Monday, September 01, 2014

More Disappointment: Proverbs 22:6 Is Not A Promise by God

6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6. ESV.)

What does this scripture mean to you? To me, I have always believed God’s word is breathed out by God, inspired by God, and truth. So when I read the following bit in a book, it caused a hint of discomfort in me.
The proverbs are not conditional promises; they are wise maxims. When we fail to understand this form of literature and build our lives on them as a guarantee, we end up with a philosophy akin to that of Job’s comforters.(Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Give Them Grace. Illinois. 2011. Pg. 61.)

I know and understand God alone saves souls. There is nothing I can do for myself or others. I get that. I believe, in part, what the author stated above in that “The proverbs are not CONDITIONAL promises...” Agreed. However, I still hold true that God keeps His promises and His word is truth. So what does this mean for me? If proverbs are just “maxims”, a “general rule of conduct” then is it wrong for my faith to be in the Lord and His promise…i.e. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I never saw this as I have to do something and then God is obligated to reward me. I have always seen it as, God is incapable of lying. If He says, “Train your children up and they will not depart from it.” Then, I believe Him. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. My hope is in the Lord and Him alone. I never equated it to whether or not I parent well will decide the fate of the children God entrusted to me. I love God. Because I do, I follow His word and obey His commands. I do the best I can. I fall short at times but I feel that does not mean I will ruin my children. (Well, maybe not completely.) Gosh, how do I put my heart into words. I am so thankful I have the Holy Spirit to mediate for me, to God.

Maybe it’s like, “Look both ways before crossing the street so you do not get hit by a car.” Or, grace alone by faith alone. Or the Great Commission! God calls me, I have faith, and He saves me by grace. Then He tells me to go out and spread the word. Similarly, God saves me, I love God, I raise my children according to His word (Matthew 28:19-20 “making disciples”), and they never depart from it (or ultimately will be called by God, have faith (which they learned while being trained up), and receive God’s grace. So the problem in my head is, if proverbs 22:6 is (according to the author of this book) a “maxim” then what about Matthew 28:19-20? I personally feel proverbs 22:6 is an instruction from the Lord like Matthew 28:19-20. Do this. My response is, “Yes, Lord,” because I love Him not because I expect anything in return. I am “teaching them [my children] to observe all that [God has] commanded”. And ultimately I believe God will save them. That is my prayer. My faith (and hopefully that of my children) is in the Lord.

David Mathis from Desiring God Ministries wrote the following,
Now, we need to be clear here. The proverbs commend certain paths to family members because they reflect the ways God ordinarily distributes his blessings. But ordinarily does not mean necessarily….Parents who train their children in the fear of the Lord follow the path that frequently brings children to saving faith.

But excellent wives, faithful husbands, and conscientious parents often endure terrible hardship in their homes because proverbs are not promises. They are adages that direct us toward general principles that must be applied carefully in a fallen world where life is always somewhat out of kilter.

As the books of Job and Ecclesiastes illustrate so vividly, we misconstrue the Word of God when we treat proverbs as if they were divine promises.
(Mathis, David. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/a-spectacular-and-scary-promise-assurance-suffering-and-our-great-inheritance.)

Fabulous. I guess I have a lot of thinking to do. And praying. If proverbs 22:6 is not God’s promise then I need to sort that out in my mind.

(Photo Information.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The God of Disappointment

I'm just a little disappointed, but still. I worked on a writing assignment for Business Law and when I went to submit it, I had missed an important detail and so received a zero. Had it been one of the longer projects which spanned over the course of days, I think I would have been a tad more upset. As it is, though, the semester has just started and I already got a bad grade. It is frustrating. I have no one to blame but myself, though. I should have read and re-read EVERYTHING! I have a bad habit of skimming over things, not reading instructions thoroughly (or at all), not clarifying or asking for directions --- and then I get bummed out when I miss something…and there are consequences. Ba humbug!

Life is disappointing, at times. Even being a Christian is, too, periodically. But why? Is it because of circumstances, expectations, both, or something else entirely?
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10. ESV.)
Steve Fuller from the Desiring God website stated the following:


(By Steve Fuller. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/gods-promise-for-the-disappointed.)

