Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Standing Firm

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.
-Isaiah 7:9
Christ calls His people, who believe in the word of God, to be firm in their faith.  Paul even speaks of standing firm in Philippians 1:27.  So this begs the question, "Am I firm?"
This reminds me of the country song that says, "You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything." And this is so true.  We have to stand on the truths that are found in the Word of God -- or we will fall for Satan's lies.
Isaiah says two chapters later that, "wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briers and thorns, it kindles the thickets of the forest and they roll upward in a column of smoke" (Isaiah 9:18).  And how true this is.  Once we concede on one part of what Scripture says, we have given Satan a foothold and it shouldn't be surprising that sin will consume our hearts.  Causing the smoke to cloud our judgment ... causing us to "dwell in a land of deep darkness" (Isaiah 9:2).

Sin will never fully satisfy us.  It will always leave us hungry and wanting more (Isaiah 9:20).  And how could it not?  Only the Word of God is our bread.  Only it can fully satisfy our cravings.  Man cannot live by bread alone, but only by the word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).  It is silly for us to expect satisfaction from something that in and of itself cannot satisfy.
This is why it is so imperative that we read the word of God; that we pray and commune with God; that we gather corporately and worship God.  It is the Lord that is our food.  God will satisfy the desires of our heart (Psalm 145:16).
God's word gives us the ability to stand firm and not waiver.  Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."  This is what we should strive to be.  A tree that is so deeply rooted in God's word -- our bread and water -- that we do not cease to bear fruit even when trying times come. 
The opposite of this is also found in Jeremiah, "Cursed is the man who trust in man, and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.  He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness in an uninhabited salt land." (17:5-6).  Strength and knowledge that comes from man will surely fade.  When we turn away from God and His word and truths then eventually we will end up in a wilderness -- a lonely, uninhabited, fruitless land.
If we are not firm in our faith in our Lord, then we will surely not be firm in anything.  Just look at our society.  It will prove this to be true.
Standing firm in my faith will not always be the easiest thing to do -- or the most popular -- and will probably bring people to dislike me or think that I'm weird.  But as Christians, we are called to uphold the word of God.  We are called to herald the good news of Christ.  Even if this means going against what society calls acceptable. 
So, am I standing firm enough in my faith?  Or do I tend to waiver?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

He Knows

Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect ... for because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. 
 - Hebrews 2:17-18
There are days where I throw myself a pity party and tell myself that no one understands the things I go through.  But how wrong am I to harbor these sinful thoughts.
Jesus, who is perfect and mighty, humbled himself and came to walk the earth as a human.  He was like us -- he had a physical body, ten fingers, ten toes.  Even though he lived a sinless life, he knows what suffering and pain feels like.  He knows that we are tempted daily by the devil.  He fully and completely understands.
Jesus was made like us in "every respect."  How comforting is that to my soul!  He calls us his "brothers" (and sisters).  He identifies with us.  Not only do I serve a Savior that is ruling the universe by one word (Heb 1:3), I also serve the same Savior that understands our weaknesses, who understands what it is like to live on this sinful earth. 
He is high and lifted up, but he is also near and personal.  What a gift.
Lord, what a gift it is to serve a Savior that knows and understands temptation and suffering.  Jesus can identify with me, so much so that He calls me his sister.  I thank you for sending Jesus to earth, for it is by him being humbled and suffering on the cross that I get to experience freedom from sin and Your daily grace.  Forgive my selfish thoughts, thinking that no one understands.  Remind me to cast my burdens at Your feet.  You know me better than I know myself....

Friday, November 9, 2012


Lately, my days seem to run the same way.  

And while predictability is a good thing, it can also be a beat down.  Monday looks like Tuesday, which looks a lot like Wednesday, so on and so forth.  And this is the season I am in right now.  It won't always be like this, or so I keep telling myself.  Ten years from now diapers will be a thing of the past.  It is just a season.

I started reading Spurgeon's daily devotionals again.  I had the app downloaded to my phone years ago but stopped reading it.  This morning I just decided to open it up and see what Spurgeon had to say.  And boy did I need to hear.

"So walk ye in Him."—Colossians 2:6.
If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, "He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ." Walking signifies progress. "So walk ye in Him"; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man's walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenour of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget Him; sometimes call Him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him. "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him"; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same till life's end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.

