GrowingInLOVE

..Sharing with Fellow Christians..

Dirty Hands November 23, 2010

Filed under: My Writings — growinginlove @ 5:11 pm
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He told me I needed clean hands before I could embrace Him

I thought that was easy enough a task to accomplish

I ran to the sink and let the fresh water flow over my hands

I returned swiftly, beaming brightly

Until…. “What do you mean they’re  not clean? I just washed them!”

I sulked on my way back to the sink with my eyes low

Noticing the grimy footprints I left from stepping in the water I dripped on the floor

This time I turned the water on as hot as I could stand it

I sang through the alphabet three times while I lathered my hands

I even soaped up my wrists and got under my nails!

Surely my hands must be clean now!

I returned proudly, with my hands outstretched and ready for inspection

“Still not good enough?!” , I lamented as I began to feel hopeless

I sunk to the floor in despair and disappointment

But just then, He pitied me and told me to give it one last try

I dragged myself back to the sink

Confusion settled into my face as I looked down

How did my hands get so dirty so quickly?

Again I turned on the faucet

Brown, murky water cascaded down my fingers and pooled in my palms

Disgusted and frantic, I backed away from the sink

I looked around for the towel to wipe my hands

And I noticed that what I had been using to dry my hands was just a tattered, dirty rag

I cried as I ran back to Him, exposing my filthy hands

“I can’t get them clean, the water’s dirty! How can I wash my hands in dirty water?! What must I do?!”

He told me not to worry because He could help

He stretched out His hands to me

They were the most spotless I’d ever seen!

Only…He had to really bad sores, one in each

But He told me not to fear as I started to reach

When He tightly grasped my hand, I squeezed His back

That’s when blood oozed from the holes and soaked my hands

He slowly let go and instructed me to take a look

My hands were clean like His!!!

This meant that I could finally come before Him in humble assurance

And I would be recieved as His own

And I know that His grip is strong enough to never let me go!

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“You’re a Calvinist” April 15, 2010

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 11:24 am
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I’ve never called myself a Calvinist, but I’ve been slapped with that label recently.  I do agree with the “five points”, however, I’m not familiar with the rest of John Calvin’s theology or system of beliefs in entirety, so I won’t title myself.  Besides, I think believing in God’s grace would make me a Bible-ist first…or maybe it would just make me a Christian?

What is it that’s got people so riled up about something as beautiful as God’s grace and sovereignty?  I understand the shock of it because I’ve been there.  I understand it completely!  I know how I felt when I was first introduced to it.  However, God has changed my thinking from man-centered to Christ-centered.  I no longer view God as “owing” man something.  We are owed nothing but what we deserve and that is Hell.  Flat out.  I won’t mince words about that.  But why do other Christians get so bothered by even considering God having a choice in who receives salvation?  Why does it bother them that God must change our hearts in order for us to even be able to receive Him?  And why does it bother them that theheart that’s changed to receive Him can’t choose to do anything but receive Him.  A changed heart comes with changed desires.  Here are some of the reasons that have crossed my mind why many people have a hard time with accepting God’s sovereign grace:

-Men are prideful.

-Man thinks of man as the focus of the universe instead of God

-Man wants more freedom than God.

-Man thinks God “owes” him something or that he is deserving of good things from God.

-Man thinks that if God doesn’t work the way he thinks He should or wants Him to, then He’s wrong or unfair.

-Man doesn’t like to be at the mercy of anyone other than himself.

-Man doesn’t really want to trust God, he’d rather trust himself.

-Man wants God to be God when he wants Him to be God and in the manner which he prefers Him to conduct His Godliness.

So in effect, I’m a “Calvinist” or anything other than just a Christian because I believe that God created this universe for HIS purposes, HIS pleasure, and HIS glory.  Who is the creation to answer back to his Creator?  I recognize that I was put here to glorify God and to serve the purposes that He put me here to serve.  When I was speaking with a loved one about God’s elect, I was accused of possibly developing the mentality of  boasting, “Oh, I’m God’s elect! That must mean I’m special!”  And that could not be FURTHER from the truth.  When you realize what you were before regeneration and faith in Christ, you understand the horrific state you were in, being under the wrath of the Almighty God!  I was no better, no more special, and worth no more than any other sinful human being.  There was NOTHING good about me, and being under the wrath of God is being under the wrath of God..I don’t think “degrees” or levels come into play much here.  So when I think about the fact that He, in His own will and for His own good pleasure, sent His Spirit into me crying Abba, Father, when I didn’t deserve it, it does nothing but humble and baffle me!  Humbled and baffled because I know that I don’t deserve it..and God could have very well left me alone to face the penalty for my sins committed against Him.  I understand that I’m unworthy of such a gracious and precious gift.  I have NOTHING to brag on and no reason to look at myself as if I was something special.  In my flesh dwells no good thing…and before God’s work in me, I was controlled by my flesh..and in that state, there was NOTHING I could do to please God (Romans 8:6-8).  And I couldn’t go from being fleshly-minded to spiritually-minded until the Holy Spirit enabled me to be so.  The natural man can’t understand the things of the Spirit (1Cor 2:14).  Therefore, in order for him to understand the things of the Spirit, the Spirit must reside upon him and in him.  A man who is still carnally-minded  and dead in his sins and trespasses can’t make himself understand the things of the Spirit.  No, God BEGINS the work and He, being faithful, will COMPLETE it (Philippians 1:6).

