Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fair Weather Christians

I have no idea how anyone can be a fair weather Christian.  How can you give anything less than full devotion to God?  How can you give Jesus - and what He did for your eternal soul - a passing gratitude?

Too many Christians these days think having Jesus in their life is like an accessory, like the icing on the cake.  You slap a Jesus fish on your car and that makes you devoted.  You go to church and that makes you strong.  You love God - just as long as nothing bad happens to you.

And if something does, whew boy, you better watch out!  God only deserves your devotion during the good times.  How dare He pull that rug out from under you?

Fair weather Christians are the perfect example of those who build their houses on the sand.  The winds and rain comes, and their foundations wash away.  They have no foundation.  There is no trust, no faith.  If God is sovereign, then He could have stopped this from happening.  Why didn't He stop this?  Why do I have to go through it?

It isn't wrong to be mad at God if something bad happens.  But what we have to remember is that if God is indeed sovereign, He can also help us through our ordeals.  He will never leave us, He's promised us that.  He is always with us, living within the heart of every believer.  Our bodies are literally the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Whenever we pray, He hears us.  He knows when we sit, He knows when we rise.

We don't always understand why God does the things He does.  But I've always thought of life as a giant chess board.  While we're here, we're standing on the board.  All we can see is the square in front of us.  Maybe a few squares around us.  But God can see the entire board.  He can anticipate what's going to happen five moves ahead.  Perhaps if He'd moved us to the square we wanted to be in, we'd put ourselves in check-mate.  The point is, we must trust in God's sovereignty.  He uses all things for the good of those who love Him.

Even the bad things.

Christ told us the Greatest Commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  That means to love Him more than anything -- to put Him before anything.  He comes first in your life.  Period.  Before your spouse, your children, your house, errands, family, friends...  Everything.

When we marry, we vow to love our spouse for richer, for poorer, through sickness and in health.  In short, we're promising to love this person come what may.  Good times or bad.  We don't make this commitment lightly.  A marriage vow is meant to be a lifelong vow ('til death do we part).  So too should our commitment be to the Lord.  And even moreso if we are to put Him first before all things.

How could we NOT trust God in everything?  Is He not more trustworthy than even our spouses?  More faithful?  More loving?

If you answered no to any one of those questions, you don't know Him the way you should.  And you might just be a fair weather Christian.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why is There No Seeking in the House of God?

We must be Bereans when it comes to the things of God.  I know too many Christians who are content in their Christianity, but barely look much different than the world around them.  Do they pray?  Casually?  Often?  Just when they need God to "do" something for them?

Do they read their Bible?  More often than on Sundays?  Do they wonder about the deeper things of God, like the Trinity, for example, or the Rapture and Tribulation?  Or do they think in the long run these things will "work themselves out"?

Not every Christian is cut out to be a scholar, I understand that.  But there are so many out there who claim the faith and yet don't really KNOW what they believe!  They believe things because they've been taught these things all their lives, not because they sought them out on their own.

When's the last time one of these Christians prayed just to say, "Hi." to the Almighty?  Obviously, I can't see their hearts like God can.  Who am I to judge their spiritual life?  But Christ says in the Bible, "You shall know them by their fruits." ~~Luke 6:43-45

So what other conclusion are we to make but that they are starving themselves spiritually?  And they probably have no idea!  Like I once thought, "I'm a strong Christian!" but my life held almost no fruit for God.  I raised my kids to believe, but beyond that, what did I do for the Kingdom?  Nothing.

Now that I am drawn back to the heart of God, I am compelled to learn more about Him.  I'm consumed with longings to know Him, to understand the One Who created me and died to save me.  Nothing else on this planet MATTERS but the love of God.  How can these "worldly" Christians not understand that?  Christ coming into this world and dying for humanity was the single-most important event in the history of creation.

And we live our lives as if we don't care.  We give Christ a passing "thank you" or a slight nod of appreciation, without realizing that the LOVE of GOD should set OUR hearts on fire!  Why is your heart NOT ON FIRE?!  I don't understand how anyone can live their lives, content with their head in the sand, and not look up into the glory of the cosmos.

Knowing Christ has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with relationship.  He LOVES you.  SO MUCH!  And it breaks my heart to think that the vast majority of Christians don't return a deep, burning love for Him.

There might be some adoration.  A deep respect.  Thankfulness.  Gratefulness, even.  No one wants to go to Hell.

But God wants our LOVE.  The ones who stood out from the crowd in the Bible were those who were after God's Own heart.  Abel.  King David.  John the Apostle.  Mary of Bethany.  Mary Magdelene.  God loves everyone equally, but what was it about THESE people?

They were ALL IN!  They loved God with everything they had.  They threw themselves headfirst into God and didn't care if they never emerged.  Their place was at His feet, soaking up His attention, hanging on His every word.  They lived and breathed Him, He was in their DNA, on their skin, and the reason their hearts beat.

THIS is how Christians should know and love God.  I will be the first to tell you that I am not perfect.  But it is my desire to love God like THAT.  It is my desire to be so intimate with my Creator, that He is my very Best Friend.  The One I turn to in times of need.  The One I chat with.  The One with whom I share my joy.

The Love of my life.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  ~~Matthew 22:37

This is what made these people stand out in Scripture.  They understood to put God first in their lives, to make Him Sovereign over all their heartaches and blessings and give Him a place of honor in their lives -- regardless of their circumstance.

