Archive | January 2011

What I love about being a Christian

What I love about being a Christian is the heart change that takes place.  I know it has taken place in my own heart.  I’ve seen it in countless others.  But I absolutely love to see it in the Bible, to read the stories of men and women who are just like you and me.  Human.  Fallen.  Making mistakes but then getting back up again.  Led and taught and guided by our Lord.

For example, Peter.  I love Peter.  He is so ‘human’.  I love that fact that he starts out so ordinary.  An ordinary fisherman, leading an ordinary life.  In the Bible narratives we see his personality, early on, as rash, hasty, irritable, angry, unsure.  He often blurts out things without thinking.  Yet Jesus singles him out to be the first leader of the church.  Jesus sees what Peter will become.  Resolute.  A leader capable of great loyalty and love.

I’m reading a great book right now – “Spiritual Rhythm” by Mark Buchanan.  In his book Buchanan points out two different situations with Peter regarding a boat load of fish.  The first takes place in Luke 5:8.  Jesus had just told Peter, who had been fishing all night without catching a thing, to lower his net again.  He did, and this time, the nets were so full they had to call for help.  They ended up with two heaping boats full of fish!  Peter’s response to Jesus was, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 

In his book, Mr. Buchanan has us consider that perhaps Peter’s declaration was a true moment of Isaiah-like revelation, when Peter sees the shabbiness of his own life in the light of Christ’s glory, but it might have been just an ‘evasion’ ploy.  After all, Peter was standing knee-deep in fish!  The catch of a lifetime!  His biggest windfall.  The boat full of fish would have cashed out nicely.  It would have paid alot of bills, bought some upgrades, provided a few luxuries.The author states, “I think Peter had an inkling – maybe it was sheer gut feeling , or a glint he saw in Jesus’ eye – Jesus had no intention of letting him enjoy it.  It was a test.  Jesus was about to ‘up the ante’ to find out if Peter loved him more than ‘these’.  Follow me, Jesus says.” 

Now look at the story in John 21.  The risen Jesus is on a beach across from where Peter and his crew are fishing.  It’s been a long unproductive night.  Jesus hollers to them to drop their net on the other side of the boat.  They do.  Once more the catch is on.  THIS TIME, however, Peter acts in the opposite way: he strips, jumps into the water, and is the first one to show up at Jesus’ side.  So much has happened.  There’s been three denials. the cross. the death.  Life had been so dark for him during that time.  So here he is, panting, dripping wet, hoping with everything in him that Jesus will “reissue the call”, that HARD CALL to follow Jesus.  Jesus does not disappoint.

Heart change. The same man whose courage gave out and denied Jesus when he saw that cross, went on to give up everything, and spend the rest of his life following Jesus until he was martyred by Nero on an inverted cross (he had protested that he was not worthy to die in the way that Jesus had).   

I love being a Christian, following Christ.  I love His promises that He will never leave me, that he will guide me, teach me, comfort me.  I love that fact that he is patient and good and kind, that he does not hold grudges and that he is loyal and that he always beleives in me and that he always stands his ground defending me.  The Bible is full of so much evidence and promises.  It seems like the more I read, study, pray, meditate on God’s word, the more there is there.  It seems like every year I find new treasures there. 

Yes, I love being a follower of Jesus Christ.  What he offers me is something I desire more than silver and gold.  (Proverbs 13:15). 

It’s true.

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2011, in Uncategorized. Leave a comment

A HEAVY HEART

My heart is heavy this morning.  I stumbled across this blog http://thechapel.wordpress.com/about/

This is a person who  was a former Protestant minister and is  now an atheist, one who does not hold any belief in any god.  He/She proclaims this fact proudly and makes no bones about it.  Many comments on the blog proclaim and agree and joyfully profess their newfound freedoms.

There were a few comments from Christians, trying to call this person back.  The response was basically, “Don’t waste your time.”  There is no conscience, no conviction.

My heart is heavy.  I feel so helpless.  But then I’m reminded God knows.  He’s always known.  And He’s a merciful God.  So this morning, I cry out to Him, I plead His mercy and grace on these people.  Will you join me?

“But the Holy Spirity tells us clearly that in the last times some in the church will turn away from Christ and become eager followers of teachers with devil-inspired ideas.  These teachers will tell lies with straight faces and do it so often that their consciences won’t even bother them.”  1-Timothy 4:1-2 (The Living Bible paraphrased)

This entry was posted on January 27, 2011, in Uncategorized. 18 Comments

A Bible tidbit

This is so fascinating to me.  Over 2700 years ago (700 B.C), God spoke through a prophet, Micah.   In Micah 5:2-3, God told us of two times he would come.  In vs. 2, “O Bethlehem, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!”  Of course he’s talking about Jesus here!  Then vs. 3 says “God will abandon his people to their enemies UNTIL the time of Israel’s spiritual rebirth..”  And we know that this event has also taken place.  From 586 B.C. when Jerusalem was destroyed until 1948, Israel had no nation, no identity, no king, no government.  But then in 1948 they became a nation!  The scripture continues:  “…then at last the exile remnants of Israel will rejoin their brethren in their own land.”  Did you realize that since 1948, the Jews have been coming home?  I looked up these statistics of Jewish population in Israel on Wikipedia:

1948: 800,000

1950:  1,203,000

1972:  2,752,700

1995:  4,522,300

2000:  4,955,400

2009:  5,637,000

The Bible is so awesome!  From 2 sentences of Scripture (Micah 5:2-3), we see God telling us what will happen and then we see those things happen!  From 2 sentences!  And the great news is, the Bible is FULL of so many more prophecies that have come true, and the best one to come:  when Jesus comes back!

