Friday, June 28, 2013

It Has Never Been About You

Read this from Spurgeon this was such a blessing and yet so convicting. Grateful for Jesus who grants us grace despite of our unfaithfulness. Grateful for Jesus who grants me grace even when I attempt to be self-righteous. Very humbling. If you only read one of my posts, read this one.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus.
It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu's blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu's name."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Predestination *Gasp*

I know, I know. Predestination is not the most enjoyable discussion ever. But, I realized that in my last post, I said that I would address it, and I totally forgot about it. Therefore, I’m going to give some insight that I received (ultimately through God) from Beth Moore. My mom lent me some of her old audio tapes from Moore’s Sunday school class and a session on predestination was on there. Being a young lass who hasn’t even chipped the surface of theological doctrines, predestination has always been a topic that makes me anxious and uncomfortable. It’s a topic that I have so many questions about, but my brain can’t even handle the complexity of predestination so I don’t even know how to phrase the questions I do have.

So, for those of you who are like me and are still unsure of how to swallow the idea of election, these notes are for you. Beth Moore waltzes gracefully into the complex idea of predestination with the best possible attitude a Christian can have with difficult doctrines in the Bible – total awe and submission to the sovereignty of Christ. You ready to dive into this sucker? Let’s do it.

·         Ephesians 1:4-6 “even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

·         We must love the body of Christ even when we disagree on points of doctrine

·         Both sides – Arminianism vs. Calvinism – have Scriptural evidence

·         “Both sides are right. In our human minds, we can’t understand how what seems two contradictory statements could be right, but in the omniscience of God, they are, and He will prove Himself right.” (paraphrased quote from Beth Moore’s former pastor)

·         Let’s not be cowards and think denominationally over Scripture but think as children of God

·         A.W. Tozer: “pouring over this issue may make us theologians, but it will not make us saints”

·         Vs. 4 “chose” God picked us out for Himself

·         Vs. 5 “predestined” begins with “in love” (end of vs. 4) and ends with “grace” (beginning of vs. 6)

·         When we hear predestination, we should immediately think of God’s love and grace, not with meanness or prejudice

·         What’s the basis for this election?

1.       The Sovereignty of God

§  He doesn’t owe us an explanation

2.       We have absolutely no idea

§  This subject is beyond our comprehension

3.    Implications of Matthew 22:1-14

§  Parable of the wedding feast – helps us understand a glimpse of heaven

§  Vs. 5 shows 2 types of people:

·         Complete refusal

·         Too busy to think about it

§  Vs. 10 “good or bad” on the basis of grace, not on their past

§  Is. 61:10 in context of a wedding

§  They must come to God by God’s requirements and not their own; they must be clothed in salvation (parallel to the wedding garments in Matt. 22) through Jesus; He chooses those who choose Him

·         Rom. 9:21-22 the other side: election for wrath

·         God’s sovereignty cannot be separated from His foreknowledge

·         1 Peter 1:1-2

·         We have not been chosen apart from foreknowledge

·         He knew in advance what was being chosen

·         Rom. 8:28-29 foreknowledge undergirds predestination

·         Rom. 11:1-6, 25-36

1.       Vs. 5 this remnant is chosen by grace

2.       Vs. 33 we need to be more like Paul in our reaction to difficult questions rather than being dogmatic

3.    “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just a Hodge-Podge of Thoughts

