Thursday, July 27, 2017

Forgotten God

I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:7

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:22-24

Forgotten God by Francis Chan
Here is another book that I have been trying to find time to post about recently. I have listened to the audio version of this book two times, and now I’m slowly reading it again in my spare time to digest some of the details even more. Something very close to my heart is truly following the God of the Bible and building a relationship with Him. I have seen so many holes in Christian living over the years: works based religion, hypocritical lifestyles, switching to a god that actually is not the God of the Bible, or just mediocrity in relationships with God.

Something, or Someone, seems to be missing a lot of the time from the Church in large, ministries, and relationships, and Francis Chan does an awesome job at Biblically talking about what we are missing. This has been such a challenge to my own walk with the Lord as I try to grow closer to Him and follow His direction in my life.

If we look like the world, than something is wrong. If we are true followers of the God of the Bible, the Spirit of God is living inside of us, meaning we should look like Him/very different from the world. Just as a simple example, if I told you that the spirit of Julie Andrews was living inside me, you would expect that to mean I could sing beautifully just like her! But, if I then proceeded to open my mouth and not be able to hold a tune, what would you think? You would think that the spirit of Julie Andrews was in fact not living inside me. Silly as it may sound, we do this to the Spirit of God all the time. There is a problem if we claim He lives in us, but we show no evidence of His work in our lives.

This book is full of Biblical meat for Christians craving to know God more intimately. You should read it!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Relationship Status

James 4:8
 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Zechariah 1:3
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

A lot of the responsibility for how close we are with God falls on us. There have been times of my life where I’ve looked at certain people who were so close with God and envied them or wondered how they did it. But, it is in my power to be closer to God. He has promised me that He will be as close to me as I want to be.

Working harder to look like a Christian, act like a Christian, or sound like a Christian was not the point of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. A works based Christianity will eventually push people away from Christ. A relationship with Christ is truly what we need to change us, and His support, love, and guidance is worth more to me than all those other things that I chase after.

When it comes down to it, I cannot help someone grow closer to Christ unless they choose to draw closer to Him. I cannot expect to grow in my own walk with the Lord unless I choose Him over everything else in this world. Thankfully though, the moment I, or anyone else, chooses to return to Him, He has promised to return to us! We definitely are not following Christ for the reward, but I will say the reward of being close to Him should keep us coming back every time we fail Him and slip  way. An eternal relationship with Him is better than any temporal relationship here on earth, which is why relationships here on earth should be centered on growing closer to Him and not fulfilling fleshly desires.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Proverbs 3

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

  3 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as a father the son in whom he delights.

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called blessed.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
    and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, do not lose sight of these—
    keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be life for your soul
    and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
    tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
    who dwells trustingly beside you.
30 Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
    but the upright are in his confidence.
33 The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful,
    but to the humble he gives favor.
35 The wise will inherit honor,
    but fools get disgrace.