He gets right to the point

God wants us to understand Him. He says that through His word He has given us everything we need for belief. He does not want us to wonder about His personality or where He stands on issues.

He starts with “In the beginning God created“. Five words and the gauntlet is thrown down. He wants us to know who is the creator. He leaves no doubt. Creators have ownership. God can do what ever He wants with His creation it is His. He is not part of creation but outside of it. The universe and all it contains is His and His alone.

We want to  chose our own way, we want to be independent, our own boss.  A young child proclaims mankind’s tendency when he stomps his foot and says angrily, to an adult, “you are not the boss of me!”

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If the universe is not created by god he is not the boss he might not even exist. Lawrence Krauss a physicist explained it in a lecture that can be seen on you tube, about 33:15 minutes into the lecture: “The laws of physics allow a universe to begin from nothing. You don’t need a deity. Quantum fluctuations can produce a universe.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo.  This is perfect! No god in our life. With no god we are responsible to no one. We are the masters of our life. We make the rules. The rules are not based on a standard bigger or beyond us. We can change them at will. There is no universal truth, right or wrong. Truth is what is true to me. My truth maybe different from yours. We can change the rules because there is no standard. Right and wrong can fluctuate just like quantum physics does.

In the first 5 words of the Word of God, God turns our universe upside down. Mankind does not want to be told what to do. Man wants whatever is right in his own eyes. But God tells us He created. Was creation started with a fluctuation, I don’t know. God’s account of His creation does not endorse or eliminate a fluctuation. But if creation was started with a fluctuation, then He is the author. With His authorship of the universe comes hatred of God. With creation comes a standard, a universal right and wrong and humankind did not write the laws. I am not the boss of me. I am created and belong to God.

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HE leads us

My last post was about the first sentence of PS 23:3, He restores my soul. The second sentence is: He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

God loves us dearly. Just like a child that does not understand how much his parents love him, so too, we have no clue how much God loves us. He restores our souls. Once we are restored, He wants us to move on toward maturity. He wants us to grow to become like Him, not Him but like Him, in the same image. We are to reflect Him.

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He will not lead us stray, we wants the best for us: to grow up in maturity in Christ, to reflect Him. In order to be lead we need to listen to His instructions, His direction. Just like in the military, we sometimes don’t know why we are ordered to do something. We are called to trust and obey. We trust what we know. We can know Him better by being attentive to Him. A weaned child resting in His mothers arms is attentive to her every word, the amount of tension in her body, her every movement. So too, we need to attend to Him, abide in Him. God speaks to us most often in His word. Since the bible is described as the breath of God, we need to be in His word, meditating on it, studying it.

Christian, Christ follower, we bear His name. In the name, we represent Christ; we are ambassadors 24/7. As ambassadors, His honor is on the line. If we call ourselves Christian and do not follow Him in our thoughts, words and deeds, we bring dishonor to Him. This dishonor also gives Christianity, Christ following, a bad name. If we love God we do not want to hurt His reputation. We need to attend, or abide, in Christ not just for ourselves and our own personal growth, but to encourage other believers and be a positive witness to world of Christ’s redeeming and creating power in us. His honor, His reputation is at stake.

Until we meet again, go with God, Adonika

HE restores us

I have been gone, a daughters wedding, etc. But now with another life change, I am back.

I am memorizing the 23rd Psalm. It is familiar to many people. Because I have heard or read it so many times, it is not difficult to memorize. But it is God’s word and His word is so unique that even after hundreds of readings, I was struck again in a new way.

Ps 23:4: He restores my soul. He leads in in paths of righteousness for His name sake.

God can and will restore my soul. He is the author of forgiveness. When He restores my soul, the sin is gone, as far as the east is from the west. It is my job to accept this forgiveness, learn from it, change my life, and move on. I may, however, choose to hold on to it.

Why do I hold on? Do I think I need more punishment? Am I afraid I will forget the lesson? Is there some other reason? If I think I need more punishment then what does that say about God, and how He teaches me? I need to trust in Him and rest in His parenting skills. He knows how to raise me up as a child of God better than myself. In life, I see people beating themselves up for various things and it is rarely productive. But, it is easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye than the log in my own. So I should ask God to reveal what I need to let go of. There is enough trouble in life. I don’t need to pick up, again, that which is settled between God and I. When I repeatedly go over old sins, I am saying that I am better judge of my actions and punishment than God is. This is sinful. God knows my heart better than my own. He will never hesitate to correct me or discipline me if this will lead to growth, to righteousness. I wonder, how often does He says enough already move on?

He brings to mind scripture at the right time. He tells us to not worry. When the time comes, He will put the words of life we need to speak in our mouths. God, the creator of our minds, can also bring to mind things forgotten so that we don’t make the same mistake again (more on that in another post).

