Friday, October 30, 2009

Freedom through grace

God is so awesome in the ways that He deepens my understanding and reveals Himself in new and exciting ways. God showed me something yesterday from a new angle and I just had to share it.
I have always thought that Paul understood grace much more than many others because of the depth of his sin from persecuting Jesus and His followers. I have always imagined Paul being deeply grieved by what he had done and his understanding of grace stemming from this. But I was studying Galatians & Acts where it tells of Paul going to Jerusalem to once and for all get a decision about whether gentiles had to convert to Judaism and be circumcised. He brought the issue before Peter and the apostles and they deliberated over whether righteousness was from faith or from something we must do. The decision was that faith alone restores you to God and that this is it in order to experience salvation.When I was studying this it occurred to me that Paul had grown up becoming the perfect Jew, following all the law, being groomed to be the best, zealously persecuting those he felt were wrong and forcefully obeying the rules. When Christ came to him and set him on a new path on the road to Damascus, he encountered God and it completely revolutionized who he was. I realized that his understanding of grace came from feeling the burden of the law ("doing & performance") being lifted from off of him. Suddenly the weight was gone and he understood Jesus saying that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.So instead of it just being sorrow and repentance for his sin (which I am sure he felt deeply) being the basis of his understanding, Paul understood grace and freedom because he personally experienced it. He no longer suffered and groaned under the law. No wonder he was so passionate about not putting the yoke of slavery on gentile believers. He knew that his own people were breaking under the burden and refused to lay that burden on others.
I am a gentile believer and I have not been put under the law but under grace. I can glimpse a bit of Paul's passion for grace and understand even more how Christ has set me free and blessed me beyond my wildest imaginations! What a thought! Praise You God for Your wondrous blessings and love! I will be meditating on this verse.
Galatians 5:1 Amplified
IN [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].

Friday, August 14, 2009

How will you respond to tough circumstances?

I read some great stuff this morning in my quiet time and wanted to share it with you.

"When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, "Get depressed." Or you can say to your soul, "Hope in God." Place your expectations in the goodness of God." J Rothschild

A few scriptures came to mind to go with this.:

Psalm 42: 5 NASB
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

Psalm 27:13 NIV
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Marriage and Children- a different trend

I am taking a little survey of an article that I read and I am curious what you think. If you have time, first read the article below and then answer the following questions:

1) What was your 1st reaction to the article?

2) What was the hardest thing to agree with?

3) What was the easiest thing to agree with?

4) Do you think the authors are correct?

5) What does this challenge in you?

6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others?

Here are my answers:

1) What was your 1st reaction to the article? I was a little uncomfortable at 1st because I find myself in that category of getting married and being determined to enjoy married life but unsure about the kid question.

2) What was the hardest thing to agree with? That I have been in the wrong and have been being selfish with my life and with my time. I see myself portrayed in this article and it is a ugly picture.

3) What was the easiest thing to agree with? God is working on all of us and He can give us the love and desire for children!

4) Do you think the authors are correct? I do agree with several of their points and will have to do some serious praying and seeking God about this topic now. I do think that we can easily get off balance about it and go towards legalism too!

5) What does this challenge in you? My own selfish nature and buying the lie that I have to have it all and children are a burden rather than a gift.

6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others? I am intrigued to know more and make look into this book. I would love to have a discussion group about it with others.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Persecution- are you ready?

I was thinking and reading about persecution this morning and am almost timid to write about it. In my mind, I think of persecution looking like other countries that would kill you for your faith or put you in prison for sharing the gospel. Somehow persecution for God has always felt distant and separate from me here in the states. In fact I am surprised when I encounter persecution here. "Isn't this America, home of freedom (freedom of speech, faith and belief)? We shouldn't have persecution here, that is one of the founding principles of our nation" or so I think.
But I was mulling over it more this morning and something occurred to me. In America, our current persecution may look a little different but we still have plenty. Satan is still trying to oust God's people from effectiveness by taking us out through marginalizing our faith in society, ousting us from places of power and influence, putting up walls of laws against us and tying us up in ourselves so that we miss the poor, weary and hurting around us.
We have some active examples of persecution right now. Take the Miss USA debacle going on with Ms. Prejean (learn more at or the hate crimes legislation that is before the senate to prosecute those who might take a stand against certain sins and moral wrongs. These are persecutions that we are confronted with here on the home front and we have the opportunity to rise to the occasion or to drop off God's band wagon.Instead of being surprised or feeling put upon and astounded that we would be persecuted, God tells us that we should feel blessed because this means we are really one of his own. Especially as God's time line advances and the world progresses towards his grand conclusion, we will only see more persecution and confrontation. We must not be surprised when we encounter push back and must not give up hope. For our faith does not rest in legislation, power, approval of others or doing something "big". It rests in God alone and he is the one accomplishing any and all things through this world and through me!
So my honest feelings are a little dread and fear, "will I stand for him or fall for the world?" I am not looking for persecution but I don't want to run from it either. I don't want to stumble into self pity when it occurs either. I want to learn to praise and look for what I can do for God in the tough times, learn to make it about him and not about me! So like Paul said...
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Worldview- live it out

