What Do You Mean, Jesus Wasn’t a Christian?

Jesus wasn’t a Christian? How can you say such a thing?

Especially here in the USA, when we think of Jesus we think of Christianity. Actually Christianity is just another religion. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. Men started calling those who followed Christ as Christians, but in our modern era, Christianity is thought of as a religion more than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t belong to any particular religion. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe. He came to show the love of the Father to the human race, not start a new religion for people to fall in line and follow.

If we mean Christian as being a follower of Christ, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use Christian as a sense of belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine and set of rules, then I would rather not have anything to do with that term.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. He doesn’t see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. He loves people. He sees people who need the love and acceptance of God. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Christ…not Christianity.

It’s time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and let Him love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit.

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true sense of the meaning of Christian, being someone who is doing the works of Jesus, and letting Him reign as Lord of lords and King of kings.

Different Paths, Same Leader

After being in the organized religion for well over 50 years, and seeing all the different denominations, beliefs, interpretations etc., one thing makes me sad. That one major thing is to see so many followers of Christ fight and argue over the different paths we take in our christian walk.

Now that isn’t saying the all roads lead to God, but while trusting in God and following Christ, we are going to take many different paths during our life here on earth. They are going to be different from other followers of Christ, but we are following the same Christ.

Those of us outside the institutional church should not divide and separate ourselves into the ‘in church’ and ‘out of church’ groups. In the same manner, those who are part of the modern day church should not look down on and separate from those outside the institution. We need to accept that we both love God and are following Christ along the path he has for us.

I think this is what working out our salvation means. Not that we have to work to earn our salvation, but we continually learn as we follow Christ in our salvation. We, as Christ followers, will take different paths in our walk with God. We shouldn’t expect everyone to walk the same path.

Some people want to argue over the phrase ‘Christ follower’. I’ve had people correct me for using that phrase. By using it I mean Christ is living within each of us, and we walk with him and let him live through us. We are following along with him and not out doing our own thing.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to love one another, encourage and build up one another. We aren’t to be continually expecting everyone to act like us and walk in the same way we do.

We are to be accepting, loving and kind to all we have contact with each day, and especially to those who are fellow christians. It seems we are more concerned about acting and believing the exact same things, and when we don’t, we want to fight, argue and separate ourselves rather than accept that God works in each of us in different ways. He made each of us differently, and he leads us along different paths as we walk toward a common destination.

Rather than expect everyone to be just like us, let’s start loving one another the way Christ loved people while he walked the earth. Let’s not let different interpretations and ways of walking with God be a stumbling block to a loving fellowship with one another.

Besides, we aren’t going to lead anyone to a relationship with Christ when all they see is arguing and disagreements among brothers. We aren’t going to draw people insisting they conform to our way of thinking and following our rules and interpretations. The only way people will know we have something worth checking out, is when they see brothers and sisters in Christ loving one another, caring for one another and building each other up.

The Big Move: Relocating Our Church to a New Neighborhood

After months of discussions, prayers and planning, we finally moved our church to its new location.

The decision to move wasn’t taken lightly — the elders debated for a month before deciding it was the right choice. The church has been through so much: a drop in membership, almost facing bankruptcy and an inconvenient location. I think most people agreed that a change of location would do the church good.

The move itself wasn’t easy, and some people who didn’t agree with the move decided to switch churches. But with the congregation supporting each other and pitching in, it went as smoothly as possible. Here’s how it went down:

Assigning responsibilities

We had a lot of volunteers, so we felt it was best to split people into groups to make moving more efficient. Everyone got to choose which part of the move they wanted to help with — packing, moving, preparing the new building, naming the new church, spreading the news about the move, etc.

The church is fairly large, so we had a lot of people with skills that would come in handy with the endeavor. I, for example, have experience with advertising and public relations, so I decided to help spread the word that the church has a new building and name.

Fixing up the new building

The building we decided on had been abandoned for a few years, so we knew it would need a little TLC before we could move in.

