching to them? And how can they preach without being sent? As it is written, 'how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Romans 10:13-15
"Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!" Romans 11:11-12
"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either." Romans 11:17-21
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1
"Give everyone what you owe him; If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." Romans 13:7
"Love does no harm to his neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
"accept him whose faith his weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters" Romans 14:1
"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls, and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand" Romans 14:4
"But the man who has doubts is condemned if the eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin." Romans 14:23
~This one came from the context of a strong believer not judging a weaker person of faith for not eating certain things or drinking wine and for a weaker person of faith not condemning a stronger person in faith for drinking or eating certain things. It is saying here basically that if the weaker does the thing that the stronger does but still sees it as something wrong then for him, that is a sin.
putting it in another context- if i go out and drink (legal age and all that) i'm ok with drinking and being a strong christian. for someone else that may not be the case and i shouldn't push someone who sees it as a sin to drink because to them the feel wrong doing it- therefore, because their concious isn't clean now, them drinking has become a personal sin against God.
That's it- i think it's been over 2hrs... >.<>