Category Archives: Study Holy

Peace in Pain: Resting in God’s Nature

peace in pain

Peace in Pain: Resting in God’s Nature

How to have peace and joy in the midst of storms

The last few months I have had peace in pain, and I wanted to share in case anyone reading this is going through something painful…Maybe this will encourage you and allow you the ability to have peace in your pain or storm also…

peace in pain

I have been going through something lately that brought about a startling realization. I don’t want to be specific, and I know that’s a little annoying… But let’s just say it’s a personal attack that should definitely be classified in the “turbulent storm” category.  It’s left me unscathed, un-rattled and actually feeling more love, faith, joy, thankfulness, and peace.  It makes no sense especially since I am 8 months pregnant. It’s like Jesus sleeping in the boat amidst a tsunami storm.  My first thought was actually if there was some way that I could secretly send a gift to my attackers.  My next thought was how God was going to bless me as a direct result of this attack.  I was actually excited about the attack because it gave God even more right to bless me and my family!

Part of the reason for this strange reaction I really think is due to this pastor…


Graham Cooke. This man has transformed my understanding of God over the past years.  I feel sometimes like I’m riding the coat tails of his intimacy with the Lord.  I love how he begins with the need for “marthas” and “marys”.  At IHOP, Mary was held in high esteem and we were basically taught that we should all be “marys” all the time, but Graham Cooke​ makes a very logical statement against this in the beginning.

I highly recommend listening to Cooke, often.  I have found myself many times recalling something he has said when I go through something rocky.  Here’s some of the things that have stuck with me through his teachings.

1.  No matter the situation, God is good. His nature is kind.  And even if the situation says otherwise, you can rest in perfect peace in the promises of God and in His nature.

2. If you are going through something difficult and it is because someone is attacking you, not only will God defend…but He will bless you in direct relation to the amount and type of attack.  So, look for the blessing.  And we can actually for this reason THANK God when attack comes because it is opening the door for blessing.

3. You fight and even punish the enemy with the fruits of the spirit.  When the enemy comes at you with an attack to cause fear and anxiety, your weapons are joy, faith, and peace.  We can actually cause the enemy grief and pain by thanking and praising God and maintaining perfect peace and joy.

 

Another sermon on Mary’s and Martha’s that was simple yet profound.

Favorite Sermons List – October 2015

favorite sermons list

Favorite Sermons List – October 2015favorite sermons list

Here are my Favorite Sermons List: 7 of my favorite sermons in this season in my life. I hope they bless you as much as they have blessed me.

1. Tim Keller at the New Canaan Society Washington DC 2015 Weekend Retreat sharing about “An Identity That Can Handle Either Success or Failure”

Identity is so very important. “Who am I really? And how do I feel about that?” It’s the area that church really needs to dig in right now. Here is a sermon by Tim Keller on this topic that is good.  Really good. He gives perspective on identity as defined by western culture versus biblically defined identity. I was amazed at how I am definitely affected by my culture, and this sermon began an internal shift. Enlightening as usual, Dr. Keller.

2.   Tim Keller at the New Canaan Society Washington DC 2015 Weekend Retreat sharing about “How to Change Deeply”

This sermon builds on the foundation of the above identity sermon. He also references Piper’s sermon on pleasure from this same retreat (it is good too, but I just haven’t been in a Piper mood for the last year or so.)  I love the diverse quotes that he gives from prominent historical theologians, philosophers, and intellectuals.  Dr. Keller is very intellectual himself, but the revelation that he receives from God is beyond mere intellect and goes deeper than any intellectual knowledge.

In order to see the things that need to change, you have to have a correct self-image, your identity has to be correctly rooted in Christ. You must be able to avoid false solutions and able to apply the true solution.

3. Graham Cooke – Turning Passivity into Prophecy

With every problem, difficulty, or trial there is a greater promise or provision.  When we are in the midst of this difficulty, we should look for the blessing that God has for us because His word promises that it is always present.  Another sermon where Graham talks about “INSTEAD” from Isaiah 61:3. His revelation on this word from this scripture is amazing.  Also, he talks about our inheritance in the midst of trials is to overcome or take vengeance or wear out the devil.  “God has abundance; the devil has a budget.”  I always love Graham’s little one-liners full of meaning, that really stick with you.

4. Graham Cooke – Living Your Truest Identity:

God puts things deliberately into your hands that are going to help you and shape you for the life to come, for the story He wants you to have, for the journey He wants you to go on. ~ “All of heaven is attracted to Jesus in you.  What does that mean?  You are a magnet for majesty.”

