Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Do You Follow The Rules?

I love my friends. I have a lot of different friends and I love all of them very much. Some of my friends though are a little interesting. One of the problems I have with one of my friends is they are "Christian", but there is a lot they disagree with in the Bible. I on the other hand believe in the infallibility of the entire Word of God. This causes a lot of interesting arguments.

Main stand points of arguing.

Me: The Bible is Infallible, all that it says is true. God's need for justice for the sins we commit does not make him any less loving. God loves us and paid the price for our sins, but we still have to accept Him to receive the gift.

Them: Only what Jesus said is worth reading. Jesus couldn't send anyone to hell because only a hateful spiteful God could send people to hell. If He doesn't want us to go to hell He wont send us. Jesus didn't say what we needed to do, he told us to love one another. 

Well I'm not going to go into the existence of hell, but I found something cool today in red letters about what Jesus expects us to do. Jesus often quoted the Old Testament, and when asked what the greatest commandment He answered 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.' 

Then he said 

'And second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:37-40

Now the relevance to me in this passage is He first commanded us to love the Lord, and as I eluded to in my last post, those who love the Lord can't help but obey the Lord and His commands.


Today's passage led me again to Matthew. I read Jesus's comment on the Law

Matthew 5:17-20

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus said this himself. Now I know this may pose a lot of questions regarding how Jesus could hold the Law so highly as a way to live, but also teaches that God is all loving and that He doesn't require us to "be good" to enter into heaven, but that we need to believe in him to be saved. The thing is that Jesus said all of this, and its important to know the Law as well as the grace we have. 

Another problem we can have is with the end of this passage. How can we be more righteous then a teacher of the Law? The truth is though that the Gospel requires us to humble ourselves before God in order to receive salvation and it is only by his grace that Jesus's righteousness can be imputed on our account. 

Application:

If you have accepted Christ as your real and personal savior you are free from the punishment of your sin, but obedience is an act of worship and if we have any desire to be seen as having done good with our lives in the eyes of the Lord we will obey His commands, both old and new to show Him our love for Him and his precepts. This is not an act of requirement, but an act of love and that is the most important thing to remember.

The second thing I found in this passage actually came from the notes in my McArthur Study Bible. McArthur says in his notes on this passage. "unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. On the one hand, Jesus was calling His disciples to a deeper, more radical holiness than that of the Pharisees. Pharisaism had a tendency to soften the law's demands by focusing only on external obedience. In the verses that follow, Jesus unpacks the full moral significance of the law, and shows that the righteousness of the law calls for actually involves an internal conformity to the spirit of the law, rather than mere external compliance to the letter."

He goes on to explain the second part of 5:20

"will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, this sets up an impossible barrier to works-salvaltion. Scripture teaches repeatedly that sinners are capable of nothing but flawed and imperfect righteousness (e.g., Is. 64:6). Therefore the only righteousness by which sinners may be justified is the perfect righteousness of God that is imputed to those who believe (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5)"

I think this pretty much sums up my thoughts on that last part of the passage. Jesus was saying that yes we should obey the commandments, but the fact that we cannot fulfill the entire Law perfectly shows us the need for grace in order to enter back into a relationship with the Creator of the universe. 

Dear Lord, Father and Creator,

Thank you for this day. I am blessed to live in this world you have given me and I am blessed to have your Law as a guide to joyful, regret-less living. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on the Word you share with us. Thank you for your consistency, even among our inconsistent interpretation and understanding. Thank you for your patience and your grace, in Jesus name,

Amen

PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS!!! THERE ARE SOME GOOD THOUGHTS OF FLAWS IN MY ENTRY!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Who is Your God?

I haven't posted any posts to this blog because I've been afraid that what I write may be Biblically unsound. What I have found though, is not that I am unsound Biblically, but that I am not in the word daily to trust the truths I know. I know many truths, but by how I live my life, it is clear that I do not trust them, and that is a big problem. That brought me to today's title.

Who is Your God?

Is your God good? Is your God loving? Does He really care for you? Why does He have so many rules? Why does He send us to hell if we don't do what He tells us to do? Why are His rules so hard to follow?

