Friday, August 13, 2010
I've been turning this blog post over in my mind for awhile. Long before I promised it to you in my last post. To give you a little of the immediate background, in case you missed it, I published A Letter to My LDS Friend, which I borrowed from StreetFishing.org (an AMAZING blog, by the way). A couple of LDS women took exception to the letter in the comments. If you are interested, its worth going and reading them and then coming back, just to have context. One of the ladies accused the author of the letter of cherry-picking verses and taking them out of context to come up with an anti-Mormon message. In order to attempt to avoid this entirely, I am going to focus on two different points that set Mormonism apart from Christianity, taken straight from their Articles of Faith. There are literally entire web sites devoted to delineating the false teachings of the LDS Church. I don't have the energy or the time to devote to such a task, so I will try to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. I believe that although it would be valid to cover several areas, it really can and does boil down to just two simple things. So, here goes.
Mormon.org has the following to say regarding their Articles of Faith: Two years before he died, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote them in a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who had asked for information about the Church. Ever since the Articles of Faith were written, they’ve inspired and directed us in the basic principles of our gospel. They enhance our understanding of certain doctrines and help us commit to living them. They invite further thought. And they’re a good tool for explaining our beliefs to people unfamiliar with them. With that considered, I think its fair to trust these points as a direct communication of the belief system of Mormons.
The first of thirteen points in the Articles of Faith says this:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
At first glance, this appears to be what Christians believe. But when you take a second look, with an eye for what is not said, you will notice that they do not believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one God, eternally existent in three Persons. Or simply, they do not believe that God is God, Jesus is God and that the Holy Spirit is also God. My experience with one-on-one conversation with Mormons reflects this conclusion. They seem to be confused as to how a person could really believe that God is a triune God, eternally existent in three distinct Persons. (For an excellent, detailed theological presentation of the Trinitarian nature of God, please see this blog post of Kevin DeYoung's.)
This is one of the MAJOR doctrinal differences between the LDS Church and Christianity, and the main thing that disqualifies them to be called a Christian church. You cannot misunderstand this about God and still be a Christian. Jesus said it Himself in John 8:24: "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." Who did He claim to be? He claimed to be God. And He claimed it so much, they eventually nailed Him to a cross because of it (His charge was blasphemy, claiming to be equal with God).
The next point of attention for me is the third point:
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
This is what I will address in Part 2.
*I CANNOT believe its been since July that I posted. I'm so sorry to have promised a post I took so long in delivering. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind, but I am going to attempt to get Part 2 up before the end of the week. So we'll see. :)
Friday, July 30, 2010
It's been awhile, and I'm not exactly sure how this works anymore, but I'm here.
So many things happened to move me away from blogging. The events that led to the Silenced post, we moved into a new home, my baby turned into a toddler (yikes! can we say BUSY???), traumatic family events, my grandma died (I was her daytime caregiver, and she was half the reason we moved), my marriage has been a wreck, challenges with taking care of my mother-in-law, and I could go on. All this has led to the perfect combination of busy-ness, depression, and general lack of motivation to blog. Plus the fact that I haven't been feeling very much like sharing what's been impacting me spiritually. I don't know how to explain it other than to say that.
Interestingly, I picked up a few followers during my months of silence, and I'd like to say hello to all of them! So, to all the new followers (I think there are three of you!): Hello! Thanks so much for taking the time to follow my blog. I hope its worthwhile.
And, for my next post, I will be addressing Mormonism, and why it is a false Christianity. I know, I know...no starting small for me. But seriously, I had a couple of nice Mormon ladies comment on the Letter to My LDS Friend post, and while I appreciate their viewpoint and their comments, I think it is imperative that Christians learn to recognize false versions of Christianity, of which Mormonism is one. So, with much love and trembling, I will submit my case of why that is so, and enjoy the ensuing conversation. I invite you all to join in, I have always enjoyed discussing Mormon religion with Mormons. I only ask that we all stay civil, I won't post your comment if it's not kind. But I know you guys won't have any issues with that!
So, tune in shortly for that one, and if you are still around, I can't thank you enough. You're a trooper.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I love you. Please take time to read this very important letter. Since you are so devoted to your faith it is important for you to know that according to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), true repentance means sinless perfectionism. Since no one can completely stop sinning in this life the teaching of the LDS Church is indeed the Impossible Gospel. This is the reason you and other LDS I talk with consistently respond that you do not know for sure that you have eternal life because you must rely on your own ability to keep the commandments and stop sinning in order to earn the grace of God.