5. Tim Keller – Hell: Isn’t the God of Christianity an Angry Judge?

I applaud Dr. Keller teaching on hell.  Though Jesus taught on it very often (and Keller gives his reasons for WHY Jesus taught on it often), I don’t hear sermons on hell from most of the pulpits in this nation. Being a pastor in NYC, I’m sure this takes courage.  I don’t know if I agree with everything in this teaching.  But some of this is so profound that it is foundation-shaking.  Considering it is a sermon on hell, it’s amazing to me the great revelation it gives on our identity.

6. Todd White – The Normal Christian Life Conference

Incredible. This unique guy has an amazing testimony.  I love that he doesn’t look like your typical pastor, dreadlocks and all. But he definitely doesn’t sound like your typical pastor or Christian for that matter.  Anything that I have listened to of his leaves me fueled with faith and passion.  This is the first in the conference series. Be prepared to re-define normal Christianity …and to laugh a lot.

7. Graham Cooke – On Much Loved Children Moving Toward Maturity

Graham brings so much freedom to my soul.  I find myself desiring to obey and be with God not out of duty, but merely out of jealousy of Graham and God’s relationship and the revelation of the majesty that Graham has and gives about my God.  In this sermon, He gives hope of divine acceleration from God for your maturity. Your acceleration is rooted – of course – in your identity (AGAIN!) as a much loved son or daughter of God.

Yes, God, raise up a people of fullness and abundance that fully represent heaven, and begin with me!!

 

I leave you with this beautiful song.  Love this version!

FREE Printable Prayer Journal

FREE Printable Prayer Journal for September

 

I’m not sure what it says that my first printable I am putting out is on “tears” but…

Free printable prayer journal

This seems to be a season of sowing in tears for many. Although it hasn’t been for me, my heart has connected in a strong way with those that are. (This printable is a little late since we are already into September.)

So without further ado, here tis:

Sow In Tears – Prayer Journal Free Printable download link below:

Sow in Tears Prayer Journal – Sep

I printed a couple pages on regular printer paper. It came out pretty nice. You could always take it to staples or kinkos or some place like that and have it printed as a booklet. 

Here’s a really cute binder:

bloom planner binder

And here’s a binder for $1.99!

black 3-ring binder

 

Let me know if you run into any problems since this is my first. I’m planning on making more prayer journals on different topics and some diet journals/planners that are for those that practice intermittent fasting

(and maybe a Workout Calendar for PiYo)

 

 

 

C.S. Lewis on Selfies – Perelandra

C.S. Lewis on Selfies – Perelandra

Selfie was named as the word of 2013 and it’s frequency of use has increased by 17,000%. Of course, I can’t think of selfies without thinking of C.S. Lewis and Perelandra.  c.s. lewis on selfiesThis is my second post on the book Perelandra, a science fiction work by C.S. Lewis.  If you missed the first one it was on Good Versus Best. 

The selfie has become very common in our society.  Everyone from the pope to the president.  And everywhere-from restaurants to funerals.  If we took a step back, we might realize how outrageous this practice really is, but it has become an accepted norm.  Self-gazing.

This gazing on self was the topic in part of Lewis’ book.  It struck a sensitive chord as I am also fond of selfies.  Well dang it! There’s never anyone around to photograph my most gorgeous moments!  Anyway, in this chapter the Enemy (also referred to as Un-man) is trying different strategies to cause the innocent “Lady” to fall.  It’s basically giving a glimpse into the second Eden where Satan is using strategies to deceive Eve into sin. At this point the Enemy has been filling her head with stories of heroines and also made her a coat of beautiful feathers (from birds he had cruelly slaughtered).  Ransom (whom the lady also refers to as Piebald) is the main character who is sent to try to deflect the enemy’s many schemes and to keep this Fall from occurring. This chapter escalates with a mirror as the enemy gives the Lady her first glimpse at her own appearance.