On the other hand, for someone to think that he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps and enforced his mighty will to “activate” Christ’s finished work…what stops him from boasting?  “I chose Christ! I was smart/spiritual/wise/intelligent/had common sense enough to choose Him.”  And those who didn’t weren’t smart enough or spiritual enough?  So then your salvation gives you reason to boast or look to yourself as the final decision maker in salvation instead of God?  That would kind of mean God would have to share the glory for your salvation.  “Thanks be to God for providing Jesus, but thanks be to me for making it effective.” Glory split 50-50?

I’m labled with another title because I know that salvation is of the Lord, and that it is by His grace that we’re saved through faith, and not of ourselves, but it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-10.  I just want anyone who claims the name of Christ to know that salvation is a product of God’s work in them by His grace and faith which He gave them…not by some emotional decision they made when they raised their hand, filled out a card, or repeated a “sinner’s prayer”…and not because they decided to give mere mental assent to Jesus Christ. Salvation is a miraculous work of God.  The greatest miracle He’s performed/performing among human beings. It is literally a miracle that an enemy-of God by nature, wrath-deserving sinner can be transformed into a child of God, truly loving Him and having their sins atoned for by Christ and Christ’s righteousness imputed to them, causing them to be justified and declared acceptable to God and inheriting eternal life!  Professing Christians of ALL “denominations” need to know that.

Soli Deo Gloria! Christ is King!

 

From a Heavy Heart… February 19, 2010

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 3:12 pm
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I wanted to write something well-thought out and clever, and even organized, but my current state won’t allow me to do so, so I’ll take the “stream of consciousness” route.  Lately I’ve been feeling “wheighed down” by quite a few things.  I’m daily in prayer about some things that have caused me to be grieved on the inside.  Some of which have to do with me in my personal life, and others have to do with other people.  I sorrow over my own shortcomings, but I continue to give God the glory and praise.  He is ever true and ever faithful and always good…I’m the weak one.  I have things that I struggle with, but I trust that God will deal with them according to His will and timing.  Even the apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh, a problem he dealt with, that he begged God to remove, but He wouldn’t, and instead God told him that His grace is sufficient for him and that His strength is made perfect in weakness.  Now, whether the things I’m dealing with are just temporary means for God to accomplish something in and through me, or whether it’s something He will use on an ongoing basis to His glory, I’m not sure which one it is yet.  I will continue to seek Him first and stay in prayer.  I have a bad habit of getting impatient and panicky about things, especially matters of the faith, such as things in the Word of God that I don’t yet understand, and areas where I find myself to be lacking, and when I discover sin in my life.  It is my everyday prayer that God sanctifies me and teaches me to walk in holiness, denying myself.  I also pray for God to teach me patience.  I’m finding out that it takes patience to learn to be patient.  I keep asking for patience, and I keep finding myself in situations where I tend to become impatient..lol. And I know that it’s going to keep happening so that patience and longsuffering will be built up within me. 

In a strange way, I like the fact that my shortcomings and my personal struggles keep causing me to go running to my Heavenly Father in prayer.  In Him is my satisfaction, my joy, and my comfort.  It is through Christ that I realize where my strength comes from.  I constantly go running to my Source, my Provider.  I’m not perfect by any means, and I deal with the frustration of the flesh everyday..longing to be conformed to the image of Christ.  In the meantime, I’m glad to cling to my Savior, trusting in His righteousness and His sacrifice.  GOD IS GRACIOUS!!! 

Something else I’ve been weighed down by is a borderline overwhelming sorrow for others.  I have a particular concern for false teachers/deceivers and those who are being deceived.  A lot of professing Christians are being thoroughly deceived and beguiled by silver-tongued wolves in sheep’s clothing.  I get so upset when I see the precious, life-giving Word of God being twisted, taken out of context, and abused by people who have no love for God or His people.  I get equally upset when I see people feast on that garbage like starving raccoons.  Some of them are getting what they deserve because the Bible does tell us that people won’t desire sound doctrine and won’t want to hear the truth, but instead will heap to themselves teachers who will tell them exactly what they want to hear because they’re promoting the lusts/desires of the people.  They’re getting exactly what the Bible tells us they want.  Some of them will be stuck there, that’s clear. 