So I really wanted to blog today, but I don’t really have a clue on what I want to write about. The Lord’s been teaching me a lot these past couple of weeks, but they’re just short little snip bits – little glimpses of the wisdom of the Creator. So, I’m going to give you a very, very long blog, filled with insights on all kinds of topics, from studying the Bible to abuse to predestination. These aren’t light and fluffy issues, but I think they are issues that Christians need to address. Read what you want – please don’t feel like you have to read this whole thing. I encourage you to read the Scripture references that are provided. It’ll definitely help give some context through my scattered notes and will provide wisdom and truth. I pray that the Lord would speak to you through these topics as He has spoken to me.
These topics I learned about were from a church camp I went to two weeks ago. The leaders at this camp covered a vast array of subjects and these are some of the notes I jotted down during their sermons. They’re kind of scattered…sorry ‘bout that. Also sorry for the awkward spacing...don't know how that happened. Points that really stuck out to me or head sections are bolded. Enjoy!
The Problem of Evil
·         It’s a theological and emotional issue
·         What is evil?
o   Moral evil: caused by man, ex. Newtown shooting
o   Natural evil: caused by natural means, ex. Tsunami of ‘05
·         Luke 13: Jesus addresses both these kinds of evil; it’s a call to repentance
·         “Pain is God’s megaphone to the world.” –C.S. Lewis
·         Is God sovereign? Is He in total control? (*read all of these!*)

o   Ps. 115:3
o   Ps. 135:6
o   Eph. 1:11
o   Deut. 32:39
o   Dan. 4:35
o   Is. 46:10
o   Prov. 16:9
o   Prov. 16:33
o   1 Peter 3:17 He’s also in control of our suffering

·         Is man responsible?

o   Acts 2:22-23
o   Acts 4:27-28
o   1 Peter 2:8
o   Luke 22:22

·         We know from Scripture:

o   Man is responsible for his actions

o   God is sovereign over evil

o   God does not sin or tempt men to sin (James 1:13)
·         Biblical Suffering

o   Job 38:1-12 God questions Job…kind of terrifying

o   Job 40:1-14

o   Job 42:1-6
·         Scripture never assumes that God owes us an explanation
·         Scripture is not centered around what makes man happy, like clear answers to difficult questions
·         If we’re honest, we don’t want justice; we want happiness
·         We’re in rebellion against God – what does He owe us?
·         2 Good Things About Evil:

o   Evil brings about greater good; ex. Stephen martyred for this faith (Acts 7), Jesus dying on the cross; even the most unexplainable evil is used for greater purposes

o   God is glorified even in the punishment of evil

·         If God is the most satisfying thing for us, the most loving thing He could do is give us more of Himself, which is what the Fall did. When we suffer and are surrounded by the results of evil, it makes us run to God for safety and security

·         We’re not only the victims of evil but the instigators

·         Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, really it only happened once and He volunteered for it (*cough cough Jesus*)

·         Sometimes we think Jesus owes us the cross, that we don’t deserve His wrath. But we do

·         2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 3:21-26

·         Jesus is a man of sorrow acquainted with grief – He is with us in our loss.


·         Main passages: 1 Peter 1 and 1 Thessalonians 4

·         Jesus should be the center of our sexuality

·         When we’re participating in sexual activity, we’re either worshiping ourselves and the human body or we’re glorifying God and worshiping Him

·         How and why God created sex:

o   God created sex for His glory

o   Sex exists for our pleasure

·         1 Peter 1:14-16

o   We’re called to be holy as God is holy holy: being completely devoted to the glory of God in everything

o   Humble yourself; set your affections on God

·         1 Thess. 4:1-3

o   Sanctification: process of God bringing us into holiness and making us more like Jesus

o   Sexual immorality: 2 people not married doing things only married people should do

o   Sex has to be a part of our sanctification – it should make us more like Jesus

o   Our sex-life, whether abstaining or taking part, should further us in our sanctification

o   Ephesians 5:26 He wants to wash us with the Word of God

o   You can’t clean yourself enough for God to approve of you

o   How we abstain (1 Thess. 4)

§  Please God by surrendering (vs.1)

§  Don’t live life by your own will – surrender your life to the will of God (vs. 3)

§  The call of God (vs. 7)

§  Understand God’s holiness (vs. 5, 7)

o   Why we abstain

§  To please God (vs. 1) different than earning His favor

§  It’s an act of obedience (vs.2)

§  To honor God and honor others (vs. 4)

§  To love others and not sin against them

§  Because God’s the avenger (vs. 6)

Desiring What God Desires (Girls only)