“But if you do not look you will never know how beautiful you are.”
It comes into my mind, Stranger,” she answered, “that a fruit does not eat itself, and a man cannt be together with himself.”
A fruit cannot do that because it is only a fruit,”said the Un-man.  “But we can do it.  We call this thing a mirror.  A man can love himself, and be together with himself.  That is what it means to be a man or a woman–to walk alongside oneself as if one were a second person and to delight in one’s own beauty.  Mirrors were made to teach this art.”
“Is it a good?” said the Lady.
“No,” said Ransom.
“If you try it and it is not good,”said Ransom, “how do you know whether you will be able to stop doing it?”
“I am walking alongside myself already,”said the Lady. “But I do not yet know what I look like. If I have become two I had better know what the other is.  As for you, Piebald, one look will show me this woman’s face and why should I look more than once?”
She took the mirror, timidly but firmly, from the Un-man and looked into it in silence for the better part of a minute.  Then she let it sink and stood holding it at her side…
(The Un-man speaking)I would give you this mirror to keep…But you have reminded me there can be no gifts, no keeping, no foresight while you live as you do–from day to day, like the beasts.”
But the Lady did not appear to be listening to him.  She stood like one almost dazed with the richness of a day-dream.  She did not look in the least like a woman who is thinking about a new dress.  The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble.  Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment–these were obviously what occupied her thoughts.  Ransom perceived that the affair of the robes and the mirror had been only superficially concerned with what is commonly called female vanity.  The image of her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul.  The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy’s true aim.  He was making her mind a theatre in which that phantom self should hold the stage.  He had already written the play.  (Perelandra, Lewis, pp137-139)

We have fallen in love with ourselves, with our own image, our own beauty. And worse, we have become the center of everything.  Self is the center of the great saga of life.  But this is so untrue.  In fact, we are barely supporting characters.  Jesus is the lead actor in this play that has spanned thousands of years.  Our existence is only here to support his own glory.

And I believe as long as we are at center, our souls and lives will feel misaligned, maligned with an innate sense that something is “off”. Just as physically When something is out of balance, we feel sick; so there are symptoms of sickness of soul. This sickness ails us each individually and is obviously affecting our modern society. And the root of our disease is self-gazing, self-focus. Maybe we should remove our mirrors & cameras.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him. Isaiah 53:2

imageHow little does outward beauty matter to God? How much could it matter if His own son, God in flesh had zero beauty.  Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. What if we took a selfie of our hearts, our inner person?  Would we want to send that out to the world?

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty…You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Pet 3:3-4

 

Too many selfies.  Too much time thinking about self. Guilty.  Since reading this chapter, I haven’t stopped taking selfies, but I definitely take less and stop to think every time. Am I the star of this story (and also my own paparazzi)?  How can I put Christ at the center instead? Take my eyes off the mirror (or rear-facing camera) and back on Christ who’s beauty is beyond description.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. James 1:23

 

Meditation on Zachaeus

zacchaeus

While reading Sofia the story of Zacchaeus in her Baby Bible, I felt drawn to meditate on these chapters myself…

Zacchaeus.  Wealthy. Should have been happy and yet, I am utterly dissatisfied. Chief tax collector. Promoted & successful. I should have been happy…

Heard about this man–passing through today.  Said he holds the words of life.  Said he could open blind eyes.  Could he open my hard heart?

I had to see…

  who…

         he…

                                       was.

So I ran. I ran ahead.  Short man that I am, but I ran as fast as I could.  So I hiked my skirt up and I ran, most undignified.  (Chief as I am.)

And I climbed.  Scratched arms.  Bruised legs.  I climbed. I had to see him.  I climbed.  Higher still.  I waited. He was coming this way.

He came to where I was.  He stopped.

And he looked…up.

God!  He looked up! Everyone looks down at me–tax collector, thief, dishonorable, filthy… sinner.  Everyone looks down at me. But he looked up.

And he…sawme.

He really saw me. All that I was.  All my fears and insecurity.  All my dissatisfaction and hunger.  All my remorse and resentment.  His eyes burned through me.  He saw me. I was bare before him.  His eyes burned through to my soul. Time stood still in that tree.  He saw me. I couldn’t look away, even in my shame.

He opened his mouth to speak.  Oh! What would he say? Whatever it is–I  deserve it.

And he said, “Zacchaeus”

“Come!”

“Come quickly to me!”

“I must be with you!”

You see me. But you want me? You see me. And you want me still.

“Come quickly! I must be with you.”

I see you. I see all of you. And I want you–so.

And…I…saw…Him.

How you wreck me with your love, Jesus!

Pilate’s Letter to Caesar: Actipalate

Pilate’s Letter to Caesar: Actipalate

pilate's letter to caesarThe Actipalate: Possibly Pontius Pilate’s Letter to Caesar?

I came across this excerpt of Pilate’s letter to Caesar in Chuck Smith’s C2000 commentary on Matthew 27.  I found it very interesting that if this IS Pilate’s letter to Caesar, then it gives insight into the heart & mind of one of the crucifixion’s main charaters.  Below is Smith’s comments on Pilate’s letter to Caesar and excerpts that he provides from Pilate’s letter to Caesar.

Chuck Smith on Pilate’s letter to Caesar:

There is a document that was found in the Vatican library, that purported to be the letter that Pilate sent to Caesar (Pilate’s letter to Caesar), as he explained to him his part and the place of Rome in the crucifixion of Jesus.  Pilate’s letter to Caesar is called the “Actipalate”, and it is an interesting letter. However, the authenticity is something that cannot be fully attested to, but it does make very interesting reading. I have a book called the Archaeological and Historic Writings of the Sanhedrin, and Talmud of the Jews, and in this book there is a copy of the Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar. I like to just read a couple of those segments out of it to you.

Pilate’s letter to Caesar:

“To Tiberas Caesar the emperor of Rome, noble sovereign greeting,

“The events of the last few days in my province have been of such character, that I will give the details in full as they have occurred, as I should not be surprised if in the course of time they may change the destiny of our nation. For it seems oblate that all the gods have ceased to be populous. I am almost ready to say, ‘Cursed be the day that I succeeded Dalarias Fascias, in the government of Judea’, for since then my life has been one of continual uneasiness and distress”. (Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar)

And in Pilate’s letter to Caesar, he goes on and tells of some of the problems that he had as he took over as the governor there in Israel. He said:

“I granted unto Jesus unlimited freedom. It was true that Jesus was severe on the rich and the powerful. And this was a political reason, in my opinion, for not restraining the liberty of the Nazarene. The scribes and the Pharisees, He would say to them, ‘You are a race of vipers. You resemble painted sepulchres. You appear well unto men, but you have death within you.’

“At other times He would sneer at the alms of the rich and the proud, telling them that the mite of a poor was more precious in the sight of God. And new complaints were daily made at the praetorium against the insolence of Jesus. I was even informed that some misfortune would befall Him, and that it would not be the first time that Jerusalem had stoned those that called themselves prophets. And if the praetorium refuse justice an appeal would be made to Caesar.

“However my conduct was approved by the senate, and I was promised reinforcement after the termination of the Partian War. Being too weak to suppress the sedition, I resolved on adopting a measure that promised to establish the tranquility of the city, without subjecting the praetorium to the humiliating concession. I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with Him at the praetorium. He came. You know that in my veins there flows Spanish, mixed with Roman blood is incapable of fear; it is a peril emotion.

“But when the Nazarene made His appearance, I was walking in my baselic, and my feet seemed fastened with an iron hand to the marble pavement, and I trembled in every limb as a guilty colberet, for He was calm. The Nazarene was as calm as innocence itself. When He came up to me, He stooped, and by a signal sign He seemed to say to me, ‘I am here’, though He spoke not a word. For some time I contemplated with admiration and awe. This extraordinary type of man, a type of man unknown to our numerous painters, who have given form and figures to all the gods and the heroes. There was nothing about Him that was repelling in His character, yet I felt odd and tremulous to approach Him.

“‘Jesus” said I unto Him at last, and my tongue faltered. “Jesus of Nazareth I have granted you for the last three years ample freedom of speech, nor do I regret it. Your words are those of a sage. I know not whether you have read Socrates or Plato, but this I know there is in your discourses a majestic simplicity that elevates you far above these philosophers. The Emperor is informed of it and I as his humble representative in his country, I am glad of having allowed you that liberty of which you are so worthy.

‘”However, I must not conceal from you that your discourses have raised up against you powerful enemies, and neither is this surprising. Socrates had his enemies, and he fell victim to their hatred. Yours are doubly incensed against you, on account of your discourses being so severe against their conduct, against me, on account of the liberty I have afforded you. They even accused me of being indirectly leagued with you, for the purpose of depriving the Hebrews of the little civil power the Rome has left them. My request, and I do not say, ‘my order’, is that you be more circumspect and moderate in your discourses in the future, and more tender toward them, lest you arouse the pride of your enemies and they rise against you, this stupid populous, and compel me to employ the instruments of law.’

“The Nazarene commonly replied, ‘Prince of the earth, your words proceed not from true wisdom. Say to the torrent, stop in the midst of the mountain gorge, it will uproot the trees of the valley. The torrent will answer you that it obeys the laws of nature, and the Creator, God, alone knows whither flows the water of the torrent.

‘”Verily I say unto you, before the rose of Sharon blossoms, the blood of the just shall be spilt.’

