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Monday, November 19, 2012

Spouse Hunting & Misery


In my last post I mentioned the act of serving while single. I wanted to continue with some thoughts on singleness. I was recently listening to a message on Paul's writing to the singles. Here is the passage I was listening to


Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
1Cor. 7:27 emphasis added

Now although this passage mentions "wife" specifically, the next verse speaks to women, so the verses in this passage are interchangeable and correlate to men and women, not just men. As I listened to that verse, I suddenly realized something I had never realized before, Paul says we are NOT to seek out marriage. I know, I just repeated what the verse said. But do you realize the significance of that statement? Today we are told to go out wife/husband hunting. When we remain single for a while or have no prospects we are commanded by parents, friends, older men/women to go out and find a spouse. We are told to go online and set up a profile on a Christian dating website or to attend a different church full of singles, go to singles groups, meet new people, etc. We are constantly bombarded by Christians with good intentions, but not Biblical commands. We are told to do the exact opposite the Bible has commanded us to do- continue on in singleness. This does not mean we cannot pray for a spouse or that we must remain in singleness forever. The principle of this verse is that we must not spouse hunt in order to change our circumstances. The underlying principle of this verse also shows us that God will bring about the right circumstances to initiate the change from singleness to marriage in His timing, not ours. It means that we must fully rely upon God to change our circumstances, rather than rely on ourselves.

The Christian society deems that the young man is the one who should be spouse hunting, as opposed to the woman, because she isn't the one who asks to initiate the relationship. The verse above blows this theory out of the water as well. The young man should not be seeking to leave his state of singleness. He should be waiting as well for God's timing, knowing that when it is right, circumstances will change on their own accord without him having to search for a woman to marry.

This verse doesn't imply that we do nothing while waiting to get married, by no means. It seems society thinks that singleness means twiddling our thumbs until our "life begins," to quote a famous saying. As I mentioned in the last post, we serve, we mature in Christ, we prepare. We continue going on with life as it has been, continuously seeking out God's direction throughout this time.

Something else I have noticed of late is that it seems like many Christians have this stigma against singleness, thinking that we are the most miserable and to be pitied above all people. Why on earth do we as singles let married people think that? We are actually to be the happiest people on earth according to these verses-


So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and  he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
1Cor. 7:38 emphasis added


A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.Yet in my judgment she is happier  if she remains as she is. 
1Cor. 7:39-40 emphasis added

Paul says we have something better than married couples have. We have Christ as our sole satisfier! I was recently talking to someone who equated singleness to misery, and my mind was blown away at that point. To think that we would say God cannot make us happy but marriage can! Have we idolized marriage so much that it has been come a death sentence to remain in singleness? Is marriage of more value than God? Are we saying that a husband/wife can provide much more satisfaction than God? A sinful creature can help us out better than a sinless God? Think about what you say before you resign yourself to a "woe is me" attitude concerning the single estate. It's good. It's for His glory. Your life is a service to God that is obviously impacting the kingdom more than marriage could at this point.

So when your friends, family, and the people around you make you feel that singleness is miserable, remember what Paul says about it. He of all people would know just how wonderful singleness can be when we make it God-focused, when we become so consumed with His kingdom that nothing else matters. And when you're given advice to seek out a spouse, remember what the Scripture says. Listen to the Bible, not man. Follow the principles. When Kevin DeYoung tells you to go find a spouse, remember, he's not God and he's not perfect. Follow the Scriptures no matter what.




Friday, November 9, 2012

A Time to Serve

Here's a quote in a book I've been reading lately that I wanted to share. I will get back to my sequel to the previous post, but in the meantime here's a little something to think about:

Have thine affections been nailed to the cross? Is thy heart right with God? Dost thou count all things for Jesus but dross? Is thy heart right with God? Crucifixion of the flesh falls heavily on young folk. They are made for love and are in the romantic part of life. Yet affections can play havoc with devotional life. I believe it is but simple logic to say that a christian is backslidden if he spends more time with a member of the opposite sex than he does in prayer and in the Word . . . . Satan wages relentless warfare against the souls of men. The more grounded young people yield to God the more bitter the enemy's fight to recontrol that area. Then, too, love is blind. Humorous as it may seem, it is nevertheless true that nothing puts a blind spot on the eye like human love. Love hides a multitude of sins and also often blinds us to the immense possibilities that self-denial makes in this realm. Many young people have offered tearful prayers too late- not necessarily because they married the wrong person, but because they married too soon. In a short time they were saddled with children and often with debt, so that they were unduly burdened and also hindered in Christian service.

~ Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill (emphasis added)

I've talked before about my reasons against marrying very young, and I believe Ravenhill sums this aspect up very well. It has everything to do about keeping our minds and hearts focused on complete service to God. The married person cannot dedicate as much time to serving the Lord as a single person can. Paul even says that singlehood is better than marriage (1 Cor. 7:38). As I have been studying this, I have come to realize how pivotal, how vital, singleness is in a person's life. It's important for singles to use this time wisely. It's caused me to examine my life. I seem to get confused and distracted sometimes by unimportant things in life, and I tend to forget my focus. I have prayed and now understand how God wants me to use my time. He has given me a service opportunity to pour myself into in service for Him. I want to do the best I can at this. As a single young woman, I have come to realize that the best way to maximize the single years is to pray that God would give direction in life concerning how to serve in His Kingdom. God gives us different abilities and talents to serve Him. Some people become completely involved in championing the cause of the poor in various countries through providing water wells, others work in orphanages to serve the little children, others work in pregnancy centers, and others are called to be involved in the political realm, to pass laws, create bills, etc. These causes are something that becomes a life-long endeavor for some people, and it's something I feel the singles should also pray about, endeavoring to find what cause God wants them to take up to serve Him. If each single Christian took up a ministry to serve the Lord in, imagine what a world of difference could be made! I'm not saying that singles should give up their day jobs to volunteer 24/7, but I do believe singles should find a ministry to serve in during their time out of work, a ministry opportunity that they can serve in until the Lord changes directions, calls them to another cause, or calls them home. A prime example of this is William Wilberforce who championed the cause of the slaves for many years, not seeing any fruit, but pouring his energy into this God-given cause, finally seeing the results of freedom for the slaves decades later. And he mostly served this cause as a single man. This is what makes the single years beneficial to the kingdom, not only just taking up a specific cause to champion, but also being sure to seize the other service opportunities that arise, like helping out a young mom who is having a hard time, participating in your church's nursing home ministry,etc. Having direction in your life also gives you meaning behind what you do. It helps to know that you are not aimlessly wandering around in life doing something that won't benefit the Kingdom. Direction gives you purpose in the Lord. So if you're single, think and pray about what cause God wants you to champion and pour your energy into. This is an important time in life that you don't want to waste.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sin

As I've been studying the book of Romans, I've been thinking about so many things concerning sin, Antinomianism (against rules), and apathetic Christians. I wanted to talk about all three together, as they relate to what I've been learning in Romans, but there's so much I will have to make this a series.It's important to understand, as a Christian, that we cannot continue in sin. 

Paul spoke to the Romans about a set of boundaries in Christianity. As I cross referenced verses specific to God judging the self-righteous Jews for judging others (when they do the same thing), I came across this passage

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
(Gal 5:19-21 ESV)

and this

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 
(Eph 5:5-10 ESV)

Now these verses specifically apply to Christians who continue in their sin. These verses show that those who have not shown an act of repentance as a sign of true salvation will make the above mentioned sins a habitual act. The verses show what a true believer is like and what a non believer is like, or even a supposed Christian acting like a believer. This is the test of faith. It's very harsh, but very revealing. It encouraged me to take a look at my sin and find habitual sins that I needed to quit that I hadn't really thought about before. A lot of Christians tend to overlook blatant sin. We live in a society where Christians watch dirty movies all the time and just say, "Oh, I fast forward through the bad parts." What? Is that what a Christian looks like? I'm tired of hearing Christians talk about filthy movies. It's wrong. It's sin. I'm tired of hearing Christians condone gambling, cussing, and telling dirty jokes. It's sin. I'm tired of hearing people ignore the truth about sin. I'm tired of Christians finding loopholes around Bible verses, so they can do as they please. We have such a warped sense of what is right and what is wrong that we can't tell the difference. Christ told us to be in the world and not of it. We are giving Christianity a bad name when we continue living like the world. When we continue in those sins, are we really true believers? Is there any spiritual fruit in our lives? I've examined myself again. This is important. A true believer denounces sin. You cannot call yourself a Christian if you continue in blatant sin.

