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humbly receiving all the gifts my sweet savior has graciously lavished on me

Posts tagged the bible

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God doesn’t choose who we would choose

Disclaimer: My thoughts might be jumbled, so bear with me. There is just too many things I am trying to say. 

I’m reading through the Bible Chronologically with my local Church. We’ve been in Genesis for most of the month of January, just now moving into Exodus. One of the themes the has been impressed upon me is that

God doesn’t choose whom we would choose.

 

Take for instance Joseph, great guy. Coat of Many Colors. Interprets Dreams. Saves the World from famine. Forgives everyone. Great Guy. Surely he’s the chosen one of Jacob’s sons. Surely he’s the one that will carry on Jacob’s line to the Coming Christ, the Redeemer of Israel. Nope, he’s not. Judah is. Who’s Judah? Oh, he’s the guy kind of thrown in the middle of Joseph’s story.Besides being one of the jealous brothers who sold his own kin into slavery without a forethought, He broke the traditions of sacred law, and slept with a prostitute who turned out to be his daughter-in-law. Yep, He’s the one who gets be apart of the lineage of Christ.

 

430 years later, Exodus begins. And there is this amazing Leader, Moses. God uses him to rescue the Israelite people out of slavery. He takes on the greatest empire in the world at that time, and wins. Moses: who saw God and lived! Moses: whom God audibly spoke to. Perfect Ancestor for Christ, right? 2 Rescuers of Israel, one from physical slavery, one from spiritual slavery. Nevertheless, Moses is not in the lineage of Christ. Go look it up, Matthew 1. He’s not there. But guess who shows up a few generations later? Rahab, a women who is not even an Israelite! She’s a prostitute of Jericho who aided 2 Israelite spies in their time of need. Sure, she had a small part in the victories of Israel, but not anything compared to the part Moses played. Yet, God chose Rahab. 

 

God chose Judah, not Joseph. He chose Rahab, not Moses. and Many Generations later, once Christ had finally come, He chose Fishermen, not Pharisees. 

 

God doesn’t choose whom he would choose. 

 

What does this mean to me? How does this knowledge affect my life? It humbles me and then it astounds me. You see, I’m closer to a Pharisee than I am to a Fishermen. I’m closer to Moses than I am to Rahab. I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian School. I know what the Bible says. I know the Lord. I’m a natural Leader. I’m Prideful. I am stubborn. And a lot of times, I think I know better than God does. I look at People like Rahab and the disciples and I see malleable clay. People who were open and obedient to the call of God on their lives. Of course God used them. And then I see Moses and Nicodemus: Good upbringing, yet Stubborn and Proud. Moses challenged God every step of the way. Why God didn’t strike him down by the burning bush and pick a more obedient fellow astounds me. How God could use someone like them, like me, is miraculous. 

So, if Godn’t doesn’t choose whom we would choose, whom does he chose? He chooses the malleable. He chooses the humble and the obedient- those who will surrender themselves to his call.  That is his only condition. Come and Surrender all to him. May we be less proud and stubborn, and more obedient and willing. 


Filed under genesis exodus the bible leadership God

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2 Corinthians 6: 3-10 

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and so that our ministry will not be found blemished.  But in everything we do, we unite ourselves as servants of God, patiently enduring troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We present ourselves in purity(uprightness of life), in understanding, in patience, and in kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our unfeigned love(agape not phileo), by speaking words of truth, by God’s power working in us, by using the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense, by serving God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are regarded as deceivers, and yet are true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, having nothing and yet possessing everything. 

Filed under Corinthians suffering the bible trust

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Oh how He loves….

I’m in process. Let me explain.

This past July I sat on the shoreline of Panama City Beach, and poured out my insecurities to God. The biggest and most problematic one: I don’t really believe God loves me, just as I am. I am guilty of playing the “faith by works” card, and when I fail at that, I give myself penance and I shy away from God, knowing that I don’t deserve him. So, as I sat on the beach, I asked God to tell why he should love me. I asked God to show me his love for me, to give me proof that he loved me, because I simply could not grasped it. Then right before school started, He taught me something. God already proved his love for me when He died on the Cross. Oh, yea, I guess I forgot about that. But I was still not content. “Insecure Bekah” wanted to be approved by God, but not in the good way. I wanted God to tell me, “Bekah, I love you because of how kind you are. I love you because of how giving you are.” But that is just not the case. I will never be good enough to deserve God’s love. But that is the Point. I do not deserve his Love. He loves me as I am. While I was still a sinner, an enemy of God; while I was still cursing His name, HE died for me. Why? Because He loves me, with no hidden motives or agendas.  Take a moment. 

