Get Off The Treadmill

30 04 2009

 

grace
“But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to G-d). Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom G-d credits righteousness apart from the works he does.” –Romans 4:5-6

 

     “If you spend years on the performance treadmill of the world, it is hard to get off. When you are addicted to feeling good about yourself only when you perform well, you are in for a life of misery. It is a cycle of trying and failing, trying harder and failing again, and feeling guilty and rejected.

     G-d does not want you on the performance treadmill. He wants you to feel good about yourself whether you perform perfectly or not. He doesn’t want you to be filled with pride, but He certainly did not create you to reject yourself. If you are trapped on the performance treadmill, ask God to break the cycle in your life. Let your confidence be based on who you are in Christ.”

– Joyce Meyer, Ending Your Day Right

 

     This devotion brought me back to something I learned at Beth Yeshua (The Messianic Synagogue I attend). Rabbi Greg was talking about how when G-d made man, He said it was “very good,” when everything else created prior to that He only said was “good.” I don’t know how these Hebrew words are actually spelled but very good translates to “Maode” (very) and “Tobe” (good). When “Maode” is used, it means “abundantly, extremely, fully, greatly, seriously, immensely.” Good in this context, “Tobe” means “excellent, rich, precious, delightful, splendid, worthy, choice, imminent, noble, pure, valuable, and praiseworthy.” After Rabbi Greg shared this, he said, “That’s the way that G-d feels about you—so who cares what you think!” I think that is part of our problem…we don’t view ourselves like G-d does. His loving acceptance over us is just too much for the human mind to wrap around. What a wonderful feeling it is to have someone that loves you apart from anything that you can do! Doing good things out of gratitude and obedience is wonderful, but don’t forget that your righteousness and blessing come from G-d alone.

 

By grace,

Mere

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The Perfect Plan

28 04 2009

Puzzle The Perfect Plan 

     “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the L-RD, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” –Jeremiah 29:11

     “G-d has a perfect plan for all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as L-rd of their lives. His plan is complete in great detail, and it will lead all who follow Him to an abundant life. But only a few ever enjoy the fulfillment of G-d’s plan because most don’t know how to listen to G-d’s leading and follow Him. Instead they choose (either willfully or ignorantly) to go their own way.

     You can walk in the perfect will of G-d if you will learn how to hear from Him and follow His instructions. But listening to Him is your decision. G-d won’t force you to choose His will. However, He will do everything He can to encourage you to say yes to His direction.”

-Joyce Meyer, Ending Your Day Right

     Reading a few more verses around Jeremiah 29:11 is a good plan: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13). These verses are placed in the perfect spot, imagine that 😉 G-d is so very intricate and His planning is perfect. Verse eleven tells us that He has wonderful plans for us, which is very exciting. A G-d that is jealous for me and knows what is best, way beyond my own desire, tells me that He has good plans for me; I’m pretty inclined to believe it.

     He isn’t playing a massive game of hide-n-seek. He tells us that we will pray and He will listen. A G-d that we don’t make a high enough priority and walk away from still listens to us when we come to Him. Amazing! After we have started spending time with Him in prayer, we will desire more intimacy with Him because G-d is just so addictive. Once we start chasing wholeheartedly after Him, we will find Him. Embrace the G-d that has better plans than you and is just waiting for you to seek Him. As a nation and church, we need to wake up and return to our first love. If we truly have a love encounter with G-d, we will believe that His best is for our best.

Just a little bit more and more,

Mere





Who are you? The story of Jacob and Esau

27 04 2009

 

etwog23

Jacob and Esau were the sons of Isaac in the Old Testament, and Jacob was the younger of the two. When their father Isaac was dying, he asked Esau to get food for him and then he would bless him. As Esau was out to get the food, Jacob and his mother conspired to steal the firstborn’s blessing from Esau. (Gen. 27)

Isaac was nearly blind, so Jacob came to Isaac pretending that he was Esau and had his father bless him. “I am Esau,” he lied.  When Esau returned, he realized what had happened to him and was out for blood. So, Jacob fled to a distant land.

Years later, Esau was going to confront his brother Jacob. Afriad, Jacob despaired. Before they met. Jacob litterally wrestled with God and said “I wont let go until you bless me” (Gen 32:26).

Then G-d said, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then G-d blessed him and said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” (Gen 32:26-28).

Do you see what happened. Jacob lied and stole his brother’s blessing, claiming that he was Esau. He was living falsely. When confronted with G-d and contending for G-d’s blessing, G-d asks for the truth. “What is your name?” He admits that he is Jacob.