Wayne Barber gave the story about a couple who had been in the church for a long time. One day the couple was sitting at a table and the wife told her husband that they needed to be saved. She explained that they did the same things they had always done before they were Christians even now after they had been supposedly converted. At first he held back, and then he started to tear up and told her he had known he wasn't a true believer for a long time. They ended up receiving Christ that day. This is important. Examine yourself. Are you a true believer? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prayer: A Lifestyle

I recently started reading R.A. Torrey's book on prayer. As I started to read it, I suddenly realized what I was lacking in my spiritual life. There were so many important aspects about prayer that I had never realized, until I read Torrey's book on prayer. Now I cannot vouch for full agreement with Torrey's beliefs, but he does have some very good insights on prayer I'd like to share.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, my prayer lifestyle hasn't been the best in a long time. I tend to think that Bible reading is more important than praying. It seems to slip my mind that both are equally important and of value. And because of my lack of consistent prayer, I realized the reason why my spiritual walk seemed to lack so much, despite my efforts to spend more time reading, memorizing, and studying God's Word. I thought that was enough, until I read this book. I suddenly realized that prayer is so pivotal to the Christian walk. This is how Torrey sums it up,

"Consequently, when things do not go right, instead of realizing the real source of our failure, our neglect to depend upon God and to look to God for power, we look around to see if there is some new organization, resource, or new wheel we can add to our machinery."

Exactly what I had been doing. I didn't realize why my spiritual life had seemingly gone stale, despite my efforts. This is what Torrey says to us who are inconsistent in our prayer life or perhaps pray on a short daily basis,

"Some people express surprise that professing Christians today are so little like their Lord, but when I stop to think how little time the average Christian spends in secret prayer the things that astonishes me is, not how little we are like the Lord, but that we are as much like Him as we are."

Prayer life is vital to our Christian walk. As I continued reading on, I realized that it's not just praying on a daily basis for five minutes a day. Oh no! In fact, Torrey gives the example of John Knox's son-in-law who felt his day was badly spent if he did not spend seven to eight hours a day in prayer. Did you read that? I said seven to eight. Torrey explained how Moses' face shined when he was up on the mount alone with God and correlated that to 2 Corinthians 3, which speaks about our lives reflecting the glory of God. He says this can only be done through much prayer.Torrey says this,

"This is the secret of becoming much like God; remaining long alone with Him. If you will not stay long with God, you will not be much like Him."

That really hit me hard. At that point, I was committed to praying more. As I continued reading on, Torrey explains the important of sacrificial prayer. He explains that we cannot ask for something and expect to receive it because we pray for it a few minutes every day or so. By no means! We can only receive the things we ask for in prayer when we make great sacrifices of dying to self and praying for longer periods of time. Some gave up a night of sleeping for God to answer prayer. Some gave up hours in a day for God to answer prayer. It was an earnest and sincere prayer life that produced effective results. Those who wanted to see their children saved were told by Torrey to sacrifice more time to devote to prayer. So I challenged myself to pray more. Not once a day like I had previously decided upon. Oh no. If you tell me to pray once a day, it'll be 5 minutes long at the most. No, I decided that this praying business needed to be done much longer. As I've started off praying more, I find it so much easier to slip into that realm that the time goes by so fast. I realized that we can never run out of things to say when we pray to our Heavenly Father. Before praying was a chore. It took everything within me to pray. Why? I have no clue. It's so effortless and easy, I have no idea why I made it into something terrible and avoidable. How wrong I was! I have my mind unsettled about something important. I've been praying often and long for this matter to be settled. I cannot wait to see the results of God's answer to prayer with my new outlook on the prayer life. If anyone would like to form an accountability group concerning prayer life and join me in the challenge to pray more, I would love to hear from you!



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Smiling at God's Goodness

As I opened up a special package that came in the mail today, I had a flashback from about a year ago. It was a reminder that God gives good things and sometimes the desires of our heart when we least expect it! Not only did it remind me of how God delights in giving His children good things, He also allows some of our desires to be fulfilled- in His timing. I felt I should share, since it is also an update on what's been happening in my life as well!

Before I explain what was in the package, I want to go back in time, to last year- 2011. It was probably around this season in 2011 that I had expressed an interest in becoming a certified Christian counselor. I distinctly remember telling my parents what I longed to do- to benefit those at the pregnancy center. I saw a great need for professional counseling that was free, not just counseling though- Christian counseling. In our area, there are very few areas that offer free professional counseling, and next to none that offer free Christian counseling. And let me tell you, there are plenty of people who need free counseling! I had this burden and desire, but the cost was expensive. Disappointed, I decided to wait on it, and that was that. Now fast forward in time to about a month ago. I believe it was after I had talked to a young woman who had experienced the death of a baby that I again experienced that same burden. I remember talking to my mom afterwards and explaining that perhaps someone would pay for me to be a certified counselor, that I should ask them if they'd be willing to pay. *Note: This wasn't just a random rich individual, it was a specific person whom I knew would not consider it rude to ask about this matter. Don't worry, I won't ever go up to you and ask for money!* Mom had said no, that it wouldn't work, and it was best not to ask. They wouldn't consider it because their agenda was different from mine- goal-wise. So I dropped it, a little disappointed, and then didn't think about it again, that is until I was talking with that individual one day when the mail came. As I came in with the mail, she was busy, so I distracted myself with looking through the mail. As I looked through the mail, one piece in particular caught my eye. It was an ad for Christian coaching certification online. I briefly looked at it, and once she finished whatever it was that had distracted her, she said, "Are you interested in that?" I looked up, kind of puzzled she would ask that and said "Yes." She then proceeded to say she would be willing to pay for it, since the course was on sale for a limited time. I was shocked, excited, and couldn't believe it! I didn't even ask her about it, she had no clue of my burden for certification for a long time, she knew nothing at all about it. Yet she asked and then provided. I knew this was all of the Lord. Only God could orchestrate something like this. He knew my heart, though she didn't know mine. Even though coaching is different from counseling- it's a step in the right direction!

