God is not a hand on hip “because I said so” God. He is a hand on your shoulder “because I know so” God.
Contradictions of the bible.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep!
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”
Oh my goodness!! Have I found a contradiction in the bible? Far from it. In James the author is speaking of finding the sorrow in your sin instead of finding joy in it. This speaks more to a person who lives their life with the mentality of “I am forgiven and I can never be perfect anyway. I want to feel comfortable instead of convicted so I am just going to push that conviction away and live my life my way! May God have mercy on my soul and let the good times roll!” This verse instructs to leave that way behind and want nothing to do with our sin. To let the sorrow in and mourn over our sin. That is the first step in breaking strongholds. We must come into agreement that our sin is sin and desire to let it go. This doesnt always feel good at first, being corrected rarely does. So we mourn.
In Nehemiah we learn that once you feel that conviction and mourn for your sin then be careful not to let that mourning over power the good work God is doing in you. There is a balance. When we mourn so hard over our sin that we dont feel the joy of the Lord then it is possible we have turned conviction into condemnation. Condemnation is not where the Spirit ever wants you to go. Even when we mourn our sin we should be joyful. Joyful that God is showing us an area in our lives He wants to change. All we have to do is come in agreement and allow the change. God has promised to complete every good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6; being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.) Does that not make you want to rejoice?! We are not in this alone! God says “Look here! This is not good for you and it is against Me. Let Me come in your heart and change it.” On one hand we are being called out on something (ouch), told we need to let go of something we are probably used to in our lives (loss), maybe even finally realizing we have hurt ourselves and others with our actions as well as gone against God’s way(mourn; grieve) but on the other hand He wants to draw closer to us and change us (Yes!!!), the God Almighty has chosen us and wants to change us (Wow!!), He gives us the strength to change and be set free from our sin! (Rejoice!!).
The mourning brings us to God. It must happen. But dont let the mourning overpower the joy God has in store for you. Mourn that it was there. Rejoice in letting it go. These verses do not contradict each other. They are simply the difference between hope filled mourning and hopeless mourning.
No matter what you have done…there is always hope when God moves in.
I listened to a podcast a while back and the speaker questioned what they should do with their old bibles when they buy a new one. He stated that it just never feels right to throw it out. He sometimes passes it on to someone else but he still has lots of old bibles too tattered to even give away. I had never really thought about what to do with a worn out bible because, until recently, I was never in danger of wearing one out.
As I pondered this issue I thought about the notes I write in my bible. I not only write them for myself but I always think “this could really be helpful for someone that may pick up my bible someday.” With that thought came another thought about what to do with our well used bibles. Now, keep in mind I have just completed studying the book of Revelation. My thought led to rapture. When the church is raptured, humans won’t be the only things left behind. So will those old, highlited, noted up bibles that we couldnt bring ourselves to throw out. I can picture the people left behind searching through our old belongings and finding the treasure of God’s true word, flipping through the pages and reading scripture with all the notes we left during study and sermons. I can imagine those scriptures bringing them closer to God and the notes making them feel closer with us. What a loving gift to leave.
So, I say…keep passing those old bibles down. When you receive an old bible, keep it safe but dont lock it up. When you feel compelled to write a note, write it. You have no idea whose hands these old bibles will reach, whose hearts they will heal, or whose souls they will save.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus spoke of selling our possesions and giving to the poor. This had me thinking about all of us Christians that are blessed with possessions. Is Jesus instructing us to sell it all, live on the streets, and minister to others without a possession to our name? Man, I struggled with that. Not over the selling all my stuff but where do I find balance? How do I balance a desire to improve my situation with keeping to this scripture? In other scripture we are told that you can’t be luke warm with one foot for the world and one foot for Jesus. How do we know we are luke warm? Is striving for a bigger house or even being more physically fit making us luke warm? You will find in the bible poor as well as wealthy believers. Neither their financial status nor their physical appearance mattered, so, how do I wrap my head around this?
I think we find the balance in that last sentence of the scripture above. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Do you treasure Jesus more or your possessions? When Jesus returns are you only going to be able to show Him your possessions? “Look at what all I gained, Jesus! Aren’t you so proud of me?!” Our treasure shouldn’t be aimed at how much more we can get but how much more can we give. Sure, there are times a bigger house is needed and God wants us to be happy and care for our blessings, but let it not become the treasure in our heart. We are to give to others, and this does not mean only financially or possessions. Poor doesn’t always mean poor in money. Poor also means poor in faith. So, how can we give to those that are poor in faith if all they see us doing is worrying over our possessions? Does that not make us just as poor in faith? Whether you have a little or a lot this worry is useless. Earlier in this chapter Jesus taught:
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
What did He call worriers? “You of little faith!” I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a little faith follower. Will having little faith get me into heaven? Of course! We have all heard the verse of having faith of a mustard seed. But I want to sell my possessions and follow Him in grand, bold faith!! For me that means I want to sell my worry over my possessions and give to the poor a lesson in peace and contentment in all things because I follow a Father who considers even how the wild flowers grow.
Am I perfect at this? Ha! Far, far from it. But you know what? Jesus knows my heart. He knows I desire for my comfort to come from Him and not things of this world. He knows I desire contentment in having a little or a lot because He is my provider that I trust. He knows I desire to walk courageously knowing He is my protector and no enemy can come against me that won’t end up serving His purpose.
We may have to lay down our worry and take up our cross every single day….every single second on some days…but laying down our cross to keep our worries is such a heavy burden to bear. The cross of Jesus is so much lighter than carrying the worries of this world.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What is on my heart today is not an easy topic. In fact, it is something that often makes people run from church or anything having to do with the judgement of God. Today, Easter, signifies the finished work of Jesus that washes away our sins. Through Him we are forgiven and will not have to endure the wrath of God. He took our place. Once we finally allow ourselves to believe that then we start to view our sin differently. We start to be disgusted by it.
