Tuesday, March 19, 2019
C.S Lewis once wrote "To love is to be vulnerable."
According to dictionary.com vulnerable means...
"capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt"
"open to assault; difficult to defend:"
Who wants to be vulnerable? It means you're open to being wounded, hurt, and you're exposed. When it comes to being vulnerable there's no where to hide.
But C.S Lewis said that "To love is to be vulnerable." Huh ? We're supposed to be vulnerable?
That goes against our culture today. We use sarcasm as a defense, we build up walls so high that no one could tear them down, we betray one another, talk about one another behind our backs. So what happened to love?
Quick note: In this post I'm not talking about romantic love, but about love for one another
1 Corinthians 13 isn't nicknamed the love chapter for nothing. It talks about love, about what love is. But the chapter opens up talking about how without love, nothing is worth anything. Think about it for a minute. I mean without love, what would be worth anything?
The word love is mentioned in the book of 1 John twenty-six times (in the CSB version). Yeah, John wrote a lot about love.
1 John 3:1, "See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him."
1 John 3:16, "This is how we have come to know love: Christ laid down His life for us."
1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:10, "Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us."
We are deeply loved by the God of the universe! How could we not show that love to others?
When we love someone we have to allow ourselves to become vulnerable with them. And who better than with the One who made us? Don't be afraid to talk to God about anything, He's not scared off by scars, pain, and hurt. He wants you to talk to Him.
Also, I'm not saying you need to become vulnerable with everyone you come across. I'm just saying that in general, loving is becoming vulnerable. When you open yourself up to love others, you're also opening yourself up to pain. But its worth it.
What're your thoughts about love? What's your favorite Bible verse about love? What do you think about vulnerability?
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
"I know that this is truth." I whisper to myself.
"But is it really?... How do I truly know this is truth?" I second guess myself for the millionth time.
"I know this is truth." I repeat.
"What proof do I have? Even if it is truth what can I do about it?...."
If you've ever had a thought process like this ^ before, we have something in common. Last week I posted about truth and how we need to read truth to discern Satan's lies. But even if we know something is true, it's hard to believe that it's true.
That may sound a bit contradictory, but think about it. Believe means having confidence in something, know means understanding something as a fact. While you may know as a fact that something is true, it can be hard to have confidence in that truth to response accordingly.
So right now I'm going to talk about freedom and grace. And where better to dive in than to look at God's Word?
I would never be able to choose a favorite book of the Bible. However, Galatians is definitely in my top five. It talks about freedom and grace, along with many other truths. Here are some verses that we'll dig more into...
1:15,"... who from my mother's womb set me apart and called me by His grace..."
2:21, "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing."
3:26, "for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus."
4:7, "So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir."
4:9, "But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
5:1, "For freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery."
5:13, "For you were called to be free..."
6:15, "... what matters instead is a new creation."
Wow! What amazing verses!
I have a question for you... Do you understand what the grace of God truly is?
Before you answer that think really hard while I ask another question: Do you put the pressure on yourself to do things for Jesus that perhaps just seem like the right things to do? Do you try to earn God's favor by doing things for Him?
I do not believe that we can get to heaven through any way, but through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). I do not believe that we can have access to God through our own works and actions.
But sometimes I struggle to believe in the abounding grace of God.
I hadn't even realized this until recently. Sometimes I try to do this life on my own. On my own terms. On my own strength.
That isn't the way we were called to live. As Galatians 5:13 says, "For you were called to be free,". Grace and freedom go hand in hand. God has such amazing grace on us that He sent His One and Only Son to die on a cross to set us free from our sins.
Okay, so I know you may be thinking, what in the world does this all have to do with truth? Good question... for a moment there I was kind of wondering where this post was going (God's got this under control).
Satan attacks us. He knows our weaknesses. For some of us that comes in the form of insecurity, doubts, and fears. He can cause us to question who we are in Christ. He can cause us to doubt God's unfailing grace. He can cause us to feel as if we aren't free. He tempts us to go back into bondage.
That's why it's so important to remember truth! What does grace and freedom have to do with true? This grace and freedom we have in Christ is truth.
God's grace is unfathomable. We can only hope to scratch the surface of His grace!
One of my favorite songs is Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United. It's a great song if you wanted to listen to it (click here to listen to it).