·         Eve

o   God designed us to desire leadership

§  The serpent caused her to doubt

§  She knew the instruction

§  Eve was tempted

§  Eve, like us, desired to be led

§  God is your authority

§  Satan tempted Eve with a physical need…we do that to ourselves. Ex. Body image: not eating would be good for us so we can get skinny and “healthy” (stupid)

·         Adam did well in carrying out the commandments but not protecting it

·         Girls: we shouldn’t want an Adam, who takes no responsibility, doesn’t execute what the Lord commands, and who lays the blame on anyone but himself

·         Is. 26:3; 1 Tim. 1:12

·         Phil. 4:8 how Satan got Eve – attacking her thoughts. Protect your thoughts!

·         1 John 2:16

·         Satan will attack:

o   Desires of the heart

o   Desires of the eyes

·         Eve cont.

o   To be lead means you choose to submit

§  Surrender my will

§  Understand the blessing of being protected

§  Believe the design is for your protection

§  Mark of spiritual growth and maturity

§  Intentionally say “no” to temptation

§  Testimony of faith

·         Ruth

o   The desire to be pursued (pursuing prepares you for the pursuit)

§  Pursuit of God and family

§  Understand your position: live well, serve well

§  Rest in God’s plan

§  Safety

§  Under authority

o   2:19-23 even though Boaz was kind and told the men not to harm her, Ruth chose Naomi’s authority and stayed with the young women

·         Boaz vs. Bozo

o   Boaz

§  Builder of others

§  Open and follows God’s will

§  Acts with Christ-like character

§  Zeal (passion/eagerness) for the Lord

o   Bozo

§  Builder of himself (arrogant)

§  Open to his own plans

§  Zealous for worldly philosophies

§  Obstinate

·         Mary: The Desire for Knowing God

o   Luke 10:38-42

§  Mary was attentive to Jesus and sat at His feet

§  Was not distracted by what Martha was doing

o   John 15:1-11

o   Abiding in Christ will produce fruit in your life

·         Galatians 5:22 Fruit of the Spirit (not issues of behavior but issues of the heart)

o   Love: brotherly love, affection, good will

o   Joy: gladness, rejoicing

o   Peace: quietness, steadfastness

o   Patience: endurance, steadfastness

o   Kindness: gentleness, integrity, (sometimes, being honest is kind), teachable

o   Goodness: uprightness of heart and life

o   Faithfulness: character of one who can be relied on: confidence springing from faith in Christ (gossip ruins this…DON’T DO IT)

o   Gentleness: humility

o   Self-control: temperate (pleasant), can’t do it alone, have to submit; Rom. 7:18

Just a Random Thought:

This was just a random thought God gave me at church camp that I thought was a cool connection.

If you’ve grown up in church, you’ve probably heard the illustration of salvation being like Jesus giving us a bath – He has washed away our sins and made us pure and clean. I heard this illustration once again at camp, and I thought this was cool:

When you take a bath/shower, you have to have soap, right? And besides washing away your dirt, it also makes you smell good. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” So not only did Jesus’ sacrifice make Him a pleasant aroma, but we as Christians are commanded to live a life that is a pleasant aroma to others and that conforms to the image of Christ. Being this pleasant fragrant can only be done by the grace we find in Jesus’ sacrifice when He cleansed us of our sins.

When you’re taking a bath, you use water to rinse off the soap, right?  Jesus is that water, but not just any water…living water. Jesus tells a Samaritan woman about this water in John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus offers us salvation, Living water of which we will forever be satisfied. This beautiful gift is given to us by His blood and sacrifice as He washes us of our filth and instead gives us His righteousness.

