Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sports Equipment

What do you wear to play your favorite sport?  Basketball gear is pretty basic.  Comfortable clothes that allow a lot of freedom for movement work best.  What about football?  Hmm, that's not as easy. A football player must wear a lot of protective gear - a helmet to protect their head, a mouthguard to protect their mouth, lots of pads to protect the body from potential hits and cleats to help them to be more sure-footed when traveling with force on a potentially slippery turf.

What would happen if the football player didn't wear the protective gear?  They could get hurt.  They might not play as well because they might want to avoid physical contact.

Jesus spoke in parables. Matthew 13:3 "And he told them many things in parables..."  My analogy is similar to a parable.  This is an attempt to portray a God given message with contemporary examples that might help the message marinate in your hearts and minds.

The bible is the protective gear that God gave us to muddle through the bumps and bruises of this life on earth.  It gives us all the equipment that we need to handle life's triumphs and hard hits.

The Ten Commandments are like a gameplan,....follow them and you will finish life on earth well.

But, the best protective gear provided for us in the bible is the gospel of Jesus.  He was born, lived and died sinless.  I love the depiction of Jesus as foretold in Isaiah 53(ESV):
He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

When He submitted His life to His Father's will by allowing His Crucifixion, without bitterness of heart; but with compassion on those who killed Him, He gave the most perfect example of a life well-lived and sacrificially given.  His reward awaited Him in heaven, as will ours, who believe.

Yet, we are not able to completely submit the way Jesus did.  If you doubt that fact, imagine someone slapping you. What would be your gut reaction?  Would you immediately say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV)? If you are anything like me, your impulse would be to slap them back.

So here is the good news!! Jesus already lived and died perfectly.  AND,...the bible tells us that all we have to do is accept the gift of eternal life in a perfect paradise called heaven by believing in our hearts and professing with our mouths that He is Lord.
Romans 10:9 (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.

So, if you haven't accepted this truth yet, I encourage you to find a friend who believes to help you do this, see a pastors at a bible believing church to assist or guide you or simply talk to God yourself.

But, if you want a good game plan for all that life has to "hit" on you, the bible has it all.

Matthew 7:24-28 (ESV)

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

All Titles, subtitles and organization to this writing are words moved by thoughts in my personal reflection.  All biblical references are God's words spoken through His Prophets that hold the test of time and keys to life itself. I have quoted God through the Holy Bible.  I believe this post was God inspired.  Please share as you feel led and acknowledge the sources of your information.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Happens With Christian Maturity?

Really, the title serves as a rhetorical question.  Obviously, lots of things happen.  But, I want to explain my personal concern about myself in Christian maturity, how it relates to the Pharisees and where I believe I should make a concerted effort to actually have some characteristics of my immature self back into my thinking.

In my youth, I knew God. I spent time with Him regularly.  I, also, grew up with a mother who had many strengths and many weaknesses, (as most of us have).  My favorite strength of hers was her quick willingness to forgiveness.  Now, forgiveness of heart is very different from boundaries.  One may put distance between them self and a person who is hurting them, but not have any bitterness in their heart.  My mother was always loving and generous with people in so many ways.  I love that about my memories of her.  Her forgiveness was demonstrated by her kind spirit.

In short, I am talking about grace.

When I was young, I, too, had a lot of grace. I, also, carried on reckless of God's commandments taking too much advantage of God's grace.  Not because I had any evil ambitions.  I desired love and friendship above all and it led me down paths of unrighteousness.

But, God served me with overflowing grace.  Through it all, he did not withhold his presence.  In addition, he did not withhold answers to prayer.  I still knew God.

Fast forward to a gradual realization of how much God despises sin and transforming my life to one being lived more closely inline with one God would intend.  Growing in Christian maturity, I started to understand that accepting Christ's forgiveness should provoke feelings of gratitude.  That gratitude would naturally stir a desire to respond to God's generosity. This leads to a life that follows the example and commands of Christ.

