Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Raising the Bar: Being pure in an impure world

This past Sunday night I heard a very encouraging sermon about re-thinking sexuality based on what the Bible says about it and not what our culture (even the contemporary Christian culture) says about it. God has very high standards, and He expects His people, called by His name, to uphold those standards and live by those standards.  Not in our own strength, but in His own strength.

Since hearing that sermon, however, I have been horrified to discover not only the impurity around me, but the depth of impurity of my own heart.  What's probably more horrifying than discovering the impurity around me and in me, though, is that I'm not always as horrified at it as I ought to be.  It's as if I've grown to accept it--I'll never be pure; the world will never be pure; why fight it?  That's truly horrifying!

Christ died so that He might present His Church--His Bride--holy and without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27).  He died to sanctify us!  And the Bible also says that we are to live pure and blameless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Philippians 2:15).  We aren't only looking forward to our eventual glorification, but we are to be holy lights amidst the darkness of this present world!  If we just lie down and die, the light of the Gospel in this world is snuffed out!!

So, what do we do when we've raised the bar on purity to be what the Bible says and not what people say?  When we're presented with our own depravity as well as the wickedness of the world around us? Do we throw up our hands and say it's hopeless?  No!  Christ is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)!

Let the darkness within and the darkness without, then, drive you to your knees in prayer, struggling against sin!  Let it break your heart!  Be penitent over your own sin, pleading with God for deliverance, and then go to Him on behalf of others.  Ask Him for mercy and grace--that He might change the world, and make you a holy vessel so that He might use you to do so (2 Timothy 2:21).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dealing with Loneliness

This post is about dealing with loneliness, dear single friend, because let's just face reality; some days you'll feel lonely; you're human.  What can you do in that hour?  What does God expect you to do?

Well, God expects you to call on Him in prayer.  Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me, He says. (Psalm 50:15)

Now, that doesn't mean He necessarily has a mate lined up for you just around the corner.  But it does mean that He will deliver you out of your trouble.

Here are some ways God uses our loneliness for our good and His glory:

  1. It Brings Us to Our Knees.  It humbles us.  Loneliness makes us run to the Lord in prayer, crying out to Him for deliverance.
  2. It Makes Us Sympathetic.  Loneliness is pain, and pain to a Christian has many sanctifying effects.  It can make us sympathetic to others who are experiencing the same pain so we can minister the love of God to them.
  3. It Lets Us Share in Christ's Sufferings.  Jesus was lonely.  Most of His friends and followers forsook Him and fled.  Even God the Father had to forsake Him, because Christ became sin on our behalf.  Jesus experienced a loneliness that you will never have to experience, dear Christian.  And He experienced it on your behalf.  Thank Him and praise Him for that.
  4. It Reminds Us of the Pains of Hell.  Loneliness, just like any pain, should remind us of the plight of the lost.  Their eternal destiny.  And it should make us weep that they are Hell-bound.  It should make us go to our knees in prayer for them and give us renewed resolve to share the ever-blessed Gospel with them.
Loneliness can be a boon to your soul.  Let it have its perfect work and conform you to the image of Christ.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Context of John 3:16

This is something I posted on my Facebook profile recently. Just something I've been thinking about. I pray it's a blessing.
I was thinking about the context of John 3:16. Jesus is telling Nicodemus of how Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (see Numbers 21) and comparing Himself to that bronze serpent, which if the people looked upon they were healed. 
Why did the people need healing? Because they had sinned against God and God had sent serpents among them to bite them and to slay them. The people were under God's judgement, but as an expression of mercy God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and caused that anyone who looked upon that serpent would be healed.

What did it mean for an Israelite, bitten by a serpent, to look upon that bronze serpent? It meant acknowledging that he or she had sinned against God and that he or she needed the mercy of God in order to be healed. It meant BELIEVING that looking upon that serpent would be efficacious in their healing.

In the same way, JESUS was lifted up because we have sinned and are under the judgement of God. We are all bitten by the serpent. We are all slowly perishing. But one look at Jesus, believing that He is efficacious to take away the poison and save us from death, and we too will be healed. We too shall be saved.

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Much love to you all!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to Have a Very Happy Valentines Day! =)

Happy (Saint) Valentine's Day!

Original image by Sadie Daniels
I don't ascribe to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church about the canonization of saints or the observance of feast days, but for what it's worth, I'll wish my fellow sisters- and brothers-in-Christ a Happy Valentines Day.

Without knowing the history behind St Valentine's Day, we all pretty much know what it's become. It's become a day to celebrate "love" ... that special someone in your life.

For those of us who are single, it can present a trial and a difficulty. How can I be happy on Valentine's Day?! Especially when all my friends and family have dates and I am once again...alone...?

Don't despair, dear friend! =) We have One Who sympathizes with our weaknesses... remember? Let's go to Him in prayer...every day, but especially today.

My challenge to all you single Christians out there is to PRAY today!

Here are some things I'd like you to take to God in prayer:

  1. Your singleness. Ask the Lord for joy and contentment in His will for you.
  2. Your future spouse. Not asking the Lord for a husband or wife, but praying for that person...that they'd be content, that they'd be patient, that they'd have joy in Christ, and that they'd be busy about and zealous for the Lord's work.
  3. For other single believers. Pray that they would have joy in Christ and delight to do His will.
  4. For those you have had relationships with in the past that did not work out. Pray against and confess any and all bitterness and resentment. Pray for that person. For their growth in the faith and that they would know and love God. Pray for their future spouse.
  5. For the lost. Those who do not know the love of God as you do.
  6. Last, but absolutely not least...exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. Say, "Lord, even as I pray for my future spouse, even so, Lord, Your will be done." Confess your love for Him. Spend time thanking Him for all He has done for you; for His love for you. Thank the Father for the Son and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank Him that you are adopted as a son of God. Thank Him that you know that same Love that brought salvation to the world and that you will spend all eternity with Him!