Frustration against other Christians.

The title of this blog may already sound self-righteous to some and maybe to an extent there is a hint of some self-righteousness, but let me explain my heart. When I get mad at other Christians who knowingly and willingly and carelessly give into sin and act like it’s “no big deal”, that concerns me. Yes, let’s examine the plank in my eye. I know I have sin and my sin is a constant battle, but it bothers me. It saddens my heart to know how sinful I am and when I learn from my mistakes… I make them again. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite right now because like I said, my heart is not there and I’m not judging these other Christians… but my heart breaks for them. 

My favorite verse of all time is James 1:22-25Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

We remember that we’re Christians at church on Sundays, at Bible studies throughout the week, around Christian friends, or even family members. That light switch can be easily be turned off when we fit God in a box and only use Him as needed, especially in certain crisis’. Our faith needs to speak for itself… James 2:14-18 says “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

It goes back to the James 1 Scripture I gave, we deceive ourselves so easily. Sadly, I don’t think some Christians realize they are being deceived and that this deception comes from Satan. The fact they have no clue either shows a hardened heart or they’ve given into the lie that God is satisfied with their sin, therefore abusing His grace. Satan likes it when we pat ourselves on the back after feeling convicted at church, but where’s the action accompanied by that conviction? 

Sin always comes back as a reflection of a SELFISH heart. We act like we’red owed something when in fact we’re owed NOTHING. God doesn’t need to give or do anything for you. Pardon my language, but if you’re a little butt-hurt because something doesn’t go your way… get over yourself. God is working at something deeper in your heart and life and if you can’t face that, you need to realize you are better with God than without Him. We act like such babies sometimes. 

I just needed to vent because a simple Facebook status would not suffice… plus I feel that here I have a larger audience who cares for my opinion on these things. Am I the only one who gets frustrated at this stuff? Let me reiterate the fact I know I am just as messed up, we all need accountability. I’m not saying I’m a better person or Christian because my works mean nothing to Jesus – He paid it all on the cross and I cannot add to that or earn it. 

Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

I’ve been praying for people’s salvation more than lately and asking God for wisdom in sharing Himself to others. As Christians we need to love others when sharing the Gospel, but we need to be honest in that love. If I’m beating around the bush about God and not being honest about hell, then I’m acting ashamed and afraid of their reaction. We can tell people that Jesus loves them night and day, but if we’re ignoring the reality of their sin and where it’s leading them… we’re only preaching prosperity Gospel. The realization that we sin and fall short of the glory of God should make us fall flat face to the ground in grief. It’s ONLY when knowing we’re a sinner that we need God’s grace. It’s not just accepting His love, it’s knowing you are eternally depraved yet unconditionally forgiven. 

We try saying we’re not ashamed of the Gospel, but aren’t we when we care more about other people’s opinions? People in this world are always first to preach their ‘passions’ and ‘beliefs’ on us, but Christians get put down for it and we’re not allowed to? We need to stop letting the World dictate who the church is and listen to what God says about His church. Amen?! I’m preaching to myself here.

Misconceptions about Christianity.

BACKGROUND: After a series of nightmares and endless tossing and turning, I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit by a train. I felt awful so I put the heating pad in the microwave, took 3 IB profen, and started to pick up around the house. That last part has to sound crazy to most people and it did for me too, at least this morning because I had the intentions of hugging the recliner while I wallowed in my pain. After picking up around the kitchen I turned on the television thinking “okay I’ve done some stuff, so I’ll sit down after I hear the microwave go off.” Yeah, about that… that didn’t happen either haha. I kept making my way around the house, slowly feeling the headache go away, and then heard the local news saying the Pope decided to resign.

If you’ve been in the faith long enough, one of the things that should have came into your mind is the book of Revelation/ End Times/ Rapture/ Anti-Christ/ False Prophet/ Prophecies. Whenever it comes to strong authorities or leadership in this world, I can’t help but believe those will be the people who will be responsible for helping God’s prophecies come alive. It usually only takes one topic as such to get this girl’s mind going. Shortly after I received a message from my sister asking me about the book I had been reading, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan, the wheels started to turn more. Everything in my thought process this morning kept going back to God. Inevitably I think about people who aren’t saved when I get on this one track mind.