We are similar. We all fall short, but G-d is faithful. When we come to him and admitt to the darkness in our own hearts, he is faithful to forgive (1John 1:9). This requires us to humble ourselves before him and admit our guilt, and turn away. He is faithful to forgive and give us grace to overcome through Christ.

My prayer for you is that you feel really bad about your sins and the darkness in your heart. And that you bring it before G-d and, through Christ, be cleansed.

Just a thought,

Luke





Tear Your Hearts, Not Just Your Clothes

27 04 2009

Hebrews 3:15 – “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with this generation and said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My anger, ‘They will not enter My rest.'”

In the words of God to the Israelites we see a stern warning, which the author of Hebrews repeats to members of the Church of Christ.  It is not a warning to more closely observe the Jewish festival days, or to more consistently offer burnt sacrifices, or to more stringently keep the niceties of the law, but rather it is a warning to the Israelites to not let their hearts wander away from God. The festival days, the burnt sacrifices, and the law were all gifts from God to the people of Israel, but they were meant to be outward demonstrations of the attitude and desires of the very heart of Israel.

So what are signs that a person has gone astray in their heart? The answer may be summarized in one word:  rebellion.

Deuteronomy 29:19-21 – “When someone hears the words of this oath (Mosaic covenant), he may bless himself in his mind, thinking, ‘I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart.’  This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land.  The LORD will not be willing to forgive him.  Instead, His anger and jealousy will burn against that person, and every curse written in this scroll will descend on him.  The LORD will blot out his name under heaven, and single him out for harm from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.”

To rebel against God is to disobey God, but what does that have to do with the heart? Christ said in John 14:21, “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” If we love and trust God we will keep His commands. If we have truly surrendered our hearts to Christ then His Spirit lives in us and empowers us to live righteous lives.

Romans 8:12-13 – “So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Many people have a desire to know God and many people have a desire to live righteously, but very few people possess in their hearts the all-consuming passion to live righteously for the God who they love that so marks the Spirit filled life. The hard hearts of humanity resist wholly surrendering to God as if it were a plague because humanity has, ever since the fall of man, sought its own good rather than that of God. Is your heart hardened against God? ‘Repent and live!’ says the Lord. 

Joel 2:13 – “Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster.”        

  -Sean 





Tame the Tongue

27 04 2009

forest-fire

“Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark…but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

 –James 3:4-5, 8

“Anything undisciplined will be wild and uncontrollable, always wanting to do its own thing. A child is that way. So is a wild animal. So is appetite. The human tongue is no different. No man can tame the tongue—not by himself. You need the Holy Spirit’s help, but God will not do it all for you. you must discipline your mouth and take responsibility for what comes out of it.

     How do you talk about your future? If you are not satisfied with your life and want to see it change, begin speaking over yourself according to God’s Word. Let you words be in agreement with God’s Word and you will be blessed greatly.” –Joyce Meyer, Ending Your Day Right

I think our problem is boldness and lack of faith. We don’t really pray like we think anything will actually happen. This idea of speaking change and blessing into your life is bold, but its asserting a great level of confidence in G-d and His power. He hasn’t given us any reason to not be confident. He has remained faithful and always will be: “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful because he cannot be untrue to himself.” -2 Timothy 2:13. Be Bold!—“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16. Pray with confidence—“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” –James 5:16.

 

For the change,
Mere





You’re Everything!

27 04 2009

lifehouse_everything

If you haven’t seen this video, watch it. If you have, watch it again. It’s so powerful. I cry every time that I watch it. The youth at my church reenacted this skit at church this morning

Everything

Now that you have watched it…what do you think? My tears always start when I watch the girl straining to get back to Jesus. I think it shows how we cannot free ourselves from sin and temptation on our own. Our best efforts still leave us being tossed amongst our sin and struggle, regardless of what our sin may be. As Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the ways of the world without even realizing. One moment the girl is dancing with Jesus, the next she is dancing with a guy that is supposed to symbolize sexual impurity. We need to admit that we struggle and that we can easily be pulled away. None of us are above temptation.

     My tears turn into sobbing when I watch Jesus holding back the sins from touching the girl. What a tangible way to see Jesus taking on our sin! Sometimes I think we lose sight of the suffering and sacrifice paid on our behalf. His sacrifice freed us from the prison of sin that we got ourselves into. Jesus was victorious and still will be in the days to come. We should live in freedom knowing that we are on the winning side. The girl’s black shirt is removed and leaves her in a white shirt to represent the cleansing of Christ. Despite her sin, she is restored and dances with the L-rd again. The same thing can happen to us if we will simply surrender. Ready to be new? “17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from G-d, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that G-d was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though G-d were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to G-d. 21G-d made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of G-d.” -2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Not only does Christ save you, He wants you to have an abundant life, becoming more righteous and being a part of His will. Walk in victory knowing that He has won. Live in gratitude because of this sacrifice. 