Everybody pitched in with cleaning — the place was so dusty! The “repairman” group got to work on the more technical stuff. Since the church was trying to save as much money as possible, we had to make do with quick fixes.

The electrical wiring and light fixtures needed repaired, so our resident electrician repaired the wiring and updated the outlets. The plumbing was a bit leaky in places, so we fixed the problem by hooking up a few water supply lines until we can afford to do a full plumbing remodel.

Packing and moving

Surprisingly enough, the actual moving part wasn’t too much of a hassle. The building we moved into already had pews, and — after a thorough cleaning — were in pretty good shape.

We did, however, have to transport the musical instruments and decorations we wanted to keep. A few members had trucks and trailers, so we were able to move everything without the help of a moving company, but looking back, it probably would’ve been much safer if we had hired professionals.

Lessons learned

Although the decision to move was the right one — the church is doing great and we’ve welcomed quite a few guests in the past few months – we could’ve handled certain things differently.

For one, hiring a professional moving company would’ve been much easier, and the risk of something happening to our instruments would’ve been lower.

And I can’t stress this enough: Don’t make the move unless the church has saved up enough money to do so. We got hit with a few surprise expenses along the way, as well as having to pay for turning on the utilities in the new building, gas to transport items from the old church and supplies for repairs.

If your church is considering moving to another building, make sure you’re fully prepared for the move, and that you’re moving for the right reasons.

What Must We Do?

What would you tell someone who asked you what a Christian must do to be pleasing to God?Pleasing

A lot of people would start out by saying we must go to church, we must read the Bible more, we must tithe, we must obey the 10 commandments. They would probably say we have to witness to others and give our money to the poor, and probably even some in the USA would say we must vote republican.

Seems like we Christians are so hung up on works and doing things in our efforts to be pleasing to God. We must do this, we have to do that. If we aren’t going to church we are backsliding. If we don’t tithe to the church we are robbing God. We have all these things we feel we should be doing to be pleasing to God.

I think a lot of the Christian world today has forgotten that Jesus died on the cross to fulfill the Old Covenant. He said “it is finished”, meaning the old covenant had come to an end because Christ, by living a perfect life, became the absolute perfect lamb for a sacrifice that would once and for all provide forgiveness to humans, who in their own efforts, could not live up to the requirements of the law.

We Can’t Do It

I think the real answer to the question what must a Christian do to be pleasing to God is…..nothing! We don’t have to do anything because God provided Grace through Christ. We have become the righteousness of God because after salvation, God sees Christ in us. It isn’t based on what we have done or can do, it is all on what He has done.

We not longer have to try to keep the 10 commandments. Those were a guide, or tutor, to lead us to Christ. We no longer have to go to church because through Christ, we are the Church. We can assemble together with other believers any day, any where. Christ lives in us and the Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide. We don’t need to look to the pastor for guidance and knowledge. We don’t have to tithe our money because the Old covenant has been fulfilled. We can now give our money out of love to who and where God is leading us to give. We don’t have to force every encounter with someone to witness to them because the Holy Spirit is the one who draws all men to the Father, and since He lives in us, we can be open to allow Him to work in us how He pleases.

So many Christians today don’t realize the freedom we have in Christ. They don’t understand Grace and the fact that we are no longer under condemnation. We don’t have to do things to be pleasing to God. We now live under the guidance of the Spirit and we do things out of love, not out of obligation and trying to keep rules and commands.

The only commands Christ gave under the New Covenant are listed in 1 John 3:23 where it is written: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

So many of us live day-to-day under condemnation because we haven’t done enough for God. We feel we don’t measure up because we can’t do something someone else does, or we can’t preach like someone else can. The fact is, God made us all the way we are for a reason. In the true Church, the body of Christ, we all are equal and have equally important qualities that God can use. No one is on a higher level than anyone else. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all equal and necessary parts of the body under one head, Jesus Christ.