 No matter the season I am in, I must continue to walk with Christ.  Being a mom isn't glamorous all the time.  No one knows how many times I change nasty diapers.  Or how many times I peek in to make sure Audrey is sleeping okay.  Or how time isn't really all of my own anymore.  But God sees all of my efforts, and at the same time all of my failures.  He sees when I have to stop cooking dinner to comfort my crying baby and then end up forgetting to add an ingredient because my brain is elsewhere.  He sees what I do, day in and day out. 

Sometimes, I think that there's no way for me to glorify God during this season.  I'm just a mom.  I don't work in a corporate building, or run my own business.  I so often downplay my role in this family.  But that is the work of the Enemy.  I can glorify God.  I am carrying out His mandate by raising His children.  I am sacrificing my time and energy to nurture and care for this precious baby. 

I must continue to walk with Christ, no matter the season I'm in.  If I'm not walking forward, I am either stagnant or going backwards -- neither of which I want to be doing.  I want my walk to be transformed into my daily life, into every small detail of my day -- every diaper change, and every dinner failure, should all point to God's glory. 

I pray that my walk would not be something I hide in secrecy, but that it permeates into even the smallest part of my everyday life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

love purely

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from
 a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

I often question my motives - which proves to be a good, sanctifying, and humbling thing to do from time to time.  I started reading through 1 Timothy last week and this verse stuck out to me above anything else in the first chapter.  Paul tells Timothy (and us) what is most important -- what we are charged to do as Christians -- to love

We are called to love not only our neighbor but also our enemy (Matthew 5).  And let's be honest, some people are easy to love and on the other hand, some are very difficult to love. 

But regardless, Paul charges us to love -- and we know it is genuine love if it has three key components.  First, it has to come from a pure heart - rather than one filled with sinful desires.  Secondly, it has to come from a good conscience - rather than one laden with guilt.  And finally, it has to come from sincere faith - rather than pretense and hypocrisy.

I hope I can tuck this little nugget of truth away and remember it whenever I start feeling unappreciated or unloved.  Loving people takes effort -- sometimes the most simplest tasks are by far the hardest to do when it gets tough.  God sees our efforts, even if no one else does. 

Keep loving purely.


For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

We love because He first loved us.

{1 John}

Monday, October 22, 2012

yes be yes, no be no

My church is doing a study on The Sermon on the Mount and is going in detail through each point that Jesus made.  This week it was on divorce and oaths.  As I was doing the homework assigned to this section, I read a question that made me stop and think. It asked, "Why is keeping promises and honesty in general so important according to Christ?"  When I first read it I skimmed through it and didn't really think about it.  But it is more than just an easy question to give an easy Sunday School answer to.

....But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven ... or by the earth. ... And do not take an oath by your head... Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.  - Matthew 5:34-37

John tells us that Jesus is the "true light" (John 1:9) and that "God is light and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).  Jesus even refers to himself as the "light of the world" (John 8:12).   It is our charge to be more Christlike -- to radiate light.  We are to walk in the way that Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).   To radiate light means to not live in darkness ... to confess our sins and to speak in truth and love. 

Deceit is darkness.  It is the work of the devil.  Eve was "deceived" by the serpent (Gen 3:13).  Paul tells the people of Corinth to not be surprised by deceitful people because Satan himself disguised himself (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). 

These two ideas are polar opposites.  One one end of the spectrum you have light, truth, Christ ... and on the other end you have deceit, evil, Satan. 

Keeping your promises and being an honest person is so important to Christ because it shows where your heart is.  If I'm striving to be more Christlike then I should be striving to walk in integrity, to not flake out, to follow through with my plans.  If I'm making false promises and agreeing to things only to appease the other party when in all reality I have no plans on following through then I am being a deceitful and crafty person. 

The Bible says in Luke that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  What is pouring from my lips is only a taste of what is going on in my heart.  I need to be striving toward the light end of the spectrum and if I am doing so then not only are my words going to be filled with truth, my heart is going to be in a much better place as well.

So, what am I striving towards?  Do I follow through when I say "yes"?  Is my prideful heart getting in the way of saying "yes" when I should be saying "no"?  Am I a person of integrity and honesty or am I a person of meaningless words?

And praise God that there is hope in the cross because true perfection in this area will never be accomplished by my own works.  There is only One who walked on this earth perfectly and because of His dying work on the cross, I can be forgiven of my daily failures.  And while I know I will never grasp perfection, I strive for it (or should strive for it) day in and day out. 

But above all ... let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. -- James 5:12