 But, something got lost in the transformation of thinking.  I became, in some ways, a little bit more of a Pharisee.  It was not my choice.  It was not intentional.  But, somehow, I thought more highly of myself because I was living a more Godly lifestyle.

This is where honest and true Christianity needs change because God requires us to be lowly in spirit to see divine revelation.  One evidence of this is how Jesus Christ was able to reveal Himself to the common man but not the holy people of His time.


Matthew 11:25-26 (ESV) 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.


Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18 NIV

Friday, August 9, 2013

Forgiveness

As a white woman, in some ways I feel ill-equipped to point to this article:

Forgiven People Forgive

Fortunately, the author sites two African American responses to the comments made by Riley Cooper.

I can have no real understanding of what it means to be an African American.  However, I know what it feels like to be judged.  And, I know what it feels like to need lots of forgiveness. And, I know what it feels like when it is hard to forgive.

Sometimes, forgiveness requires looking at our own frail nature.  As an important sidenote, I'm not talking about boundaries.  It is important to have appropriate boundaries to enable you to make a conscious effort to use God gifts where guided but that is a whole different topic that can be covered in multiple posts.  You can forgive while keeping boundaries.

Forgiveness may be a character trait that only can be given when one realizes the magnitude of their own fallen nature.  Tullian Tchividjian points to Luke 7:

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

This is why I love Jesus so much.

Although I find myself wanting to digress about perpetual sin that often takes a process to address, broken relationships and fear of confrontation, I will stay on point.

When struggling to forgive, we should ask, "Am I really all that much more of a sinless person that I can deem this person unworthy of forgiveness?"  It may be the motives of  heart that God knows, denial of our own weaknesses and our fears that keep us from facing the truth. We need to forgive because we need forgiveness. Then, in a process, restoration will occur.

I do not know the heart of any of the men mentioned in the article.  I am a football fan, who hopes for restoration in the Eagles team as well as in my own life.  God searches the hearts and works to purify them.

We will all be a Cooper, a Vick and a McCoy, at different times in our lives, if only within our own thoughts.  Sometimes we sin, sometimes our sin enables us to proceed with forgiveness more readily and sometimes we fail to see our own sinful nature.  Jesus knows all of these emotions and took our sin, so that we can be made new every day.  How do you respond to Jesus' command?

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.  Mark 11:25


Friday, May 31, 2013

When Do We Fight, When Do We Flee & When Do We Rest

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

One day, we will flee from all adversity....forever.

Until then, what do we do?

When To Fight

1. Fight for our people and God's cities
Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight. 2 Samuel 10:12

2. Fight for your faith and your ability to speak it to others
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

3.  Fight to keep your personal faith until your race is complete
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

When To Flee

1. Flee from sin, it is under God's wrath
As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:17

2. Flee to the Lord when you need to take refuge
In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain."
Psalm 11:2

3. Flee from sexual immorality.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18

4. Flee from idolatry.
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:12

5. Flee the devil by submitting to God.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

6. Flee from youthful desires to pursue Godly attributes of righteousness, faith, love and peace.
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22

Sidenote: You cannot flee God's presence.  He is everywhere.  
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139:7

When To Rest

1. Rest on the Sabbath
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:3
but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.Exodus 20:10

2. Rest When God Provides Rest.
But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.

3. Rest Until God Restores
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.
Psalm 41:3

4. Rest in God's Presence
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:
1 John 3:19

5, Eternal Rest Will Be Provided To Those Who Remain Faithful To Jesus
And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” Revelation 14:11

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Revelation 14:13

sidenote: Make sure your resting is in the hope and grasp of our Eternal Father.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5

*All Titles, subtitles and organization to this writing are words moved by thoughts in my personal reflection.  All biblical references are God's words spoken through His Prophets that hold the test of time and keys to life itself. I have quoted God through the NIV Version.  I believe this post was God inspired. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013


So thankful for a wonderful God who sent Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. What a tremendous circle of complete love.

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:13-21
He is risen, indeed!