Are you holding on to something? Should you be letting go? We are called to examine our hearts to see our sin, but crawling up into the judgement seat and continuing to condemn that which has been forgiven is a sin as well

There are two sentences in Psalm 23:4 So the next post will address the remainder of the verse.
Until we meet agin, Go with God, Adonika

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Settling

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I was at a state cross country meet recently and the seniors spoke prior to running the race.  One senior spoke on settling into a running pace and its dangers.  As he spoke, I thought about the race we run in our faith.  It is good to make a habit of evaluating our walk with Christ, relationships, how we spend our time, and the decisions we make. We need a purpose. There are a lot of good things we can be involved in but what does God want us to do? What is our life aim? Do we even have a life aim? Many want Jesus so say well done my good and faithful servant. What is my specific plan to reach that aim?  We need live intentionally, with purpose. Paul speaks of running the race and stopping those things that are a distraction or hurtful to himself (I Cor 9.24-26). Children are called arrows in their fathers quiver (Ps 125.5). The purpose of an arrow is to be shot and hit the target. The archer sees the target. He prepares by putting the arrow on the string. He pulls back and lets the arrow fly.quiver

He does not have instant skill. He hits the target more and more often as he practices.  Arrows are not meant to stay in the quiver. We need to practice with our tools. We will get better as we exercise our faith. I won’t give examples because I want you to think of how you can exercise your faith and not be tempted to limit yourself to my list.  We need to use our tools on a regular basis to become skilled.  If we don’t have a target we won’t hit it.

I have an artsy friend that brings beauty and points to God in her creations. I do not have her flair. Could I do what she does? Maybe, but it would probably be lifeless, a heavy labor, and take a lot of time. She works hard and flings beauty and vibrancy all around her.  Here is another example: A duck paddles well and swims well. The eagle soars on invisible streams of air. Neither one can do the other’s job. God has given each of us a unique mix of interests and abilities. All of it can be used to His glory.

As we grow in Christ we need to be on guard to excel still more and not settle for status quo. This is not so we loved more by God or to earn a better standing with Him but out of appreciation of all He has done for us. Nothing we do can make Him love us more. He is head over heels in love with us already. But how can we coast in our relationship with Him and stop growing when we are so richly blessed? The author of Hebrews reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12.1). We are not alone. God empowers us to what whatever He calls us to, if we cling to him. They are cheering us on. We must strive to reach the goal that is uniquely our in His kingdom.running hazards Excel still more! I think Paul’s words sum it up perfectly when he wrote to those is Thessalonia: 1Th 4:1  Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. (NASB)

Our Brothers and Sisters are Dying

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Religious persecution is on the rise. In the US, Christian persecution has been in the news this summer. Think about the countries you know there is persecution. If you are like me you know about Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, and Pakistan, maybe a few more.  My list is way too short. Persecution can take on many forms. The Pew Research foundation describes persecution as government restrictions or social hostility.  They further report that 41% of countries have high religious restrictions. This 41% does not include social hostility.

I am fortunate; I can go to church, pray and study in public. I can talk to others about my faith. If I am discriminated against, the courts will support me. I do think there is an increasing anti-Christian bias in my country that needs to be addressed. That is not what I am thinking of today. Today my life is not in danger because of my faith. There are believers in extreme situations everyday.

Please consider praying for the persecuted on a regular basis. The following links will help you be better informed:

http://www.opendoorsusa.org/

http://www.persecution.org/

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/#wrapper

http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/

http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/

http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/

Your free sister in Christ, Adonika.

Decisions, decisions

Some time ago, I had a major decision to make. It was mine to make and no one else could make it.  It was one of those lifelong, not going back decisions. I knew which way I should go in the decision.  I prayed that God would help me recognize my struggle for what it was.   I also wanted peace of mind.  Through studying His word and prayer, I became more convinced of the correct biblical response.  After over two months of struggle, choose the path that best represented Gods character and Jesus’ teaching. It was a blind faith jump, it didn’t feel right.

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I didn’t have a peace about it. But still I knew the biblical response. I knew this path would take a lot of sacrifice and 10 plus years of intense commitment.  I also knew that God would care for me and everyone involved.  It wasn’t until much later that I finally understood how much I was the problem. This should have been a shorter struggle but I can be pretty selfish.  When I choose do things Gods way, life goes better for me. Has Gods way been easy? No sometimes it has been downright exhausting but it is a better life than the one I planned. The sacrifices have been greater than I thought they would be but the rewards have been greater as well. God really does know me better than I know myself. 1 Ki 7.39, 1 Chron 28:9.  When I give into selfish desires they don’t satisfy for long and I just want another desire and another and another. Each time I trust Him my history with Him is longer.  I can look back on His faithfulness and rest more easily in His character.

He has me all the time

He has me all the time

This was a good example of not trusting my heart.  The heart or my emotions can be deceptive. Sometimes I choose the easy over the right. God really does know what is best for me. This should not surprise since He made me. He knows my innermost parts and thoughts.

How important are emotions?

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How important are my emotions?  Do my emotions control me or do I control my emotions? Which should be in control? Happiness, it is a socially acceptable emotion, and it does not make observers uncomfortable like anger or grief does. Unfortunately, happiness is frequently more fleeting than other emotions.  I must be in control of my anger. I cannot rage verbally or physically when angry. Certainly there are times when I am overcome by grief and grieving is something to be worked through and not avoided. I have learned the hard way that my heart can’t be trusted. If I had stopped listening to the worlds message to follow my heart I would have had less problems in by life. Emotions are powerful and can lead me to sin. Num 15:9, 2 Chron 12:14, Mt 15:19. But there are good emotions like compassion, joy, love, mercy, hope. These reflect God’s character.  How much influence do your emotions have on your decisions?