I don't know about you, but I've asked myself all these questions. I've looked at God as someone who didn't understand me and made it hard for me to be with Him. He didn't magically fix my problems when I called out in the middle of the night completely broken, and when things turned around for me, they turned right back to its original, wretched state.

Why is that?

Well, I will tell you, I have learned a lot about my part of the walk with Jesus, but the most important piece has only recently fallen into place. Let me answer my questions with a simple question. What is the easiest way to get along with someone? I mean, everyone has flaws right? How do you put up with those flaws? Is it a tolerance, or is it something more? I would say its something more. Now before I answer my new questions I've given I want you to ask yourself this: How do you get along with God? Is it tolerating his command, or trying to be good? Is it trying to read the bible or go to church even though you're simply doing it cause you "have to". What changes your perspective when you want to get along with someone? Love. You can look past faults in anyone when you love them, and that goes even more for God. He has NO flaws, none, but I'm sure you've had that person you thought was perfect. Did you tolerate them, or did you love them? Which is easier to get along with?

The Christian walk is not about going through the motions and following a bunch of rules, and its too easy to believe that it is. When you're doing the right things you're is not when you're in a good relationship, but when you love the Lord!

Now ask yourself, what wouldn't you do for the person you love the most? I don't know about you, but there isn't a thing I wouldn't do for the person I love the most. I would die for them and wouldn't hesitate to give anything I have to make their life better. Now what is better then when that person reciprocates? Nothing. God loved us before we were even able to love Him. He just asks us to reciprocate His love, and to love Him with all our hearts. Loving God is the most natural thing we can do, and God wants to help us through our life.

There are two easy mistakes we can make as Christians. God loves me when I obey him. God loves me too much to care if I do good or bad.

Both of these can be taken a lot of ways. God's love is unconditional, but these two questions have hidden lies in them. God doesn't love us BECAUSE we obey Him. He loves us, period... He loves it when we obey Him, but when we disobey doesn't hinder Him from loving us any more. God does love me too much, but that doesn't mean He doesn't care how we live our lives. He cares not because He wants to condemn us or control us. He cares because He wants what's best for us, and sin is never good in our lives. He gives us the grace, but the Bible says in Romans.

"What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means?"
Romans 6:15

I don't know about you, but I've lived my life in both ways. I've let myself believe God's love was contingent on my obedience, and when that grew into a bitterness towards God I lived by grace, flaunting my life as if there was no consequence.

God's love is sufficient, our works are not, our sin is not. Nothing we do is. God loves us, we simply need to respond back in loving submission and repentance.

The last question I'll ask that I have asked in my years of struggling with the Lord is, "Okay, so He loves me. How do I even know He exists and He's not some fabrication of the imagination, of dudes who lived long, long ago?" I could go forever on this question, but I am going to give two cool verses I found while reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. The bible says

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Psalms 19:1-4a

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20

If you aren't sure God is really there, go find Him, cause he has made himself known. If you "believe" in Him, but aren't in love with Him, do you REALLY know Him? What do you know about the Lord, because if you knew the Lord, you couldn't help but love Him, and your soul would be daily renewed for His working. Don't get me wrong, you can still struggle. People who think being a Christian means life will be easy are sadly mislead, but there is a peace that can be found when you daily walk to the throne of the Lord and lay yourself down before Him.

God,

Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts and convictions of you this morning. Thank you that you are a loving God, that you are a real God, and that you require nothing of me to love me. Lord, give me the strength to find you each morning, and to daily remind myself of your love for me so that I may love you. Thank you that you saved me from myself, and that you continue to do so. Thank you for finding me, thank you for guiding me. In Jesus Name,

Amen


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

test

test

Welcome

I never thought I would be one to blog, because as a writer the fear of someone stealing your ideas if you make it public is always present. Then I went to my churches Winter Camp this past week and upon my return it struck me that of all writing, the most important is that of spiritual things, and that is the greatest thing to share. So here, I am opening my writing to you the public so that it may encourage, challenge, build, and ignite your faith as the Lord has mine.

I am just starting so there will be no particular order, and no specific timing to expect posts. Perhaps as the Lord leads me I will write more, I don't know, but I pray that what this blog is solely an encouragement. As i said there is no particular order, but I would like to start with the Character of God. My first post is going to be of God's love, so please go ahead and read it, and I hope your walk can be strengthened by it.