But there are some people who are meant to come out from under lies and false teachings..such as myself.  I was once fooled by false doctrine, but God, in His great grace and mercy, pulled me out of it, and I’m ever grateful to Him for that.  So I’m very sensitive to the fact that people are being deceived, and it is my prayer that God unveils their eyes and exposes the truth of His Word to them.  That they come to the saving knowledge of Christ through the TRUE Gospel of Christ.  I found out that I was following a false Christ and it TERRIFIED ME TO THE CORE when I recognized  it.  How I would just LOVE to see more and more brothers and sisters brought to salvation and repentance in the TRUE Christ, the Holy Son of God.  It’s not a light issue to me by any means.  I stare it in the face everyday.  It pains me that some won’t listen.  They’d rather cling to the comfortable lies of their beloved pastors and teachers than for one second to entertain the thought that they’ve been lied to and gotten over on, and that their very soul is in danger.   People have been sitting in churches for decades and are still ignorant of some of the most important aspects of the Gospel of Christ.  My heart grieves for people. 

There are some pretty theologically-intelligent people, but nobody on this earth knows everything, so we must never shut our eyes or ears to the knowledge of God’s Word, making sure that all things line up with the Word!.  Even what we think we know, we must always confirm it through the Word and prayer.  It’s one thing to be shown selective scriptures and have them read over and over and over with the preacher’s twist on them.  But it’s a whole other thing to see those very same words in light of the actual CONTEXT and intended meaning the Bible gives it.  This extra-biblical, and sometimes anti-biblical, indoctrination sickens me.  And I know that if it offends me, then it is no doubt a stench in the nostrils of the Almighty! 

There ARE people who are teaching sound doctrine and who handle the Word of Godwith great care, but they seem to be grossly overshadowed by the hucksters who have no real reverence or respect for God or His Word.  I am in prayer for the body of Christ.  I am moved to compassion for all my brothers and sisters.  And for those who contend for the faith and hold to the TRUE Christ, my prayers go up for you and my heart waxes large for you.  I pray that God strengthens you and increases your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and that He encourages you and keeps you.  To God be the glory!

Christ is King!

 

Silver and Gold Have I None January 14, 2010

Filed under: My Writings — growinginlove @ 1:03 pm
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Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee

 I don’t have great, swelling words or an extensive vocabulary

I don’t have the Bible memorized backwards and forwards from Genesis to Maps

I don’t know the Hebrew and Greek meanings of all the words in the Bible

I don’t have an educational background attained at a seminary or a degree in theology

But I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ

By the working of the Holy Spirit, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

I am daily humbled by my Heavenly Father knowing that He saved me in spite of myself

I rest in the fact that Christ died on a cross, shedding His blood for remission of my sin, and that because He paid the debt that I owed, I no longer have to  

I have salvation in Christ from the wrath of God that is due to all mankind because of sin.  I was driven to my knees in repentance, turning away from the desire to sin and live in wickedness before God.

I cried before God to change me, cleanse me, and to teach me to walk upright before Him

I have the Holy Spirit of the living God on the inside of me

I have a heart of flesh that God has given to me in place of my former heart of stone

A heart that yearns and seeks after God and His righteousness and grieves over sin-my own and others’

It grieves over the lost and the hurting, and over the stubbornness of those who claim to know Christ but whose thoughts, words, and deeds scream otherwise

 Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee:

 The truth is that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.   God, being loving, merciful and extending His grace toward us, sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Without accepting, believing, confessing, and trusting in Christ, the Son of God’s, death, burial, and resurrection you will pay for your own sins, being judged and condemned to hell.  It’s not a pretty truth, but it’s truth nonetheless.  Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  No good acts or good works can get you in right standing with God apart from Christ.  Also, it doesn’t end with simply believing.  Christ tells us that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (Mark 3:34) and if we don’t, we’re not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38).  We must live our lives for God, follow His will, and walk in His ways. Once we become children of God through faith in Christ, we must get to know Him through prayer and reading His Word and yielding to His Holy Spirit.

Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee

What I have is the Gospel of Christ and a love for God.  This is what I have, and this is what I’ll share.