27John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. (John 3:27. ESV.)

Missing the mark happens. But, I need to long for God most…above all else.

8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8. ESV.)

Amen!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The God of Protection: Two People Shot at a Bus Stop, California

Yesterday afternoon, as I supervised a group of ten and eleven year olds, I heard a pop, pop, pop, pop sound (like firecrackers). It was consecutive and steady without hesitations. I turned my head in the direction of the sound and checked the time…2:02 p.m. I did not see anyone or anything. I surveyed the perimeter of the area in which the children were playing. I could hear sirens in the distance. The first police officer passed our location at 2:06 p.m. Where was he/she going? I continued to watch the borders of the play area and scan the park next door. Other than a few more police vehicles passing in different directions and the mail person, I did not see any other activity. But what was the popping I heard and from where did it come? The children and I went indoors.



I had no confirmation that my suspicion of shots fired was accurate until I got home. I am thankful to God, our sovereign King, that all children and innocent bystanders were safe. What would I have done to protect the kiddos had someone tried to enter the area in which we were doing activities? Who were these people at the bus stop and why did someone shoot at them? Was it a gang related incident? Did the shooter know the individuals or just randomly open fire?

I had no control or information about the situation. Yet, we were safe in the hands of Jesus. A hedge of protection (Job 1:10) was around us when we did not even realize we needed it! How great is our God?

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
(Psalm 91. ESV.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Word Shall Not Return to Me Empty

I saw this picture which says, “Be careful how you live. You will be the only bible some people ever read.” And, the weightiness of it was heavy on me. #1 I think it blows my mind there are individuals who will never pick up and at least skim through the bible. That alone is so difficult for me to wrap my head around. And, to be honest, it makes me sad. The richness of the gospel, the depth and importance of the text, and the love that is the “letter” from God to us is such that my heart grieves for the ones who miss out on it…who do not know God and the magnitude of all that is Him. How can that be? That is like saying someone does not need oxygen to breath. It is unfathomable to me.

#2 The mere thought of me being “the only bible some people ever read” stops me in my tracks. God saves souls…I get that. But the fact I may (or may not) influence one to or from the kingdom is grave. I stumble…a lot. This blog is probably decent proof of that! So, to think of my walk (in the Spirit or in the flesh) as affecting another human being…that is substantial…massive…even burdensome (at times).

Immediately, I think of Jesus saying,
28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30. ESV.)
And Paul, who wrote,
20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:20-21. ESV.)
Further, I cannot help but wonder (always), do those around me see Christ in me. Am I a reflection of Him? I personally do not believe I have been refined enough for an adequate “reflection” to be seen. I am still VERY MUCH a work in progress.

I look at my family. My husband and young adult children are not readers and followers of God’s word. I cannot help but tell myself, “You are doing something wrong! Look at them! They have no interest in all God is, was, and forever will be. One of them even blatantly defies God saying, 'He does not exist!'" Oh, my broken heart. And, when I try to show them my heart they get angry with me. However, I must preach to myself, darkness hates the light. Also, that God made a promise to me saying,
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6. ESV.)
and He will keep His guarantee. He ALWAYS does!

Anyway. “Be careful how you live. You will be the only bible some people ever read.” I am thankful for the reminder and God’s word which says,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11. ESV.)
All honor and glory be to God!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

War Against Your Soul

Three days after the earthquake here in Northern California and it is estimated at least 172 people were injured and there was one billion dollars worth of damage! Thankfully, no deaths.



But even in times such as these, and worse, God is still on His throne! He has not gone anywhere. He has not forsaken His people. We may get angry and shake a fist at Him out of shock, dismay, fear, etc. but like with the Israelites out of Egypt, God leads the way.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6. ESV.)
And His grace is sufficient.
9But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9. ESV.)

Today, I was working on an assignment for my Early Education: Diverse Learners class. The questions included: Do you think the role of schools in society has changed since you were a kid? If so, how? If not, why? Which of the five basic institutions do you see or hear being discussed in the Michael Brown case?