I decided there was way too much on my mind this morning to make a Facebook status out of it, one that would probably get over looked any ways. At least my thoughts have a few cents more value on here. The reason I’m writing this blog…. *drum roll please*… if you read the title, yes, it’s about misconceptions about Christianity. Don’t ask me how I got there, I just did haha. When I come to to these random thought processes I honestly think it’s the Lord trying to get something across through me. You may beg to differ, but with God anything is possible.

The few misconceptions that stood out to me were:

1.) Jesus Christ – in the words of C.S. Lewis, He is either a “Liar, lunatic, or Lord.”
I don’t think there are enough people in this world who take the time to actually ponder about who Jesus is. Most people lean on the thought that he was a good prophet. When people say this, it leads me to think they have never read the actual Word of God – The Holy Bible – KJV  (Kings James Version) – NKJV (New King James Version) – ESV (English Standard Version) – NIV (New International Version). John 14:6 says that Jesus is the ONLY way to God. He died a criminals death on a cross to take the burden of our sins – to make us acceptable before God. Can someone really say a good prophet would do this? A liar? A lunatic? Christ did not die in vain. He took the punishment we deserve and He is currently sitting at the right throne of God in heaven, He is a Sovereign God who deserves our never-ending praise and devotion. That is who Jesus Christ is.

2.) Grace – the definition or what comes to mind when you hear this word. 

Before being saved, when someone said the word ‘grace’ it made me think of people who dance ballet ‘with grace’. Something peaceful, serene, slow, light handed. Dictionary.com even defines this term first as…

  •  grace [greys]  noun, verb, graced, grac·ing. noun “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice. Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease. Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.”

Some people may even think of it as the thing you say before you eat dinner. However, the grace that God gives is free unmerited favor. Meaning it is a gift, not anything we can earn or deserve. It means we are forgiven because Christ has taken our place. The best example of grace is how we constantly spit in God’s face, but His grace makes Him long-suffering and ultimately puts up with us. Again, not because we deserve it… but because He is God. It’s non-existent in our society to give others grace because we’re more prone to be bitter, vengeful, unforgiving, hateful, etc.

3.) Sin – Don’t do this and don’t do that. Hello legalisticcc!

This is actually addressed in Scripture and it’s called hypocrisy. The biggest people back then to make up these lists of dos and don’t were called Pharisees. These people were super-religious and thought they were holier than thou. They did everything right in their eyes and even in the public eye. They would even go to lengths of making sure people knew they were fasting because their appearance would be dreadful (fasting would usually show on their faces). These exact same ‘religious’ people nailed Christ to the cross. They accused him of blaspheming God and summoning demons. Christianity is more than the 10 commandments, it’s about our hearts. Do we think we’re fooling God with our works? No, of course not. Some people think they can abuse the grace of God yet proclaim Him on Sundays and call themselves “Christian”. Sin is not just about doing bad things, it’s also about not doing good things. When we’re given wisdom by God, we’re even more accountable because we know better. Sin is a heart thing.
4.) Church – Money scandals and hypocrites?

I find it sad that a lot of people blame bad churches for being the reason why they don’t attend. You wouldn’t believe the excuses I’ve heard, especially when it comes to tithing. “Ohhh churches are just after my money.” I can see where a few bad news stories might make one apprehensive, but the real reason is that they just don’t want to go or they just don’t want to tithe. Churches aren’t just the building and they aren’t perfect. The church is the body of Christ and it’s made up of believers imperfect believers. Another excuse that people use is that people are hypocrites within the church. I’ve heard Matt Chandler preach on this and his response to that was “Yeah and you’re one of them.” We’ve got way too much time on our hands to be nit-picking the church. If you find yourself in drama at church, examine your heart. Have you been going for God or the social aspects of it? And if you care so much about what other people are saying, are you letting that outshine the truth of God’s Word? God’s opinion is the only one that matters. As believers we are to live above reproach. Humble ourselves. Forgive others always – no matter how bad. Rebuke in love. And pray about it.

