Jun 27, 2007

Excuse my profanity

If you've stopped by my blog recently, you've probably noticed that it looked something like crap. Is crap a bad word?

All I was trying to do was to see what another template would "look" like and I ended up deleting tons of stuff! So now I have to go back, find the different blog rolls I was on and find their code....blah blah blah. So on top of this horribly bad thing (I know it's not horrible, but I was pretty mad) my car stalled on the freeway, I found out I had to change my work hours and we can't take the vacation I've been so excited to go on!

So I've been very angry. I've been mouthing off at work, having a bitter attitude with everyone I talk with, and I really wished I still smoked so I could just feel that nicotine calming me down. What's so difficult is that I know that everything I am describing is incredibly sinful. But while I know this, I just don't want to care. I want to say, "Screw it! Screw you! Screw everyone! I don't care about anything anymore!"

I was telling one of my sisters at church about this, and she said, "...sounds like you are angry at God, Samantha."


It's hard for me to take rebuke, but indeed, I needed it. I was angry at God. In fact, I'm still confessing that anger to Him. I am angry at my circumstances...at the discipline He's been showering on me. I don't mean discipline like "You sinner, I am going to cause your car to break down because you are a bad, bad girl!" No, not that. Discipline as in shaping and molding me more and more like Christ THROUGH the difficult circumstances He's allowed. He could easily zap me with patience and love, but instead, He's chosen to refine me in the most loving way possible: by showing me how badly I need Him; how badly I need the Gospel....how badly I need a Savior! The greater a sinner I see myself, the more lovely I see Him and see my dependence of Him!

So right now, I praise the LORD that He brings strife and trials into my life. I know He loves me. And I pray that one of these days I'll believe that will all my heart.

Jun 21, 2007

The long walk down the aisle

I remember walking down the aisle to my husband. He was the only one I saw. No one else mattered. Not how much the wedding was costing us, not if I was at my perfect weight, or had the perfect dress on...all that mattered was that Michael was going to be mine, and I was going to be his.

In the same way, I am on the same walk down the aisle to my Groom in heaven, Jesus Christ. He's given me the most beautiful dress, once soiled with sin, now washed in His blood to make it as white as snow. He's loved me far before I even knew Him. And as we speak, He is preparing for me a crown of glory and a great feast at His banqueting table.

He's asked me to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind. And how I want to love Him the way He loves me!
But in my sin, I've committed adultery on Him many times. I'm a whore, whoring myself out to other idols and desires. And yet, He is always forgiving and always merciful. And He's promised me that nothing can separate us from our love: neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-40)

Jun 15, 2007

Quotable Friday

I love quotes.

No one can truly say that Jesus is Lord, unless Thou take the veil away, and breathe the living word. Then only then, we feel our interest in His blood. -John Wesley

When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn. -John Wesley

Pray until you pray. -The Puritans

There are no shortcuts to holiness. There is no easy way to conquer the flesh. Christian character is a matter of growth, not of secrets or formulas. Growth takes time. It also takes the discipline of prayer, of study, of heart searching, of sensitivity to the Holy Ghost's pleading, and of consistent obedience. It must always begin with a renewed thankfulness for the never-ending grace of God, and a sense of being set free repeatedly to a life of holiness. -John White

I always observe inward trials prepare me for, and are certain forerunners of, fresh mercies. - George Whitefield

The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to tear down. -George Whitefield

God's mercies are new every morning because each day has enough mercy in it only for that day. This is why we tend to despair when we think that we may have to bear tomorrow's load on today's resources. God wants us to know that we won't. Today's mercies are for today's troubles. Tomorrow's mercies are for tomorrow's troubles.--John Piper

The only time a woman can really succeed in changing a man is when he is a baby. - Natalie Wood (sorry, I had to put that one in)

Jun 13, 2007

The other day in the mail, I got this letter that said something like, "God is going to bless you!" So I suspiciously opened the letter, and low and behold....a picture of Jesus with a penny (yes, a real penny) in each of His Hands!

This letter told me that Jesus wanted to bless me financially, and I should just put the pennies in each of my shoes and wait and see what happens the next day!

Had I known it was so simple to get blessed with money just by putting pennies in my shoes...well, I probably would have started doing it earlier in my life!

Actually, I'm kidding. As a matter of fact, I was pissed (yes, strong language...cover the children's eyes). This letter is like the 4th letter I've gotten that has told me this same message. First it was a prayer rug with Jesus' face on it, and they told me that if I starred at it for a long time, Jesus would open His eyes. I really don't remember what was supposed to happen then, but I know it was foolishness! I don't know how I got onto their mailing list.