“‘Your blood will not be spilt,’ said I with deep emotions. ‘You are more precious in my estimation, on account of your wisdom, than all of the turbulent and proud Pharisees who abused the freedom granted them by the Romans. They conspire against Caesar and convert his bounty into fear and pressing the unlearned, that Caesar is a tyrant, and seeks their ruin. Insolent wretches they are not aware that the wolf of the tiger sometimes clothes themselves with the skin of sheep to accomplish the wicked ends”‘. (Actipalate, Pilate’s Letter to Caesar)

And he goes on with his conversation there in Pilate’s letter to Caesar. And then the interesting part I feel is concerning the resurrection. Talking of the crucifixion in Pilate’s letter to Caesar he said,

“I returned to the praetorium, was pensive on ascending the stair, the steps of which was still stained with the blood of the Nazarene. I perceived an old man in a sibilant posture, and behind him several Romans in tears. He threw himself at my feet and he wept most bitterly. It is painful to see an old man weep.

“And my heart already overcharged with grief, wept, though strangers, mutually wept together. And in truth it seemed that the tears lay very shallow that day on many whom I perceived out of the vast concourse of people. I never saw such a complete division of feeling. Both on the extreme, those that betrayed and sold Him, those that testified against Him. Those that said, ‘crucify Him; we will have His blood’. All slunk off like cowardly cures, and washed their teeth with vinegar. As I am told that Jesus taught a resurrection and separation after death, if such should be the fact I am sure it commenced in this vast crowd.

“‘Father’, I said to him, after gaining control of my feelings, ‘who are you, and what is your request?’ ‘I am Joseph of Arimathaea’, he replied, ‘and I have come to beg of you upon my knees the permission to bury Jesus of Nazareth’.

“‘Your prayer is granted’, I said to him. And at the same time ordered Manleous to take some soldiers with him to superintend the Interment, lest it should be profaned. A few days after the sepulchre was found empty, His disciples published all over the country that Jesus had risen from the dead, as He had foretold. This last report created more excitement than the first. As to its truth I cannot say for certain, but I have made some investigation in the matter. So you can examine it for yourself and see if I am at fault as Herod represents me.

“Joseph buried Jesus in his own tomb. Whether he contemplated the resurrection, or calculated to cut himself another, I cannot tell. The next day after He was buried, one of the priests came to the praetorium and said that they were apprehensive that the disciples intended to steal the body of Jesus and hide it, and then to make it appear that He had risen from the dead, as He had foretold, in which they were perfectly convinced.

“I sent him to the captain of the royal guard, Malcus, to take Him, the Jewish soldiers, and placed as many around the sepulchre as were needed. And then if anything should happen, they would blame themselves, and not the Romans. And when the great excitement arose about the sepulchre being found empty, I felt deeper solicitude than ever. I sent for Malcus who told me, he had placed his Lieutenant Benishim with one hundred soldiers around the sepulchre. He told me Benishim and the soldiers were very much alarmed at what had occurred there that morning.

“I sent for this man Benishim, who related to me as near as I can remember the following circumstances. He said that about the beginning of the fourth watch, they saw His soft and beautiful light over the sepulchre. He had first thought that the women had come to embalm the body of Jesus, as was their custom. They could not see how they gotten through the guards. And while these reflections were passing through his mind, behold the whole place lighted up, and there seemed to be crowds of the dead in their grave clothes. All seemed to be shouting and filled with ecstasy, while all around and above was the most beautiful music he had ever heard. And the whole air seemed to be filled with voices praising God.

“And at this time there seemed to be a reeling and a swimming of the earth, that he turned so sick and faint, that he could not stand on his feet. And he said, ‘the earth seemed to swim from under him and his senses left him’, so he did not know what did occur. I asked him in what condition he was when he came to himself. He said he was lying on the ground with his face down. I asked him if he could not have been mistaken as to the light. Was it not maybe the day coming in the east? He said at first he thought of that, but only as stones cast away, it was exceedingly dark, and then he remembered it was too early for day.

“I asked him if his dizziness might not have come from being awakened, and getting up to suddenly. For sometimes it has that effect. He said he was not, and had he had not been asleep all night, as the penalty was death for him to sleep on duty. He said he had let some of the soldiers sleep at the time, and some were asleep then. I asked him how long the scene lasted. He said he did not know, but he thought nearly an hour. He said it was hide by the light of day. And I asked him if he went to the sepulchre after he had come to himself. He said ‘no’, because he was afraid, that just as soon as relief came, they all went to their quarters.