 

Thoughts of Concern December 10, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 1:42 pm
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I have a sincere concern for us who profess to be Christians.  Do we really want Christ, or do we just want the tangible things that we expect faith in Him to bring?  There are many well-meaning Christians ( and some ill-meaning wolves, goats, tares, masquerading as believers) who, I believe, have a distorted view of what following Christ is all about.  Self-esteem, self-help, and self-improvement is preached and promoted, but the life of following Christ requires self-denial.  The Holy Spirit working on the inside of us is what causes the real transformation within, not something of our own power.  Not too many of us, from what I see, even think about denying self.  We get so caught up in the lusts and desires of the flesh and this world, and then even try to claim that we want it to the glory of God, when in fact, the depths of our motives are selfish.  How much of what we pray for pertains to non-material things?  We know we pray for more money, cars, houses, etc, and we pray when we’ve run out of all other options. But how often do we pray that God increases within us the fruit of His Spirit? (Galatians 5:22)  How often do we pray for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?  How often do we study the Word and ask the Father to teach us more about Him?  How often do we pray for the lost who don’t know Christ?  How often do we pray for other people out there who are suffering?  How often do we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those which we may not even know personally?  

Many of our prayers are selfish and motivated by the wrong things. We seek physical, tangible evidence that God is working in our lives by what He gives us and how much He gives us, rather than the works that are wrought in and through us by His Holy Spirit.  Where’s the desire to learn to live holy, acknowledging and repenting of our sins, and asking God to guide our steps.  Where’s the desire to seek God’s will and let go of our own selfish wills?  We need to be making God absolutely first in our lives and remembering that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  We need to remember to take up our cross daily, crucifying our flesh, to follow Christ, and daily isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a lifestyle (Luke 9:23). We need to remember to share and stand firmly for the Gospel…the TRUE Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  We need to remember those in need and stretch forth our hands to help others in the name of Christ.  We need to stop worrying about what we want to get God to do for our own selves, and go humbly before our Heavenly Father seeking what He wants to do through us for His glory.  We must refuse to seek our own glory and the glory of men, and seek to honor and glorify God.  We are undeserving of any glory, and we are unfit to possess pride of ourselves, but we should be giving thanks, honor, and glory to our Father who is full of love, grace, and mercy in that He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt we owed and to keep us from the punishment we rightfully deserved.  If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is.  If that doesn’t inspire awe, reverence, and brokenness, I don’t know what does.

We as Christians must get our focus back on Christ.  We can’t let the cares of this world get us off course.  Would we continue to follow Christ if the stakes were as high as what the apostles and many, many others in Christ have faced, which was REAL persecution and martyrdom for Christ?  Do we really desire to forsake ALL to follow Christ?  If not, He Himself said that we are not worthy to be His disciples.  Does a man build a tower without first counting the cost, seeing if he has sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:26-35

 Let us pray without ceasing…

 

I Saw What I Didn’t See Before November 18, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 1:38 pm
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I was lying in bed at about 2:00 a.m. the day before yesterday when something popped in my head that made me jump out of bed to go write it down.  Genesis 3:6 came to mind.  What were the first 2 sins? I saw that the first sin was Eve disobeying God’s command not to eat of the fruit, and the second sin was giving it to Adam for him to eat, tempting him into sin. So the first sin was against God, and the second sin was against man. When Christ was on earth, He said that all the law and the prophets hang on the two greatest commandments: 1. To love God with all your heart, soul, mind.  2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40). Loving God means you won’t intentionally sin against Him, and loving your neighbor as yourself would prevent you from sinning against them, AND causing or leading your neighbor to sin. Therefore, the two greatest commandments are the opposite of the first two sins.  I hadn’t realized that before.

Another thing that God allowed me to see, which I knew already, but it hadn’t resonated within me so strongly as it did this day was that God’s will is for us to depend and rely solely on Him for everything.  In the garden, the presence of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, although forbidden, provided the opportunity for man to choose to obey or disobey God. After they ate the fruit and their eyes were opened to good and evil, they became self-dependent, trusting in their own works and devices apart from God-e.g. making the fig leaf garments to cover the shame of their nakedness, and hiding from God. Christ, “the last Adam”(1Corinthians 15:45) came to provide salvation, (through His death on the cross, shed blood, burial, and resurrection) the means for us to be united back to God and eventually lead us back to the “pre-fruit” state of man, so to speak…To get us to the point where we don’t trust in our own works, that we acknowledge the fact that God is all we need to sustain us, and after the course of this world plays out we’ll live eternally with the Father in a sinless state–like what would have happened if man hadn’t fallen in the first place. So, basically, the conclusion of Revelation brings us back to man’s original state in Genesis, where we’ll forever remain..united with the Father.

Overall, it seems to me that one of the main themes/points driven home in the Bible, beside His ultimate goal to reconcile men back to Himself, is that God wants us to get away from being dependent upon anyone/anything other than Him..To love Him, acknowledge Him in all our ways, seek Him first, and obey Him..to honor Him.  Again, to a degree, I’ve known this, but just the other day it rang as clear as a bell in my spirit, and it’s even more motivation to continue to strengthen my relationship with the Father and to let nothing draw my attention away from Him.