If you don’t believe me then see for yourself. Here are the requirements of true repentance for salvation as defined by the LDS Church:
Must forsake all sin and deny all ungodliness
"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold, he will confess them and forsake them." (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43)
“And if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…” (Moroni 10:32)
“Repentance is for every soul who has not yet reached perfection” (Miracle of Forgiveness [MoF] by Spencer Kimball, p.33)
Must keep all the commandments
“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:31-33)
Must stop all sinning
“Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal” (MoF by Spencer Kimball p. 209)
“the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” 1 Nephi 3:7
“Discontinuance of sin must be permanent” (MoF, p.176)
Must never repeat any sin again or commit new sins for the first time
"Unto the soul that sins the former sins return" (Doctrine and Covenants 82:7).
“daily transgression and daily repentance is that which is not pleasing in the sight of God.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 148)
“no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot saved in your sins” (Alma 11:37)
“Those who feel that they can sin and be forgiven and then return to sin and be forgiven again and again must straighten out their thinking. Each previously forgiven sin is added to the new one. When a man has made up his mind to change his life there must be no turning back.” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.170)
Trying not to sin is not enough
“Desire and Trying to abandon sins is not sufficient, only abandoning sin is sufficient” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.163-164)
“We can hardly be too forceful in reminding people that they cannot sin and be forgiven and then sin again and again and expect repeated forgiveness” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.360)
“There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of the sin.” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.163)
“An incomplete repentance never brought about complete forgiveness” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.212)
Must stop sinning before death (No second chances)
“spirit world repentance cannot recompense for that which could and should have been done on earth” (MoF by Spencer Kimball, p.315)
“…this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God… For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked” (Alma 34:30-35)
Friend, the Impossible Gospel of Mormonism is not only impossible but also false. It is based on fear and works righteousness. Grace only applies after all you can do (2 Nephi 25:23). Unless you never commit any sin ever again you are still in sin and not truly repentant. Trying to stop sinning is not enough. The time to deny all ungodliness is now because at death there is no second chance from being sealed to the devil who is in Outer Darkness. That is the final state of your soul for all eternity without end. Have you stopped sinning completely? If not then Grace does not apply to you. You will die in sin and will not be saved to be in the presence of the Father according to the LDS Teaching you just read. The LDS gospel is not good news.
For the Christian the requirement to be perfect still exists but it exists not in ourselves but in Jesus Christ completely. It is by the Cross we who are not perfect are made perfect forever (Hebrews 10:14). There is no other way for the Bible tells us that there is no one who is good (Romans 3:10). A person who thinks they can get to Heaven by being good and keeping the commandments does not understand how God sees sin, punishment, or Hell (John 3:18, 36). On Judgment Day every thought, word and deed will be exposed.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s standard we see that God views lust as adultery (Matthew 5:28), hatred as murder (1 John 3:15), and that no secret sin is hidden from Him of whom we will give an account (Hebrews 4:13). We see our sin in all its ugliness and realize that there is nothing we can do to remedy it. The more we see the depth of our sin the more we realize the extent of God's love to save us, making grace truly amazing (Romans 2:4, 5:8).
That’s the bad news. The law cannot save us. It simply teaches us (Romans 3:20, 7:13; Galatians 3:24) to not trust in our own goodness and leads us to trust by grace through faith in the goodness of Jesus alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:4). Because of sin we deserve Hell, but God showed His love by pouring His wrath toward our sin on His only Son. Jesus alone does the “perfecting” (Heb. 10:14). He suffered and died on the cross in our place and rose again so that we who deserve such punishment could be pardoned and God glorified. That is the good news. God’s love is amazing. Will you reject His amazing gift of undeserved kindness?
God commands you to repent and put all trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you (Acts 17:30-31). Stop attempting to gain your own salvation through works that cannot save (Rom. 10:3-4). It cheapens Christ’s sacrifice to be only a partial payment and insults God. You can do nothing to save yourself (Eph. 2:8-9). You must put all your faith in Jesus alone and place zero trust in yourself. Cry out to God and beg him to save you from your sin, and trust ONLY in His death and resurrection as full payment
However, to die in sin apart from God's complete and undeserved mercy will bring a fearful day of wrath, judgment and a destination of Hell (Revelation 21:8). Don't wait another moment. Surrender all to the Savior for He is worthy and this day may be your last. There is no other way. Please repent and trust in the true Jesus. He is merciful to save.
