Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random Thoughts from 2 Corinthians

Wow, I just finished 2 Corinthians, and I am amazed at all the bits that caught my eye:

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

...to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (say that one at my funeral!)

Make room for us in your hearts...

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have devine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness... that is why I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Josh Harris is eaten by a bean bag

Another great message from Josh Harris...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thoughts from my Pastor on Prayer

I have been reading a book loaned to me by a friend which explored what is wrong in the present-day church. It was an interesting read. As with every book I read, some things I agreed with and some things I did not, but the author brought out some interesting points and asked some thoughtful questions. I enjoyed the time I spent reading it. But it got me to thinking in particular about one question asked by the author. She said one of the biggest reasons people have difficulty with the modern-day church is because of the failure of the church to address the issue of “unanswered prayer”. So I would like to address that very issue right here and now.

The author never delineated between prayers that were not answered and prayers that were not answered in the manner the “pray-er” desired. I suspect she never made that distinction in her interviews, nor did those she talked with make or even think of the difference. Although my memory is shot-through in many instances, I do remember as a boy asking my parents (as every child does) for things that I wanted. Now upon occasion I actually got what I asked for, but most times I did not. Surprised? I learned that I would get an occasional “yes”, or a more frequent “no” or a less frequent “perhaps”.

I never realized until I was grown that when I received that rare “yes” it was because what I wanted matched or coincided with what my parents wanted for me. When I got a “no”, it was because in the wisdom of their experience they knew that what I wanted was not good for me. The less frequent “perhaps” indicated it was either not time yet, or they just had not thought about it and would let me know in the right time. We all have had some kinds of experiences like this. But the real point is that when I as a small boy asked for something, it was usually for selfish and self-serving reasons. James echoes this in James 4:3, “When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” I believe this is what is at the heart of the perceived problem of “unanswered prayer.”

If we, as Christians, ask our heavenly Father for something and it is in accordance with His will for us, He will give it to us – even if we ask for the wrong reasons. The Israelites asked for meat in the wilderness and the Lord granted their grumbling request – with so many quail they were physically sick with it. (see Numbers 11) And just because we ask something of our heavenly Father, let us not think for a moment that a “no” answer is no answer at all. As time passes and we grow in the faith, we may discover how very blessed we were not to receive what we asked for in our immaturity. And, since God is in no need of a “Plan B” and His grand purposes are ever marching onward, a “wait” answer would also be an indicator of His loving-kindness to us as we learn patience at the foot of our Master.

In response to the heart-felt questions about the state of our lives, Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” And just a bit later in Matthew 7:11, Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” God is neither mean nor deaf to His children. He wants to give things to us. They are called His blessings and they come in many forms.
So is there really any such thing as an unanswered prayer for God’s people? I don’t think so. It is not a question of God not answering our prayer, but of our submitting to His sovereign and loving will for our lives as His redeemed children. Do we really trust that He will provide for us all that we need? Or are we just upset because we don’t get whatever we want? Almighty God is not our personal “Santa Claus” into whose lap we climb and present our wish list, which He is then obligated to fulfill. He is our heavenly Father, who knows what is best for us and desires that we have it all in abundance – according to His will and in His time.

May He find us asking according to His will, patient until He makes His answer known, and content with whatever it may be. Our model is Jesus, and therein is the “peace that passes all understanding”.

In Christ,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


As I study Corinthians I see more and more our current society...

"It was clearly no easy matter even for regenerate Cristians to break free from the besetting sin of their ciy, especially when some 'enlightened' members of their community kept assuring them that it was not really a sin at all."

F.F. Bruce, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Desiring God 2009 Conference

I have been listening to the podcasts from this for the past week...

Monday, October 5, 2009

When did I quit fighting?

Lord, I can’t see the battle
or the enemy.
Give me eyes to see the enemy;
show me the battle.

Train my hands
and my feet;
Fill my mind.
Put a sword in my hand,
a helmet on my head,
armor on my chest.
Give me a shield;
be my shield,
my rock,
my fortress.
Hide me from the enemy,
from his arrows
and his flaming darts;
But strike a true blow through me.

I am weak and wounded,
heavy of heart,
slow of mind.
I cannot see,
cannot stand,
cannot remember.

Give me faith in spite of my failure -
Your faith and grace,
Your strength and courage,
Your weapons and wisdom;
For I have none.

I am lost,
I have no strength.
I have nothing.

But You hold me.

©Rebecca A Givens, 09/25/09

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hold that thought, God. I need to check my email

OH MY. I found this and it goes so perfectly with my previous post...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fasting and Slavery

Lately I have been thinking a lot about slavery. Paul says we are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. Even when we are saved we can choose to go back to our old slavery to sin.

Anyway, I have been wondering, what am I a slave to? Enslaving myself to something is akin to making it an idol, to worshipping it. Sometimes we give ourselves over to something that is not worthy of our worship. Let's take it one step simpler still, and some things we do simply waste time.

Now that I think about it, I think perhaps in getting ready for testing I became a slave to it. I know I have definately teetered on that line of karate being an idol in my life. That is a constant danger for me. In that sense my foot injury was a good thing, it forced me to step back from karate. There are lots of random thoughts about my foot injury rolling around in my head; that is not the direction I intended for this blog post to take!

Where I was going in this post was in fasting! Not fasting from food, but fasting from whatever we do or use as an escape and time waster in this life. My pastor has talked about not reading novels because years ago they became something that consumed him. Perhaps God forced me to fast from karate for 2 months for the same reason. But again I digress from the small topic I started thinking about into a huge idol topic...

My own particular small thing that started me on this post will sound absurd... but thursday night I decided I was wasting way too much time playing spider solitare on the computer. Time just dissappears when I click on that game. And there is so much I would rather do! I would rather read a book, watch a movie, knit. And I should clean house.. Am I a slave to solitare? I don't know, but I decided I would not play a game for at least 1 week. We'll see. So far I haven't been home long enough to notice... but today I have computer work to do, and between those things to do a game would be... a waste of time!