Monthly Archives: July 2013

Evelyn Garcia on: Christ as the Center

Evelyn Garcia is a young woman who’s passion for God and His word is evident in the way she speaks and writes. She’s learned many thing for someone so young, and I think of 1 Timothy 4:12 when I think of Evelyn. You wouldn’t even guess how young she is because of the maturity she has. Though, she can also be silly and be a fun and joyful person to be around.

I asked Evelyn to answer the question, “How do we make Christ the center of our lives?” and I believe she leaned in on some good truth.

-Truth N

How do we make Christ the center of our lives? 


Greatest Gift
I remind myself that I have been given the greatest gift known to man: God.
 
God has made himself the center of my life. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16
 
The only reason for my existence is to go and bear fruit for Him. To bring glory to my Heavenly Father. Yet I find myself not doing the very thing I was created to do. I do the complete opposite. I believe the real question is not how can we make Him the center, but why do we forget that He is the center? He never stops being the center. We simply forget. Instead we believe that we are somehow entitled to be a Christian. The truth is we are foolish to think that we can do anything without God. (John 15: 1-17)
 
If our piety can live without God it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon him as the flowers wait upon the dew.
C.H Spurgeon
 
The Experience of being Forgiven
When we come to a realization that we are no longer under the wrath of God because of His Son’s death on the cross, our lives will demonstrate it. I personally need to have the experience of being forgiven by an all powerful God everyday. 
 
J.D Greear was explained this truth in reference to his marriage. He was told this:

“Your problem in this marriage is that you don’t see yourself as a sinner, you know it theologically, but its never gripped your heart, you want to know how I know that? You haven’t forgiven your wife in the places she has forgiven you. IF you did see yourself as a sinner first then forgiving her for the smallest infractions would come naturally.” 
A Christian who is bothered by anything that happens in his/her life is showing that they have lost touch with the greatness of the grace that God has given to them. (Ouch!) Ain’t it the truth though? No matter what we may think. If we show that we are bothered by the smallest infractions of our daily lives then we are slowly losing touch of the grace God has given to us.
 
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
 
Your ability to be joyful in all things is the test whether or not you know the gospel. Your ability to forgive the smallest infractions is the test whether or not you understand you’ve been forgiven.
 
The more I remind myself that I have been given the greatest gift in the world the more I will make God the center of my life. The more I remind myself that I have been forgiven, the more love and compassion I will show to those who are closest to me.
The cross must become larger.
The treasure of Christ must become more magnificent.

Distinct & Distinguished

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

Exodus 33:12-16

What will make you distinct among all the people of the world?

What is the difference between the praying Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Pagan, and the praying Christian? Each prays.

What is the difference between the Muslim loving Muslim, Buddhist loving Buddhist, Hindu loving Hindu, Jew loving Jew, Pagan loving Pagan, and the Christian loving Christian? Each loves.

What is the difference between the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, and Pagan who love their scripture and read it reverently, and the Christian who loves his scripture and reads it reverently? Each loves and reads their writings reverently.

Each major world religion has their prayers, their writings, and their set of moral standards and codes. Many people believe there is little difference between all the religions. All promote morality. All believe in a higher power. All seem to want similar things.

Because of this kind of mentality, there are two questions I believe need to be answered:

1) So what’s the difference between a Christian, and everyone else?

2) What will make me distinct among the nations and religions and people of this world?

In answer to question one, the difference is how we define these words. I won’t get into defining these. It’s enough to say that even if we can put an idea into words, like ‘god,’  how god is defined by each person, how god looks and acts,  is completely different.

I want to focus on question two.

Moses knew what the key difference would be between him and his people versus the nations, religions and people of this world: God going with them.

Look at that last part in Exodus 33:15-16.

And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

The NIV translates verse sixteen this way: “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

The NASB translates it: “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

If you notice, what’s being said by Moses in verse sixteen is this: What will be the difference between me and your people from everyone else?

What will be the difference between me from the people around me? Is it how much I pray? How often I pray? How much or how often I read the Bible? How much I talk about God? How much I do good things? Will these make me distinct? No. That’s not what Moses said. In fact, even other people are doing these things. Reading, praying, and doing good. Even an evil man knows how to give good gifts to his children. But, Moses didn’t say to God that these would make them distinct and distinguished. Moses said that it will be God going with them that will make the difference.

Get this:

What will make you distinct is not you at all. You won’t be distinct by anything you are or you do. God moving upon you, God working through you, God’s power showing up in you, and God’s power proceeding from you is what will make you distinct. It’s God’s hand and favor upon you that will make you distinct. It’s God being with you, God walking with you, God showing up wherever you go that will make the difference.

