Friday, May 31, 2013

Standing on the Rock

Recently we had rain. We have not had much in a while, so it was a real blessing. After the rain the air was so fresh and cool that I just "had" to go out and explore a little. I found the acreage behind the house had turned into a shallow pond. Beyond that was a "fort" my siblings had dug into the ground, so I had to go see if it was full or not. I waded through water and mud and finally was able to see into the trenched out fort. It was full of rain water and the dirt walls that my siblings had piled around it where becoming so saturated by the water from the neighboring field, that they were beginning to fall into the murky water filled trench.
You know, sometimes we are like those saturated wall. We know that we are called by our Lord to be in the world, but not of it, but sometimes we stand just as close as we can get to the world, looking over at it. "It can't hurt us" we say. But the world's influnces are many and they slowly but surely can flow in and surround us if we let our guard down, much like the rain water from the neighbors field slowly seeped in and surround my siblings dirt walls surround their fortress, their safe place.
Before we realize it, the ways of the world begin to seep into our lives and saturate us, and we begin to crumble. The walls that were once strong, standing against the evil of the world become soft and our standards which were once high slip lower and lower until people looking on can no longer can see the difference. Then they may ask, "So, if you are a Christian and I am not and yet we speak the same, we dress the same, we like the same music and movies, why do I need Jesus? Why do you?" And what opportunities we may have had to witness have been swallowed up in the murky waters that we though could not harm us.
Any good that is in man, is there by the grace of the Lord. There may be times when we are tempted to think that the world cannot hurt us because we are too strong. But, the fact is, if we do not surround ourselves with the Word of the Lord to the point of becoming saturated in it, and if we are not continually seeking Him and are not continually on our guard, we will fall. It is not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Why, because in and of ourselves we are weak. We cannot stand...but for Him. 
Everyday is a battle. Our hope and safety from the murky sin filled water of the world is on top of the Solid Rock. He is our strength, our stronghold. Are you standing firmly on the Rock? 

"The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him."
Nahum 1:7

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Greatest Gift


"If we have the slightest clue about being bought by the blood of Jesus, we won't see how much we can get away with. We'll see how much we can honor Him. True, there is not a sin that you or I could muster up that would make God say, 'I don't love you anymore.' But that doesn't mean we have the right to take His grace for granted." ~ David Nasser

If we know what a sacrifice was made for us by Jesus, if we grasped how much He gave of Himself for us, then we could not help but to live every moment of every day in a way that honors and pleases Him. Think of it like this, if someone nearly died saving your child (or insert your mother, father, or dearest loved one's name here) from a raging fire, would you not be grateful to that person and show them gratitude? Would you not do whatever was in your power to show them that you valued their willingness to, if need be, sacrifice their very life trying to save the one you love with all your heart?

Well, Jesus did that. He died to save your loved one from a fire bigger and hotter than any forest fire. He also died to save you from the same fate. And would you dare to be anything but grateful for that sacrifice? Should you not live a life of gratitude? Should you not do your best to honor Him? Yes, we will all fail, we will all sin, we will never be perfect on this earth. I get that. But, shouldn't we seek everyday to live in a way that says "thank you" for the great sacrifice of the cross instead of pushing limits to see how much we can "get away with"? 

If we really understand grace, and the price of the gift given to us by our Heavenly Father through His only Son, we can't take it for granted.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lost in the Sand