As I am sure you can imagine, my answer was very long winded. (I’m a writer, I like to give page long responses.) But, the reason I mention this is because here are yet more things about which I could be worrying…the state of our nation, discrimination, riots, war, the education of our children, etc. God has that covered, too! So where, exactly, should my focus remain?

11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:11-12. ESV.)

In seeking an answer to this question, I came across the following by Pastor John Piper who suggests,
What these two verses make clear is that there are two tremendous issues in the world. They are, I think, the most important issues in the world. And one of the reasons we know that we are aliens and strangers in the world is that the modern world we live in does not believe that these two issues are the main issues. If the world believed this, the newspaper and the television and the theater and the university and popular music and industry mission statements and government goals would look and sound very different than they do. But in fact we live in a world that shows by its priorities and values and commitments and standards and preoccupations and pleasures that it does not regard these two issues as paramount. In fact, they are not even on the list of the world's priorities.

The two issues that dominate these two verses—and indeed dominate the whole New Testament—are the salvation of the human soul and the glory of God. The two great issues of the Bible are how the soul of man might not be destroyed and how the glory of God might not be belittled
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-war-against-the-soul-and-the-glory-of-god.)

Cross references help me further understand the text:
1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1. ESV.)

16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16. ESV.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

God is Most Glorified in Us When...

I’m having a hard time focusing this morning. Maybe it is because I have not read God’s word yet, today. Once again I woke up in the “middle” of the night. Usually it is around three or four a.m. This morning I got up twice…once because a noise was annoying me and the second, around five a.m., because I was not feeling well. So, I am a bit out of sorts, today. My mind is not engaging as I read through my Early Education: Intro to Instructional Technology assignments for this week.



It is frustrating…I have so much to do. I do not have the time to not be at 100%. This year is teetering on the edge of overwhelming. I know, God willing, it will all get done, though…every bit of it. I just have to take it one day at a time and set my sights on the task at hand. Today, it is school work (Business Law, Macroeconomics, Introduction to Instructional Technology, and Diverse Learners), the kiddos, and extra-curricular activities. And, my house needs to be cleaned (but that is a never ending feat).

Most likely a big part of my problem is being too BUSY (Being Under Satan’s Yoke). Here is the thing, though. If I am not “busy” I am looked upon, by others, as “lazy”. That is not my interpretation or perception. That is how it is. (I have had individuals make comments to me.) I feel obligated to fill every moment of my day with “stuff” or face the consequences. Why? Because there are those around me who work nearly every minute of the day…at a physical location or checking emails and text messages…bringing in an income, etc. I feel like I have nothing to contribute…no monetary donation. I am a full time student working toward a bachelor’s degree and law school. I do raise my children and train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). I work very hard at it and maintaining the home but because it does not pay, it does not count to some. A “real” job, to many, is outside the home and not as a full time student. It is what pays the bills. But here is the thing, also, "bills" do not have to be outrageous! They can be very modest. I like humble. The more stuff there is, the bigger the "bills", and the more hours one has to work. I like less. For me, less is more. Unless it is time with my family...then I cannot get enough!

Once we move out of crazy expensive California, I am hoping for a break in all the “busyness”. Texas moves a little slower and I feel that will be a good change for me and the kids. Of course, I am striving toward law school so a real rest is nowhere on the horizon.

But, I stop in my tracks and am reminded, God did not create me to be “busy” or try to keep up with others…or even to worry about what people think about me. Our purpose is the same but our outlook is different.

We were made to glorify and worship God. THAT is what I should be doing…in everything!
24Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor…. 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:24 and 31-33. ESV.)

And, as Pastor John Piper says,
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/god-is-most-glorified-in-us-when-we-are-most-satisfied-in-him#full-video.)