This blog isn’t directed towards atheists, I’ve read way too many discussion boards from Ray Comfort’s blogs and posts to know they have “read the Bible front to back” “researched Science” or what have you. They think they have it all figured out and there’s no talking to them because any kind of truth you give them, they want proof. The fact is, one of us is right and one of us is wrong. We can’t both be right. I believe in the God of the Holy Bible. Please do not make excuses when it comes to God. We’re never promised tomorrow and that ‘proof’ you need will cost you your soul. I’d rather people not wait till judgment day to figure this out. If you have any questions or comments, please list that below and I will be glad to talk to you. God loves you my friend!!!

Your worth.

In a world flooded with advertisements, music, newspapers, television, movies, radio, what have you… we’re constantly being told what a person of any kind of worth looks like. Popularity, wealth, success, relationships, friendships, beauty – these are all things that define us by the world on the radar of worth. Striving to be all of these can wear a person out, not just physically but emotionally. Who can be all of these things or even one of them? What about times in our life where we have nothing going for us? What are we worth? When depression seeps in we either pull the trigger, develop an addiction to a drug, or become a hoarder.

You get my point. We run from our feelings by tapping into other things that consume our time. Why is it that we let things that CONSTANTLY change in our lives define who we are as a person? Or what about our happiness? Sounds circumstantial. You can only muster up ‘looking on the bright side of things’ for so long till you start to question things. For the woman who hasn’t found a man yet, will you be happy when you get married? What about when things start to suck and he disappoints you because he’s human? Someone might say that’s time for a divorce, but to me, that’s just another way of running from a problem that’s a lot deeper.

I love the fact that people are now standing up for their weaknesses and flaws. Examples: It’s okay to NOT be a size 2; having a disease doesn’t define one’s strength. Those are good things to realize and bring awareness to. But what about things that are not so good? I feel like people take this and go 10 steps deeper and start taking perversity and justifying it. Having an identity crisis means it’s okay for a man to start wearing women’s clothing. Maybe you don’t feel like anyone relates to you, so you marry a chicken. The Bible even talks about how we trade wisdom for foolishness.

Dude read Romans 1, it tells us how mankind became corrupted verse 1:25 says They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” This isn’t a gay bashing blog, it’s about a deeper problem. Our sin. Before I get too off track, the point I’m trying to make is that we take the weird or flawed things about ourselves and use them to boost our ego. We’re taking the lemons from this life and making lemonade. That can be a good thing but also deadly. You could either be sipping something sweet or poison. See we can either be self-centered morbidly or be arrogant and think the sun shines out of our butts. Either way we’re constantly putting the focus back on ourselves.

I love seeing the beauty in things and in people, but don’t be the type of person to worship it. True beauty comes from knowing who you are in the Creator. That your worth and foundation for happiness and purpose in this life is based on the cross where Jesus died. That’s where all of God’s wrath and love poured out all at the same time. Bottom line, this world brings attention to flaws and can either make you arrogant or completely insecure. When you get the focus off yourself and look at your flaws for what they are and your strengths… you see them in a different light. I see grace and an area to grow when God exposes my weaknesses to me. I don’t want to run from my problems anymore. I have a God that is willing to carry me through them. He knows we can’t do it on our own.

Don’t be so prideful to think that if God really loved you, He would accept the way you are and you wouldn’t have to change. Coming to Christ means denying yourself. People paint Christianity as God being okay with our sin, that He requires little or no committment from us, that God is only there to make us happy. If you read in the New Testament, Paul was constantly in prison. Are you telling me he missed the picture? Following Jesus is not easy, but best believe if He calls on your heart to come in a relationship, that you answer knowing it won’t be easy. I can’t see my life without Christ and the reward of knowing Him in those dark moments of my life make it worth it. I use to be alone in my troubles, but now that I’m saved I have a Savior who shares in my suffering and gives me strength to live for Him. You can’t abuse His grace, live how you want, repent, and have the cycle start over. What kind of relationship is that?