All that to say that that was exactly what I was thinking of when I opened my package in the mail. It was the workbook and DVDs for Grief & Loss coaching certification. God reminded me that He had provided for yet another desire in life. I am reminded that despite my wretchedness and ungratefulness, God continues to bless me with certain desires of my heart, no matter how little they may be. Even though life can be tough at times, I am indeed blessed, and I cannot deny that.I am excited to begin this new step in life- hoping to eventually be certified in other areas of coaching and possibly counseling for the benefit of others to help the hurting, for free.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa 37:4 ESV)


You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
(Psa 145:16 ESV)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

True Salvation

As I've been growing in my walk, I've been impressed upon the most important topic of all- salvation. It has come to my attention of late that many of us are deceived concerning the salvation of our souls. I find that quite disturbing. As I look into the eyes of the people I know and love, the thought crosses my mind, "Could they possibly be truly lost?". I'm not asking that because I criticize their lifestyle or their testimony, I've just come to the realization that we can be deceived into believing we are saved when in fact, we are not. Over the years I've heard many salvation testimonies. And many of them have caused me great distress, as they were not in accordance with the Scripture. The only place I have found testimonies to be sound according to the Scriptures are through the Unshackled! program on the radio. That brings me relief, but I wonder why are there so many testimonies that are off? What do I mean by that? Well, I know a person cannot tell if others are saved, but salvation testimonies that are not based upon Scriptural doctrines cannot be considered a true salvation testimony. I'll give a few examples

 1.) I was saved at 5 years of age, led a good life, then at 13 I said, "God I am going to see what the world has to offer, do my own thing, and then come back to you." So for ten years I did whatever I wanted, lived a very ungodly and immoral lifestyle, then came back to God. I've been saved ever since I was a little girl.

 2.) I have been in church my whole life, one day I just believed in God. OR I have been in church my whole entire life, and then one day I just knew I was a Christian.

 3.) I came to know Christ as my personal Savior at a young age, then in my teens I rejected God, became an atheist, and it wasn't until years later that I came back to God. I've been saved since a young girl.

 Those are just a few of the salvation testimonies similar to what I've heard. These testimonies are very disturbing. I'll explain why each one was wrong according to the Scriptures, in case you didn't catch what was wrong with them. Concerning the first, Christians bear fruit after salvation, that is how we know we're saved.

 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (Joh 15:8 ESV)

 A saved person does not willfully decide to go against God and live their own life, then choose to come back to God.

 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. (Mat 13:7 ESV)

 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mat 13:22 ESV)

 An unfruitful life is an unsaved life. The first testimony was basing their salvation off of the time when they were 5, despite there being absolutely no fruit at all. Just because you come back to God at a certain age, doesn't mean you are saved or were saved. It's clear there needs to be a belief in God for salvation, repentance, and sorrow over sin. You cannot decide to just come back and go to church and do good things, expecting to go to Heaven.

 The second testimony relies on just believing in God for salvation. You must also repent in order to be saved. See this verse-

 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! (Jas 2:19 ESV)

 We all know that the demons aren't going to Heaven, even though they believe in God. They have decided to flat out disobey God and serve Satan, so they are not ever entering Heaven, despite their belief in God. The second part of the testimony states that the person just knew one day they were saved. This is the most unbiblical of all, since it asserts salvation based off of feelings, and it doesn't even show a belief in God, a repentance to God, or a sorrow for sin. The Bible says this about feelings

 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer 17:9 ESV)

 If we cannot trust our own selves, then we can definitely be assured our feelings about things in life can be deceitful and lead us astray. Never base your salvation off of the way you feel.