Christ loves you, not because of who you are or what you’ve done. 

That sounds so simple and child-like. But, to fully grasp that and believe that… is revolutionary. I was listening to a Sermon by Fran Chan this morning entitled “Falling Madly in Love with God.” Go Listen to it, its awesome. He talks about the fact that we try to fix outward problems instead of fixing the heart of the problems. He made the bold statement, that all of our problems could be fixed if we let the truth that “Christ loves us” resonate in our hearts and live out that Truth. Then, he asked the congregation to turn to John 15:9. However, before they read the verse, he asked them, “How much do you think God the Father loves Jesus. Jesus, the son of God who lived a perfect life and is absolutely amazing. How much does God love Him? Then, read this:  "As the Father loved me [Christ], so I have loved you. Abide in my Love." That’s so awesome. Christ loves me just as much as God the Father loves him. Is that not mind-boggling. Wow. May we grasp how wide and long and high and deep the Love of Christ is. May we know from experience this love that surpasses all of our knowledge (Ephesians 3:18). Amen

Oh, and side note: John 15:12, 3 verses later says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” And by logical deduction, We are called to love one another as God loves Christ. Is that not the most humbling tasks you have ever heard? I know it is for me.

Filed under Jesus Christ Love the bible

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Matthew 5 

"Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." - Matt 5:3

The following is an excerpt from a Bible study written by Matt Lantz.

To be poor in spirit means to no longer rely on our natural birth for anything.   

o No longer depending on your family name, nationality, wealth, education, 

personality, intelligence, morality, good behavior, etc. for personal gain. 

o “It is nothing, then, that we can produce; it is nothing that we can do in 

ourselves….It is to feel that we are nothing, and that we have nothing, and that 

we look to God in utter submission to Him and in utter dependence upon Him and 

His grace and mercy.” 

o It is a renunciation of rights, entitlements, previous achievements, as no longer 

meritorious.  The only glory this type of person can receive or wants to receive is 

that which comes from above. 

o Examples?  Gideon, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Jesus 

 See also Psalm 34:18, 51:17; Luke 18:9-14 

 For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is used here with the first beatitude and with the 

last. 

o This is a common literary device called an inclusio.  The writer would use it to 

provide unity – indicating that everything within the two uses of this term refers 

to the entity mentioned. So, this literary form shows that all the beatitudes deal 

with the kingdom of heaven.8  

 All who are in the Kingdom are poor in spirit, mourners, meek, etc.  And 

those who are not in the Kingdom belong to a kingdom that is opposed to 

this one, and, thus, behave and believe in a different set of beatitudes. 

o To be poor in spirit in the kingdom of the world is reprehensible, weak, and 

foreign.  You will be left out, forgotten about and ignored in this world if you are 

poor in spirit.  The current religious system of the day was evidence of that.  

Here, Jesus is proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven as available to anyone who 

repents.   

Filed under the bible sermon of the mount blessings suffering

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May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace.

Filed under the bible quotes

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1 Week Down

Update:

So, It’s been a week. :) It feels like I have been here so much longer. In a way it feels like I am just picking up where I left off last summer. Only this summer is completely different already. But I love it. I love being here. I love …

1 lesson I’ve learned:

The Pastor at my church here preached a Sermon on Sunday that was enlightening. I forget the title, but pretty much it was “Speaking Forgiveness.” It was based out of John 20: 22-23, which reads,

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ”Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (ESV)

We said that we, as Christians, are given authority to speak forgiveness into the lives of other christians, and to offer forgiveness to unbelievers, in Christ’s name. He offered an example of when someone offends you, and they later apologize, “I’m sorry.” We, as christians, should not answer “it’s okay,” which minimizes the sin and doesn’t offer any kind of atonement. Rather, say “I forgive you.” You are acknowledging that they have sinned against you, but you are letting it go, and no longer hold it against them.