I love you Friend. That is why I wanted to share this most important message of God’s kindness. Let’s talk more as soon as possible.
Friday, March 26, 2010
But we are not without a Savior. Jesus Christ has come. And he is a great Savior. Every need we have, he supplies. And his death on the cross is the price that purchases every gift that leads to deep and lasting joy.
Is there wrath and curse hanging over us?
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Gal. 3:13)
Is there condemnation against us in the courtroom of heaven?
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died. (Rom. 8:33-34)
Are there innumerable trespasses mounting up against us?
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Eph. 1:7)
Is righteousness required that we cannot produce?
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). By the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Rom. 5:19)
Are we cut off from eternal life?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Are we trapped in the dominion of sin that ruins our lives?
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Cor. 5:15)
Will all the follies and failures of our past drag us down with irrevocable, destructive consequences?
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
Have we lost all the good things God planned for his children?
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)
Is there any hope that sinners like us could spend an all-satisfying eternity with God? Can I ever come home to God?
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Pet. 3:18)
Oh, what a great salvation Jesus Christ accomplished when he died and rose again! All that, and more, Christ purchased by his death. Therefore, Christ crucified is the foundation of all honest and everlasting joy. No self-deception is necessary to enjoy it. Indeed all deception must cease in order to enjoy it to the full.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Young men, God does not show favoritism or respects the honors bestowed by men. He rewards no man’s heritage, or wealth, or rank, or position. He does not see with man’s eyes. The poorest saint that ever died in a ghetto is nobler in His sight than the richest sinner that ever died in a palace. God does not look at riches, titles, education, beauty, or anything of the kind. There is only one thing that God does look at, and that is the immortal soul. He measures all men by one standard, one measure, one test, one criterion, and that is the state of their souls.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This is a two part excerpt. Part two will come tomorrow or Monday. But here is part one, taken from page 72:
Jesus Christ came into the world as the divine Son of God in order to die for our sins and rescue us from the wrath of God, the burden of guilt, the condemnation of justice, the bondage of sin, the torment of hell, and the loss of all that is good—especially the loss of God. Our problem is not merely our own corruption but, more seriously, God’s condemnation. To be sure, we are corrupt, or as the old theologians said, depraved. Paul’s way of saying it is that “all . . . are under sin. . . . ‘None is righteous, no, not one’” (Rom. 3:9-10).
This corruption is a massive obstacle to everlasting joy. We desire the wrong things, and we desire right things in the wrong way. And both are deadly—like eating pleasant poison. But our corruption is not our main obstacle to joy. God’s wrath is greater. God is infinitely valuable, and we have offended him infinitely by valuing other things more. We have exchanged the glory of . . . God” (Rom. 1:23). Or as Paul says in Romans 3:23, we all “fall short of the glory of God.”
Therefore, God’s holiness and justice will move him to settle accounts with us in his wrath. “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal. 3:10). The consequence of this curse and wrath is eternal misery apart from the glory of God. “Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus . . . will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess. 1:8-9). The iceberg just ahead is no happiness forever, only misery.
We are on a doomed Titanic because of our sin—all of us without exception. “Every mouth [is] stopped, and the whole world [is] held accountable to God” (Rom. 3:19). The sinful ship of our lives is headed for everlasting ruin because of God’s righteousness and wrath. Without a Savior, that’s the reality we must keep out of our minds in order to be happy on the Titanic of this world.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
- Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom, p86
Taken from: Of First Importance
I heartily recommend this site for any serious Christ-follower.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Several events have happened in the last couple of months that have come together to produce a writer's block of sorts. I feel like I have no business sharing anything about the gospel with anyone.
It has been said that "Christians like me" are part of the reason that some are turned off of Christianity.
Several people who I have communicated with regularly have ceased communication with me, most without letting me know why, just silence.
I feel pigeon-holed by some interactions on an online forum where I have previously been very active, and unwelcome there and elsewhere.
All this together has me evaluating everything from my own walk and relationship with Christ, to my effectiveness as a minister of the gospel, which is truly my heartbeat. But if I alienate more than I draw, I'm useless and worse.
Thus my silence. I have nothing to say.
I will try to post two posts a week of things that are currently impacting me. At least someone else can say what I want to, and I can still share.