A Beautiful Song

Here’s a song we sang at camp. Along with just the beautiful sound of it, the lyrics - especially the bridge – really blessed me.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

 I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

 Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

 I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

 Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Being Yoked with Christ (for girls only)

·         Lamentations 3:21-29

·         We all labor for something…

o   Either to live out the Gospel gloriously with the help and counsel of the Holy Spirit or

o   To survive, find acceptance, excel with our lack and inability found in ourselves

o   So…we are either yoked with Christ or yoked to ourselves

o   The easy and restful yoke Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:15

o   The yoke of slavery to a master here on earth. Gal. 5:1

·         Owner determines value concept

o   Your owner/slave master could be:

§  Image: what others think of you

§  Body: Ecc. 7:26

§  Performance

§  Beauty: Is. 3:16,24 branded slave

§  Significance: craving someone’s recognition

§  A boy

§  Sex


o   Do not be unequally yoked

o   Do not be yoked to the will of your flesh

o   Gal. 5:17

·         Two options:

o   Feel the effects of a battle within

o   Feel nothing because of surrender

·         Pride and the proud flesh illustration…Hosea 13:6

·         Pride is where the conception of sin takes place

·         Our battle plan:

o   Cling to Scripture: Heb. 4:12-13

§  If you omit scripture, you will commit the darkness that is inside you

o   Have confidence in the Lords’ love and desire for you

o   Hosea 11:1-8

·         Christ longs to be yoked with us. He wants to labor with us. He wants to let you in on the victory He experiences over your sin and dark mind

·         Christ wants to battle our flesh with us.

·         Our flesh = our ego in ourselves that feels empty but hates the idea of filling the emptiness with Christ…so do not feed your flesh!

·         Rom. 8:14-15

·         If you are enslaved to sin…there is hope! There is redemption. You have already been bought out of your slavery! Not with money, but with the blood of Christ!

·         My salvation and redemption required the death of Christ. My life separated from sin and darkness requires the death of me!

·         Leviticus 26:13; Jeremiah 31:4; Ps. 34


What to Look for in a Man (For girls only, obviously. Yeah, lots of girl sessions)

·         Perversion of gender roles

o   Chauvinistic: women have no rights

o   Feministic: men have no rights

·         This perversion started with the failure of manhood: twice in NT says that Eve was deceived and Adam disobeyed

·         Don’t go find a good dude… go find Jesus

·         A godly man will cultivate (work to produce fruit) in the relationship

·         Men are to be fighters:

o   To guard your heart and purity

o   To keep a godly household

o   To kill your guilt

·         Your man will not love you well if he doesn’t love the Word of God more than you

·         Watch how a guy treats his mom because it’s practice for how he will treat you


·         Genesis 1:26-27 up till this point, there’s been a consistent pattern of God speaking creative words (ex. “Let there be light” and “God saw that the light was good”). Now there’s a break in the pattern: God’s not just speaking a creative word but having a conversation with the Son; break in the pattern because we’re the only creation made in His image

·         Gen. 2:18 God says His creation is not good because man was alone. He created Adam for a relationship

·         Marriage is an example of how God takes natural things and uses them as a reflection of heavenly realities (ex. Butterfly pic of life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)

·         Eph. 5:25-33 Paul quotes Genesis

·         Marriage isn’t just about husbands and wives, but the Gospel. What you say about marriage is said about the Gospel

·         “our theology is in our fingertips”, in how you live

·         The men/women in your life are probably not gonna marry you, so be careful in how you treat someone else’s husband/wife

Abuse and Forgiveness

·         What you do with abuse is your responsibility

·         Time does not heal all wounds – Jesus does

·         Warnings

o   Can’t have superficial motto: “Forgive and forget”

o   Don’t look for “functional saviors”: dive into being a good kid

o   Just because this has happened to you, doesn’t mean you have new freedom to sin

o   Don’t totally shut off  because then you’ll have no way to make relationships

o   Don’t minimize it. All sin is not the same. What was done to you was completely evil

·         Col. 3:12-13; Matt. 18:21-25; Matt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:17-21

·         Need to release bitterness and anger. We were not made for wrath or vengeance

·         If you’ve been abused, there’s a danger that you will abuse

·         We have to find our identity in Christ

·         Where was Jesus when this happened to you? He was sovereign, sitting on His throne. One the throne, He has scarred hands and feet…He knows your suffering

·         He not only redeemed us from our own sin but also redeemed us from the sin committed against us

·         Matt. 11:28-30

·         Identity in Christ: look at Ephesians 1

·         Jesus’ goodness is so much bigger than what happened to you

·         Forgiveness is not pretending that it’s not a big deal, and does not mean they don’t deserve serious consequences

How to Study the Bible

·         We have serious highs and serious lows because we’re not studying the Bible or not studying it well

·         If we know it’s important to study the Bible, why don’t we do it?

