God Knew, But Still Did

2 Timothy 1:9

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

That was His plan from the beginning of time. Before He created us, He knew we would fail Him.

I want to look at this verse backwards.

I look at the words, “to show us His grace” and I can’t help but be reminded of a child. A child who loves his family, draws them a picture during school, awaits all day to go home and show them this picture, and then most importantly, the joy and excitement the child has when showing their parents the picture. The parents naturally love the drawing, not because of the artistry of the photo, but because they can see their child’s love and joy through the photo.

I feel like this is God. He’s so excited to show us His grace, He loves to love us. Why? What have we done to win God’s approval? We haven’t done anything, He just naturally deeply loves us and invites us into His shelter. It’s like the kind of love and joy a child shows to its parents, but God’s love goes even further. That’s pretty neat.

Accepting that by the words “beginning of time” refers back before creation (who knows this could simply mean a long long time ago) God knew we would fail Him. Even if “beginning of time” doesn’t mean what I think it does, we can agree that God can do all things, and therefor there’s no reason He wouldn’t have known we would fail Him. So God knew we would fail Him, He knew what it would cost, but He still went through with it. Why? I’m always asking, why God. I can’t grasp the simply why. That love is simply so great. But I don’t have to be able to concept it for it to be true, it is whether or not I/we/you understand it or not. What I think is also super cool is that since God knew we would fail Him 1) He still created us, 2) He made a plan according to our failure, 3) God used what was closest to Him to fix our failure. God already gave you what was closest to His heart to save you. He will use anything He has to, to bring you into His kingdom, you just have to accept Him. We have a hard time sacrificing our comforts and needs/wants for God, but God went right ahead and sacrificed His Son for us. Wow, God is so much greater than I. It’s really cool to sit back and reflect about everything you’ve done, all your short comings, all your failures, all your sins and realize God knew about them before He created you, but He loves you so much He want on ahead and created you anyways AND He gave you a chance at redemption. And to give you this chance, He went ahead and did the hard part for you and sacrificed His son, He knew you wouldn’t be able to upkeep the law, He knew you wouldn’t deserve it, so He went ahead and did all that for you, and in return asks for your heart. Giving Him your heart is the greatest thing you can do, because this is a God so full of love for you. That’s beautiful. In short, God knows about whatever shameful thing it is that you’ve done, but He saw it before you wore born, but He asks for you anyways.

We don’t deserve this. Not even in the slightest. But God knows that and and saved you anyways. In the end, your past is God’s trophy. Not because your past is pretty, but because it’s a place you can look at and be thankful for all that God has done for you and what He has saved you from.

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. You didn’t save yourself, God saved you. And now calls you to live a holy life. Devoted to God. Why? Because on our own, we tend to find ourselves chasing wind, never satisfied. But being devoted to God gives you access to His love and peace into your life. Knowing what God has done for me, I can’t help but think of a better way to live my life.

Psalms 91:1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Advertisements

Hey, Listen!

I really just want to go through the book of Joel, and take what seems to be key verses to me and talk about them.

The first 15 verses of chapter 1 can be summed up with Joel 2:3

Before them fire devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
    behind them, a desert waste—
    nothing escapes them.

The Lord is warning them of judgement day. This verse is telling us how devastating the Lord’s army is going to be. Until His army comes, everything is going to be grand, we are going to be enjoying the pleasures of the earth in all its beauty. But when the Lord passes through, everything behind Him will be destroyed into a waste. There is nothing His army won’t cover. It will bring disaster to all. Going back a few verses, to Joel 2:1

Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem;
    shout a warning on my holy mountain.
Let all the people who live in the land shake with fear,
    because the Lord’s day of judging is coming;
    it is near.

Shake with fear. This reminds of the moment when you get to class, the toughest one, the one you really need that A in, and you get to class to realize everyone has on their desk an important assignment to turn in that you forgot to do. Fear strikes you hard, you panic quickly think how you can resolve this. Maybe you can leave class now before the professor comes. Maybe I won’t say anything and the professor won’t notice. You think to yourself, how in the stinkin world could I forget about this assignment?!