God is such a loving God, the verse on my phone the other day was Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you…”

Where has your focus been?

Drowning out God’s voice.

I just came home from church and decided I would look at Facebook like I normally do and dun dun dunnn… the deep thinking starts. I look at people’s statuses and the way they conduct themselves and it makes me think a lot about life, mainly God. So without explaining myself too much… this is my updated status that I just posted.

“Who you surround yourself with is a large part of who you’ll become. People influence us more than we realize. Being by yourself is okay believe it or not. I get that people don’t like being ‘troubled by their thoughts’, so they are constantly with friends… but you can’t keep running from your problems. You can drown out your thoughts yes, but you may also be drowning out God’s voice. How can He ever speak to you if you’re never alone? Or if you’re never sitting in silence and not distracted by your phone.

Give God time to speak to you, He can heal any pain that your heart may feel. It won’t be easy, but you never grow unless you learn to humble yourself and accept the weakness in your life for what it is.”

God bless you guys and I hope you have an awesome Sunday!

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

As I was reading my marriage devotion tonight with my fiance I couldn’t help but find this particular passage profound. This is not only for engaged couples or for those who are already married, but also for those who are single as well. It gives you the knowledge you need before entering marriage and seeing the seriousness and selflessness that is involved when you take the vows ’till death do us part’. Timothy Keller is an amazing author by the way and he has a high-vocabulary… some of the words can go over your head a little but you’ll get the gist of it (hopefully). Happy reading! If you need prayers for your relationship, marriage, or any prayers in general please comment below! 

The problem of Self-Centeredness

Self-centeredness is a havoc-wreaking problem in many marriages, and it is the ever-present enemy of every marriage. It is the cancer in the center of a marriage when it begins, and it has to be dealt with. In Paul’s classic description of love, 1 Corinthians 13, he says, “Love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (verses 4-5).

Repeatedly Paul shows that love is the very opposite of “self-seeking,” which is literally pursuing one’s own welfare before those of others. Self-centeredness is easily seen in the signs Paul lists: impatience, irritability, a lack of graciousness and kindness in speech, envious brooding on the better situations of others, and holding past injuries and hurts against others. In Dana Adam Shapiro’s interviews of divorced couples, it is clear that this was the heart of what led to marital disintegration. Each spouse’s self-centeredness asserted itself (as it always will), but in response, the other spouse got more impatient, resentful, harsh, and cold. In other words, they responded to the self-centeredness of their partner with their own self-centeredness. Why? Self-centeredness by its very character makes you blind to your own while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered by that of others. The result is always a downward spiral into self-pity, anger, and despair, as the relationship gets eaten away to nothing.

But the Gospel, brought home to your heart by the Spirit, can make you happy enough to be humble, giving you an internal fullness that frees you to be generous with the other even when you are not getting the satisfaction you want out of the relationship. Without the help of the Spirit, without a continual refilling of your soul’s tank with the glory and the love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming resentful. I call this the ‘love economics’. You can only afford to be generous if you actually have some money in the bank to give. In the same way, if your only source of love and meaning is your spouse, then anytime he or she fails you, it will not just cause grief but a psychological cataclysm. If, however, you know something of the work of the Spirit in your life, you have enough love “in the bank” to be generous to your spouse even when you are not getting much affection or kindness at the moment.

To have a marriage that sings requires a Spirit-created ability to serve, to take yourself out of the center, to put the needs of others ahead of your own. The Spirit’s work of making the Gospel real to the heart weakens the self-centeredness in the soul. It is impossible for us to make major headway against self-centeredness and move into a stance of service without some kind of super-natural help.

Keeping your fire for God.

 

There’s only one thing you need in this world to keep your fire for God, it’s not a camp revival and it’s not the devotion that sits on your night stand.  The only thing you need is Jesus. A lot of us attain our worth from our works… what we’re doing to further the kingdom of God. Works are good, don’t get me wrong… I think more people need to step up and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ… but there’s something missing. Something we overlook. Once you’re saved, the only thing that God sees is perfection because He doesn’t see you and your works, He sees His Son. We forget that Jesus is the only one who gives us right standing before God, not us. Not by how often we attend church. Not by how often we pray. When we get solely focused on our works and our performance, self-righteousness and pride tend to creep in and instead of the glory going to God, it goes to… us.

