Thoughts on Grace – The Weak

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Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. The quotes in this series come from her book.

 

“They (the weak in faith) are told they must run with all their strength, yet often find themselves barely able to lie on the ground facing the right direction.”
“We must love them, bear their burdens gently and help them to carry their loads, because they belong to us. They are our family in the Lord.”

 
Have you ever felt like you had so little faith that you didn’t even know how to approach God? Did you know that it’s actually God who gives you faith, and that He already knows what you are struggling with? When I am struggling, this is the verse that comes to mind: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

 
As for loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord, this is a great verse to keep in mind – “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

 
Some days you may be on one side of the fence and some days on the other. There will be times when your own faith is weak; there will also be times when you can lift up a weak one and help them to bear their burdens; and do it without judging.

Oh To Remember No More

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photo by Frameangel

…God speaks through His Word and says, ‘I will remember your sins no more.’ He does not say, ‘You will remember your sins no more.’ Only God can forgive and forget. Some things we’ve done will be in our memories as long as we live. The message of the gospel is not the erasure of memory, but rather the healing of our memories. – Steve Harper

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could forget? I would love to forget some of the memories that swim around in my mind and pop to the surface again when I think I’ve drowned them out.

Healing isn’t easy. There is no pill or supplement that erases memories. Only in science fiction, or in cases of amnesia, Alzheimer’s or dementia can a memory be truly lost. Since none of those choices are appealing to me, I need to figure out just how memories are healed but not eliminated. I need to be like the Bereans.

“…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

Editing and Grace

Last week’s lesson for my #capturetheham group was on editing. Our fearless leader (yes, the one willing to step into the road for a good photo op) gave us all kinds of tips and app recommendations for editing our photos right on our phones.

photo by Jamie Golden

                    photo by Jamie Golden

I’ve downloaded one called TouchReTouch – I have an android and it was $1.99. Check out the before and after below:

before

       before – Taken at Cahaba Lily Park

after

                              after

Jamie also applied the idea of editing to not just photos but to life. I think her take was on the idea of editing out unimportant things and keeping the important ones. Which to me means taking a look at my life and seeing what I need to edit out. There isn’t an app for that. There also isn’t an app that can edit our past to make it look better. Oh, I think we all often try to. And it would be wonderful to be able to edit out all the bloopers like I did in the photo.

The better thing is forgiveness. God can and does forgive sin. My job as a Christian is to work toward the goal of having less that needs editing, less that needs forgiving. I think that’s called growing in grace.

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever         2 Peter 3:18

Jumping on the Duck Dynasty Bandwagon

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I have never watched Duck Dynasty, but I am familiar with it. I have tried to stay away from all the commentary out there but it keeps popping up on my Facebook feed. So, here’s my two cents.

I think Phil Robertson has a right to his opinion. I also think he missed a great opportunity to be a witness for Christ when asked, “What, in your mind, is sinful??

He responded, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Sin is the breaking of God’s law. The Westminster Catechism says, “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”

In the place of focusing in on a few particular sins, he could have given a biblical definition.  Instead, he chose a few sins that HE obviously does not participate in. He became like the Pharisee.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. – Luke 18:11

Worse yet, the crudeness of his answer was offensive to me (see link below if you want to read more of what he said), even though I believe what God’s word has to say on the subject. I did not see mercy, kindness or humility in his answer.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; – Colossians 3:12

http://fox2now.com/2013/12/18/duck-dynasty-star-suspended-for-anti-gay-remarks/

Thoughts on the Words of C.S. Lewis – Like Judas or like John?

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C.S. Lewis was a novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. He is probably best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he wrote numerous other works, including “The Problem of Pain” from where the quotes in this series were taken.

“Offences must come, but woe to those by they come; sins do cause grace to abound, but we must not make that an excuse for continuing to sin. The crucifixion is the best, as well as the worst, of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil.”

At the school where I used to teach there was a Bible teacher in the high school that drilled into his students a passage from Romans. He would quote the first part:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 1:1)

They would respond:

God forbid. (Romans 1:2)

He not only taught them the scripture, but he lived before them in a way that showed he believed God’s word. He also works with inner-city ministries and preaches, carrying that message of forgiveness wherever he goes.

There is and always will be sin in the world. No matter how the dreadfulness of sin is used for the good of God’s glory, we do not have a license to sin. Instead, we strive to obey God’s prescription for life.

C.S. Lewis also said,

“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”

Think about that.

Thoughts on Pilgrim’s Progress, Part the Second – #10

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photo credit -annkkml

Pilgrim’s Progress was written by John Bunyan in the 1600s while he was in prison for his faith. 

The travelers have now stopped at an Inn. They sat up talking until the break of day about many things in the life of a Christian.  Honest had joined them and was talking about two men who had been traveling on Pilgrimage, beginning when one was young and one was old.

He made an observation that I find I must apply to myself.

“Besides, I have observed, that old men have blessed themselves with this mistake; namely, taking the decays of nature for a gracious conquest over corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves.”

Basically he’s saying that just because you are old and can’t physically participate in many of the sins of youth, does not mean you are any less of a sinner. It may seem that older people are just sweet old things, but it is the condition of the heart that matters; it’s the inward sin of the heart.

We might easily see the outward sins, such as drunkenness or promiscuousness, but not see the inward sins of hate or pride.

So, just because a person CAN’T participate in a particular sin doesn’t mean they don’t WANT to.

…for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.                           – I Samuel 16:7 Continue reading