This health and prosperity gospel is so dangerous. As Christians, we have been called to "forsake ourselves", "carry our cross", become "servants of Christ", not to "store up treasures on earth" but instead to "give to the poor" to find our treasure in heaven.

The LORD did not die to give us comfortable, stable lives. Like Christian, in "The Pilgrim's Progress" we have to travel through the valley of death, prepared for danger, for trials, for sorrows....for falling. We have to battle satan, battle the flesh, battle the world! The world tells us that being rich brings happiness, but how much more joy for the Christian to have nothing, yet have Christ? And Christ is enough. He is sufficient! He is better than any amount of money or material things we can obtain. These earthly treasures are but shadows of the true treasures we have in Christ! They are meant to draw us closer to Him; to see His beauty as far more brilliant than anything and anyone else!

"For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits." James 1:11

"That which cannot quiet the heart in a storm, cannot entitle a man to blessedness; earthly things accumulated, cannot rock the troubled heart quiet, therefore cannot make one blessed. When Saul was sore distressed, could all the jewels of his crown comfort him? 'They shall cast their silver in the streets...their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord." (Ezek. 7:19) --THOMAS WATSON

"Afflictions add to the saints' glory. The more the diamond is cut, the more it sparkles; the heavier the saints' cross is, the heavier will be their crown." - THOMAS WATSON

Jun 12, 2007

Repentance: Part 4

According to Thomas Watson, in his book, "The Doctrine of Repentance." there are 6 ingredients that lead to genuine repentance. So far we've looked at:
Sight of Sin
Sorrow for Sin
Confession of sin

The next: Shame for sin.

Dictionary.com defines shame as: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.

What is dishonorable about sin? This question, while it may seem easily answerable, is actually one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when you are convicted of sin....it will tell you if you understand the Gospel. Shame for sin isn't because we should be ashamed for ourselves. Self pity is a sin,turning our eyes away from Christ and onto ourselves. This seems like a common theme in these last few posts, doesn't it? Looking at the cross should cause us to feel ashamed for our sin, but not because we are humiliated, not because our egos are bruised, but because our sin was against the GOD of Glory!!

"Sin hath the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages." --Thomas Watson

Jun 8, 2007

Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Folk spir­it­u­al

I am a poor wayfaring stranger,
While traveling through this world of woe.
Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my Father;
I’m going there no more to roam.

I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me;
I know my way is rough and steep.
But golden fields lie out before me
Where God’s redeemed shall ever sleep.
I’m going there to see my mother,
She said she’d meet me when I come.

I’ll soon be free from every trial,
My body sleep in the churchyard;
I’ll drop the cross of self denial
And enter on my great reward.
I’m going there to see my Savior,
To sing His praise forevermore.

Jun 7, 2007

Repentance: Part 3

Continued from yesterday's post and yesterday's yesterday post. Did that make sense?

Next up in the 6 ingredients to true Repentance: Confession.

The heavy burden of guilt lays heavy on my heart. It's one of the most difficult sins to overcome. While sorrow for sin is necessary...and even guilt necessary for a time, these can cause us to turn from our Savior and onto ourselves. There are seasons for these emotions, but like every weather pattern, things must change in order for us to see our new life in Christ.

That is why confession is such a relief, isn't it?

1 Timothy 2:5-6 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

We can boldly come to Christ and acknowledge our need for Him. "
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We no longer have to be afraid to approach Christ. We can know that when we confess our sins to Him, He has forgiven us and "cleansed us from all unrighteousness." He has applied HIS righteousness to our account. We have no reason to be fearful that He will condemn us. He has already done the work, nailing our sins to Himself on the cross, and bearing the Just wrath of God on our behalf. This should cause us to run TO HIM every time: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

So let's not wallow in self pity and guilt! Let us tear off that burden and confess it to the LORD! Some of my best times of confession have been with my brethren. Exposing my sin causes me to say, "What can satan do to me? How can he accuse me, when I've allowed my sin to be exposed?" Did the LORD give us a spirit of fear? No! "
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!""

We are His. We can confidently draw near to Him, confessing our sins, and continuously being cleansed and drawn back to Him. "
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

And that is truly amazing. At least, I think it is.

Jun 6, 2007

Repentance: Part 2

Continued from yesterday's post....