What're your thoughts on truth, grace, and freedom? What are some of your favorite Bible verses about freedom and grace? In what ways do you struggle to believe God's grace and to live in His freedom?
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
We are constantly bombarded by messages. Through social media, from friends, through school and work, we are surrounded by messages. But most of the messages we hear are false. We hear lies on a daily basis. So what is truth?
John 14:6, "Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""
Jesus is Truth. He never lies. His Word is true.
But Satan is the father of lies. Lies come from Satan.
John 8:44... "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies."
If we want to know Truth, we have to spend time with Jesus and in His Word. But spending time in His Word shouldn't be an obligation, it shouldn't be something we want to get over with. Spending time in the Bible, reading the very words He inspired and spoke, should be something we desire to do.
Psalm 119 talks about God's Word, about delighting in His Word and about keeping His commands.
Here are some verses that stick out to me from the passage...
Vs. 11... "I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you."
Vs. 25... "My life is down in the dust; give me life through your word."
Vs. 37... "Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways."
Vs. 47... "I delight in your commands, which I love."
It's a beautiful passage. I especially love verse 37.
While we are always going to hear lies on this earth, there are certain things we can do to help. For instance, if you notice that getting on social media, or perhaps a particular book or movie series is effecting you negatively, maybe you could try taking a break from it. Like I've said before, sometimes there are things that aren't necessarily bad but they could still have a negative effect on you.
I love what Paul writes in Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things."
Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable... we are to dwell on these things. So often our thoughts are no where near any of those words. But if we spend time in Truth that's what our mind will be filled with.
One more thing, lies are exactly what they're called, lies. Lies can lead to insecurities, fears, doubts, and more. Set your mind on truth and treat lies for what they are.
Colossians 3:2, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Psalm 26:3, "For your faithful love guides me, and I live by your truth."
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
What is sin?
It's the three letter word that seems to haunt us. But sometimes we wonder... what is sin? Yes, murder is definitely a sin and so is stealing. But is it really wrong to say a little lie? Or to watch this TV show that maybe glorifies the wrong sort of thing?
Sin is anything that is displeasing or dishonoring to God. Sin is anything apart from God.
I think Paul puts it best....
1 Corinthians 10:23, "“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up."
I think what trips us up most of the time aren't the sins that are obvious, but the ones that are generally accepted, or what we do with the privacy of our own phone or computer.
There are certain things in life that are shown as they are: evil. But more often than not, a lot of things are glorified that are sins as well.
Jesus said that hatred and anger against someone is as bad as murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
Gossiping is sin. Sure, a lot of the time we don't call it that but talking about someone negatively behind their back is gossip.
Lying... no matter how big or small the lie is... is sin.
Oh and please don't think that what you do without anyone else's knowledge stays hidden. Luke 12:2 says, "There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known." God knows everything that you do.
But also other things. Maybe there's a book series or a TV show that's popular and you know that it glorifies things that the Bible clearly states is wrong. Even if something isn't necessarily bad doesn't mean that it's what's best. As Paul said, not everything is beneficial.
That's why it is so important to guard our ears, our eyes, and beware of where we go. What we fill our minds with is evident through our actions and words.
I think sin is one of the subjects that we avoid. At least we avoid talking about our sin. But as Romans 3:23 says, we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is grace and forgiveness, though!
One thing, however. I'm not writing this post trying to accuse you, or trying to judge you. Only God has the right to judge. I'm writing this post from love. I'm writing this post as much to myself as I am to you. When we sin against God it breaks His heart. He wants to have a loving relationship with us. But when we sin we're stepping away from Him. He wants us to repent and to live for Him.
God said to not have any idols before Him and when we put something in our lives before Him, that's an idol.
But we can learn from these times! Walking with Jesus is a lifelong thing. Being a Christian isn't being on time for church on Sundays, or serving with kids (those things are great though). Being a follower of Jesus means walking with Him. Not a step ahead or behind Him. But when we sin we seem to step off to the side of the path. But if we do that we're going to get behind and lose our way. We learn from these times.
Let's try to live for Jesus in all areas of our lives. That may mean to stop reading a certain book series, or perhaps to be more careful of what we say. Remember, while a lot of things aren't necessarily bad, they can still trip us up and aren't always beneficial.
1 Corinthians 10:31, " So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God."