But now take this another step forward, you’re living your life, maybe on your way to work, to school. to the gym, on the way home, which ever, and this trumpet blows from the sky. Close your eyes and imagine this. Then this voice comes shouting from the sky, “Judgement day is coming next week. Prepare yourselves!” Imagine that fear. What’s the first thought that comes to mind? Whatever your thought is, I want to ask, how in the stinkin’ world could you forget that God said there will be a judgement day?!

Joel 2:6-11 describes what God’s army will be like.

When they see them, nations shake with fear,
    and everyone’s face becomes pale.

 They charge like soldiers;
    they climb over the wall like warriors.
They all march straight ahead
    and do not move off their path.
 They do not run into each other,
    because each walks in line.
They break through all efforts to stop them
    and keep coming.
 They run into the city.
    They run at the wall
and climb into the houses,
    entering through windows like thieves.

 Before them, earth and sky shake.
The sun and the moon become dark,
    and the stars stop shining.
 The Lord shouts out orders
    to his army.
His army is very large!
    Those who obey him are very strong!
The Lord’s day of judging
    is an overwhelming and terrible day.
    No one can stand up against it!

In terms of an army, God’s army is extremely disciplines and follow orders exactly to how they were given them. There is nothing that can stand in the way of God’s army. No amount of human effort or advancement can get in His way. On top of that, it says in front of His army “the sun and moon become dark, and the stars stop shinning.” Even if you were to try and fight it, there is no light to see. Total darkness. Everything will be destroyed without a trace. It’s kind of an overwhelming thought.

I love what it says next though in Joel 2:12-13

The Lord says, “Even now, come back to me with all your heart.
    Fast, cry, and be sad.”

 Tearing your clothes is not enough to show you are sad;
    let your heart be broken.
Come back to the Lord your God,
    because he is kind and shows mercy.
He doesn’t become angry quickly,
    and he has great love.
    He can change his mind about doing harm.

God never threatens us without giving us a way out of His wrath. So now, you’re sitting in class, you decided to stay, the professor sees that you forgot to do your assignment. He says to you, “Son, why have you not followed my instructions? I told you the first day of the semester of the assignment, I have warned you every week since, and here you have not done it. According to my syllabus, I am going to have to give you a zero.” And, rightly so. Yes, you may have gotten to busy, things got in the way in you just forgot about it, sure your grandmother may have died last week, but the professor warned you from the beginning of the assignment.

Coming back to the trumpet in the sky, to the voice shouting that next week is judgement day. What’s your excuse to why you haven’t been living right with God? Fortunately for you, God is given each and everyone of us a second chance. “Come back to me” He says! “With all your heart.”Come.

He says, “Tearing your clothes is not enough to show you are sad; let your heart be broken.” I think sometimes we like to pretend we are upset about our wrong doings, I think sometimes we like to make a cover of us being sad so that maybe we feel better about ourselves, so that maybe others are more easily to forgive you. But God is telling us, He doesn’t care about our physical attributes of being sad, let your heart actually be broken. When was the last time your heart was broken? Do you love that Lord so much that even the slightest sin against Him cuts you deep? Or are you like me, more adapted to my sins, kinda brush over them. As long as you say you are for God, it’s all okay right? As long as you are happy and having fun right? As long as you aren’t upsetting or doing harm to others right? I think sometimes we forget and simply can’t imagine how much God loves us and how much pain it costs Him when we sin. Maybe your sins are no big deal to you, but to God, it cost His Sons’ life.

Let your heart be broken and come back to the Lord your God. “He is kind and shows mercy.” “He has great love.” Unlike our professor who is simply following his syllabus and the rules of the university, God can and will give you a second chance. Judgment day doesn’t have to be a bad day for you, it can be the greatest day of your life. Turn back to Him.

Joel 2:14

Who knows? Maybe He will turn back to you and leave behind a blessing for you..

So God comes through and destroys all life and everything around you, BUT who knows, maybe He will turn back and leave a blessing for you. This verse isn’t saying He will turn around, but it implies hope. A blessing from the Lord is greater than anything we can conceive ourselves. Here Joel is simply stating, sure everything may get destroyed in your life, but God can still turn around and bless you and your land. There’s nothing He can’t bless.

Joel 2:18-19

Then the Lord became concerned about His land and felt sorry for His people. He said to them: “I will send you grain, new wine, and olive oil, so that you will have plenty. No more will I shame you among the nations.”