If we don’t ask God to break us often and learn how by His grace to humble ourselves, then we’re going to become complacent Christians who constantly lose that “fire”. The youth from our church just got back from camp last week and they were so excited for God and they will be… for a few weeks, unfortunately. The only thing that kept going through my mind was the Bible study lessons my sister had taught to our college group, on the “Gospel Centered Life”. We don’t realize how often we shrink the cross that Jesus died on. We think we’re responsible for keeping that fire lit. Wrong. When we start trying to do things on our own, we will get burnt out . Especially when you’re doing really good at living for Jesus and then all of a sudden you sin. All encouragement goes out the window.

I have been there… we all have. It’s learning how to get over and through this process so we can actually grow in Him. This will be a concept learned that we’ll constantly forget about until Christ pounds it in our heads. I had to recently step down from my pride when I realized “I will sin for the rest of me life.” Why does that amaze me so much? Whom am I to compare myself to the only perfect person that ever lived, Jesus? I’m in need of His grace, every single day. If I was perfect, I wouldn’t need it. I should be able to rejoice in the mess that I am because it constantly points back to the Creator. I. Can’t. Do. It. On. My. Own. I love this quote by Joyce Meyer and I think it fits perfectly into this blog, “God knows the mess we’re in when He calls us. His light shines greater through “cracked pots” than it does through those who have it all together.” – Joyce Meyer. Embrace being broken.

When we learn to get the focus off ourselves and more on the Savior, the Lord will give us His desires and His cares. He will break our hearts for what breaks His. It’s so easy in this life to lose focus of the cross. I just want to make you realize but also encourage you that YES – You will sin for the rest of your life, you’re not perfect. NO – That does not give you the right to abuse God’s grace. What this should do is encourage you to seek God daily, ask Him to change your heart, not your sin. A lot of us think, “Well I did this when I accepted Jesus into my heart and asked Him to change me.” NO – There’s a process called sanctification, it means we’re constantly having the Holy Spirit move on our hearts, convict us, teach us, change us.

Learning about God and forgetting it later in life is something we’re prone to do. All we need to do is rest in His love. That means be alone with Jesus. Worship Him. Be comforted by His promises and trusting that if you’re going through a really crappy time in your life, He will deliver you and you will be given a new strength. It’s also resting in the fact that you have no control and that’s OKAY. You never had control to begin with, so learn to have peace with that. I’ve been loving listening to music here lately, especially a good worship song.

I challenge you to start off your day with going into your room, shutting the door, turning on a worship song and just praise Jesus. Right. There. The cries of our heart will always leave us face floor to the ground in awe of His mercy. I just need Jesus and so do you. I woke up this morning… not even sad, but I went to my room, turned on a song and just wept before my Savior. I realized the other day that “I’m doing well with God” and that scared me. Why? Because I know I’ll get complacent if He doesn’t break my heart and put it for His mission.

Things to live by (not in a particular order):
1 – Be humble, your goodness only comes from God.

2 – Realize you’re always going to sin, but knowing you’re always in need of His grace.

3 – Jesus + Nothing = everything. Not Jesus + Works.

4 – God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. ENJOY Him, don’t see Him as a list you can check off.

5 – Ask God to change your heart, not your sin. The root of our sin is in our heart.

6 – Listen to a worship song every day, especially when you’re about to go off the edge of this life…

7 – Love others – It takes the focus off yourself and more on God’s mission. The greatest commandment is love.

8 – Be renewed: Read your Bible and put on the armor of God (This is still something I’m struggling with.)

 

Worship songs that I LOVE – I will link YouTube videos of them with the lyrics:

“You revive me” by Christy Nockels

“Lord I need you” by Chris Tomlin

“The Stand”  by Hillsong United

“Waiting Here for You” by Christy Nockels

“From the Inside Out” by Hillsong United

“Spirit Fall” by Chris Tomlin

“Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong United