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Archive for the month “July, 2015”

Repent and Believe in God’s Grace (Nancy Miszczenski)

Have you ever been in a dry season….spiritually dry that is.  I’m in one now – which is kind of hard to admit I must say!  I have a ‘clog in my fountain’.  Let me explain…   Sunday morning (2 weeks ago) during worship, I saw a picture of a pond with green slimy stuff floating on the top.  Ewww.  I don’t like the thought of that at all.   I knew that there was a fountain in that pond…why wasn’t it flowing?  And then I realized it was clogged with ‘gunk’ – a not-so-elegant-but-I-know-you-know-what-I-mean word.  I wanted the fountain to flow again and be fresh living water (with none of the icky stuff on top).  Of course I did!  We all do.  But what I didn’t like even MORE was the whisper in my heart that this pond is me.  Stagnant.

I needed a plumber to have this filter unclogged.  I know His name and I called His number.  (My mom used to say God’s phone # is Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer and reveal to you wondrous secrets that you haven’t known.) But I kept getting a busy signal – and I was the one who was too busy.  I knew this but felt stuck…and therefore dry.  So I kept calling, knowing that my call would be answered.  And it was – this past Sunday.

Bob Riconda visited True Life Church last Sunday and brought an excellent word to us…most especially to me!  (although I’m quite sure there are several of you who feel the same way)  He began with this scripture:  Col. 2:6 – So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him.”   Just the way you received Him.  Go back to the basics.  I felt like the V8 commercial – you know, the one where the weight lifter gets smacked in the head.  The basics.

Bob said:  It started with a person, it continues with a person.  Jesus.  None other but Him.  Basic truth – but truly the bottom-line truth.  Don’t get distracted by ‘the other stuff’, he continued.  But I have to get this done, and be part of that, and he’s counting on me and – and even though the stuff seems good, I’m too busy ‘doing’ and therefore I can’t have quality time to be with Jesus.  Get to know the person.  Jesus.  Again.

I was challenged to  identify unbelief, mis-beliefs or false beliefs.  Stop trusting SELF.  (Ouch)  Do I fully believe that God is who he says He is?

Checking myself, while listening to this sermon I identified with the question “What am I not believing about God?  Since I’ve been rooted and built up in him (Colossians 2:7), I don’t have anything to prove.  I’m already accepted.  No more tryouts, I’m already on the team!  (loved that analogy!)  Do I really believe God is in control? That He is good? That He looks out for my best interests?  That His grace is sufficient for me and that He knows what’s best for me.    A moment of repentance for unbelief, misbeliefs and possibly false beliefs left me with a lighter spirit and a bubble of joy.  Then I remembered that I truly do believe that He is good and He is truly powerful enough to free me.  (from me!!)  My filter was becoming unclogged.  And today?  Well, my fountain is overflowing with thankfulness for His grace that has freed me and will continue to free me.  It’s as basic as that.

Loving and Celebrating A Defective Nation (Jon Bloom)

There has always been a “culture war” of one kind or another being waged in America. It is actually part of the design of the American Experiment and the exercise of democracy. And so there is certainly a place for Christians to participate in this exercise and advocate for our constitutional rights.

But if Christians are mainly known as conservative cultural warriors and the defenders of our constitutional rights, the true gospel freedom that we are really here to promote will be obscured. Jesus said that the world would know that we are his disciples by the way we love one another (John 13:35) and by the way we love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Love is the greatest mark of the Christian (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The Greatest Freedom Ever Instituted

And the greatest love that we can show to our neighbors is to help them hear the gospel of the greatest freedom that has ever been instituted. Like Jesus, our primary focus must not be on the culture war, but on the kingdom mission. We must be mainly about planting gospel-proclaiming local churches, lovingly engaging our neighbors and family members, sending gospel-proclaiming missionaries to the unreached, and, like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25–37, compassionately meeting every need the Lord brings across our path. Regardless of the media’s portrayal of Christians, let us show the people we actually live with the real gospel by embodying it in relationships.

And let us not lose sight of the fact that the American Experiment, for all its failings, remains a wonderful thing. It has secured, promoted, and defended unprecedented historical freedoms for an unprecedented and diverse amount of people. July 4th is a moment to remember and celebrate the remarkable common grace of God that we — and hundreds of millions of others — have received through the United States.

Our national celebrations have always been tempered with the reality that the U.S., throughout its history, has at times legalized terribly destructive immoral things, such as the enslavement of African peoples, the genocide and social alienation of native North American peoples, and the systematic killing of 50+ million unborn children, just to name a few. It is right to be grieved over legalized sin.

But let the current events increase our resolve to seek America’s greatest good. Being citizens of a better country frees us from trying to make this one the kingdom of heaven. Our time here is short and “here we have no lasting city” (Hebrews 13:14). Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). So let us give ourselves to bringing as many Americans to the better, lasting country as possible.

 

The above was an excerpt taken from Desiringgod.org. 

 

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