“I asked him if he had been interrogated by the priest. He said he had, they wanted him to say that it was an earthquake, and to say that they were asleep, and offered him money to tell that the disciples had come and stolen the body. But he saw no disciples. He did not know that the body was gone until he was told so. I asked him what was his private opinion of the priest that conversed with him. He said some of them thought that Jesus was no man, that He was not a human being, that He was not the son of Mary, that He was not the same that was born of the virgin in Bethlehem. That the same person had been on earth before, with Abraham and Lot, and at many times and places.

“It seems to me if the Jewish theory be true, these conclusions would be correct. For to sum up His life, it would be in accord with this man’s life, as is known and testified by both friends and foes. For the elements were no more in His hands than clay in the hands of a potter. He could convert water into wine. He could change death into life, diseases into health. He could calm the seas. Still the storms. Call up fish with a silver coin in its mouth. Now I say if He could do all these things which He did, and many more as the Jews all testified, and it was doing these things that created this enmity against Him. He was not charged with criminal offenses, nor was He charged with violating any law, nor of wronging any individual in person. All of the facts are known to thousands, as well as by His foes and His friends. So I am almost ready to say, as did Manilas at the cross, truly this was the Son of God.” (Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar)

So that is parts of the Actipalate, Pilate’s letter to Caesar. There are sources in here that try to attest to authenticity of it being Pilate’s letter to Caesar. We do not know. As I say, the early church fathers did say that Pilate wrote this letter to the Roman government to explain the circumstances. Iranias refers to the Actipalate (Pilate’s letter to Caesar), they said, and Justin Marter, and the early church historian Usiveus.

This excerpt of Pilate’s letter to Caesar and commentary is taken from C2000 by Chuck Smith.  Smith includes these excerpts from Pilate’s letter to Caesar and it’s one of the only places where you can find the Actipalate (Pilate’s letter to Caesar) online.

Application for Pilate’s Letter to Caesar:

So, what do you think: Is this Pilate’s letter to Caesar? If it is Pilate’s letter to Caesar, what insight does it provide? What does Pilate’s letter to Caesar make you  feel about Pontius Pilate? Jesus? Other characters and their roles?

Is Judas in Hell?

Kiss of Betrayal by Judas

IS JUDAS IN HELL?

I’m studying & reading through commentaries on Matthew 27. An interesting question that came to mind was, “Is Judas in Hell?”

Is judas in hell, Kiss of Betrayal by JudasSo, what do you think: IS JUDAS IN HELL? I’m not going to get into “once saved always saved” debate in this post although my stance is that you CAN lose your salvation although it is very difficult.  This is not one of my beliefs that is rock solid, but at this point in my life it’s the opinion that I hold.  Now, for sure, I believe if a person is repentant (sorry, has a change of heart/mind, asks forgiveness to God) about what they did then I definitively believe God’s Word says they will not be condemned or sent to hell. We would first have to take a look at the definition of repentance or even perhaps true repentance.

REPENTANCE: (noun) deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.

In TRUE REPENTANCE, we add “truth” to this definition.  Truth the person-Jesus Christ.  So, a person must be sorrowful and contrite about the sin yes, but then there is also a changing of direction, a turning away.  (Actually Miriam Webster’s definition was better:  to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.)  Once turned away from sin, the person must be turned to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of this sin and renewal/restoration.  After true repentance, they live this area of their life in a completely different way.  It’s an about face of mind, soul, body, and spirit out of and toward the love of Jesus.

Now let’s look at Matthew 27 for the answer to the particular case of Judas Iscariot…

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and to the elders (Mat 27:3),

Now there is the theory by some, and it is plausible that Judas Iscariot by his betraying of Jesus was trying to force the hand of Jesus to establish the kingdom. That Judas didn’t like Jesus talking about the kingdom being prolonged, and he was getting impatient, even as John the Baptist earlier got impatient, and sent his disciples to Jesus and said, “Hey, are you the one that we are looking for, or shall we look for someone else?”(Mat 11:3). In other words, let’s get this show on the road. And Judas himself was actually seeking to force Jesus to declare the kingdom, to manifest Himself as the king. And thus, it was actually a plan gone awry, in a sense, so that when he saw that Jesus was condemned, suddenly he realized that the whole plan had backfired on him, and he repented for what he had done.  There are many other interesting theories given in this post about Judas.