Be Free

Stop feeling like you aren’t pleasing to God because of something you do or something you don’t do. Christ has provided Grace for all of us, and there is nothing we can do to earn it or pay for it.Freedom

We can rest in God’s love. We can enjoy daily fellowship with Him because He loves us. We can be assured that we are now in the Kingdom for eternity because of what Christ has done for us. We don’t have to obey others who we think are on a higher level than us, or who we think are closer to God. God loves each of His children equally. We are all capable of hearing and learning from the Holy Spirit, who is within us. We don’t have to wait until Sunday to hear from Him, worship Him, serve Him because we are the Church and every day is the Lord’s day.

Stop condemning yourself and look to God, love Him and love others. Let Him teach you, guide you, live through you day by day. There is nothing more you need to do other than accept Him, love Him and love others. We are now new creatures in Him. We now live in His Kingdom. Forget the worldly ways and the rules and regulations of religion. Be in Christ. Let Him live through you.

Church on the Go: How My Uncle Attends Church on the Road

Truck driver Spiva leans on the railing as he talks with other drivers after attending Sunday services at the Trucker Chapel in San Antonio

A truck driver’s life on the road can be tough. I never understood how much of a toll long hours, little sleep, limited resources and few food choices can have on someone until I sat down and talked to my uncle. He recently started working as a truck driver and I can tell the road has taken a toll on him in more ways than one. Apart from the hours, food, living circumstances and little sleep, he also feels disconnected from friends, family and church family. While I can’t help with much else, I did try to help him find some ways to stay connected to church and practice his faith, even as he spends days and weeks at a time on the road.

Technology Saves the Day … Again

Technology is such a lifesaver. I don’t know where I’d be without my smartphone, and I don’t travel very often. My uncle recently got an iPhone right before he started driving trucks. I’ve found that many churches use an app for iPhone and Android that makes their services more accessible to their members and remote users. I showed him the Mars Hill Church’s app as an example, so he could see that he really can attend church right from his phone. He was skeptical when I first told him about it, but once I showed him all the features he said he’d likely use it or something similar. The app offers sermons to stream at any time, a blog, worship music, in-app tithes and offerings and ways to stay connected to other church members.

I also showed him how to go into iTunes and download podcasts and other religious programs right to his phone. He was really happy about the podcasts, because he can listen to those in his truck while he’s driving. I showed him how to pull up webcasts from his phone as well. Many churches broadcast their sermons on the web, both in real time and for streaming later. His home church even offers a webcast occasionally, so he can still enjoy a sermon with his church family even when he’s not there.

My uncle also told me about the GPS fleet tracking technology his company uses to keep track of where all their trucks are at one time. With the tracking technology, he can’t stray too far off course. Plus, traveling out of the way to attend a church adds to his allowed maximum driving hours. Since he can’t exceed his maximum driving hours, he has a hard time driving too far out of the way away from the highway to find churches to attend. I researched truck stop chapels and truck stop ministries that are catered exactly to the lifestyle and resources of truck drivers. The services are held that truck plazas, travel centers and truck stops that are conveniently located just off the highway.

Checking Out New Churches

Though attending a new church can be nerve-wracking when you’re not sure what to expect, I encouraged my uncle to be open to new experiences. Churches are typically very welcoming, open and willing to greet new first-time visitors. I found my church home by just stopping in and it turned out it was the perfect for me. I’m glad I was able to help my uncle find ways to attend church even while he’s away. Staying connected to friends, family and his church makes living life on the road just a little bit easier.

The Word or the words

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This verse clearly states that Jesus is the true, living, inerrant Word of God.

Not to sound sacrilegious, but sometimes we Christians can actually make to much of the Bible. People will hold it up and say it is the word of God and worship it more than they worship Christ. Christ is the true Word of God. He is the living and powerful Word and His Spirit lives within us.The Word

In John 5:39 and 40, Jesus stated that “you study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life”. The religious leaders of the day spent so much time reading the scriptures that they missed the Living Word standing right in front of them.