Can you see Christ in me?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The God of Natural Disasters: California Earthquake

This morning, right before 3:30 a.m. I woke to the shaking of my bed and the blinds on my bedroom window. I am not quite sure which pulled me from sleep…the tremor or the tapping. This was only the second time in sixteen years I had experienced such an occurrence. The first was years ago in Southern California…exactly the same as this. Nothing fell from the shelves, counters, dressers, or high places. The children were still fast asleep, safe in their beds. We were fortunate. There was no damage or injury. Others, were not.

This was a 6.0 earthquake six kilometers Northwest of American Canyon and six miles Southwest of Napa. We live in one of the bordering counties and though a State of Emergency has been declared for our county, we are thankful nothing was destroyed in our area and are prayerful for those who were affected.

Being my own words fall far from adequate regarding God and natural disasters, I will use those of Pastor John Piper. He states,
Who suffers from this fallen world of natural disasters? All of us, Christians included: “Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). For those who cast themselves on the mercy of Christ these afflictions are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And when death comes, it is a door to paradise. But for those who do not treasure Christ, suffering and death are God’s judgment. “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

For children, who are too young to process mentally the revelation of God in nature or Scripture, death is not the final word of judgment. God’s commitment to display his justice publicly means that he does not finally condemn sinful people who could not physically construe natural or special revelation (Romans 1:20). There is a difference between suppressing revelation that one can mentally comprehend (Romans 1:18), and not having a brain sufficient to comprehend it at all. Therefore, when small children suffer and die, we may not assume they are being punished or judged. No matter how horrible the suffering or death, God can turn it for their greater good….

When the Bible says, “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), it does not add, “unless God caused the weeping.” Job’s comforters would have done better to weep with Job than talk so much. That does not change when we discover that Job’s suffering was ultimately from God. No, it is right to weep with those who suffer. Pain is pain, no matter who causes it. We are all sinners. Empathy flows not from the causes of pain, but the company of pain. And we are all in it together.
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/tsunami-sovereignty-and-mercy.)

I feel we are called to
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15. ESV.)
and to serve those who are in need. Which reminds me, I was talking with someone today and expressing how it is my opinion businesses should offer “Disaster Relief” to those who need assistance. I was told some companies drive up their prices during emergencies. Which makes me sick! Why gouge people who have just lost so much…maybe even EVERYTHING? It’s disgusting to me! It should be the opposite. Goods and services should be DONATED or for a MINIMAL “Disaster Relief” Fee instead of double or triple their prices just because they can!

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-20. ESV.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

He is a New Creation

There was a time, after I first got married, when I was not very good at taking care of anyone. I was only used to cleaning up and looking after myself. I was a neat and tidy person. My college room (and apartment/rooms after college) was always spotless…okay, there was once it was not and my roommates were highly surprised! My dishes were washed immediately and put away. And my laundry was done frequently.

I got married, when I was twenty-two years old, to a man who had already been married once before and had two children. Now, I was responsible for doing all of these things for four people. It was very overwhelming, to say the least. To make matters worse to me, hubs had been raised by a woman who kept a pristine home and he was also accustomed to having a wife. I was not used to serving a husband and children. Needless to say, I was pretty bad at it. I had never learned to cook very well, so my meals were mediocre at best. The laundry became out of control and was piled up so high in the laundry room it was nearly impossible to open the door and get in there. I felt outnumbered, unappreciated, and in over my head. I had moved away from my family so there was no one I could look to for assistance or guidance. I just sort of stumbled around in the dark. All the while knowing I was failing miserably at being a Proverbs 31 wife.

Soon our family went from four members to six. Even more mouths to feed and bodies to clothe. Not to mention toys to pick up, dust to wipe away, dirt to sweep, floors to mop, and errands to run. Hubs has always worked long hours so it was usually just me with the kiddos. I worked part time doing this and that…I taught dance classes for a couple years, then ran my own studio for four years, I worked in an office as an administrator for one year and then as a trainer for six months or so, and in a restaurant for a couple years. I think it is fair to say, it was utterly exhausting. I forget about that time in life until someone brings it up. Just recently I was reminded of my crazy laundry pile. When my first biological child was born my family and in-laws came to visit. My beloved dad fixed things around the house that needed mending, my loving mother cleaned my kitchen for me and my devoted brother tackled the massive hill of clothes. He was the king of laundering and I am forever grateful to them for blessing me in such a weighty way. From that day, forward, the mound of soiled underwear, grass stained trousers, and stinky socks never returned.