 The third salvation testimony is similar to the first in that it turns from God but asserts that they were saved even then. That is clearly contrary to the Scripture about bearing fruit. As it is also contrary to this:

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Co 5:17 ESV)

 This testimony also concludes that you can fall away completely and then come back to God, basing your salvation upon your profession of faith as a child, believing you were saved while living in direct disobedience to God. This Scripture identifies that is NOT what salvation is:

 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Act 26:20 ESV)

 Here is what salvation is:

 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mar 1:15 ESV)
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luk 13:3 ESV)

 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9 ESV)

 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2Co 7:9-10 ESV)

 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Rom 3:28 ESV)

 This is salvation. I would urge you to take a look at your salvation testimony to see if you are in the faith. Does your testimony match up with what the Scriptures say? Do a close examination. Remember your motives. Were you saved just because it was something to do? Were you saved because you wanted a ticket to heaven but were unwilling to change your lifestyle? Don't deceive yourself. Truly examine yourself. There's nothing wrong with realizing you're not saved. In fact, it's the best thing to find out now and be spared of God's wrath, rather than going into eternity deceived. Don't be one of those who is shocked that they aren't in the Book of Life.


 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2Co 13:5 ESV)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Short Term Mission Trips: A Change in Perspective

I came across this article the other day, just as I was thinking of posting my thoughts on short-term mission trips. But there it was, better written than anything I could do. I agree whole-heartedly with the content, and almost everything it mentions was exactly what I wanted to say, except they said it better. Please take a look into this new perspective on short-term mission trips. If you'd like to hear my thoughts expounded on the topic, I'll be glad to write about it at a later date. Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short Term Mission Trip

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Problem With The Reformed Church

Today I have a controversial topic that I want to address concerning the Reformed church, also the denomination I am currently affiliated with. First of all, I have nothing personal against the Reformed church in their doctrine, as far as I can tell. I still don’t understand all the 5 pts. of Calvinism, and therefore adhere to only four. Yet I’m not going to pick on their doctrine, rather what has been on my heart lately and what I have observed from reformed churches. I’ve been to quite a few reformed churches, not just one or two, quite a few. I was formerly an Independent Baptist as well. So when my family made the switch to a reformed church due to Biblical convictions, which I also am in full agreement with, I noticed a major difference. Baptists tend to have brimstone and hell-fire preaching. They preach with great conviction, earnestness, and the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s very obvious. They sing hymns with gusto and tears. There’s a sincerity to the whole thing. Stepping out from that to a reformed church was a bit of a shock. All of the reformed churches sang with a lack of emotion, like a drone of people singing because they had to. The preaching is not preaching at all; it’s teaching. Reformed preachers just explain the Scriptures; there’s no conviction in it. They never apply the Scripture to our own lives or reveal the sin present within our lives. There’s no life in the service, but there certainly is a vivacity to teach the congregation about Theology. And that’s what bothers me the most. And that is why I believe the reformed church is largely dead. Yes, I said it: Dead. There’s no life in the singing or preaching. And I tend to wonder, “Why?”. As I took a step back, I realized why. Yes, knowing what you believe in is great! Yes, understanding large Theological terms like exegesis and eisegesis are great as well. But that’s just it. That’s all the Reformed church is concerned about. They’re so focused on the head knowledge, that they’ve completely missed the heart knowledge, thus leading to the lack of life in their services. The same goes with the Baptists. They’re so focused on heart knowledge, head knowledge is thrown aside. Heart knowledge is probably the best of both worlds, as it is inclined to focus on prayer and Bible reading- knowing God personally and intimately. Yet at the same time, there are downfalls to neglecting the head knowledge in understanding one’s own Theology. If you cannot explain what you believe in or why, you’re headed down a dangerous path. Knowing why you believe what you believe grounds you in your faith so you don’t waver. Heart knowledge and head knowledge should be balanced out equally. This is more so disturbing in the Reformed church, as lack of heart knowledge has caused the church to be dead. Nobody talks about how to develop a prayer life or about spending time in God’s Word on a daily basis. Nobody talks about getting rid of the sin of pride, lust, anger, impatience, or greed. Nobody talks about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and how powerful it can be. Nobody talks about the joy that a Christian can have just in growing closer to God. And it seems nobody understands that. When I look around at the people in the Reformed church I wonder, “Have they ever overflowed with abundant joy over the fact that God saved them? Do they know that Christians can be overflowing with the Holy Spirit? Have they ever felt that before? Do they know just how wonderful that is? Have they ever felt so close to God that nothing else on earth matters?”. I wonder that and many things. I lament over this imbalance in the church. So I’m writing about this today, hoping others will see this and realize this. Realize that when a non-believer walks into your Reformed church on Sunday morning, what do they see? Do they see someone who is bored, emotionless, and just like them? Or do they actually see the power of the Holy Spirit? I don’t know about you, but I want to the best of both worlds- heart and head knowledge. I want the power of the Holy Spirit to be moving in the preacher as God works/ed in Tony Evans, Leonard Ravenhill, Paul Washer, and Paris Reidhead’s preaching. I want to be so convicted I am disgusted with my sin. I want to know God intimately. I want my life to be so drastically different that it is desirable. And I want the Reformed church to be an example. Let’s step up and change the estate of the Reformed church today. Let’s not be like the church in Revelation- "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Rev 3:1-2 ESV)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The True Meaning of Marriage