All I want,

Mere

 





Evolution–A Problem of Information Part I

26 04 2009

421948844_eea6ae29c1 

The General Theory of Evolution states that “all living forms in the world have come from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form” (Sarfati). This means complex life forms have come from relatively simple one-celled organisms, forming a chain leading to the modern species.

It is common knowledge that single-celled organisms have considerably less volume and complexity in their genetic code than multi-celled organisms. “The key issue”, writes Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, “is the type of change required–to change microbes into men requires changes that increase the genetic information content”. Evolutionists agree and believe that random mutations sorted by natural selection are the source of increased genetic content. But none provide a single example of functional new information being added to genes. Rather, they all involve sorting and loss of information.

The living cell was not always recognized for its vast complexity. Even “Darwin himself thought the cell was a simple blob of protoplasm, and he conjectured that it evolved in a warm little pond” (Colson 53). Modern genetics has revealed that the cell is far more complex than Darwin could have guessed. DNA, the basic packet of genetic information, is far too intricate to arrive by chance. Dr. Colson describes DNA as:

A language in the heart of the cell, a molecular message, a set of instructions telling the cell how to construct proteins – much like the software needed to run a computer. Moreover, the amount of information DNA includes is staggering: a single cell of the human body contains as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica–all 30 volumes–three or four times over (55).   

The occurrence of natural selection in nature is scientific fact. Natural selection specializes the species to survive in the current conditions; bacteria resistant to antibiotics survive while others die out. Longer-haired animals live in sudden cold snaps while shorter-haired animals are removed from the gene pool. Predators eat the more visible white moths and their coloration traits are seen less often.

 Natural selection is heralded as the driving force for a species to progress up the evolutionary ladder. It, however, does not account for increased genetic content. Natural selection operates on a net loss of genetic information and has never accounted for new genetic traits. Natural selection is counter-productive to a species in the long run. When a population becomes specialized, like long-furred animals surviving in cold climates, the population looses the genes that would aid them if the weather shifted to a warmer climate (Sarfati). Natural selection creates a loss of information in the gene pool and if it had any merit in creating new genetic content, evidence would surface in selective breeding. However, to the dismay of the evolutionists, selective breeding does not provide any such evidence.

Despite impressive results, there remains an irrefutable limitation to what can be bred. Dr. Colson reminds readers that “breeding does not create new genes . . . a bird cannot be bred to grow fur. A mouse cannot be bred to grow feathers. A pig cannot grow wings”. Breeding is like shuffling already existing cards. A trait can be enhanced to a point, and then progress halts “because once all the genes for a particular trait have been selected, breeding can go no further”. The “fatal flaw” in Darwin’s theory is that breeding “eventually reaches a limit that breeders cannot cross” (73-74).

The famous breeder Luther Burbank, who is arguably the greatest breeder of all time, said:

The tendency for organisms to stay true to type is so constant that it can be considered a natural law–-what he called the law of Revision to the Average. It’s a law, he said, that keeps all living things within some more or less fixed limitations (78).

With both breeding and natural selection’s inability to account for new genetic content, evolutionists must put all hope in random mutation. Many scientists have concluded that the “only new source of genetic material in nature is mutations” (Colson 75). However, this does not mean that this new content adds to the well-being of the species.

Mutations are often seen today. They are the leading cause of deadly disease such as: hereditary disease, cancer, birth defects, growth problems, mental disease, Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal hormone activity and blood disorders. Mutations have been a stumbling block to the human species, arguably causing more deaths than any other cause. Mutations are so problematic because they are essentially random spelling errors that appear from an imperfect copy of genetic code. Almost all mutations are harmful, often lethal to the organism so that if mutations were to accumulate, the result would more likely be de-evolution than evolution. Mutations cause a mess to the ordered DNA coding system and in most cases destroys it, resulting in fatal errors. Random mutations cause a loss in complexity and, ultimately, a loss in volume to the genome of a species.

Dr. Ruse remarks on evolutionists’ statements that confirms the belief that mutations are ultimately harmful:

Indeed, the words of evolutionists are turned against themselves. Mutations are random (Waddington), very rare (Ayala), and almost invariably, very harmful to their possessors (Muller and Julian Huxley). They just cannot lead to new kinds of organisms (257).

Believing that random mutations would benefit an organism is like believing that random letters and punctuation marks would spontaneously develop into an apologetics article. So where does the new information come from? Evolutionary theory provides no answer.

 

-Luke