Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Living by the Spirit?

I recently read Francis Chan's book Forgotten God, which addresses how the church seems to downplay (for lack of a better word) the role of the Holy Spirit. Like his previous book, Crazy Love, this book has me thinking and re-thinking aspects of my faith.

For example, when others look at me, do they see something different about me or do I blend in with the rest of the world? Do I allow the Spirit to do His work or do I insist upon my own way? Am I really living by the Spirit when I don't show love, am impatient, or lack self-control?

I am not doubting my faith, but I am wondering about my daily commitment to it. When I love the Lord with every bit of my being, then His Spirit flourishes. But when I take my focus off of Him and place it on me, then I am quenching the Holy Spirit.

I fully understand Paul's dilemma in Romans 7. Verses 21-23 reads: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law, 23 but I see another law at work in the member of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members." (NIV) And that's what it feels like - a war.

This is what I've learned so far in order to wage this war. Pray daily or even hourly for focus on the Lord. Submit to the Lord and His ways. Finally, remember the Holy Spirit is my Helper (and your's too) - not to help me achieve my plans, but to help me accomplish the Lord's.

Friday, May 20, 2011

So, the Rapture Didn't Happen...Yet

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - 2: "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night..."(NIV)

I am beyond frustrated with groups who claim to know the day and hour of Jesus' return. Jesus himself said "But about that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36, NIV) I believe Jesus is coming back - I just don't know when. It could be today, tomorrow, or 500 years from now.

Earlier this evening I read an article about the man who predicted the "doomsday" this past weekend. He is now stating he was about five months off and it will occur in October.

Please do not be deceived by false prophets. If someone says they have a word from the Lord or they have solved some theological mystery, then listen to it and test it. First John 4:1 says "My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world." (The Message)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me, a Hypocrite?

One of the harder parts of being a parent is constantly setting an example for my children to follow. I find the things I'm constantly asking my children to do are areas I have difficulty in myself. Let me give you an example - cleaning. One day my husband told my oldest to clean her room. When he went to check the room, he walked to her closet. She panicked and said "You didn't say I had to clean my closet!" It turns out she threw her belongings onto the closet floor. Any guesses as to who taught her that little trick?

Cleaning is just one example. I'm more concerned with those areas that truly matter in the end, like loving others, showing mercy, and practicing discipline. I'll admit, I have a bit of guilt with this because I feel like a hypocrite. How can I tell my kids to do something when I can't even do it correctly? It's easy to say "Do as I say, not as I do," but isn't that just an excuse used to justify my actions?

Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is not a hypocrite. He sent His Son to show us how to live. Not tell us, but show us. He said to love our enemies and then He prayed for the people crucifying Him. He said to love the Lord your God with everything we have. He did by praying to His Father everyday and obeying Him by completing His work on earth. He said no greater love existed than for one to die for his friends. He died for us so that we may be saved. Whatever Jesus preached, He did.

The good news is there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1). It doesn't mean I can keep living this way, but it does offer me grace and another chance to live by the Spirit.