April 15, 2013
I am the type of person who likes to make up her own, "quotes." For each season of life I make up little sayings, often drawing from Scripture, and things I have heard or read. These little phrases may be ones I hang onto for only a day, or maybe on that is with me for a week. If I were to make one for today it would be, "In times of drought, trust in the Maker and Sender of rain, for He shall surely quench your deepest thirst."
There are times as we walk the paths of life where dryness comes to our souls. Darkness shades our way and we cannot make out what the "road signs" so. We stand at this crossroad of the heart, unsure of which way to go. Left or right? There seems to be no hope, no reason to keep on keeping on. The joy to which we once danced to, slips away...and all we hear is silence.
In such times I have learned to cling with every fiber of my being to the truth of His Word. Maybe it does not speak so clearly to my heart, but I just keep on trusting in the truths that He has promised. I do not always know why the dry times come, but I know that I have always made it through them before...and I trust that I will once more.
If we have not trust and faith in the unseen, then we have no faith at all. It is how we act and react in the times of drought that truly show how much we truly trust in the unseen Almighty God.
If you are going through a time where God seems sooooooo far away, let me encourage you to soak in the Word and to trust in what you cannot see, clinging to His promises. He will not let you die of thirst. He will be your Spring of Life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Law of God

Some say that we are no longer under the Law of the Old Testament. That the Old Testament is just there so we can know history and see where we came from. I disagree. Obviously there are areas of the Law of the Old Testament that we no longer have to live under because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, like the many sacrifices that were required of God's children back then, but there is much of the law that we are still to keep.
Jesus, Himself, stated, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18).
Without the Law we would have no standards, and without standards how would we know the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness? The Bible states in 1 John 2:3-6, " And herby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." So, to recap, he who loves God will keep God's commandments -- or law?
Maybe you want to argue that our faith is not to be of works, but of grace. There is truth to that. Ephesians 3:8-10 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ultimately we are saved by God's grace. We cannot save ourselves by our own works. This is a fundamental truth that cannot be argued, but we should not stop there. The verse goes on to say, "created in Christ Jesus unto good works" or as some translations state, "for good works."
We were created to glorify God, we can do this, in part, through good works. We show God that we love Him by obeying Him and following His commandments -- obeying His Law. By doing that which His Word commands, by His grace, we will love others, which means we will serve others, which means we will do that which people consider to be "works." These works will not save us, no, because we have already been saved by grace through faith in the Son of God which is the only way we can be saved. No, these works are not our salvation, these works are the result of our salvation in Christ. They are an out pouring of our love for God.
This is a huge topic, and one that takes much thought and discussion to get to the bottom of. My thoughts in writing was to encourage you to study the topic for yourself. There are so many things that we have been told we should believe, even in our churches, that are not firmly grounded in God's Word. We should not blindly believe everything we hear, but take everything and hold it up against the Word of God to verify whether it is actual truth or a convincing lie.
The God that many supposedly Christian churches teach of is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is a God of order, a God of justice, a God of unfathomable love and mercy, but He is not a God who condones those who live in sin and disobey His commandments. If you think I am wrong, read His Word for yourself from cover to cover. I have, and it has challenged the way that I believe, the way that I think, and the way that I live. I am not perfect, but daily being conformed into His image. My prayer is that you too, will be drawn closer to Him through His truth each day.
"It is not the Law which separates me from God; it is my violation of that Law (sin)." ~ Michael Davis

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

For Him Alone

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." ~ Isaiah 53:10
This verse is one of the many that stood out to me as I made my way through the book of Isaiah this last week. I could comment on many things the verse says and what it speaks to my heart, but for the sake of time, I will stick to one little phrase.
"the pleasure of the LORD"
As I read through Isaiah, that phrase and others like it continued to stand out to me. "For mine own sake" (Isaiah 48:11), "He will do His pleasure" (Isaiah 48:14), and many others. Over and over and over the truth that all things are for God, for His pleasure, for His glory, for His honor, and for His purposes.
If all things are for the Lord and His purposes, than it means that each day we live, the hard - the boring - the terrifying, somehow fit into His bigger picture.
Let me ask you a question? If you have had a really tough day, is it easy for you to get downhearted and to be tempted to question God's wisdom with, "Why, Lord?" What if we thought instead, "Lord, I don't know why today has to be so hard, but I trust that it is for Your pleasure and for Your purposes. Show me how I can live out this day in such a way as to only add to that pleasure and purpose. Help me to be faithful with this charge that You have given."
I am finding that if I keep in mind that all things are for Him, than it changes my whole perspective and how I live each day, the good or the hard.