I came across this recently and felt compelled to share it. Through this video I saw the true meaning of sacrifice and the true meaning of marriage- that of unconditional love for one another as Christ loves us.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Will of God & Our Desires, Passions, and Dreams in Life


Lately, I’ve been thinking about the will of God. Half of the time I hear people mention it, and the other half of the time I do not hear them mention it at all. I believe it is pivotal, in all things, to seek out God’s will for one’s own life, to know whether He is leading you into whatever career or ministry opportunity in your life that you are seeking out. I know some people say that a person cannot know God’s will for their life, but I believe that is an excuse to do as you please. Knowing God’s will isn’t something that should be so difficult we can never understand it. The Bible tells us we can know His will Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2 ESV) I think sometimes though, we have it in our minds that the will of God is a huge layout of our life with its entire path and directions spread out before us and that we should automatically know everything that will happen beforehand, otherwise we cannot follow God’s will. I think that is a misconception. I have noticed in my life that God only allows me to know part of His will for my life, for the time being. I have come to realize I may not be able to know what will happen 5 years down the road, until I complete the will of God for me in this particular season of life. God sometimes gives us a task to be done, whether that be school or a ministry opportunity, and He expects us to complete that before we ever know what His will is for us at a later time. It is okay to not have your whole life planned out. It is only important that we be in His will at this very moment in time and continuously seek out His will for us when other doors open. There is a problem with knowing the will of God that I have noticed lately, and that is the idea of passions and dreams and desires. This is just a selection of what the Bible says about our personal dreams, passions, and desires in life:
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (Eph 4:22)
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1Jn 2:17)
Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness.
Notice how God uses the word “deceitful” in front of desires. Notice how chasing dreams are pointless? Notice how some desires are apparently not God-ordained in 1 John? The Bible clearly establishes the fact that our dreams and desires for life are not necessarily His dreams for our life. We need to be sure we are not deceived into believing they are just because they appear to be good desires. We always need to be looking to God to see if our desires match up with His desires. From my personal experience, I have noticed my desires NEVER match up with God’s desires. My desires were good, not bad, but they weren’t God’s best desires for my life. Once I realized His desire for my life and started walking in it, I realized I enjoyed His dream for my life a whole lot better than my old dreams. Now, I mentioned that good desires may not necessarily be in accordance with God’s will, and I will give a couple of examples of how this played out in my life and Nate Saint’s life. For a long time, about eight years now, I have had a great desire to work at an orphanage in Mexico. I very much long to go there and minister to the children there. There is nothing wrong with that desire. My motives are in check and are not for any wrong reasons, but this desire is not something God has told me to go out and do at this point in life. I feel very strongly that this desire is not God’s will for me right now. He has given me a different ministry opportunity. Some people would ask, “Then why would God give you a good desire that He doesn’t want fulfilled?” Well, I think there are plenty of reasons. Perhaps God is preparing me right now through other ministries to fulfill this desire I have in the future, later on when He feels I am ready. Or perhaps I will end up marrying someone who has that desire, so God has placed it in my heart as well, ready to be used when the time comes. Or maybe it is there because I am to adopt children from Mexico. Or maybe God wants me to minister to orphans in the area. There are many reasons for this, but I do not worry or fret about why this desire to help orphans in Mexico cannot be fulfilled. For now, that desire is quenched, and I try to minister to orphans in other tangible ways. Nate Saint had a great passion for flying before he became a missionary. He loved to fly, and because of this he decided to become a pilot. Even though he had this great desire for flying, he came to the realization that God was calling him to become a missionary, not a pilot. He couldn’t understand why his love for flying was not part of God’s will for his life. Yet instead of going off and doing his own thing, he surrendered his will do God’s will, his desires for God’s desires and decided to become a missionary. Apparently this was a hard thing for Nate, because he had to give up flying. Eventually though, God showed Nate that not only would he be a missionary, but his passion for flying would also be part of being a missionary. They needed someone to hand stuff to the natives by use of a plane, initially. In the end, God allowed Nate’s desires to coincide with His desires, although in a completely different way.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa 37:4 ESV)
Even Paul did not do as he pleased in life, but only what God pleased as it says numerous times:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God . . . (2Co 1:1 ESV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, (1Ti 1:1 ESV)
Paul even knew God’s will for his own life and obeyed it. I believe that God will allow us, sometimes, to have the desires of our heart that are honorable once we lay down those desires to pick up what God wants us to do instead. Sometimes though He doesn’t, but we still need to follow Him, knowing that our life is really His since he bought us.
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1Co 6:20 ESV)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Something to think on