James 4:9 says:
“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” This is a point we all must get to in order to let sin go in our lives. So disgusted with the sin that, for a moment, we turn from joy and laughter in the sin and we mourn and feel heavy over it. This can often turn people away. They feel like they were happier in their sin and all this “church stuff”, “Christian stuff”, or “God stuff” is nothing but a bunch of judgement and expectations they can never live up to. I once felt that way, too. Until one day I realized just like Jesus’ suffering was temporary, so is ours.
There came a time when Jesus breathed one last suffered breath to proclaim “It is finished.” There will also come a time when you will say the same. We suffer over our sin so we will not want it anymore. It needs to be at a point of such disgust that you never want to bring it to the cross again. That is not to say that if you stumble you dont need to bring it back to Jesus. You most certainly do! His forgiveness is unending! But if you really want to let it go, turn your laughter into mourning over it. Let it take you to your knees, tears streaming down your face, praying to Jesus to forgive you and wash you clean. Cry in His lap as He comforts you and releases you from your suffering yet always remember this moment. Then, when you are ready, stand up and rejoice in your freedom from that sin and with a sigh of relief breathe out “It is finished.”
You know that heartbreak you get when someone is mean to your child, no matter how old they are? I imagine God feels that way when we are mean to His children, too.
You know how you treat a child of someone you know and respect? Even if they are behaving badly and need a little correction you still speak to them in a way that reflects the respect you have for their parent, right? I imagine that is the same way God expects us to treat His children, too.
And we are all His children.
After reading comments of people more popular than me that have posted scripture or the good news of the gospel I am left with overwhelming heartache and gratitude all at the same time.
Overwhelming gratitude that when Jesus pointed out my sin I let Him walk me through being offended by Him calling me out. He helped me come into agreement that my sin is offensive instead of mad at Him that He called it offensive. I am SO OVERWHELMINGLY GRATEFUL that He rescued me from my sin. Plucked me right out of it and set me on solid land. Gave me freedom that I never knew before! Oh thank You sweet Jesus!!
Overwhelming heartbroken that so many may take their last breath without finding that same freedom. Believing a lie the devil has told them that they know better than God. That God is denying them because He is calling something a sin when it isnt. Or believeing the lie that the bible has it wrong or is outdated and God doesnt view certain things as sin. Or believe the lie that God is ok with sin in your life. They get offended and turn away. They would rather be a slave to sin than reign over it. They let the devil enslave them because they believe living in sin is freedom. They stopped feeling the struggle between good and evil because they gave into the evil and call it good. Yes, my heart breaks. My heart mourns for them.
Dear Lord, Our good and great Father! You know how it ends. You know who chooses You and who leaves denial as there final breath on their lips. I know You know. I pray an intercessory prayer over them Lord. You saved me. You would not let me go. I thank You Lord and I ask You to do it again and again to every lost soul! I pray as fervently as my broken, grateful heart can pray that you find those that still have just a bare mustard seed of doubt in their evil ways and make that doubt grow until they feel their emptiness again. Until they hear You call again. Unitl they look to You to fill the emptiness forever more. Tug on hearts Lord. Til their last breath I pray…Lord, find them over and over again. In Christ name, Amen
I was on my afternoon walk and talking some things over with God when it suddenly hit me. We usually talk about spending eternity with Him as a future event. But really…we are already spending eternity with Him. It started the moment we accepted Jesus as our savior. From that moment on we will NEVER be without God in our lives. Guaranteed. It is not that we WILL spend eternity with God, but we ARE spending eternity with Him. Every step I make, every decision, everything in my life is in relationship with my Father. He truly does walk with us through every part of our journey. Thinking of my eternity with Him in present tense makes Him seem so much more present in my life. I am never alone. I do nothing without His presence in my life. I am His child forever more. He is all I will ever need and He is not going anywhere and will never change up on me. Safe and secure for all of eternity.
I struggled with a event from the Old Testament. I wont say which one here because it doesnt really matter. I have struggled to understand many events from the Old Testament. Today God spoke to me. “See what Jesus did for you?” So, blessed to be living in a time such as this. Under the new convenant God provided for us through Jesus. All the people of the Old Testament lived thousands of years on the promise of a Messiah. They were saved by a promise not yet arrived. Most died without seeing the promise fulfilled but they were still loved by God and those that loved God back were given a way to salvation. They lived in some pretty rough times. I can see God’s love for them and His many ways of pointing to the Savior to come even in their harsh times. Now, we live in a time where no more sacrifices are required. No more living under the law. Our salvation is bought and paid for as soon as we place our belief in Jesus Christ. The law is no longer our salvation from above but is now the road beneath our feet that guides us on our way. It is the guide God gave us to show us which way to go. I may not always understand why or how things went down in the Old Testament but some things I know for sure: God is good. He was good then and good now. His ways are just. I can trust Him without a doubt. Jesus is our savior. What He did for us is beyond true comprehension. There are people that waited years for His arrival and here we are waiting for His return. What it must have been like to be on earth in the short amount of time that Jesus was here in the flesh! To see Him. To be smiled upon by Him. Oh what it will be like when I do see Him. How can I ever thank Him? How? By living in and respecting the freedom and grace we have been given through Him. That was the whole point. Allowing Him to give me this gift of grace and mercy and doing my best to pass it on to others. That is as close as I can get to showing Him just how grateful I am. God chose us to come to earth so we can choose Jesus and live an eternal life with Him in heaven. God WANTS to spend eternity with us amd gives us the choice to do so. All you have to do is choose it! Choose Christ! Say yes! Let Him heal you and give you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It is the quality of your life here on earth and it is your life in eternity that depends on this choice. Choose Him!!!