Or another example, when my own friends begins to tell me about something they have done wrong, I often try to make them feel better about it. “oh yea, I’ve done that too.” or “i understand…” Fill in the blank with excuses. But the pastor said that is not the answer. By offering excuses we are minimizing sin, and trying to make them feel better about sinning. When our response should be, “In Christ’s name, you are forgiven.” (Or if the friend is an unbeliever,  ”Christ offers you forgiveness.”) We are not minimizing the sin, but rather reminding them of the restitution Christ has made for them, if they only ask. We are speaking forgiveness into the lives of others, and in speaking forgiveness, also redemption, with the authority Christ has given us. 

Much needed sermon. Spoke right to my heart.


Filed under wise words forgiveness berlin 2011 Berlin the bible

Notes

Final Instructions

an exert from 1 Thessalonians 5.

12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

 23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful;and He will bring it (your sanctification) to pass. 

Filed under the bible

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Confessions of a Conflicted Complimentarian

This post was taken from John Piper’s Blog “Desiring God.” You can find the original article here. 

Proverbs 31 and Darkness

I was raised in conservative Christianity and had visions of what my life would look like if I made the good Christian choices that good Christian girls were supposed to make. I thought a LOT about the Proverbs 31 wife and didn’t chafe against the expectations.

Then I collected a closet full of bridesmaid gowns with no wedding dress in sight. For a time, I was convinced that I would never get married, which in my construct of the Christian woman, left me void of any hope for meaningful existence. It was the darkest time of my life.

Finally Married! (But…)

I did get married before I worked that all out in my head but was faced with similar depression when I miscarried our first child and then struggled through a season of infertility. Once again, my view of God’s plan for women didn’t transcend marriage and children, and I was shaken as I faced the prospect of life without them.

After I had kids, I looked around at the godly women in my life. So few looked like my earlier naive notions of the good Christian woman. Were their life circumstances mistakes? Were they doomed to substandard application of Biblical instructions to women because of the way their life had turned out? 

Complementarianism to the Rescue?

During this time, I sat under much teaching on women’s issues, mostly from a complementarian perspective. I embraced it, but I found that Paul’s analysis of the law in 2 Corinthians 9:6 was correct: “who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Though teachers and authors painted Biblical instructions to women as beautiful things, speaking of them with an upbeat, happy tone of voice, I just felt condemnation. It wasn’t because I didn’t value what I did in my home or thought my children and husband were a lesser calling than ministry outside of my home. It was because I COULDN’T do those things on my own. Presenting Scripture’s mandates to women as good things to happily embrace in and of themselves is death. The Law kills.

Scripture’s Ideals Haunted Me

Some of my friends appear to be able to keep the law on their own, and they admit to me that their problem is awful pride. However, I couldn’t do it on my own. Scripture’s ideals haunted me. They hung over my head, and I felt condemned by the way they were presented to me by well meaning teachers.

Apart from the gospel.

Christ paid my debt to God, but He didn’t just bring my spiritual bank account to zero. Christ’s righteous life was then credited to my account. I went from being a prisoner with a sentence against them they could never pay off to a child of the king with all the resources that come with that position in God’s household. 

My Head Lifts

In Christ, instead of feeling condemned by the Law’s standard, I can lift my head. I can look at Scripture’s words to women, even the annoying Proverbs 31 wife, not with condemnation, but with hope and inspiration. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Yes, that is a great ideal. No, I can’t make it happen myself. Instead of hiding from God in condemnation or despising her as an unattainable standard, I turn to God in my need and find grace and mercy. In Christ, I can boldly access my Father in heaven and avail myself of His resources. My friends at other stages of life and those experiencing painful circumstances different from mine give testimony of the same hope in the gospel. 

Personalizing Paul’s Prayers

I am learning to personalize Paul’s prayer at the end of Ephesians 1, “God, open my eyes to the hope of my calling, my inheritance in you, and the power at work in me—the very same power that rose Christ from the dead. I can’t do this on my own, and any virtue that blesses my friends or family is purely by Your grace. Help me. Apart from You, I can do nothing.” Then, when I go to bed that night and actually note some way I did bless my family or my friends, I know exactly Who accomplished this thing for me, and I can praise Him for His glorious grace, not myself for my self discipline or innate wisdom.

It’s only meditation on the gospel and then availing myself of my access to the throne of grace it provides that I move from condemnation to hope on any issue.

In my next post, we’ll consider how my experience of desiring God further shaped my understanding of gospel-centered womanhood.

Wendy Alsup is a wife and mom who loves math and theology. She is the author ofPractical Theology for Women and By His Wounds You Are Healed. She blogs atwww.theologyforwomen.org.


Filed under women of god wise words the bible