Monday, July 14, 2008

God is good, God is love

God is good.
19 Jesus answered. No-one is good- except God alone. Luke 18:19

His will is perfect
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

God's will is that none would perish but all may have eternal life.
God knows what's best for us and this is why He tells us not to live according to our own sinful nature- it will lead us to death.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, Rom 8:13

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Rom 7:18

God is Love
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

So if God is love you can replace His name with the word love in this passage:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.1 Cor 13:4-8

If nothing good lives in us, then the good that we do must be from God...because God is good and God is love.

The next thing I'm going to ask God is: If we are all sinful by nature and the good in us is God, then how come there are good/moral people who aren't Christians? What's the point? Anyone have any insight?

Love the Lord your God...

Recently I have been pondering this verse:

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Since it's the most important thing I am put here on the Earth to do, I thought to myself - I should really know what it means to love God. I've been seeking Him and to know Him and His heart. To walk closely with Him and understand His ways asking Him to guide me. I still wondered what it really means to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Well I read this verse today and it meant so much to me:

3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3

AH! There it is! How do I love God? Obey His commands! I already desire to do that! This is such an answer to prayer. And I love how it says "And His commands are not burdensome." The more I walk with Him the less and less they are burdensome and the more and more I take such delight in what He teaches me! They are a delight! God wants us to live in victory and abundance of His joy. He's always looking out for our best interest.

Sin - Jesus - God

The penalty for sin is death. It's a law. Death basically means life with out God - Hell (hate to bring it up but it's the truth). In other words, because we are sinful creatures we are separated from God because God cannot be around sin - He is the opposite of sin.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2

Christ came to save us from death so we may be with God. If you don't believe that Jesus came to die for you or instead of you then you don't get the benefits of eternal life. You have to die because your sin has separated you from God.

God's recently been working on my heart and making me more and more aware of people who don't know Jesus. I would never want anyone to go to Hell. God is showing me that death means eternally separated from God - a place where there is no life, no hope, no God, torment, and fire.

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

We have to tell people about Jesus - It's a matter of life and death. I am not sure why there has to be a Hell but I know it is real and I know that souls go there. This is what I hold on to.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
It's clear that God's will is that none would perish but all may have eternal life.

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven. I'm so thankful that Jesus has saved me.

(Expanding on God's love and goodness in another blog. I can't seem to make these short and to the point!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sharing my Faith

Tonight I did the normal routine of watering my flowers and moving the sprinkler when my neighbor started walking across the street to visit with me. He and his wife moved in about 2 months and I have never gone over to introduce myself (oops). He is 63 and retired from the oil business. With a HUGE wad of tobacco in his mouth we had a long conversation between the spits! He asked me if we had any buyers for our house yet. We proceeded to talk and throughout the conversation I was able to share what God has done in my life. I was excited about my purpose and asked him if he had ever wondered why we were here on earth and how exciting it is to know. I talked briefly about how God has called us to this school and how we are put on earth to glorify God.
He was pointing out the catholic churches and the bad things that they had done I was able to tell him about how much good I see in church but how I can see how looking from the outside in that would look so hypocritical. Those bad things you hear on the news are a very small percentage of people who claim they are Christians and also the truth is we are all sinners and Christians aren't any different from anyone else. He told me his wife was sad she left all of her friends to move here and how they no longer have any friends. I suggested that they find a church because you can find tons of friends there. I warned him to go there with a mindset of being extra merciful and loving instead of with a critical eye because if you look for sin and mistakes you will find them. Also, serving others would help his wife because it actually gives your heart joy and gladness in your heart to know that you have helped someone else. This was all such new information to him! He didn't want to give any of his darn 10% to no rich church that takes advantage of you. I didn't get a chance to say this but I want to suggest to him next time that maybe he should tithe on his own to people who really need it in order to ensure it's getting the most use. He believed in God and he believed me that the Lord has called us to this school and even said, "that's good, that's good, I'm proud of you." But he didn't feel the need to go to church were they can just take advantage of you. I was able to explain that while yes, it isn't about "going to church" that it does please God when we meet together to love one another, share with each other, and strengthen one another in our faith. He agreed with me that it is about your own relationship with God, seeking Him, and not the act of "going to church". There was even more that was shared but these were the main points.
I could tell this man was so controlled by his past and the poor life he lived as a child only reaching an education of the 8th grade which he informed me of at least 6 times and how hard he worked for 29 1/2 years. These were things he was very proud of but also things that made him sad and resentful.
He said he thought I had a good "perspective" on things and he thought I should meet his wife.

