Thursday, February 19, 2015

Unworthily Chosen

Most of my articles lately have been about things I’ve been learning in conversations or from sermons, but this week I wanted to write about something that God’s been teaching me, the hard way.
I’m sure most of you have probably seen me as a girl, striving to serve her King with all her might, and studying the Bible every day. Well that isn’t true, in fact I’d been serving myself not my King. I was focused on me, not Him; my glory, not his; the way people thought about me, not the way He saw me. I was a me-seeker and unfortunately I still am struggling with it.

I was using my blog as a place to fulfill myself and receive that I longed for. When, after three months I still didn’t have any followers I was dissatisfied and wanted to find ways to get my work and to receive my glory and my praise. I was literally living the life of a hypocrite! I was telling my readers to do one thing and living the exact opposite.

Romans 2:3 “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”

I felt better if I had published an article. I felt prouder and more “at peace with God and man.” I felt like it made me a better person somehow if I had a blog.

Romans 2:21-23 “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, doest thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, doest thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest they boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God?”

I talked a lot but never acted. Everything I was learning was never put to use. I had a lot of knowledge but no wisdom. My mouth moved by my feet froze.

Romans 2:19-20 “And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.”

I was proud of myself for taking “complicated” subjects and making them “simple.” I thought about all of the people that I was going to save and the problems I was going to fix and the world I was going to change. I was so focused on me that I missed what I was actually doing.

Romans 2:24 “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you…”

Luke 6:39a “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

I was leading other people away from the light instead of towards it.

Matthew 15:7-9 “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, “This people draweth nigh to me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

I was a hearer of the word and not a doer! (James 1:22)

Luke 11:46  “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”

I spoke about not setting “extra-biblical” standards for people; but yet I had them for my own siblings and parents!

1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
It doesn’t say to talk like God talks; it says to walk even as Christ walked.

But praise the LORD, God didn’t plan for me to stay on my high horse for long. It was the turning point when I realized that I had found my life in him, and without him I was nothing. I felt cold, alone and desperate. The fire that had kept me alive for so long, the personality that everyone loved, was gone. I didn’t realize how much of my life actually depended on him, or how much of the “me” I was trying to satisfy didn’t exist when He wasn’t present.

He is my all! He is my only source of life! He deserves the glory, He deserves the praise. For a long time I thought that people that said “Praise the LORD” all the time were creeps. But now my eyes have finally been able to catch just a glimpse of what those “creeps” were actually able to see.

One of the biggest struggles I have in life is pridefulness. I’m constantly seeking praise for something that I did. But the truth is, it isn’t me but he who is in me. It isn’t my work but the Creator of the universe.

My world looked beautiful when I was blinded but the height of my white steed. But when the veil was removed and Christ brought me back down, I saw a world that I had created for myself. It was dark and cold. It was empty and bleak. When I saw what I had become I felt a fear that I had never had before. A fear of death, a fear of life, and a fear of God’s almighty wrath. My life went without me seeing, I didn’t realize it until the path was sinking beneath me. When the world started to close in I realized that without God I was open prey to the devil.

But there’s hope!

My story isn’t over yet and I praise God that he is the master artist of my life; that he has chosen me as a parchment. I can’t wait to see what he creates with the beautiful trials and chapters in this book he has for me.

I’m overwhelmed by His mercy and I now realize that I never deserved him and I never will.

Plan “A” never worked, and most of the time it never does. It takes a fall to know not to run and it takes a mistake to grow wiser. It took God bringing me down to earth, to learn that I didn’t belong in the clouds. It took his mercy in bringing me back to him before I realized I had ever wandered off.

What do you do when plan “A” fails? Well you sit down, you acknowledge your mistake, re-plan, and take action.

So what’s my plan “B”? The Bible states several places to “cleave unto God” (Duet 4:4; 11:22; 30:20; Josh 22:5; 23:8; Acts 11:23), and that we are not our own (1 Cor 6:19) but we were purchased with a price (1 Cor 6:20).

In other words serve God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

Am I perfect? No. Will I ever be? No.

But through Christ’s strength and Christ’s righteousness I can be made free.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18)

Is there hope for someone who without Christ is so susceptible to the devil?

Without Christ, no; with Christ yes.

“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

When you hand yourself over, a sacrifice to God, and dedicate your life to him, he become the driver and takes the wheel; he becomes the painter, and takes the brush; he becomes the writer and takes the pen; he becomes the Savior and takes your life.

Does that mean life will be easy? No. But is life really about easy? It was easy without him in that dark, empty, life you were living. But it was empty, why do you think it’s estimated suicide takes the lives of 40,000 Americans every year? ( Life might be “easier” without him in your definition, but in the long run it won’t be worth it. “Make the tough decisions now, so you can easily reap later.”

So in closing, realize now the great treasure and gift you have received from above. Realize now, the amazing chance you have to be a part of the Kingdom of God. Realize now, you only have one life to live. Realize now, that you never deserved it, but He gave it to you anyway.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gifts from God

We were all created for a purpose, set here in this time, this place for a special reason. The saying "if everybody's special nobody's special" isn't actually true. 

We are all unique in the way that God had planned. We're each a different part of the body. "But now are they many members, yet but one body." (1 Cor 12:20) 

When God commands us, through his word, he also gives us the strength and tools to accomplish exactly what he told us to do.  Each of us are equipped with God-given unique abilities. "Now there are diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administration, but the same LORD. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God that worketh all in all." (1 Cor 12:4-6) 

I'm afraid that, from what I see, Christians have a very hard time getting along together or working together unless their standards, rules, lifestyles and minor doctrines match exactly. Which, if that's what you're looking for than you might as well give up.

Christ set specific standards follow his, not mans. 

We were created like a puzzle, our differences are the notches that help us fit together to finish the product. A negative magnet and another negative don't go together. But a negative and positive do. A husband and wife are opposite sex but make the best partnership in life. In a story you have a bad-guy, a hero, good and evil, all are very different but work together to make a perfect story. 

"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Cor 12:8-11) 

Some have the gift of speech, some have the gift of silent service, both can work together to extend the Kingdom of God. Some are writers, some singers, some farmers, some business men, some lawyers and some politicians. 

But in every area of life, in every part of our day we are to take dominion over all. Whether food and drink, or work and play. There is not one area of any life that should not be subject to Christ. In movies, in music and in literature God has commanded that we take dominion. 

So use your gifts wisely. Use them to the glory of God, don't hide in the crevice of the rock "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Tim 1:7) So be bold, use your gifts for him. 

Hands were made to work, minds were made to think, eyes were made to see, ears were made to hear, gifts were made to use.