Friday, June 21, 2013

Die to Self

2 Corinthians 4:10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

2 Cor 4:13 references Psalm 116:10; Psalm 116:9-10 - I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, therefore I said, "I am greatly afflicted".

As we come into obedience to God, we realize that we will suffer...physically or emotionally or otherwise for the sake of the gospel. Yet we trust in God and by faith believe that we are producing an eternal glory and will be raised with Christ (2 Cor 4:12-18). Therefore we do not give up when faced with momentary affliction but continue on for the sake of Christ and for the lives of others.

I believe the psalmist in Psalm 116 cried out to God in truth and entrusted Him even in his frustration & affliction. He didn't just give God his best, he had enough faith to believe at he could come to Him even in his negativity and frustration.

Walk in Christ TODAY. Die to self. Bring Him everything. Hope. Trust. Realize there is something greater. Look to the eternal instead of the temporal. Have faith to walk before the Lord now and be strengthened to die to self for the sake of Christ.

I came across this blog this morning.....

4.08.2013Learn To Die

The health and success of your ministry really are a matter of life and death. If you are ever going to be in ambassador in the hands of the God of glorious and powerful grace, you must die.

You must die to your plans for your own life.

You must die to your self- focused dreams of success.

You must die to your demands for comfort and ease.

You must die to your individual definition of the good life.

You must die to your demands for pleasure, acclaim, prominence, and respect.

You must die to your desire to be in control.

You must die to your hope for independent righteousness.

You must die to your plans for others.

You must die to your craving for a certain lifestyle or that particular location.

You must die to your own kingship.

You must die to the pursuit of your own glory in order to take up the cause of the glory of Another.

You must die to your control over your own time.

You must die to your maintenance of your reputation.

You must die to having the final answer and getting your own way.

You must die to your unfaltering confidence in you.

You must die.

And nothing helps “kill us” like private personal worship does. Your private devotional life has the power to kill the “me-ism” that is inside you (and me) that will again and again cause you to be in the way of, rather than part of, whatever it is that God is doing at the moment. Private personal worship is it an effective tool of grace in the hands of God to kill those things in you that must die in order that you be what you have been called to be and do what you have been appointed to do in your place of ministry.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Glory of the New

In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul talks about the glory of the new convenant compared to the old. The old covenant is the law, considered the ministry of death as its message is to condemn. Even so, the glory of the law caused Moses face to glow and he had to veil it from the Israelites for this glory was too much for them, even though it was fading. How much more so the new covenant is filled with glory as the ministry of righteous! The glory of the old covenant is nothing compared to the glory of the new.

Therefore, when we embrace the new covenant, the veil is removed and we are allowed to bask in the glory of it. When we do, there is liberty and confidence. We do not deem ourselves righteous by following the law, which is impossible to follow in completeness, but our righteousness comes from Christ. In Christ, we unashamedly and boldly proclaim His righteousness. It allows us to share the gospel freely, as we are not claiming ourselves perfect in the law, but Christ's perfection. And as we continue to follow Christ and allow Him to guide us, we are being transformed to be more like Him as our relationship with Him grows. We can find such confidence in this as the new covenant depends on Christ and not our own rightousness.

Therefore we do not hide in fear of inadequacy for we do not aim to fulfill all the law perscribes, but we aim to live for Christ. We depend on Christ and follow Him and in turn He makes us adequate to be entrusted as a servant of the gospel, not of ourselves but of Christ.

This should bring such certainty into our lives - to know we do not have to be adequate on our own to handle the gospel or perfectly follow the law to be righteous enough to accept it and proclaim it. In the law of righteousness, which is the new covenant, Christ was crucified to set us free and in doing so He fulfilled the law. The old has passed and the new covenant remains. With unveiled faces we accept the gospel of Christ and are declared righteous in Christ and allowed a boldness and confidence where there once was shame and timidity. Freedom reigns and glory overwhelms if we just accept it. Thanks be to God & Christ Jesus for what has been done for us!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Love the Sinner

I was in a public restroom this weekend when a mother was in a stall cursing her small son to the point I would call verbal abuse. Apparently he was potty training and struggling getting himself clean and she was completely intolerant. It went on several minutes, with her talking in such a mean and condemning tone and using explicit language with him. I would guess he was somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. The restroom was fairly crowded but it didn't seem to bother her or make her try to keep quiet as she was rather loud about it.

One woman was very upset with it and when the mom came out of the stall she yelled at her, telling her she should not talk to her son that way and at one point calling her a "horrible mother". While I too was appalled at her speech toward her small son, something bothered me when the other woman called her a "horrible mother". I know the woman was taking up for the child and I could tell she genuinely cared and at first I was definitely in support of her calling her out, but at the same time my heart went out to the mom. I couldn't deny the feeling of commonality I had with this "horrible mom", although I couldn't quiet figure out why I had such a feeling of connection with her. It felt wrong. It felt like I was sympathizing with her when I felt like surely I should be telling her those same things too to protect the child, but I just couldn't shake the feeling I had in my heart toward the her, even though I would've like to suppress it.

When I left the bathroom, the "horrible mom" was sitting on a park bench by the playground alone while her kids were playing with their dad. I had the thought to go over and ask if she was ok, but then thought, "Wouldn't that in essence be telling her that I thought her actions were ok, letting her off the hook, taking her side?" I certainly didn't want to condone her actions or in any way encourage her to continue to treat her son that way. She left quickly and I didn't get a chance to talk to her, but I kept thinking about it and going back and forth with it in my mind.

Then I was laying in bed last night and I felt God speak to me so clearly. I was able to take a step back and see the situation in whole and see scripture come alive in it. God brought to my mind a radio broadcast I had heard while I was in the car of a woman talking about Jesus and the adulteress in John 8. (See below) She said Jesus was not condoning the sin of the adultress in the story, He was showing what the power of His blood can accomplish.

He loved us while we were still sinners, died for us even. And just as He loved us we are called to love others. In retrospect it's so obvious! Yes, absolutely I should have talked to her, I should have shown her Christ's love. What if I could have lead her to Christ or helped her find some help? The best thing I could've done for the child would have been to go love on the mom. I can leave the fear of condoning the sin aside and be free to love because Christ first loved me, even in my sin - and there is the commonality I felt with her that I couldn't figure out!

The lesson is well learned. I feel like the scales have fallen off my eyes and God has revealed a part of Himself to me that I have always heard buy maybe not quite grasped. My eyes are open. We are called to reach out, not just because we are supposed to, but because we love. Lord I praise you for caring, for revealing this truth and for showing me the love you have for me and for filling my heart with love. I pray I will move forward and share it freely and I'm excited about the adventure it will be! Thank you Jesus, for all you've done and continue to do!

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 8 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”