Our joy is found in God alone, not in our day-to-day.  And when a Christian finally understands this truth, nothing can defeat them.  They've built their house on the Rock.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Did You Create Me?

Why did God create each and every one of us?  It's probably one of the most common questions God receives (I'm assuming).  Why DID God create you?  Why did He create me?

I asked God this question just the other day.  I was thanking Him for giving me life.  I enjoyed gazing at His creation.  I enjoy Him.  So I thanked Him for breathing within me the spark of life.  And I asked Him, "Why did You create me?"

"Because I knew you'd love Me," came His whispered, unspoken reply.

That made me smile.  I remembered my Scriptures.  "Before the foundation of the world," I murmured.

"Yes," He replied.  "I knew you before I created a single atom."

"But why me?"  I was stubborn, I suppose, not satisfied with His previous answer.

God said, "Because it pleased Me to do so.  I knew the joy you'd find in Me.  I knew the love you'd have for Me.  It pleased me to create you to give you that Joy."

And then, beyond words, God gave me an impression.  It wasn't a picture or a daydream, just a knowledge that hadn't been there before.

From before Genesis 1:1, from before time, in eternity past, I have ALWAYS been a part of God's plan for His Church and for His Son.  When God looked through the ages, He planned for every member of Christ's Bride, of which I am a member.  He created me because I was always meant to be created.  There was never a plan for Christianity without ME.  Without YOU.

The next time you feel worthless or down in the dumps, remember, God PLANNED you in His Grand Design.  There is no such thing as the Bride of Christ without YOU.  You are foreordained, foreknown, and foreloved by God, whose delight it was to create you, to give you the Joy He knew you'd find in His Son.

God's answer to my curious question blew my mind just a wee bit.  We don't give enough thought to just how much God knows.  He knows everything there IS to know.  He knows the past, present, and future.  Of COURSE He had a plan for me, and for each one of us, before the foundation of the world.

Too often, the singular Christian gets lost in the "collective Church" or the "collective Bride" of Christ.  We are one body in Him.  He died for us all.  But we don't usually remember that salvation from Yahweh is a very PERSONAL thing.  God doesn't save a "collective", but one person at a time.  Therefore, every Christian who truly loves and follows Christ was known and loved and planned for before the stars winked into existence.

The next time you look up at the bright full moon or the starry night sky, remember this one thing: before God laid them across the firmament of the heavens, HE KNEW YOU AND LOVED YOU.

Our God is an Awesome God.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Absolutely LOVE Being a Christian

I love Jesus.  I beyond love Jesus.  I ADORE Jesus.  And you know what I've come to realize?  That's really WEIRD to the world.  To people who don't believe, they look at you as if you talk to an invisible friend, or as if you never really grew up and you still believe in fairy tales.

That's okay.  I don't mind.  Because I can get lost in Christ's love for me.  Those of you who are Christian might understand where I'm coming from.  Not every Christian is "in love" with Jesus.  They might think they are, but their relationship with Him is nothing more than casual.  They pray over their food and at church, but probably not at any other time.  Singing songs of praise is well and good, but do you actually turn the music off and just TALK to God?  Spend time with Him?

I think my unshakeable love in God began when I was a young girl.  I thought I was Christian when I was a child, but I realized just knowing who Jesus is wasn't enough.  I had to ask Him into my heart.  I had to surrender my will for His.  I had to make Him Lord over my life.

My parents divorced when I was 12, so my teen years were very lonely and painful.  If God hadn't found me in those vulnerable times, I don't know where I would be today.  God gave me purpose and saved me from my pain.  He became my life.  I got baptized.  I went to youth groups.  I had a church I loved.  Christian friends I hung out with and clubs I attended.  It was a great time.

When I became an adult, my attention was pulled away from God by my husband, and then my children.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my family.  But even though I still listened to my Christian music, I never made time for God -- and yet I still categorized myself as a "strong" Christian.

I was in this wilderness period with God for quite a few years.  And I had absolutely no idea.  I never fell away too far from the Lord.  I still prayed.  Everyone knew I was a Christian, but most likely from my cross necklace than from any declaration of my own.

But something flipped in me about a year ago.  I "woke up", as it were, to God once again.  I've returned to my First Love, and I ADORE Him!!!  Christians, do you remember when you were a new, baby Christian, and your love for Jesus was unfathomable?  When you were bouncing off the walls?  When you wanted to shout from the rooftops about God to the world?

I feel like that again.  :)

But this is different than a brand-new "courtship-puppy-dog" love.  This is a Love so strong, that it's in my DNA.  The Spirit of God is so tangled within my own that there is no separating me from Him. 

I decided last year that I wanted to love God like the Apostles did.  They didn't sit on their couch and give God lip-service.  They didn't sing songs to God and then forget about Him the rest of the week.  No, they were BOLD and COURAGEOUS and LIVED and BREATHED Christ.  That's the kind of love I wanted to have with Him.

So I asked Him to help me love Him like that.  And He did.  Wow, did He ever!

I don't mind if I'm a little odd to my friends who don't "get it".  Jesus "gets" me.  He created me.  And He loves me more than anyone on earth possibly could.  If He stood off His throne to come die for me, then I can stand off my couch and go live for Him.

I love being a Christian.