However, that’s reading into Judas, motivations of which we have no way of proving; it’s just interesting speculations. So as I wrote above, there are really two kinds of repentance. I think that if you would go to prison, you would find that every prisoner there was repentant. All sorry. Very few of them sorry for what they did, but most of them sorry that they got caught. And there is two kinds of repentance that way. Sorry that the plan backfired perhaps or really sorry for what he did.

Now just what it was, we do not know. But Peter failed the Lord, and he repented, and he went out and wept bitterly. Contrasted to Judas, he repented, and we read, he went out and hanged himself. He brought the thirty pieces of silver back to the chief priests and to the elders and he said,  (paraph. from c2000, Smith)

I have sinned (Mat 27:4)

Well that is a confession of sin.  But look at the line before when he saw that he was condemned.  Judas was caught. Another personal theory of mine was that Judas had let greed get into his heart.  When he saw the waste of Mary (as she anointed Christ), it was money not in the treasurer’s-his-pocket. That’s why you hear Judas saying, “This money could have been given to the poor…yada yada…”   And Jesus had berated him at that moment.

Maybe Judas thought Jesus would get a slap on the wrist.  Who would have thought that the people would go temporarily insane and ask the government to crucify their messiah?  Or maybe he wanted Jesus out of the picture for a while for his money pilfering purposes. But whatever the reason, it was when Jesus was condemned that he felt “sorry” .  And he did not turn to Christ I believe but to suicide which is a very selfish, self-pitying, self-serving death.

There are three other facts given that complicate this answer to the question “Is Judas in Hell”:

1. We are told in two other gospels that “Satan entered Judas”

2. Judas is called by Peter the “Son of Perdition

3. Jesus says it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born.

I think I will explore these three later because they are very intriguing to me.

As for Judas’ repentance: true repentance or no? We have no way of knowing his heart but for the sake of argument…

It’s certain that Judas had silenced the voice of conviction over and over.  He had a dulled conscience for sure.  This is the only way he would have been able to steal from the ministry OF JESUS.  I mean think about that.  Then you have Jesus washing his feet, calling him friend, looking into his eyes, sharing an intimate meal with him only to have Judas turn and hand him over to  Jesus own enemies.  And to betray Jesus the kindest, most innocent, lamb with a KISS! That takes a cold-hearted person.  Also the fact that Satan had access to enter into Judas says that he had opened the door to evil within his soul.  He had silenced time and time again the voice of the Holy Spirit of whom he was living in the presence day in and day out.  And I believe this silencing of the Spirit, this rejection of His conviction and truth is BLASPHEMING THE HOLY SPIRIT, the unpardonable sin in Mark 3.

From a practical view, I imagine how Judas’ life would have looked had Jesus not been condemned to death. Since he committed suicide, we do not know how he would have acted after this terrible act. But I think based on his pattern in life, he would have gone on sinning paying no attention to conviction or his conscience.  So, Is Judas in  Hell?  Only God knows for sure, but I don’t think we will be seeing him in heaven.

God’s Grace Covers My Mistakes. He COVERS me!!!!!!!!

He covers me! God’s Grace Covers My Mistakes

God’s Grace Covers My Mistakes. Do you understand what this means??!?  His love covers a multitude of my sins, weaknesses, flaws and mistakes. And he delights in mercy. So he likes to do this. Not that he protects me from all consequences of my sin; for he’s a good father, and a good father chastens his children. But very often when I make an emotional mistake,  a financial mistake, a wrong decision, His love, mercy, kindness, blood and righteousness rush in to cover me. Normally the enemy would have EvErY right to punish me for my mistake. (And I’m sure he is quick to do that!) But I am covered by love, covered by adoption & sonship, covered by His grace over my life. I don’t have to follow the Devil’s rule book any more. He has no jurisdiction over my life because I’ve been born again. A new being-I’m not of this, his (the devil’s) world.

So I don’t have to fear! When I’m trying to do the right thing but make a mistake instead, His love covers me!! God’s Grace Covers My Mistakes. He’s got me covered because He loves me.

Thats His grace. That’s good news. That’s the gospel.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Pet 4:8 Grace covers over all our weaknesses, flaws, mistakes, but most importantly all our SIN!

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love grace coverscovers wrongs. Prov 10:12 Grace covers & makes up for!

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense… Prov 17:9 Grace covers & ignores!

You are all fair, my love; there is no flaw in you Song of Songs 4:7 Grace covers the flaws!

and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless Eph 5:27 Grace covers and makes us beautiful like Jesus!

or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged 1 Cor 13:5 Grace covers, doesn’t even write down the bad.

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:19 Grace covers and doesn’t keep count!