The written words of God contained in the Bible are inspired by God, but the Bible isn’t the whole picture. God does not work in time like we do. He has no beginning and no end. The written words of God are stories of only a certain recorded period of time.

God won’t do anything that is contradictory to His Word, but we need to remember the Bible is the written words of God and Jesus, living in us by the Holy Spirit, is the true and living Word of God. We were given the Holy Spirit to be our companion, guide, teacher and comforter, and He will lead us into all truth.

This certainly does not mean we don’t need to read the Bible, but we do need to keep it in its proper place.

Jesus is who we are to look to for everything. He is the Word. He is our all in all.

How to Prepare for your Missionary Trip

If you’re like most missionaries, chances are you often find yourself in the position of being more concerned about the needs of others than those of your own. It’s that trait that often leads missionaries to locations in which they’re willing to put themselves at risk of illness or injury to help others in disadvantaged situations.

However, if you’re preparing for a missionary trip abroad, it’s important to take the precautions that will ensure your good health … so you can continue to stay focused on your calling to help others. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re aware of the potential hazards in your selected destination.

Understanding the risk of disease

Once you know where you’re going, check the U.S. Department of State’s website for information about travel warnings and potential health issues. You also can find health information specifically for missionaries on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

In many parts of the developing world, mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. According to the CDC, malaria sickened about 219 million people worldwide in 2010, resulting in 660,000 deaths, mostly in Africa. So if you’re heading to that continent, talk to your doctor about preventative medications and treatment options. You also can buy mosquito-repellant clothing and protective netting, which will reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

When you’re in another country, it may be difficult to find adequate medical care, and your current health insurance may not apply outside the United States. Make sure you get travel insurance before your missionary trip, so you can get medical attention if you need it. And travel insurance, depending upon your policy, will cover your expenses up to $500,000 when you need to be flown somewhere else for treatment.

Understanding the political climate

When you look at the state department’s travel warnings page, you’ll see that many countries are considered unstable and potentially dangerous. Terrorism, war, political disputes and militaristic governments can create unpredictable environments, where violence erupts with little warning. Never travel to a country where the United States has abandoned its embassy or reduced staff due to safety concerns. A U.S. embassy is your lifeline, so wherever you’re headed, you should know where the embassy is located.

Other hazards

When you spend time in another country, there’s always a risk that you could become ill because your body isn’t accustomed to the local water, unfamiliar foods or intense heat. And in many tropical locations, other hazards include poisonous plants, venomous snakes and aggressive predatory animals. Never venture out on your own if you don’t understand the risks that surround you, or how to defend against them.

Bring a small first aid kit, so you can quickly clean and bandage any small cuts. You might also consider taking a first-aid class. The American Red Cross offers a course on wilderness and remote first aid for a nominal fee, but you must take the CPR/AED certification class first, if you’re not already certified.

Serving as a missionary can be a rewarding experience – just remember to take good care of yourself, so you can take care of others.

Psalm 31

〔大卫的诗,交与伶长。〕

耶和华啊,我投靠你;

求你使我永不羞愧;

凭你的公义搭救我!

求你侧耳而听,快快救我!

作我坚固的盘石,

拯救我的保障!

因为你是我的岩石,

我的山寨;

所以,求你为你名的缘故引导我,指点我。

求你救我脱离人为我暗设的网罗,

因为你是我的保障。

我将我的灵魂交在你手里;

耶和华诚实的 神啊,

你救赎了我。

我恨恶那信奉虚无之神的人;

我却倚靠耶和华。

我要为你的慈爱高兴欢喜;

因为你见过我的困苦,

知道我心中的艰难。

你未曾把我交在仇敌手里;

你使我的脚站在宽阔之处。

耶和华啊,求你怜恤我,

因为我在急难之中;

我的眼睛因忧愁而干瘪,

连我的身心也不安舒。

我的生命为愁苦所消耗;

我的年岁为叹息所旷废。

我的力量因我的罪孽衰败;