I am a different person, now. I far exceed what I used to be and wish individuals could forget about the way I once was. It is embarrassing to fall short. Isn’t that how we all feel when we are saved by grace? God makes Himself known to us and the way we used to do things (which makes us cringe just to think about) melts away into who we are as a new creature. Is that not beautiful? Forgiveness is possible. Unfortunately, forgetting is not. No one can wipe their minds clear as if the past did not take place. It is not humanly possible. To say, “It is forgotten,” and for it to actually, physically happen --- to be completely removed --- are not the same. But when God says we are forever transformed by grace alone, that does occur!

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21. ESV.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Following the Course of This World

As my university classes begin and extra-curricular activities gear up, I find myself wondering if I will have time for everything…bible study, studying and assignments, helping the kiddos with their homework, volunteering at the school, kenpo jiu-jitsu, tennis (for one kiddo), fencing (for the other), blogging, chores, etc. (Which reminds me, I have laundry to do! And while I am on the subject, why is it when someone else in the household does a chore it is a big to do? Yet, these are chores I do regularly without fanfare. Just the other day, a family member stated, “I do my own laundry and make dinner three nights a week!” Awesome! I thank you for that! I too do my own laundry (and that of at least two other people) and make dinners! Funny, it is EXPECTED of me but not of others under this roof? I’m just saying. Darn my sin of pride.) Anyway, I am certain it will all work out. There might be a couple hiccups and bugs to iron out in the beginning. With hubs working full time and the kiddos and I being full time students, it means everyone has to pitch in at home or the house will get destroyed quickly. And, I do not want to be BUSY (Being Under Satan’s Yoke), so time management and efficiency are the key.

I am trying to visit with friends I know I will hardly get to see during the course of the year. I had lunch with one dear lady on Sunday and with another, today. Their work or school schedule, plus my own, equals time flying by without fellowship. Boo! I want them (and everyone in my life) to know how truly precious they are to me. Further, on a COMPLETELY different note, I cannot help but stress over my weight. Ridiculous, I know! But I have experienced the “Freshman 15” (well, actually, for me it is 10) and gained ten pounds seemingly overnight…last semester! What is worse, I cannot get it to GO AWAY! I eat healthy AND I work out so I guess I am just going to have to really “trim the fat”, start counting calories, and eliminate any lingering bit of “naughty” indulgence I allow from time to time. Empty calories from alcoholic beverages, the soda here and there, and the occasional dessert. There are Oreos and potato chips in the pantry. The Oreos do not tempt me but those stinking chips do! Not to mention eating dinner late (after 7 pm) and some snacking while studying in the evenings.

But, isn’t our relationship with God kind of like that? The Holy Spirit guides us and burns when we "indulge" in sin but sometimes, it is hard to let certain things go. Especially, right before we are saved by grace. Did you encounter that at all? For me, it was like a tug of war between myself and God…a back and forth. I needed to “die to myself”, take off the old and put on the new. But, the old just wanted to stick to me. My favorite scene in a movie is from “Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. (The book by C.S. Lewis is MUCH better, of course.) In this particular part, a little boy has been turned into a dragon and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot change himself back into a human. Aslan has to come and slash the dragon skin away leaving a forever changed little boy.

I could not save myself. I sure did try diligently, as a child, to apply God’s word to my life and follow His commandments. I promise, I worked really hard at it. But it was impossible for me to do for myself. The bible did not completely make sense and I prayed often to be able to make it my lifestyle. But it was not until GRACE, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that the old was ripped away and I was infinitely a transformed person! Only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can do that. This is something my children and I discuss more frequently, now. I am reading the book Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and it has reminded me of how terribly important it is to make sure my children understand Jesus died for the sins of ALL of us and the Holy Spirit guides us.

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10. ESV.)

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