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 2 Tim 4:16 Grace covers toward one another in our relationships too!

he retains not his anger forever, because he delights in mercy Micah 7:18 Grace covers & likes to!

pleased with those who fear him, with those who wait with hope for his mercy Ps 147:11 We who wait hope in grace covering.

Who is a God like you? You forgive sin and overlook the rebellion of your faithful people. You will not be angry forever, because you would rather show mercy. Micah 7:18 Grace covers, overlooks our rebellion.

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. Prov 24:16 (seven times=bible talk for A LOT!) Grace covers, helps us get back up again!

Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy Jude 1:24 — Grace covers our ability to fall!

Crawling, Baby Weight, and Grace…

Sofia is crawling all over the place, curious about everything… Not even 8 months old, but she’s changing so fast.

I finally lost the last of my baby weight. And I’m doing new workouts that are less than 20 minutes long. It allows me to fit in quick workouts during Sofia’s naps. They really challenge my body too. You can find them here: ZuzkaLight.com. She also has really good tips on nutrition.

God has me on a journey of this mystery of grace. I’m learning that nothing I can do can make me MORE righteous than Christ has already made me. Paul & I are starting to study Galatians before bed. And Sofia gives me so much revelation on the grace and love of my Father every day.

Peace,

Lauren

Why God Cares About Your Weight Problem & The Great Poseidon Adventure

The Eschatological Poseidon Adventure

I was watching The Great Poseidon adventure this last weekend.  In this story, a rogue wave capsizes a large cruise liner turning it upside down.  Then a group from the surviving crew begin to make the journey to the “bottom of the boat” (as this is now the top) before the ship’s air compartments are flooded sending it sinking to the floor of the ocean.  What does this have to do with God’s concern over our weight problems?

Well…Only a select group of the boat’s members are wise enough to make the decision to begin the trek.  Among the prudent, there is a character by the name of Carol Lynley.  But in one scene, she says she cannot go because she is “old and fat”.  Now, her husband is the one she is bidding an emotional farewell as he is another one of the group.  It is obvious that he is just as “old” as she is.  So, really her only hindrance is her weight.

Here is where I’m going with this.  There is coming a Great Poseidon-like adventure like we cannot even begin to imagine.  And we need to be fit in order to survive the shaking that is coming in these end times.  It is a very sad thing that our weight could hold us back from surviving. Seem a little radical?

Our Daily Adventure with God

Okay let’s be more pragmatic. In Hebrews it says…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

When I was pregnant, part of the misery was the weight. Lugging around an extra 25-35 lbs. was taxing. I felt like my limbs were being pulled toward the ground as I moved throughout my day.  Small errands seemed painfully tedious. And I found myself much less motivated to do anything extra.  In this Christian life, we are not just detached spirit-souls walking around.  We do the works of Christ in a body.  How then can we serve God with weight hindering us, or how would removing this extra weight allow us to serve Him better?

You might say that it doesn’t really make a difference.  “I’m doing just fine with these extra 20 lbs.”  I used a similar argument with my dad when I was a runner and also smoked cigarettes.  I was running 4 miles a day at an 8 minute per mile pace.  Why quit? But my dad cut through my logic by asking, “How much better would you run & feel while running if you didn’t smoke?”  He was right.  And this is my point. How much better would you serve God & feel while serving God if you were at your most healthy weight?

Got Fruits?

And it’s not just our body.  Our body is the house for our spirit.  God knows that it is when we live victoriously that we are most satisfied in this life.  We live victoriously by walking  by the Spirit…being controlled by the Spirit.   And this is when we bear fruit.   When we lose our battle with over-eating or when we don’t exercise discipline in working out and staying fit, we feel defeated.  This is because the fruit of self-control is not evident in our life.  The body is controlling the spirit.  This is backwards from how God designed it.  When our spirit has control over our body, we are operating the way God designed.  And we are bringing glory to God and Christ by His spirit.

We are more able to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness when we operate this order: Spirit controlling–> mind controlling –>body.  When we are a prisoner to the desires of our body (body–>mind–>spirit)to be lazy, over-indulge/eat the wrong things, etc, we are not as free to operate in these fruits.

God cares about us having joy overflowing in this life.  He cares about us living in fullness and with a vibrant spirit.  The wrong foods not only weighs down your body, it dulls your mind, and subdues your spirit.  Just as a starving african child is robbed of joy & peace, an obese american adult is also.  God cares equally for both.

“An over-filled stomach quite possibly indicates an under-filled soul.” -anonymous

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