我的骨头也枯干。

我因一切敌人成了羞辱,

在我的邻舍跟前更甚;

那认识我的都惧怕我,

在外头看见我的都躲避我。

我被人忘记,如同死人,

无人记念;

我好像破碎的器皿。

我听见了许多人的谗谤,

四围都是惊吓;

他们一同商议攻击我的时候,

就图谋要害我的性命。

耶和华啊,我仍旧倚靠你;

我说:你是我的 神。

我终身的事在你手中;

求你救我脱离仇敌的手和那些逼迫我的人。

求你使你的脸光照仆人,

凭你的慈爱拯救我。

耶和华啊,求你叫我不致羞愧,

因为我曾呼吁你;

求你使恶人羞愧,

使他们在阴间缄默无声。

那撒谎的人逞骄傲轻慢,

出狂妄的话攻击义人;

愿他的嘴哑而无言。

敬畏你、投靠你的人,

你为他们所积存的,

在世人面前所施行的恩惠是何等大呢!

你必把他们藏在你面前的隐密处,

免得遇见人的计谋;

你必暗暗地保守他们在亭子里,

免受口舌的争闹。

耶和华是应当称颂的,

因为他在坚固城里向我施展奇妙的慈爱。

至于我,我曾急促地说:

我从你眼前被隔绝。

然而,我呼求你的时候,

你仍听我恳求的声音。

耶和华的圣民哪,

你们都要爱他!

耶和华保护诚实人,

足足报应行事骄傲的人。

凡仰望耶和华的人,

你们都要壮胆,

坚固你们的心! ~诗31篇

信心,是历经百劫、出死入生的经历与磨练,不是在温室中看窗外风暴的怡然自得。

- Felix

我认为最大的危险中,往往藏着最大的机会──在踏进最大的善之际,往往毁坏与死亡也在脚前。对我来说,弃绝就是一种死亡,尤其这弃绝来自我所重视的 人、我所景仰的人。来自家人、朋友、所爱的人(尤其是恋人)的弃绝,是最锥心蚀骨的弃绝,因为你的生命也被磨蚀了。“我从你眼前被隔绝”──这是弃绝的极 致:被神弃绝。在万事顺遂的日子,我们感受到神的嘉许与爱眷。但偶尔神好像离开了我们,我们可以怎样?唯有呼求祂。“我呼求你的时候,你仍听我恳求的声 音”──神的信实,不是人所期待的“随传随到”,却实在像父亲回应稚子呼求一般的伟大与自然。人在孤绝中谦卑自己,向神发出呼求,就像稚子呼求父亲。

- Judith着Felix译

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the LORD.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go silently to Sheol.
Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak insolently against the righteous
in pride and contempt.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.
Love the LORD, all you his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!
(Psalm 31 ESV)

It seems to me that the moment of greatest danger is also the moment of greatest opportunity, that when one is poised precisely at the point of the greatest influence for the good, one is also at the same time at the brink of destruction and death. For me rejection has always meant a kind of social death, particularly rejection from someone who is important to me and whom I admire. Rejection from family, friends, loved ones and especially romantic interests is the most devastating kind of rejection of all, because it annihilates a part of your self. “I am cut off from your sight” -  the worst kind of rejection is, of course, the feeling of rejection by God. If everything is correctly aligned, our identity should be in God’s approval and love. But sometimes even God seems to leave us, and at that point in time all we can do is cry and pray. “You heard the voice of my pleas for mercy/When I cried to you for help.” – God’s faithfulness does not take the appearance of constancy, but it is in fact of such a kind that responds grandly and innocently to the cry of a child, the cry of one who humbles oneself to the point of abject dejection.

