Saturday, March 31, 2007

Quote of the week...

"Freely you have received, freely give."


Just for the sake of props. I got most of this material from a powerful sermon preached by my pastor about a month ago. Check him out at

Forgiveness is between you and God.

If someone hurts you/wrongs you, forgiveness is letting them off the hook with God.

There are times when one needs to approach a person about wrongs either done to you or by you and forgiveness can be sought or offered in an attempt to inform of your awareness of the wrong and to try to mend the damage to your relationship if possible.....BUT this does not change the fact that forgiveness IS ultimately between you and God.

This is useful to understand. This means that feelings do not determine whether or not you are willing to forgive or even if you have chosen to forgive the person for the offense in the past. When feelings come to the surface, it simply gives us another opportunity to reiterate our decision to ask God to forgive them. Emotions that we allow to detour our willingness to choose a forgiving attitude are the only ones that influence our relationship with Christ. How do we know when we have an attitude of unforgiveness and are not just struggling with emotions? Some clues are how do we interact with those people? Do we do or say things that are actually geared toward making them "pay" for what they did to us, or are we genuinely at least trying to interact with them in a way that is characteristic of love? We don't have to like someone to love them. Loving is about treating someone as you would want to be treated, and most of all, loving is about treating someone as Christ would treat them. Forgiveness is a process that sets everyone free, especially the one who is doing the forgiving.

May God grant us the grace to see His awe inspiring example with painful clarity and the humility and gratefulness to imitate it when while hanging on the cross He cried, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Quote of the week...

"There has to be an invisible sun. It gives its heat to everyone."
-Sting and the boys

NO Not One

"Am I a good person?" This is a common question asked. The Bible makes it clear that NOONE is righteous, "no not one." This is who we are IN and OF ourselves.

Once when a man approached Jesus by addressing Christ as "Good Teacher," Jesus challenged him asking him why he called Jesus good. Christ went on to say, "only God is good." This statement illustrates a cornerstone for the Christian. What is good? God is. Period.

If you ask a million people what good is, you would probably get about a million different answers. This, contrary to good post modern thinking, does not mean there are a million different legitimate answers. In fact, if you ask the same people twice you may come up with well over a million answers because not only does each person have a different take on what "good" is, but our definition changes somewhat from day to day individually.

As a Christian, it is only IN Christ that we are viewed as righteous in the eyes of God. The scriptures tell us that the hope of glory is, "Christ in you." Therefore, if we are professing Christians, the real question is much easier to understand and see clearly. "Am I in Christ and is Christ in me?" This is both daunting and encouraging. On the one hand, it is encouraging because we, unlike the rest of the world, know Who is good and can specifically learn who He is and even go to Him and gain His empowerment to become like Him. It is daunting because the more you know Him, the clearer it becomes that He is jaw droppingly good, and we are told the way we know we are truly born again is if He is alive in us. If we must honestly surmise that He is not living in us, we need only repent and humble ourselves and cry out for His mercy as we make our course correction. He is our heading. As John the Baptist said, "Make straight paths for the Lord." Repent.

Ella Bella

When Worlds Collide

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quote of the week...

"All heroes have strength, honor, and courage, but only the greatest are selfless."

-Myndall Delcamp


The more I think about some of the people I have considered heroes in my childhood, the more I am sometimes embarrassed. Movies are a perfect example. James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Luke Skywalker were great because they were bold, daring, smart, and, of course, SMOOTH. I still enjoy these movies, but I have begun to understand the more down to earth and REAL heroes that are in daily life. These range from cops who never once draw their gun to parents who sacrifice for their kids to politicians who actually ARE public servants.

I think I have often made the same mistakes in regards to heroes within Christian leadership. Those who are the most REAL are often NOT the most high profile. My dad was asked once when he was pursuing his minister's license why he was pursuing it. "What can you do with it that you cannot do without it?" I think I understand the spirit of this question. Essentially it is why do we do things we do for Christ. One of the poisonsous attitudes Jesus warned about inside the hearts of the Pharisees is that they loved the praise of men more than praise from God. May the Lord open my eyes to any wrong motivations that be within me and may He lead me to friends, mentors, and heroes who are truly consumed with serving Christ.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quote of the week...

"Men have mystified and philosophized the Gospel of Jesus but it is as simple as it can be. The secret of Christianity is in being. It is in being a possessor of the nature of Jesus Christ." –John G. Lake

The Truth Shall NOT make you free

A statement of Jesus’ is often used and has become a cliché and catch phrase often employed by people who don’t even realize what its origins are. The phrase is, “The truth shall make you free,” or some variation of that statement. However, this statement is taken completely out of the context in which Jesus used it and has created a completely different assertion. One that is even diametrically opposed to the point Jesus was actually making when he said it.

What Jesus actually said can be found in John 8:31,32. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ “

We do not even know the truth unless we are Jesus’ disciples because Jesus IS the Truth. Freedom through truth comes as we choose to “hold to His teachings.” In Luke 8:21 He expresses the same idea in a different way. “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”