Thanks for reading, whatever your reasons are. I appreciate it.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Depend upon it, you and I do not grow holy by going to sleep. People are not made to grow in grace as plants grow, of which it is said, “They grow ye know not how.” The Christian is developed by actively seeking growth, by earnestly striving after holiness, and resolutely endeavoring to obtain it. ~Charles H. Spurgeon
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
So, without further ado, The Four Costs of Becoming a Christian:
But first: “Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less that the blood of the Son of God to provide atonement, and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
“The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question, ‘What does it cost?’ And I believe firmly it is a most important one.”
Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle, “The Cost”, [Wheaton: Crossway, 2002], 174.
Cost One: Your Self-Righteousness
“It will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible-reading, Church-going, and sacrament-receiving, and trust in nothing but Jesus Christ. Let us set down this item first and foremost in our account. To be a true Christian it will cost a man his self-righteousness.”
Cost Two: Your sins
“It will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it, and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. Let us set down that item second in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his sins.”
Cost Three: Your love of ease
“It will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble, if he means to run a successful face towards heaven. He must daily watch and stand his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behavior every hour of the day, in every company, and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home. He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imaginations, his motives, his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible-reading, and his use of Sundays, with all their means of grace.
“This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as ‘trouble’ about our religion. We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a ‘vicarious’ Christianity, and could be good by proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labor is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have ‘no gains without pains.’ Let us set down that item third in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his love of ease.”
Cost Four: The favor of the world
“It will cost a man the favor of the world. He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted, and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a fanatic – to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if some call him mad.
“I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges, and think it very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have the good opinion of our neighbors. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against, and forsaken, and lied about, and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must be drunk by His disciples. They must be ‘despised and rejected of men’ (Isaiah 53:3). Let us set down that item last in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man the favor of the world.”
Contemplating the Four Costs:
“Bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self-righteousness, our sins, our laziness, and our love of the world, and yet be saved? I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.”
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Who do you suppose Jesus is talking about in those verses? Could it be you? How would you know? Do you test yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5)? I compiled and expanded on a checklist of questions from a sermon given by Todd Friel in Bethel, Texas. (You can find the sermon audio here) I encourage you to honestly examine yourself in the light of Scripture by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Do I like hanging out with other Christians? Is there a special relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I involved in a local body of believers (church)? (I John 1:7- But if we are living in the light of God's presence, then we have fellowship with each other.)
2. Do I know that I was dead in my sin, an enemy of God, and that my nature, apart from Christ, is wicked? This is more than “I have a God-shaped hole in my heart” - this is “my heart was wretched, prideful and blind”. (I John 1:8 - But if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.)
3. Do I obey the commandments of God? Do I strive to be obedient to His word? (I John 2:3 - and how can we be sure that we belong to Him? By obeying His commandments. If someone says, 'I belong to God,' but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth.)
4. Do I love the world? Do I delight in the things the world offers? Think music, friends, clothes, stuff…Are money or movies or food or relationships more important to me than Jesus? What am I striving for? If it isn’t the glory of Christ, it’s worldly. (I John 2:15 - Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you.)
5. Do I know who Jesus Christ is? Do I worship the Jesus of the Bible? Is my theology about Him based on the Word of God (this is not the Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Latter-day Saints' Jesus, the Muslim Jesus, the Jesus of Eckhart Tolle, etc)? (I John 2:23 - Anyone who denies the Son doesn't have the Father, either. But anyone who confesses the Son has the Father also.)
6. Am I excited about going to heaven, and seeing Christ? Not because I am tired and weary from this life, but because I have a genuine excitement at being face to face with my Savior? (I John 3:2 - Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns.)
7. Do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I growing in love for them? (I John 3:14 - If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life.)
8. Do I love to learn from the Word of God, and hear preaching and teaching? Do I read my Bible? (I John 4:6 - But we belong to God, that is why those who know God listen to us.)
9. Do I intentionally share my faith with others? (I John 4:15 - All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God live in them and they live in God.)
10. Do I persist in sin? This is not, "Do I sin?" We all sin. This is, "Do I see my lifestyle as God sees it? Do I have remorse over things that I keep doing that don’t please God? Do I share these things with God and others so that I can turn from these sins?" (I John 3:8 - When people keep on sinning it shows they belong to the devil.)
Please hear this: the Christian walk is about direction, not perfection. Perfection is God’s eager gift to us through Christ, and we know for sure that we have bowed our hearts to this gift if we are being directed by His Spirit in how we choose to live our lives.