I was reading Colossians the other day in my Bible readings and came upon this:
When Christ who is your life . . . .
Where's the rest of the verse? The part above was too convicting that I could only focus on the first part. Think of that. Paul is assuming that Christ embodies our lives. He is to consume our lives, be what we live for, what we breathe for, what we work for, everything we do for. Let that sink in.
Is Christ your life?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting in Impossible Situations

As I've been reading the Gospels in my quiet time and studying the book of Isaiah for my Bible study, I've been impressed upon the Lord about the beauty of waiting in impossible situations. While reading the book of John the other day, I came across the famous story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Even though I've known this story for a very long time, I couldn't help but see it in a different light that day. It's as if God said, "Look at the story from this perspective." It's amazing when a story you've read in the Bible a hundred times is always shown in a different light! This is how the story of Lazarus' resurrection was to me; I saw it as a prayer that was answered to an impossible situation. In the beginning, Mary and Martha offer up a plea to Jesus to help their sick brother, Lazarus. They send up a cry for help, knowing Christ could heal Lazarus. The irony of the situation was that in our mindset we would think, "Oh! I have the power to save him, so I will leave as soon as I can!" But no, it specifically says in John that Jesus loved him and that was why he waited longer to see Lazarus when he was dead. He waited because of love for Lazarus. It seems like an incomprehensible concept to allow one to suffer because you love them, but He did it out of love. Christ knew that He would get the greater glory out of raising a dead man than healing a sick man.So instead of answering Mary and Martha's prayer, He waits. And when He finally arrives, they all mourn that He came "too late." Mary and Martha wish Christ would've come sooner, not knowing that there were significant reasons for waiting. And then when Christ raises Lazarus from the dead, their prayers are answered far above what they could ask. If they would've just hoped in Christ and believed He could do the impossible, they wouldn't have wasted all that time worrying and mourning. They would've known that Christ had it in control. They would've known that there were a hundred things going on behind the scenes that they could see but God can see. The story made me realize how important it is to wait on God's timing and not despair when it seems as if He is taking too long or is too late. We must remember that God is doing things behind the scenes that we cannot see. We must be patient.

That very same day after reading that passage, I read a passage in Isaiah about Israel being redeemed from their oppressors. It was a passage of future hope, that they would soon be free from captivity. God told them that soon they would see the nations that oppressed them coming to bow down to them. Those of the children of Israel who had children forcibly taken away from themselves would suddenly have children all grown up saying, "Please let me go off and find my own land now!" God predicted that they would be blessed with the children they had lost. They would wonder at the beauty of such an impossible situation that God made possible! Even the thought that they would one day be free from captivity was impossible to them, but God told them that He would save them from the impossible situation, summing it up with the verse,


"And you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame." - Isaiah 49:23


What a beautiful picture! It reminded me of us as Christians who might be facing impossible situations. We might not be able to see the future possibility of change, but God says, "No, but I can and will do the impossible." He wants us to believe in His word that He can change circumstances when nobody on this earth can. He wants us to wait expectantly, believing we will receive redemption and knowing that the outcome will not be shameful but something that was definitely worth waiting for.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ramblings

God has been teaching me many things at once lately. They are a conglomeration of things that don't even have anything to do with eachother, nevertheless, I feel I should write about them.