Let me quickly say that this does not mean we neglect reading or praying, nor that we should neglect to do good. For Jesus Himself taught us to pray. Jesus Himself read and knew scripture. Jesus spoke the Word against Satan. Jesus did good and healed. Paul told us to not weary in doing good. To pray. To read the scripture. So we ought not to neglect the two staples of Christianity: the food of the soul, God’s word, and the breath of the soul, prayer. We ought not to neglect the outworking of Christianity either: good works. However, wanting to be distinct will make us do it for different reasons and with a different awareness.

We won’t pray to pray. We won’t read to read. We won’t do good works to do good works. We will pray to know God, experience God, and ask God to go with us. We will read to know and experience God, and to know how to please our Lord. We will do good works out of obedience because of our love for God, because of what we have learned through His word, because of what we have been burdened about in the prayer closet, and because of a desire that God will glorify Himself by showing up.

The only difference between you and the smartest, most devout Muslim, Hindu, Pagan, and even groups claiming to preach the gospel is not you, but God being, going, and dwelling with you. Thus, we ought to work hard to be knowledgeable. We ought to work hard to know and understand. We ought to gain wisdom, knowledge, understanding. But, in all our getting, obtaining, and understanding, we will know this one thing: All my getting is to be used as fuel in the fire that burns within me to know and experience God.

May we work hard to use all of our minds to love Him and use all of our hearts to love Him. In all our loving, may God be pleased to pour out His favor upon us, and to go with us so that we will be distinct and distinguished among the nations.


Gianna Beata on: The Love of God

A few weeks ago I asked a friend of mine to write a blog post for me. She kindly obliged, being excited to write about one of her favorite topics: the Love of God.

Here is the link to her blog! Check out some of her other writings as well: Gianna Beata

I especially find helpful the words she uses: compels, controls, and powerful. God’s love is not out of a need for us “accept Him,” but a living force that causes things to happen, and cannot be stopped nor can it be controlled. It has power, it has control. It’s unstoppable.

I point these out because I have issue with the way people throw around the Love of God. I’ve seen the Love of God spoken about as if it was a loose, cheap, and needy. As if God were weak and needed you to love Him and accept Him for Him to be happy.

However, such words, like ‘unconditional,’ that Gianna used, indicate and point to the fact that God is infinitely happy and joyful in Himself and He doesn’t need anyone. His love is poured out and powerful because it comes from Himself and not from outside of Him. As God said in Job, “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” God needs nothing because all things are His. And before anything was, He was. Perfectly joyful, perfectly Himself.

We have defined love differently today and it’s not a reflection of God’s love in the least bit. I pray, with Gianna, that you may experience the love of God. That is seen, as she pointed to, by Christ and Him crucified.

-Truth N

 

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What is the Love of God?

The first thing that came to mind when asked, “What is the Love of God?” is purity. His love is pure. Through the pure blood of His Son, Jesus.

But, ultimately I believe that the Love of God is what keeps us alive. Because of His love, we have love in our lives. We are living and breathing because of His love. He created us – He chose to create us. We were created by Him and for Him. And, He loves us dearly.

Colossians 1:16

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Because He has this great love for us, we can live eternally. Because He chose to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins, we may have life. Because of His love for us.

Time and time again Scripture breathes God’s truth of His boundless love for us.

This love never ends, never weakens, never stops. It is overflowing, it is unconditional, and it is real.

 

The Love of God is powerful. As Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:14 :

 

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”

 

Christ’s love compels us.

Another version of this verse says:

 

“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.”

This says His love controls us.

When His love is at work within us – we are not of ourselves. When His love is controlling and compelling us we do things we cannot or would not do on our own without His love.

It is amazing to experience this Love.

How do we experience this Love?

By opening the Word of God and receiving what He has revealed to us. Some people can say they definitely have experienced His love, others say they have not. When we choose to accept Christ into our hearts, we become a new person and that love is living inside of us. It is unstoppable and it is much bigger than ourselves.

I can say that I have, and one of my most often prayers is that Christ’s love would control and compel me daily.

Another version of 2 Corinthians 5:14 says: “For the love of Christ constraineth us..”

So this love is saving lives, changing lives, compelling, controlling and constraining lives.

This love.

God is love.

He is the reason why we can have love and show love.

Without His love for us, we wouldn’t know what love is.

But we also can’t comprehend His love for us. It is too far above us to fully understand.

Ephesians 3:14-19

“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

This has always been one of my favorite passages. It is beyond me, but I know it is for me. For all of us. It is beautiful to read this and see the depth of His love.

It is incredible.

I pray that every person would accept this beautiful gift of love in their hearts so they may fully experience it, live in it, and share it.