I have been praying for courage and boldness to share my faith but when opportunities have arise in the past I haven't seized them and they are gone in an instant. This has encouraged me so much. I am thrilled to the bottom of my toes that God is doing this work in me. On my own strength, I can do nothing. It's Christ in me speaking. The Christ that is in my heart, the Holy Spirit. God gave me such abundance and love for speaking to this man. I am overwhelmed with love and confirmation from God - He has answered my prayers.......again!

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Guard your heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Pro 4:23

I read this verse and was unsure of what was it really meant. Guard your heart? I thought we are supposed to love and open ourselves, tear down walls, love our enemies, and bless those who persecute us. So how do we do all of these things and guard our hearts? Our hearts are right out there in the open!

Well, I feel the Lord answered my prayer and revealed to me what He meant. When I say "revealed to me" I usually mean the scriptures came alive to me even though I had read them before - not that the Lord is showing me something that nobody else knows about. He just helps me "get it".
Shortly after pondering this the Lord led me to this verse:

5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:5-7

How do I guard my heart? With the peace of God! How do I get the peace of God? Prayer, petition and thanksgiving! If I am anxious instead of presenting my requests to God I do not have peace and instead I have frustration, bitterness, anxiety, stress, and a worrisome heart. God asks us to guard ourselves against those things. Protect our heart from negative things that keep us from our focus on Him. It goes back to magnifying ("fixing our gaze on"- below) God and not magnifying our problems. Guard our hearts from sin!
Then I went back to the verse again it confirmed what I understood to be true.

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Prov. 4:23-27
and another:

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones Prov. 14:30

He wants us to enjoy abundant life and victory - and the heart is the wellspring of life.

The Lord is near.

The Lord is near.

Doesn't that make you want to stop what you are doing?
But do we?
I was reading in Isaiah and after reading several chapters I realized how much the Lord hates to be ignored. Here is one passage out of several:
1 I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations- 3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face..." Isaiah 65:1
I thank God that He has so much patience with me and He pours His mercy over me. I would have given up on me a long time ago! But He loves me so much He bought me back with Jesus when my sin separated me from Him.
It also talked a lot about how the Israelites worshiped idols of wood, stone, etc. He consistently made the metaphor that they were his Bride and by doing this it is as if they prostituted themselves over and over every time they worshiped something other than Him. Putting something above our relationship with God is a HUGE offense to Him. If you're brave, I would encourage whoever reads this to read Ezekiel 16. It's a descriptive chapter on how the Israelites were so detestable to the Lord.
God desires a relationship with me and it is my responsibility to be with Him everyday. I can't afford not to and when I do I can tell a big difference in my connection with Him. When I am obedient I feel Him speaking to me and revealing Himself in everything. Let us help one another.


May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. Ps 104: 34
So in order for my meditation to be pleasing to God - I first need to meditate on Him and His word! There's an idea!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:4-7 (also in phil 2: 17-18 and 3:1)
Even when I am spending a lot of time with the Lord I have to ask myself, "am I really rejoicing in the Lord? What does that mean?". So then I looked up the word rejoice.

rejoice -
1. To be glad; take delight
2. to make joyful; gladden: a song to rejoice the heart

I need to meditate more on God's word, dying to myself and living for Him. The scriptures below are what I found to be the attitude I should have.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Jas 1:2-4
It's like an obstacle course - my desire is to not be lacking in anything and that is also God's desire for me.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. Phil 3:13-15
We are pressing on toward knowing the Lord better and better. There is also a connection between the word "mature" in both passages.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9
This is such encouragement to me to seek God, to know Him, to be with Him, to pray, and plant the word in my heart. I must overcome the obstacles before me with an attitude of rejoicing and the mindset that I hope to pass the test before me. I must change the way I look at "trials of many kinds" they are mere challenges that refine me into a mature and complete Christian and bring me closer and closer to the Lord. It's like I need to take my self out for a moment and take on a bird's eye view - this world is not my home. Is my minor trial significant when I think of eternal life with Him? so small.
In a nutshell I believe God is showing me to have joyful attitude in everything. I think it's during those times where our stars shine the brightest!
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe Phil 2:14-15