This entry was posted on January 23, 2011, in Uncategorized. Leave a comment

Glory in tribulations

I am an adult child of an alcoholic.  Recently I learned that the personality of adult children (and grandchildren) of alcoholics are as follows:

……they depend on others’ approval     (CHECK)

…….they fear rejection    (CHECK)

…….they have an excessive sense of responsibility for people, places and things beyond their control    (CHECK)

Isaiah 28:23-29   “Listen and hear my voice;
   pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
   Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
   does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,[c]
   barley in its plot,[d]
   and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
   and teaches him the right way.
 27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
   nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
   and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
   so one does not go on threshing it forever.
The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it,
   but one does not use horses to grind grain.
29 All this also comes from the LORD Almighty,
   whose plan is wonderful,
   whose wisdom is magnificent.”

I heard the Lord teach me in this verse that the thing that once protected (the husk on the corn) must now be thrashed so that God can get to the ‘juice’…. the very thing (the husk) that was it’s life, it’s protection, now becomes a hindrance to its juice.  It must be flailed, beaten, bruised and broken off.  In like manner, God has to wean us, thrash us, loose us from the things we had trusted in, so that we will learn to trust in Him.

I understood how the personality and behavior I had learned growing up in an alcoholic family must be taken out of me.  We often fight against trials and tribulations, but this is often how God is remolding us.  I heard a great example recently:

A piece of steel, the raw material, = worth $20

Put the steel in a fire, beat in and make it into a horseshoe, = worth $40

Put it into a fire, melt it, shape it, form it into a hunting knife, = worth $200

Put it into a fire, melt it, put it through a machine, turn it into stainless steel surgical instruments, = worth $5,000

It has to be tempered and thrased and molded and prepared to get to its final value.

So even though none of LIKE tribulations, I understand why the Bible says to ‘glory in tribulatons’ (Romans 5) because tribulations and suffering produce such awesome things as perseverance, character, hope, love.  Bring it on, Jesus.

This entry was posted on January 21, 2011, in Uncategorized. Leave a comment

The things told to me

   This morning I was reading in 1 Corinthians 15:3.  Paul had stated, “I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me….”  Of course Paul had been told prettty big stuff:  that Christ had died for our sins just as scripture said he would, that he was buried, that 3 days later he arose.  Big stuff.

   I know that Jesus had told me things too, as He does every Christian.  (“I will keep on revealing You (Abba Father) to them…” Jesus (John 17:26) 

   I realized this morning how I long to pass on the things I have been taught since becoming a child of God.

   Lately it seems like the Lord has been trying to bring me to a deeper understanding of His love.  I know that is really huge.  I know the Apostle Paul often talked about the love of Christ and often prayed that we could comprehend it, understand it, grasp it.  In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites to ‘cling to Him’ and to His love. 

   I have shared before how I’ve often meditated on the ‘vision’ (or whatever it was) of when I die, Jesus meets me at the gate and tells me someone is waiting to see me.  It is my Abba Father and I run into His arms!  He welcomes me and holds me and treasures me.  I experience a sense of belonging I have never experienced before. 

   I have also sensed the person of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Morning by morning he awakens me to teach me some nugget of truth in the Word.  I love Him so much and love the way He guides me and comforts me, just as Jesus said He would.

   I know this sounds really wierd, but for some reason I kept my distance from Jesus.  Don’t get me wrong.  He’s my Savior and I love Him with all my heart, mind and soul, but I couldn’t quite comprehend His love for me.  I felt intimidated around Jesus.  I mean, He’s SOOOOO cool.  He’s SOOOOOO awesome.  I’ve read in the gospels how Jesus is Love.  God’ s love.  But ‘love’ is such meaningless word at times.  It’s so overused.  But then Spirit led me to the verse in 1-Corinthians 13:4.  I’ve read this verse many times.  But the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me to substitute ‘Jesus’ for the word ‘love’.  This is what I read ‘heard’ – ‘This is Jesus, Sue, and this is how He loves you.’

“Jesus is patient.  Jesus is kind.  He is never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude.  Jesus does not demand his own way.  He is not irritable or touchy.  He does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when you do him wrong.  He is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.  Jesus is loyal to you no matter what the cost.  Jesus always believes in you, always expects the best of you, and always stands his ground in defending you.” 

    As I wrote this out in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, tears were falling down my face.  This is the kind of friend I have in Jesus.  This is the kind of love He has for me.

   This is the kind of love He has for you.  All praise and glory and honor to you, Jesus!

This entry was posted on January 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Leave a comment