I have been mulling over a powerful and convicting thought this week- judging others because of their sin and false worldviews. I am not sure I have final thoughts on it yet but I wanted to share where I am and what God is doing! After all it is all about bringing Him glory!Personally I struggle with a judgemental black and white perspective when looking out at the rest of the world. It is very hard for me to separate the sinner from the sin and I have been becoming more and more aware of this. I think I am more like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son than I ever want to be. It is hard for me to see beyond the choices that someone makes- the sin they commit.Then God brings the world crashing back in on me by showing me my own sin and judgmental heart. This time it was the passage in Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant who was forgiven his debts and then held a fellow servant who owed little accountable to a higher standard than he personally met. I have done this very thing and it hit me hard. God forgives all of us so who am I to hold my fellow human to a level I can't reach?With all my thoughts and learning about biblical worldview over the last few years, I have learned why other worldviews don't make sense and why they lead to deception and destruction of many lives. But at the same time, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and God is drawing us to Himself. My heart and mind are being renewed and brought back to the way God created them to be and only when I finish my journey at home with Him will I be complete.So back to all the other worldviews and the people that hold them. I have to separate how I see people from the way they operate in the world. If someone has not found Christ, they are only operating in the way that they know how- themselves. If someone has found Christ, they are like me, still learning and being transformed. Suddenly, the person comes back to the forefront of my view and not the sin. I can begin to see a glimmer of how Christ looks at the world.I have to let go of the need to be right and see the fault in others and just love the person. After all the essence of a biblical worldview is seeing the world through God's perspective and that begins and ends with love. I am praying that God will grow my love for others and help me be more winsome in sharing His worldview. God brought a fantastic verse to my attention that really helps me and that is what I am memorizing for this time.
Acts 26:17-18 NIV
I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Worldview perspectives- winsome and loving reminders

I have a passion for biblical worldview and the fact that there is not an area of the human experience that God has not spoken about and provided all I need to do right in it! Much of my thoughts and studies have revolved around this so I am constantly learning more. But sometimes I can struggle with frustration at those who don't see it or just don't care. I have a hard time meeting them in love and compassion. God was reminding me about this and I read this quote in my daily devotion and I thought is was too good not to share!

"the way to genuine openness and inclusiveness lies through the narrow gate. In renouncing all for Jesus' sake, we become heirs to the entire universe. But those who deny God's reality and cling only to the visible world shut themselves up in a box with a tightly closed lid." -The Truth Project Daily Travelogue.

We have to remember that the world is lost:

Isaiah 44:20 NIV
He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"

And our response as servants of Christ should be:

2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day 2009

Today is the anniversary of celebration of MLK, his life, his message and his death. As I have been reading and thinking about it today, I wondered..."How many people that celebrate him today really understand who he was, what his message was and what he would say to our country today?"
I am not an MLK expert and neither would I dare to put words into his mouth about what he might say to America today. But I do think he would be proud to have a black man about to be inaugurated for the 1st time in our history. I do think he would caution and counsel that man about some of the positions and moves he desires to make for our great nation. I do think he would continue to challenge our whole nation to rise out of this self loving, careless, destructive lack or morality and justice to become the nation we have the potential to be. I am going to continue to ponder this today and as history is made tomorrow.
Here are some powerful quotes for you to think on too:

I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons--who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man. The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Strength To Love, 1963.

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy. The Measures of Man, 1959.

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. Strength to Love, 1963.

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. Speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963.

To be a Negro in America is to hope against hope. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Review on Mere Christianity

In this book review I will endeavor to explain the content of the book, and will hold my commentary to the end of the series. Please refer to for other pertinent commentary on Lewis and this his most well known book.  

