Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Loving God

So, have you ever wondered why a loving God would send people to hell?  I mean, why would a good, gracious, merciful God send a person to eternal damnation? 

I found this great quote on Sunday.  It's by the writers of the book Vintage Jesus, Driscoll and Breshears.

  How then can we not love God for his anger rather than in spite of it? How could we possibly worship a God who looks at rapists, pedophiles, murderers, slave traders, thieves, and the like and simply smiles with pointless nicety because none of it bothers him? That kind of god, and not the God who becomes angry, is an ugly accomplice to injustice that no one with even a barely functioning conscience could or should worship.

God sending people to hell is not an injustice.  It would be an injustice for a person to live in God's holy presence throughout eternity while he has no reverence for God and no acceptance of Christ.  Even if a person who has not accepted Jesus is "good," they are still in a blatant denial of the blood of Jesus. 

Just some food for thought :)  


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deut. 18:9-13

"9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God."  Deut. 18:9-13

I was reading this passage today.  It pretty much seemed like a typical, Old Testament-commandment-from-God passage at first glance.  But, when I actually went back and thought about it, Moses' words to the Israelites echo across time and into the Christian's life.

We are called to be a set-apart people.  We're to be a nation, a citizenship, within the nations that we physically live in.  We must not operate under the systems and ideologies of the society in which we reside.  We operate under a divine economy within the laws of our country.  We are set apart.

We are not Israel.  We are not called to be a distinct, physical nation.  Yet, we are called to live under a higher order, a righteous God.  We answer to Holiness Himself.

And that is the difference -- the world lives to be right by their laws, right by their own corrupt consciences and distorted views of morality.  We live under grace, we function by way of relationship with our Father, and we need to deal with others in light of this grace of God.  We are held to a higher calling, a deeper faith, a truer love.

We are to be holy.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Proof of Your Love

The Proof of Your Love is a great song by for KING & COUNTRY.  The words are partially taken from I Corinthians 13:1-3, "If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing." 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Road Trip

I got back from a road trip Sunday.  It was a lot of fun, because my dad and I were going to Illinois, and I had never been that far west before (I know, Illinois is SO far west, right?).  I was amazed by the huge fields of corn that blanketed the state as far as I could see.  The land just looked so big

 We passed Cleveland on the way...

Lake Erie

It was great -- it was just about sunset when we passed Lake Erie, and I got a couple pictures of it.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

While I'm Waiting

Waiting isn't easy (at least not for me). At all.

I have made a commitment to purity until marriage, and I'm finding it's harder than I thought. Because, though I haven't been tempted to lose my purity at this point, I have been tempted to compromise. 

I want to save myself for my future spouse (if I am going to have one). For me, this means dressing modestly, staying away from dating until I'm old enough to match it with commitment, and literal sexual purity. 

It's harder than I thought. I've had people flirt with me, and I've wanted to ask them out, be flirty, wear "special" clothes when they're around, etc. It's difficult not to give into those temptations sometimes. 

I know that, even if I start out with just a "cute" little guy-girl relationship, it could lead to further compromises and struggles down the road, and it would get me a little too comfortable with dating. 

So I've decided that, while I'm waiting, I'll praise God. God is preparing something for me so much greater than I could possibly imagine, better than anything I could plan on my own.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 

I just went on a work retreat with my youth group, and the messages were centered on worship. We talked about how we can (and should) worship anywhere--how our work itself was worship. We can worship while we suffer, while we are happy, while we are weary, while we are working, while we are waiting.

Our lives themselves should be worship. People should look at us and wonder what is different about us--they should want what we have. And we should be willing to tell them what we have--a wonderful, personal, deep and amazing relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Deut. 10:12-22

I was reading in my Bible this morning, and I came across this passage.  For some reason, it really struck a chord with me, so I thought I would share it with you, too.  What first caught my attention was this list of things that Jehovah was asking of the Israelites.  Moses reminds the people of what God wants from His people, but he phrases it in a question.  Jehovah asks you for but these few things...Is this too much to give to our God?  Moses then goes on to remind the Israelites of all the things their God has done for them.

I think Moses' words can remind us even today, too, that our Lord is the Lord.  He is King of Kings, Prince of Peace, and He has come to earth to reach our stubborn hearts with an everlasting love we cannot explain.  What little it is for us to give Him our lives!  Yes, it is all we have -- yet if we give it away, we will be given more that we could ever have had before.

  "12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky."
     Deut. 10:12-22


Monday, June 4, 2012

Swimsuit Cover-up

Do you ever have trouble finding modest swim wear?  This year I got a one piece swimsuit and board shorts.  I also wanted a coverup for when I get out of the pool.  I was amazed at all the ugly, see-through swimsuit coverups that I could find online.

My sister found a really neat coverup at Wal-Mart, though.  So I decided to get one, too.  They come in three colors, I believe.  What I loved about them is that they reach the knee and have long ties.  These ties make the coverup versatile -- you can wear the thing about a hundred different ways:
 You can where it with cap sleeves...
(Note: the model is wearing a black swimsuit, so the ties kinda blend in)
 Around your neck...
 And you can wear it as a skirt!

So, I thought these things were great.  They are very modest and come in beautiful colors, so I love them!

P.S.  Please give Lizzie a round of applause for ever-so-nicely being my model, and for barely complaining even though it was about 60 degrees outside today!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Word

Last year, I went through the One Year Bible program. It was great, and I got a lot closer to God...and then I stopped. January came this year, and I was lazy--I didn't do it again. In fact, I hardly picked up my Bible for months. 

My attitude started plummeting. I became depressed. I started making bad decisions. I stopped taking care of myself. 

...And I started questioning God. 

A few weeks ago, I picked up my Bible again. I started reading it, at first just reading a random chapter a day. Then I started reading whole books at a time. 

I started feeling better, and I started to feel more alive in Christ.  

The Word of God is powerful; it can, has, and will change lives. Never doubt it's power--it is as sharp as a double edged sword. 

Try different versions, see what you like. Lately, I've been reading NLT (New Living Translation). It's like I'm reading a devotion, and it makes reading the Bible more simple. 

My personal favorite versions, however, are these: 

New International Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, and the American Standard Version.  

So, as soon as you're done reading this, I encourage you to dive into your Bible--today and everyday.