·         3 tips on how to study the bible:

o   Wake up early, or at least pick a time that you can be consistent with

o   Get a literal transition of the Bible and a notebook

§  Notebook: can get 2, one for sermons and stuff you hear from other people and another for your own personal study

o   Go through one book of the Bible slowly, don’t skim

§  Ex. Phil. 2:17 “drink offering’, if you didn’t know what that meant, then take time to study the sacrificial system

·         How to go in depth? Get commentaries. Some options:

o   James Boice

o   NIV application Bible commentary

o   The Word biblical commentary

·         Don’t be governed by your feelings during your study – be obedient

The New Atheism

·         Rom. 1:18-25 the exchange – mankind exchanged God’s righteousness for lies

·         Secularization

o   It used to be impossible not to believe (into the Medieval world)

o   It became possible not to believe (the Enlightenment)

o   The first big problem: it’s impossible to prove a “universal negative”. Ex. To say that “there is no God”, you’d have to have knowledge over everything – they’d have to be God

o   “The Four Horsemen” (the 4 guys leading this movement of “the new atheism”)

§  Richard Dawkins

·         Calls himself “The Devil’s Chaplain”, attacks Christianity, proposes militant atheism

§  Christopher Hitchens

·         Died in ‘l1, says religion is sexually oppressive

§  Daniel Dennett

·         Says Darwinian evolution is the “universal acid”, trying to come up with totally naturalistic understanding of human consciousness

§  Sam Harris

·         Says “science must destroy religion”

§  Victor Stenger (taking Hitchens’ spot)

·         What’s “new” about it?

o   Focus: focused on Christians; old atheists were philosophers, not natural scientists

o   Audience: the masses, not the academy; not writing on a scholarly level; selling millions of copies

o   Tone: they are angry; old were cordial and dispassionate, actually dealing with the question; new are mean-spirited

o   Grouding: the natural sciences rather than philosophy; the new guys; philosophies suck

o   Aim: to eradicate Christianity from the planet

o   Tolerance: want to abolish all religious tolerance

o   Ignorance: regarding history and classical Christian proofs

o   Zeal: they’re launching an evangelical campaign

·         Is it working?

o   Yes…unfortunately. In the US in the last 5 years, “unaffiliated” grew from 15% to 20%; 3% to 6% say they’re atheist/agnostic; 72.8% of philosophy professors “accept or lean towards atheism”

·         Why?

o   Rejection of authority

o   Poor representation of Christianity

o   Emotional overreaction to the problem of evil

·         How should we respond?

o   Don’t be afraid…the truth is on our side – worldviews matter

o   Get grounded and think critically

o   Put your hope in the Gospel – we need to have a greater zeal for the Gospel than atheists have for attacking the Gospel

·         The New Atheists have no answers for:

o   Origin

o   Meaning/purpose/value

o   Morality

o   Science

o   Human consciousness

A Call to Missions: The Power of the Holy Spirit

·         Acts 1:4-8

·         Jesus promised the disciples the Holy Spirit and that He would be their power

·         Rom. 8:11; John 14:15-17; John 16:7

·         The power of the Holy Spirit keeps us from cowardice; He refreshes the Gospel daily

·         Acts 8:4-8 Philip witnessed in Samaria which was a fulfillment of what Jesus said in Acts 1:8

·         Revelation 7:1

·         Our desire should be that the power of God would rest upon us

·         There is no need to be afraid to share the Gospel

Well…that’s it! I hope the Lord gave you insight on this issues…I know He definitely gave me some. Have a fabulous evening and don’t forget to spend some time with the Lord! Happy Monday!