Mere Christianity was written in order to set down what all Christians agreed on, not what we argue about. Lewis wrote it as an apologetic for the death, resurrection and incarnation of Christ. This is the testimony of Christ. Lewis says in the Introduction that, “Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbors was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” This goal was the premise of Mere Christianity.
Lewis had not been a Christian most of his life, and therefore had an affinity for skeptics. He felt that by explaining Christianity in this most basic way he could win some of them over to his way of thinking. He sets out to show the superiority of the Christian worldview over the naturalistic and pantheistic worldviews. He wanted Mere Christianity not necessarily to be a theological treatise nor a dogmatic, but rather a way of living and thinking.
He sets out to prove his thesis, that Christianity is a far superior world-view, by separating his material into four different sections. The first book is titled, “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” The second book is titled “What Christians Believe.” The third book is titled "Christian Behavior”, and the last book is titled “Beyond Personality: or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity.”
The first part begins by showing that all humans by nature have some sort of agreement as to what is right and wrong. Lewis calls this the Law of Nature and this law governs all humans. Moderns have come to believe that the laws of nature are the scientific laws such as gravitation or the laws of physics. However, the laws of nature, according to Lewis, are the moral laws that govern human behavior. The difference between the two is that humans do not choose gravity or scientific laws, but can choose to either obey or disobey the moral laws that govern everyone. 
Lewis believed that the moral laws are innate and that people didn’t have to be taught them. If we take the moral laws of the different religions, and the ancient peoples, the similarities far out weigh the differences. He uses the example of someone who says that there is no objective right and wrong. This person cannot live like there is no right or wrong. All men have a standard, even if it is just self-interest.
The next point he makes is that we have knowledge of right and wrong, but we do not keep this objective standard. We feel that law of nature squeezing us into its mold, but deep down we know we do not conform. These laws are different from mere instincts, because you usually have to decide between two different impulses. If the choice is to save a man that is drowning or be safe yourself, then the moral law tells you help him at the sacrifice of yourself. This moral law is stronger than the other impulse, and often supercedes it. If no set of moral laws were better than any others then what would be the difference between the Nazis and the United States society? If moderns were consistent they would be more on the side of Peter Singer than on decent moral behavior. The problem with today (as even from Lewis’ day) is that more and more people are leaning toward a morality like Peter Singers.
This leads CS Lewis asking the question about who is behind the objective morality? Who is the power behind the law? He is not yet speaking of Christianity, but just getting his readers to find out what the something is that is directing the universe. He wants to direct his readers to a good, an absolute goodness, and if there is absolute goodness then this absolute goodness must hate what we do. He says God (absolute goodness) is the only comfort. He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger – according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way? (p. 31) He said we start with dismay, and end in unspeakable comfort.
This leads to the second book; What Christians believe. He has spent a great deal of time leading up to this point. He had been doing pre-evangelism to this point. Now he switches gears. He takes the idea of atheism and turns it quickly to theism by showing its absurdity. Atheists have to prove that they are right, and all others are wrong. Atheists have to prove that in a world without meaning (to them) why is it we are always grasping for it? Dualism comes close to truth, but we have to rule it out too, because evil is a parasite of good (which Augustine said before Lewis). If this was not the case then we would have two competing gods and our choice of one over the other would not be good or bad only our own personal preference. This rules out Dualism.
Christians believe that God created the evil power, but God created al things good, but evil was chosen. God made man with free-will which makes evil “possible”, it also makes love, goodness and joy worth having. We then freely had the choice to love and unite to God out of that free will? The moment God made the self then there became a “possibility” of placing that self before God, and wanting to be like God as Satan said before our fall. This he put into the first creatures minds – to be like gods, find happiness apart from God, but there is no happiness apart from Him. As Augustine said, “You made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you?” (Confessions, p.21) This comes to the question of what do we do with the moral filth in our lives so we may find that peace with a good God? What do we do with Jesus? God, in Christ, became man so that He could help us. He suffered and died in humiliation. He could do this as a man, and be the perfect sacrifice, because He was God. Christ became our peace, so we would be united to God (Eph. 2:14-18). This brings us to the choice of rejecting Christ or not.

More to Come...............Lynn

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009- a new year, a new worry???

As a new year begins we look ahead to much that is unknown and even scary. We can get so caught up in what the media is screaming, the election results, the uncertainty of the economy and even our personal relationships. But wait, it doesn't have to be that way. Take a moment to change your worldview, turn it away from your natural instincts and up towards the eternal. To borrow a phrase from our president elect "Change can happen, our time for change has come."
I may not agree exactly with his vision of change but I agree that all of us can use some change. Maybe it is a change of heart, a change of life or a change of relationship. While change is a sure thing in our human experience, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, one thing is always sure and steadfast. As you start your 2009, meditate on the verse below and let God be your security. He is there for us all, he is in control and he is able to lead us through all the changes we will encounter. May you be encouraged!

"He is your constant source of stability; He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He gives all this to those who fear Him."
Isaiah 33:6 NET