Boom, God’s grace. We can rebel all we want against God, but He still feels sorry for His people when disaster comes. What kind of love is this? So after destroying everything in our lives, He comes back and says I’ll give you everything brand new and will give you plenty!

Over all what I am seeing here, beyond judgement day, is a message about our hearts. Change your heart towards God, and He will restore you. He’ll make you brand new.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

What does God want? He wants you to come to Him, no matter how broken, so that He may forgive you and piece you back together. He wants to make your weaknesses your strong point.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he[God] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I[Paul] am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

And one more, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what’s been done, God can use it.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

This is what I love about my God. He’s not asking me, or you, to be perfect, He’s asking us for our heart.  When you give God your heart, all His commands, The 10 Commandments, all the ‘rules’ change. It no longer becomes something you have to follow to be a good Christian. Rather it becomes something you desire to follow because you realize His love is greater than sin. You realize God didn’t create all His laws to give us an impossible to test or to keep us away from our pleasures, rather He was protecting us from the world. If you sit down and consider the 10 commandments, look at them from a perspective that they are there to protect you, rather than a list of rules to follow and break. Watch as you realize the 10 commandments are a sign of His love for us, rather than wrath. They are there to protect, rather than take away.

God’s pretty cool. Come and give Him your broken heart. He won’t turn you away. He will only love you.

(Gonna start at verse 20 next time.)

You

Timothy 2:1-2

my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Why does this mean to you, what does this mean to me?

I sit here and wonder what would give me, you, or anybody, the right and position to share our insights of the bible, God’s Word, with anybody? Fact is, I’m a sinner. I don’t follow God’s Word perfectly in my own life, actually, I don’t even come close to it. I don’t think anybody does. I feel like I should place myself in the position that I am always learning God’s Word and will never be ready to actually teach God’s Word. There’s just so much to learn and in this life time I’ll never fully understand God’s Word.

What will ever make me qualified to teach His Word?

The answer, God’s grace. I’ve found and seen that where we are weakest gives way for God’s grace to be strongest. Where God’s grace is, becomes where we are strongest. That’s more than just a pick me up cliche. It’s a true statement that is even backed by evidence in Scripture.

  • Abraham and Sarah couldn’t bear children. Abraham became the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5)
  • David was a small shepard boy, youngest of the family, not a soldier. He took the giant Goliath (1st Samuel 17)
  • Moses left Egypt abandoned by himself. He stuttered and was afraid to speak. He lead the Israelites (Exodus)
  • Paul hated Christians and killed them for a living. Now responsible for writing most of the New Testament (New Testament)

Those are just a few examples. Sometimes when I look at biblical examples, I can’t help but think ‘well that’s nice, but those are biblical examples. What about now in today’s age? Where is His grace making us strong?’ This answer is just as obvious. I look to my leaders.

Who is the one leading that alcoholic ministry? A former alcoholic. Who is the one that is leading that financial class? The one who was formerly broke and bankrupted. Who is the one that is leading that sexual purity ministry? One who use to be addicted to sexual immorality. The list goes on. You might even find that your pastor, or the person who has the best relationship with God, was once the furthest from God, but because of God’s grace they’ve felt His love and that inspires them to Him.

The area in which they struggled, God’s grace now resigns. Because of their struggle, they have a heart for those struggling in the same area and because they struggled, they understand the hurt and pain more than anyone else. God gave them grace and freed them from their struggle, and now they are able to help others.

It’s hard to feel qualified to share God’s message with others. It’s easy to feel like a hypocrite. To feel like you’re not worthy to add anything to the discussion of God. But you’ve been covered by God’s grace. Let His grace guide you. God has a purpose for each and everyone of us but we need to start by accepting His grace into our life. His death paid for your sins.

Pass on the grace that God has shown you to others. Pass it on, so that others may also pass it on. Let guide reside in your weaknesses.

2 Timothy 2:13

if we are faithless, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.

Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow me.”

Confession #7

Age: 16

I feel like I’ve fallen too far from grace and God’s love. Every day, I want to kill myself, and I’ve attempted before, but I really want to be saved and accepted in Christ again… 😦 Please, pray for me.


My Comment:

You are always accepted in Christ. We can never fall too far from God’s grace. Call upon His name and you will be forgiven. He is always there waiting for you, in fact He is running to you! (Luke 15:11-32). Of course I will pray for you because you deserve it!


Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/

Wisdoms Understanding of Grace

Proverbs 4:3-6

For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;  love her, and she will watch over you.

Proverbs 4:3-6

For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

I can’t say I am very wise, nor do I have great understanding. My limit of knowledge is very short. With the limited knowledge and understanding I do have, I will say that the greatest thing we can learn of, is God’s grace to us! Without God’s grace everything else is meaningless. To accept, and live out in acceptance of Gods grace would be to achieve wisdom at its fullest. For us to truly accept and life in acceptance of Gods grace, is for us to stop living for us, and start living in Him. It’s when we unite ourself with Christ, so that He may carry us. It’s knowing that we cannot, under the Law, enter into eternal life with Christ, but it is only by His grace that we are made new.

“Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” When we retain His words, when we have knowledge of His grace, we focus our actions towards Christ, we no longer have to suffer because of our sins. When we are in His grace, we are free and can live! When we stumble from sin and temptations we no longer have to live in self pity of our sins, for when we do we remove ourselves from His grace, and put ourself back under the Law.

Galatians 5:4 (NLT)  

For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

Let’s seek our His wisdom and understanding, and not forget His words. Lets not forget about His grace. It is always there for us! No matter how ‘bad’ you believe you have sin, His grace covers it. It always will. The moment we start to live in our own self pity of our sin, when we start to believe we aren’t good enough, is the moment we start to deny Gods grace. His grace is one of the hardest things to accept. It is easy for us to condem ourselves because of our sins, but to accept in our hearts that He has forgiven us, takes a lot of strength and wisdom.

Do not forsake wisdom. It’s in wisdom that we can accept Gods grace. It’s through wisdom that we are protected. It’s in His grace that He keeps us and calls us His own. In short, wisdoms understanding of grace has no limits. In our own worldly understandings we can not accept it nor understand it, it is beyond our grasp, and is impossible. Christ, in His love and wisdom, says differently. Let’s not forget that His wisdom is greater than ours, and His grace is beyond understanding.

Forgiving Others

Proverbs 3:29-30 (NIV)

Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.

Proverbs 3:29-30 (KJV)

Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

It’s all to easy to form envy, hostility, and a grudge against others. It’s to easy to form a negative opinion about someone after they have wronged you in some way. When someone wrongs us, we all to often try to get back at them for what they did to us. As for me I have many friends who have been wronged in such a way by another person that it has taken everything in me to hold in my emotions. About a year ago, I have started doing something that can be very difficult to do, that is whenever someone wrongs me or a friend of mine, or does something to make me upset instead of doing something that I know I would regret, I pray for them. This can be a very difficult thing to do, but there is no point in letting their actions boil your emotions, and there is no point in retaliating back because that just leads to more frustrations. I have found it best to just pray for others and yourself when you feel wronged, or anger towards another individual. What is more powerful that the power of pray?

I am currently reading a book called Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel. In the last chapter I read Craig writes about how when he was a child he found out his favorite teacher had molested his sister in either 5th or 6th grade. When this news came up, it came to light that she wasn’t the only child this teacher molested, there was a good number of children that fell victim to him. Craig grew a strong disliking to this man afterwards. He prayed bad things upon him. He thought this teacher was the exception to God’s forgiveness and grace. Over the years the teacher fell victim to some sort of muscular disease. When Craig found out he was happy inside, he liked to think of it as God’s way of punishing that man for all that he had down. Over the years Craig, against the will of his heart, sent his old teacher a letter. Despite how much he felt against this man, he sent him a letter of forgiveness and a short message of God’s grace and forgiveness. The man died shortly after. Craig, also a pastor by the way, went to talk to a nurse after the man died and the nurse told Craig about how the man accepted Christ into his heart after he received the letter from Craig.

We are all quick to anger against others, and it’s really easy to hold a grudge against others. We have all done it, doing it, and will continue to do it throughout our life. I just want to ask you to let go of your grudges, don’t blame others, don’t wish harm upon your neighbor, and always pray for them as well as for yourself. Blaming others and looking to get “even” with them is simply a victory for the devil. As we strive to be more like Christ lets learn to forgive and forget. Let’s learn to put our emotions aside and show love for others, as Christ has shown love for us!