So far, out of our six ingredients of genuine repentance (check yesterday's post), we've looked at "sight of sin." We become aware of our sin through the knowledge of God's Law. This knowledge that shows us how we truly are in the sight of God, naturally (or maybe I should say, graciously) leads us into our next study: sorrow for sin.

There are many different sorrows, but only one that leads to godliness: Christ and Him crucified. The sight of Jesus hanging on the cross, on behalf of filthy sinners like us, is truly awakening. The cost of our redemption was paid with His precious blood... and that is a very great price.

Oh that we would weep for our vileness. How great a God to send His Son to die for the ungodly? While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Do you get that? Does that seep into your soul and drive you to tears? It should! We should spend our lives in great weeping! But the amazing thing, is that He has forgiven us and accepted us. Not because of anything we could do, but because of everything He did for us! Shouldn't this drive us to the cross? Shouldn't our hearts break when we see that every single little sin, as small as we might think it is, is a sin that was nailed to the flesh of Christ?

I have never wept like I wept a couple of weeks ago. I didn't think I could contain myself. What a gift from God to see our sins, to give us the knowledge of who we really are, and also, to have great sorrow because of it. Like Christian from the Pilgrim's Progress, we use to carry a great burden, but at the cross, Christ invites us to take it off! Sin is no longer our master, instead, it is Christ! But only from great sorrow, do we see Christ's love more vividly. Just as faith is a gift from God, so is sorrow. The next time the Lord drives you to tears, then let them flow! It is a gift from Him. Remember, this life is a paradox. The way up is the way down. It is only out of great sorrow, that He lifts us up to see His brilliant, shining face!

Psalm 56:8: You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Jun 5, 2007

Repentance: Part 1

Repentance is one of the first signs of a genuine believer. In his book, "The Doctrine of Repentance" Thomas Watson helps us to see what true, biblical repentance really is. I thought it might be helpful to relay what I have learned thus far, so as to help edify and sanctify us all.

Mr. Watson gives us 6 ingredients to genuine repentance:

1) Sight of sin
2) Sorrow for sin
3) Confession of sin
4) Shame for sin
5) Hatred of sin
6) Turning from sin

Since getting into all 6 of these today might make for a long post, I'll start with the first one: Sight of sin.

A beautiful thought that I loved from Watson, was the reminder that the first creation in the world was light. Without the light, we all just stumble around, completely unaware of what we truly look like.

Scripture tells us that once we walked in darkness.
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined" (Isaiah 9:2). Without the light, our eyes are veiled. As Newton says, "I once was lost, but now am found, twas blind, but now I see." What does he see? He sees his sin. It was veiled before his conversion. "Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:15-18).

That is the reason for the law; the law is like God's mirror, showing us how we've broken His law. The law gives us knowledge of the standards God requires of us, showing us our need for a Savior. We see it is impossible to keep even one of the commandments, knowing that we've broken every single one of them.

The sight of sin leads us on the pathway to God's Truth. Seeing ourselves the way God see's us, as vile, wretched, and filthy sinners, is the first step to life in Christ.

Jun 1, 2007

"I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things." Isaiah 45:5-7

Such amazing verses on the sovereignty of God!

"....God, as He is our Creator, Preserver, and sovereign Lord--has an absolute power both over our persons, lives, estates, and habitations: and when we have transgressed His righteous laws, He may do with us, and all we have--as He pleases. He may turn us out of house and home, and burn up all our comforts round about us--and yet do us no wrong. "Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him." Psalm 115:3. "The Lord does whatever pleases Him--in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths." Psalm 135:6

Those things which seem accidental and chance to us--are ordered by the wise counsel, power, and providence of God. Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission--than the axe or the knife can cut by itself, without a hand. God makes use of whatever second causes He pleases, for the execution of His pleasure. And many times He makes the worst of men the rod of His indignation to chastise His people with! All inferior or subordinate causes--are but God's tools and instruments, which He rules and guides according to His own will, power, and providence.

Job eyed God in the fire which fell from heaven, and in all the fiery trials which befell him. And therefore,
he does not say, "The Lord gave--and the devil took away!" Nor, "The Lord gave--and the Chaldeans and
Sabeans took away!" But "The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord
be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Certainly without the cognizance and concurrence of a wise, omniscient, and omnipotent God--no creatures can move. Without His foresight and permission--no event can befall any person, city or country. Whatever the means or instruments of our misery are--the hand is God's! It behooves us, in every judgment, to see the hand of the Lord, and to look through visible means to an invisible God! "The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me!" Ruth 1:21

"The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends
poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts!"1 Samuel 2:6-7"

Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations"