samedi 30 mars 2013

Ch 2: Laying aside the Old Self: Running with the New Self

Strip off your old self, which follows your former ways of living and ruins you as it follows the desires that deceive you. Become new in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, which is created to be like God, righteous and holy in the truth. Ephesians 4:22-24
It is a great grace of God to practice self-examination; but too much is as bad as too little. --Teresa of Avila
First of all, WOW. What a TIMELY, RELEVANT, NEEDED topic for me. What I learned: The Old Self, our old, natural, sinful nature we were born with and grew up with and lived life with-- we must actively and constantly "PUT IT OFF". Be careful-- it is A SELF in its own right, which means it will demand "to be protected, promoted, and served. It wants to control our lives to the extent that all we do centers upon satisfying this powerful nature within us. This self cripples and burdens us" (p. 17). Truth I learned: Jesus gave and continually gives us the POWER to FREE ourselves from this OLD SELF. Heald writes that "we must learn to consciously put off this old nature and confidently put on the new nature that is found in Christ" (p. 18). Examples of Laying Aside the OS in the Bible: What lies do the OS tell us? -Pride that manifests itself in an "I'm sure that I would never do that" kind of attitude (Matthew 26:31-35)' -Lies that say we're not valuable, we are inadequate and that we can't do anything (Exodus 4:10-14)
Self-acceptance is basically trusting God for who i am, disabilities or physical flaws and all. We need to learn to think as George MacDonald did when he said, "I would rather be what god chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by god, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking. Jerry Bridges
RUNNING WITH THE NEW SELF: Read Romans 7:24-25 Identity in Christ expressed in Ephesians 1:3-14; 4:22-24!!!!

vendredi 29 mars 2013

Freedom (A becoming of...)

There is a time when an old blogger feels inspired enough to return to her abandoned blog. For me, that time is now. Actually I'm going to write my journey through this book: Becoming a Woman of Freedom by Cynthia Heald. There are 11 chapters, so I hope to write a post for each chapter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chapter One: Laying Aside HINDRANCES: Running with Freedom
Man's perennial efforts to take himself in hand, however he attempts it, lead to the greatest bondage in which man misses what he was meant to be. Man's true freedom does not consist of the unfettered power to direct his life, either in a political or in a Stoic sense. It lies in life with god lived as it was originally intended by God for man. He only gains this as he denies himself. Paradoxically, the free man does not belong to himself. He belongs to him who has set him free.-J. BLUNCK
A burden can be defined as "everything that troubles us, whether spiritual or temporal" --Hannah Whitall Smith; "Anything which has the remotest chance of interfering with our fellowship is to put away, to be kept away." --G. Campbell Morgan. Dictionary Definitions-- FREEDOM: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants, without hindrance or restraint SLAVERY: the state of being property of another and forced to obey them HINDRANCE: thing that provides resistance, delay, or obstruction to something or someone
Every weight, that is, all inordinate affection and concern for the body, and the present life and world. inordinate care for the present life, or fondness for it, is a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward; it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be.Matthew Henry
QUESTION: What hindrances do you especially struggle with that keep you from experiencing freedom in Christ? -Worries, uncertainties, anxiety, fear, self-condemnation, pride, what others think of me What the Bible tells us: Romans 6:1-23; John 8:31-32.
But what is the nature of our freedom? It is not release from all restraint. It is not license to indulge our sinful nature. our freedom is the freedom to "serve one another in love." It is possible to do so, because the Holy Spirit enables us to act in ways that are contrary to the natural impulses of our sinful nature. Walking by the Spirit, we are released from the old master that produces hatred, jealousy fits of rages, envy, and such. We are released to be living, patient, kind, faithful and good.Lawrence O. Richards
"Freedom can be overwhelming, and it may seem that we are really sacrificing the 'good life' to be set free by Christ. To truly understand the weight of sin and self is to begin to grasp the preciousness of our freedom in Christ....I give up my freedom when I insist on being in control, demanding my own happiness, and building walls of protection. All of these behaviors seems right and feel comfortable, but they ultimately become heavy burdens...more than anything this means grasping the truth that I have the power to lay aside these encumbrances. I don't have to be a slave to sin, to myself, or to others in order to feel good about who I am. I don't have to have the world tell me what will make me happy. True freedom is realizing that apart from Christ, I am not free. I have to throw off everything that hinders me from being truly alive. it is the only way to run" (p. 16). _________________________________________________________________ -YOUR REFLECTION-- In what areas do you long to be free? how would your life be different if you were able to experience God's freedom in these areas? Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