My prayer for myself and you is that we would cherish Christ, the Lord and Creator of the never ending universe, who came to this earth as a Man to show us how powerfully and passionately God loves. He wrote words of warning so that we would never have to experience, for all of eternity, His promise to judge unrighteousness.
Please honestly examine yourself, in light of God's Holy Word. If you have not truly repented, please do so right now. If you need to stop living a lifestyle of immorality, abandon it and turn to Christ, who is mighty to save.
Let me know if I can pray for you, or minister to you in any way.
*this is an edited version of the post from this morning, if you happened to catch that one
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
One thing I've learned is that if God repeats something, I need to pay attention! This proverb floats around in my head a lot. Lately, its been floating around double a lot.
There are a few things in my life that are challenging my "gospel centered" sensibilities. Meaning, I want to scream, throw things, call people names, yell something mature, like "nanny nanny boo-boo," and kick them in the shins. Yes, I AM feeling like a spoiled 8 year old in my life right now. Because people are saying things to me that are unkind, and are representing me in ways that are untrue, in public. You know, so other people can read and see and think poorly of me. And it makes me ANGRY.
So I go on these tangents, in my mind, about how right I am and how wrong they are and how if only they would apologize, then we would all be fine. But then this proverb dings me in between the eyeballs. No matter how right I think I am, I might not be.
And I don't want to be right in my own eyes. If I am wrong in His eyes, I want to know it, so I can change. And so I pray...Lord, help me know where I am wrong, because I don't want to be right, in my own eyes. I want to be right in HIS eyes. Because His are the only eyes that matter.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Isaiah 53: 10 - But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief;
I've struggled with this verse since I first read it. I have never quite been able to understand how it would be pleasing to God to crush Christ and make Him a guilt offering for our sin. I mean, it would make more sense to me if the verse said, "But the LORD was exceedingly sad to crush Him, putting Him to grief." That makes sense to me. But that's not what the verse says. And I've had a hard time getting that to jive with my ideas of what should and should not be.
I took the girls to a local park that has a display of LOTS of Christmas lights and a fun carousel that my toddler has discovered and loves to ride. All of these things are quite a distance from the car, and my routine is to park, put the baby in the stroller, and let the toddler walk with me. This works really well, as I can push the stroller with one hand and hold the toddler's hand with my other one, if necessary. All was well and good, until we got out of the car and were halfway to the carousel and I realized it was colder than I had anticipated before leaving the house, and I had under-dressed the baby.
We got to the carousel and rode it (a few times, if you must know). When I went to put the baby back in the stroller, I knew I could not leave her so under-dressed and cold. So I covered her with my jacket. It was very cold, and within a short time, I was miserably cold.
BUT, I was pleased that it was me that was cold, and not her. The colder I felt, the more pleased I was that she was warm. I found my heart not only willing to suffer for her comfort, but eager.
It struck me in that moment, what this verse means. Since Christ is God, it is true to say that God was self-sacrificial, taking our sufferings on Himself, and it pleased Him to do so, because He knows we could never bear the weight of His punishment that is due to us, outside of Christ. I can imagine that the worse the suffering got, the more pleased He became, because of His great love for us, and His intense desire to spare us from His righteous wrath against our sin! I pray you can feel the weight and significance of this, even if you do not have a relationship with Christ.
(And if you do not have a relationship with Christ, I pray that you would stop what you are doing, and ponder this truth, and seek Him while He may still be found! He suffered and died in your place, and He waits for you to turn to Him. I pray you would not rest until you believe.)
I want to encourage you to ponder this verse and what it means in your life, that God took your punishment on Himself, and it pleased Him to do so. I pray it causes you to worship, praising His holy name!
Compassionate Lord, Thy mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day. Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge, ripen for spiritual harvest. Let me this day know Thee as Thou art, love Thee supremely, serve Thee wholly, admire Thee fully. Through grace let my will respond to Thee, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that Thy free love alone enables me to serve Thee. Here then is my empty heart, overflow it with Thy choicest gifts; here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.O ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, tend me this day; without Thy restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan's secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps. Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself. My adversaries are part and parcel of my nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they barnacle me; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
To believe a thing is, as it were, to see the cool crystal sparkling in the cup; but to meditate upon it is to drink thereof. Reading gathers the clusters, contemplation squeezes forth their generous juice. Meditation is of all things the most soul-fattening when combined with prayer.
~Charles H. Spurgeon