I finished reading a biography about David Brainerd,and let me tell you, I was greatly impacted by it, like most missionary biographies. Reading missionary biographies have an indelible imprint on my worldview. You see, as of late, I'd been thinking about how I was starting to get better in my walk with the Lord, thinking things were going swell! Then as I started reading about Brainerd, I was struck by his character, that I was no where near it, and I had never seen anyone in my entire life act like that. Brainerd's life was totally and wholly devoted to God. Now, I know we say that about LOTS of people, but this was true of him specifically. Pretty much every page of his diary is about God. He expresses his longing to serve God. He even, now watch this, would despair over a day that was wasted talking to Christians about earthly things, rather than heavenly things. He would get depressed over THAT! This was a man who truly had no other thought but for God. I don't know about you, but it's been a rare case when I felt that way. My thoughts are not completely and wholly absorbed in God, not at all. So when I read about his life, I became distressed over my walk with the Lord and everyone elses. Why worry about everyone else? Well, it suddenly hit me if I am no where near where Brainerd was in his spiritual walk and all the other Christians around me aren't either, just how truly far are we as a people from God? It bothered me a lot to think about how comfortable we can get as Christians in America. We take everything for granted, we have no serious trials like Christians in other countries, we are just so very much ungrateful and selfish as a people! I felt like my spiritual walk was too far off to ever reach such a point as to be wholly devoted to the Lord. As I mulled over what it meant to be devoted to God, I prayed that it would start with me. I should work on myself, fixing my own self with God's help. Interestingly enough, as I started praying for that I noticed that when I had certain conversations with people that showed their lack of a deep relationship with the Lord, I grew distressed and did not want to talk with them. The pain of realizing how they didn't care actually bothered me! I think it was the first time that had ever happened. Now, I know I'm no where near holiness, and I do not say any of that to uplift myself. I am just distressed that even I am not where I should be in my walk with the Lord. I desire to draw closer to Him, and I am praying He would change that aspect of my Christian walk.

As I said before, I noticed a change in my own heart. On top of that my distress grew more so as I being to notice those around me who had no desire for the Lord. I see it from week to week, the Bible is boring to those who hear it read. It's boring to those in church. The look on their faces shows how little they care about God. My frustration mounted as I realized I wanted others to see the power of the Word, how it comes alive to those who hear it and read it! It is not dead; it is alive! As I taught the Bible, I wanted to convey this to those listening. But every time I'd get up and speak about the power of the Word, the importance, I saw no emotion from the audience, no interest or understanding. And that hurt, not because I wasn't applauded for my teaching, but rather because nobody seemed to care about the Word of God. When I would speak about these dilemmas to friends, I would receive apathetic reactions, which hurt even worse as I saw their condition. I suddenly felt like weeping and crying out to God to show them His wonderful truths, to make the Bible come alive to them like He has done for me. This was a shocking feeling that I'd never felt before. I had always been in awe of those weeping for the lost, because I had not reached that point in my spiritual walk. Yet here I was, wanting to cry in prayer that God would open their eyes. I still feel frustrated about our lack of love for God, mine as well. I'm trying to get there though. Nancy Leigh Demoss has a beautiful teaching on how we take God's word for granted. I recently heard it and couldn't help but cry and cry, as I saw myself taking God's word for granted. The link is at the bottom for you to read or listen to, please click on it! I would encourage everyone to listen to the rest of the series as it is powerful as well.

May we all be as these verses:

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps. 119:103). “I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure” (Ps. 119:162)
"more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold, and that it is sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Ps. 19:10).

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Heb 4:12 ESV)

http://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/how-much-bible-worth/

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goals With a Purpose

As the year comes to a close, there has been one main thought on my mind:Goals! I used to think that long-term goals were silly and for people who had nothing better to do. As I got older though, I saw the wisdom in creating and fulfilling goals, as long as they are God-given goals rather than selfish desires. Goals are a great way to plan the year out, to seek God's will throughout the new year, to see what you did wrong in the past year, to mend your ways, and to use your time wisely. As I look back on 2011, there were several goals that I had set for myself that I completed. For that I am happy, but there are other things I wish I would've done that I didn't do in 2011. So I wrote down a list of goals according to God's purpose for my life for this season in life.Because I can be a very lazy person without organization, I went the extra mile and wrote a list of daily and weekly tasks necessary to fulfilling those goals. Goals without a gameplan are good for nothing! This has helped me to keep my focus on spending my time wisely.

I believe that one's goals should be centered on God's will during whatever season of life you're in. I have tried to mold my goals in accordance with His plan for my life. So how does one know what His purpose is? Well it's only through prayer, fasting, reading the Word, and paying attention to doors that God opens. I realized God's purpose for my life unexpectedly. I had been mulling over the idea of wondering if I was still doing everything within the Lord's will for my life, checking to see if my actions were in line with His will for me. Well, one day it sort of hit me unexpectedly when I was thinking about all the volunteer opportunities I wished I could be a part of. I kind of sighed and thought, "In the future." That's when it dawned on me, "HELLO!!!! This is the perfect time to devote yourself to serving others!!! You can do all those volunteer opportunities you want to because you have the time." That's when I realized that God wanted me to spend my time devoted to serving Him through serving others. Because of this purpose, I am able to set clear goals for the upcoming year. I believe goal setting is beneficial because it helps us to redeem the time as the Lord says,


Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
(Eph 5:15-17 ESV)

I would encourage everyone to consider God's direction for their lives this very year and set everything you do upon that purpose!