dimanche 17 avril 2011

Unfulfilled Plans

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Proverbs 16 made itself known to me this past week.
I had planned many things, and most of those did not happen.
Looking back now, I realize this was God's way of taking care of me.
If things had worked out how I wanted, I can see now,
it would've taken a BIG toll on me.
Even when things don't happen how I plan,
I know the Lord has my good in mind.
I can only be thankful!

jeudi 7 avril 2011

Beautiful Reminder

It only lasted but a brief moment.
As soon as I opened the front door I saw the bright sky glow yellow as it weirdly showered rain upon the ground. I ran into my car to head to a friend's house and turned up my windshield wipers to the max. It was pouring on a sunny day. As I took a left turn I saw the side of a giant glowing rainbow straight ahead. Cool! Of course, rain, sun, you get a rainbow. But when I took another turn and luckily was stopped by a red light, straight ahead of me was a full and glorious rainbow glowing in the sky. It was complete and literally so bright and colorful I started to laugh/cry in awe. Driving further on and still towards the awesome sight above me, I noticed another one on top of it: double rainbow! By this time I reached my destination and I saw a father and son out of their house staring up at the sky together and taking pictures. I parked and ran out, turned around and gazed upward. Clouds were slowly concealing the magnificent rainbow from the right edge upward. By the time my friend had come out to see it, most of it had been covered by the fluffy grey clouds.
It lasted but a brief moment. And it was glorious. This awesome and intense moment will always bring a smile and warmness in my heart. Our God is an awesome God.

lundi 14 mars 2011

Happy Spring

Nothing is a better reflection of the fleeting nature of life, than a bouquet of beautiful flowers that are here one day and gone the next.
Note to self: The word of the Lord stands forever.

"Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." John 6:27

lundi 28 février 2011

flower quickly fading

All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25

vendredi 28 janvier 2011

Pruning Time.

I bet it took a really long time to grow this tree. Even though it's not a giant redwood or an enormous evergreen- even a simple, thin tree like this one probably waited years to stand straight and spread out its branches. I really like trees, but this picture wasn't particularly aimed for the tree - it was for the sun quickly setting in the background. I was chasing daylight, hoping to capture the marvelous rays I saw and felt on my face; but it was too quick for me. Before I could snap a picture or enjoy it for any longer the sun, like sinking sand or water captured in your hands, snooped down low enough to hide its light.
So instead I have this tree, with a glimpse of the sun fading in the background. And Time came to mind. If there is one thing money can't buy, or the best hunters or agents can't keep hostage, it's Time. Sure you can manage it well, and that's what we're called to do with the Time we're given. However, whether we like it or not, it's slipping by before our eyes.
On another note, the tree. Today I was feeling not so joyous, and for some reason I became fond of this [failed] picture I took the day before. Maybe it's the bare branches or the thin structure or the overall randomness of this tree in my picture, but I think I can find some comfort and hope from it. How? Even the strangest of trees take Time and Pruning. I learned about Pruning, where you have to cut off branches while it's growing to make sure it's growing correctly. Of course for the tree, it will be PAINFUL. There will be days, tough days where you don't want to keep trudging along, where you feel like you can't go on, when you feel SAD. But realize, and find reassurance in the fact that this is all part of the process called Pruning. In the moment you suffer yes, but you will see the *GASP* "WOW!" finished product in the end.
So take heart, Sad People. You are being Pruned to become a better tree-person.