- Judith

Psalm 30

〔大卫在献殿的时候,作这诗歌。〕

耶和华啊,我要尊崇你,

因为你曾提拔我,

不叫仇敌向我夸耀。

耶和华我的 神啊,

我曾呼求你,你医治了我。

耶和华啊,

你曾把我的灵魂从阴间救上来,

使我存活,不至于下坑。

耶和华的圣民哪,

你们要歌颂他,

称赞他可记念的圣名。

因为,他的怒气不过是转眼之间;

他的恩典乃是一生之久。

一宿虽然有哭泣,

早晨便必欢呼。

至于我,我凡事平顺

便说:我永不动摇。

耶和华啊,你曾施恩,

叫我的江山稳固;

你掩了面,我就惊惶。

耶和华啊,我曾求告你;

我向耶和华恳求,说:

我被害流血,下到坑中,

有甚么益处呢?

尘土岂能称赞你,

传说你的诚实吗?

耶和华啊,

求你应允我,怜恤我!

耶和华啊,求你帮助我!

你已将我的哀哭变为跳舞,

将我的麻衣脱去,

给我披上喜乐,

好叫我的灵歌颂你,并不住声。

耶和华我的 神啊,

我要称谢你,直到永远! ~诗30篇

「一宿虽然有哭泣,早晨便必欢呼。」诗人的时间参考点,可没有许多现代信徒所声称的那么长!一些信徒眼睛只放在遥不可及的将来的「天国」,以至此世 今生的一世都仿佛不重要,甚至有损无益,声称过的是客旅的生活,其实更像鬼魅的生活!诗人的眼界不限于「将来」,也在「眼下」。

- Felix

好美的赞歌!提醒你有时真会落入深坑中,但上帝始终会救拔你。这对我有特殊意义,因为,虽然我深明这道理,但我不甘心!我不甘心人生为何不能总是舒坦、欢愉、载歌载舞!不过,痛苦与哀哭,的确是人生的成分。知道它的短暂,太好了。

- Judith着Felix译

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
(Psalm 30 ESV)

A beautiful psalm of praise! It acknowledges that sometimes you are truly down in the dumps, but that God lifts you out of it eventually. This is quite dear to my heart, since I guess I always know it, though I resent it! I resent the fact that life can’t be easy and joyful and full of dancing all the time. But it is also true that pain and mourning are part of life. It’s good to know it’s temporary.

-Judith

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

The psalmist carefully considers this point, but a lot of contemporary Christian writers do not! In many believers’ eyes who dwell on “heaven” and ignore everything on earth as unimportant, even worth wrecking and destroying, exhorting themselves to be guests in this life, just passing through… in fact this is a demonic sort of life! The Psalmists’ eyes are not just in the “future” but in what is before him in the present.

-Felix trans. Judith

Grow in Grace

2 Peter 3:18 — but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen

We are saved by Grace. A one time event of Christ dying on the cross provided all we needed to be saved from the curse brought upon us through Adam.

But Grace itself is an ongoing, daily event. We aren’t saved and then just sit around and wait to go to Heaven. Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. We learn more about Christ and the grace He provided by daily dying to ourselves.

By Grace our sinful nature is crucified, dead and buried. By Grace we are resurrected in the power of Christ and it is His spirit that now lives within us. By grace we are now hidden in Christ, and He is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-3). We don’t just wait until we die our natural life to enter His Kingdom, we now live in the Kingdom of God.

He said we must decrease, and He must increase. Only by dying to self and emptying our natural human desires can there be room for Christ to increase.

When we realize that only by dying (spiritually speaking) and allowing the life of Christ to dwell within us, can we truly follow Him. It has been said that a dead man has no worries. When we are dead to self, and alive to Christ, it is His life that is within us. His desires become our desires. His thoughts become our thoughts.

We are saved by Grace, we can’t buy it, can’t earn it, can’t do anything to pay God back for it. Each day we can commit ourselves to God, ask Christ to live through us and daily deny the human nature and selfish desires that separate us from true fellowship with the Father.

Grace is an ongoing, daily lifestyle. It is our choice to commit to Him. When we do, we will continue to grow in grace and knowledge of Him, and will enjoy our fellowship with our Father.