“Why So Serious?”

I have been accused much in recent days of being “too serious.”  I find this a bit amusing cuz I can tend to think of myself as pretty ridiculous, pretty frequently!  But I do know I am apt to dwell on “serious” things – especially as I feel the scales being removed from my eyes concerning the nature of this world in which we live…..
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And I think, it is not as much a concern over whether we be too serious, and lack levity and laughter; it IS far more a matter of recognizing that these are sobering, transformative times, and we must be about our heavenly Father’s business.
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So, do we know what that is?
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From raising our children to know and love Christ, to declaring him to our neighbors, to giving excellence in our jobs, to searching the Scriptures that we might know and better recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd, to discovering how to forgive one another and encourage one another and give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, to growing in humility and speaking truth in love, to carrying in us and with us the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit so not only are WE changed but also we AFFECT change for his glory, walking by faith not by sight, led by peace not by fear, living life yielded to the One who purchased us with his own blood….
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There can be much laughter and joy and even silliness! But there must 1st be a turning of our eyes and hearts and lives to Jesus. Behold, HE makes all things NEW!
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THIS is the only thing that means anything.
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~Grace2Grow

That Moment When Innocence is Lost

one significant memory of talking with Grandma during my recent visit to California:
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Grandma (born in Berlin Germany in 1924) was about 9 years old when Hitler was first elected (1933); she had been largely protected from the big bad world through her childhood, and so had an idyllic understanding of life.  She recalled that their family had a maid – to whom she, as a young girl, was often quite mean.  After Hitler came to power, Grandma’s Aryan-German father and Jewish-German mother didn’t really share much with her, but she recalled one instance where she was mouthing off at the maid, and the maid turned on her and angrily said, “You think you’re so high and mighty, now, but just you wait; when they come, you’ll be the first they take away!”  Grandma recalls that the maid went on to mock her for being Jewish (a half-blood); she didn’t say anything to her parents about the exchange at first.
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She remembers sitting at the dinner table and staring at her mother, trying to understand how her mother could be like the “Jews” in the propaganda cartoons of that day – portrayed with such huge noses and with such stupidity or wickedness – and she felt certain her mother couldn’t be one of THEM.  Eventually she told her parents about the maid’s outburst, and the maid was dismissed from the home, but her parents were in some ways forced to explain the ugliness of the world to her – she recalls this as the first experience that really “shattered” the innocence of her childhood.
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…the more things change, the more they stay the same.  :)
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~Grace2Grow

Cold blooded Christian?

“I believe that many professing Christians are cold and uncomfortable because they are doing nothing for their Lord; but if they actively served him, their blood would begin to circulate spiritually, and it would be well with them.”

~CH Spurgeon

Rescued from Self-Loathing!

read this quote, today:  “Most of the teaching on love in the church centers on loving God or other people. Very little of it talks about loving ourselves. We have been taught how to subjugate ourselves, but not how to love ourselves without being selfish. Loving ourselves out of our soul is selfish; loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit is beautiful. Some of us have never learned that distinction.” ~Graham Cooke

I responded thusly:  “I see what you’re trying to get at, here, but I humbly beg to differ because of these things, biblically speaking:  a) Jesus did *not* command us to “love ourselves” as that was already presumed, and is more often talked about in Scripture as the root of our PROBLEM, namely that we love/seek-after ourselves too much, b) this idea of “loving” ourselves IS taught very MUCH in the modern church (it’s not a “neglected doctrine”!), though I’ll grant that no distinction is often made with regard to what you describe as “loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit,” BUT I daresay, c) this “distinction” – while attempting to hit on a real truth, is nevertheless a false distinction, because the truth is that when we LOVE GOD for who he is and what he has done in spite of the fact we are “unlovable” in our fallen state (while we were yet his enemies), the FRUIT of this loving God *does* produce a supernatural ability in us to NOT LOATHE ourselves, because of grace.  But “not loathing” (or let’s call this “accepting” ourselves BECAUSE of the work God has done to redeem, and HE has MADE us acceptable) is NOT the same thing as “loving” ourselves, but instead we are commanded to DIE to ourselves, and I think THIS is in fact the distinction that most of the modern church is missing…..”

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see the so-called “proof” text for the presumed command to “love” ourselves, but the command is NOT to love self, but to love OTHERS:

Matthew 22:34-40

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him. Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

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another often used “proof” text is Ephesians 5:23-30 where the Apostle Paul talks about how a husband loves his wife “as his own body” ~ the “presumption” again is that we love/care for ourselves, but people take this to be further “command” to love ourselves, but in context, the command is to husbands to love their wives (someone OTHER than themselves).

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and below is the actual command from Jesus concerning dying to, or “denying” of our self ~ which is opposite of what is typically taught in most of today’s churches (and more in keeping with loving OTHERS over self):

Matthew 16:24-26

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
see also:

Romans 12:3, 9-10

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.   ….   [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

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Dear friends, let us love ONE ANOTHER as Christ commands and as HE enables by the power of his Holy Spirit.  Let us love in the way HE has loved us, and as the FRUIT of our loving HIM first with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength!

God help us be discerning, and help us truly “die” to ourselves in keeping with the Gospel of your grace, NOT that we loathe ourselves for sin, because that also denies your GRACE, and the fact you have RESCUED us from ourselves!, but rather that we simply have our gaze so fixed on YOU! (Heb. 12:1-3) that our ability to look our ourselves too long – whether for love or hate or anything in between – would grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace!

~Leah

Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith

Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith ~ some more recent tweets.

 

  • There is no place in the kingdom of God for ANY fear other than the fear of the Lord. As that is the beginning of true wisdom, its fruit is “perfect love” which CASTS OUT ALL OTHER FEAR.

 

  • Fear of God, the beginning of wisdom, is the BIRTHPLACE of Faith. But any other fear is an ENEMY of Faith, exposing IDOLS in our hearts.

 

  • We knowingly &UNknowingly become SLAVES 2being thought well of by others & make costly sacrifices 2obtain their good opinions. #FEAROFMAN

 

  • Scripture tells us the Righteous walk by FAITH not sight. When we “fear” the unknown, we expose a heart idol: I wish I were “god” of my own life! That is the true “original sin.”

 

  • “Faith” is not blind bravery. Faith comes by hearing the WORD OF GOD. Do u feel afraid? anxious/worried? My rule 4myself: “Flee 2the Word!”

 

  • [progression of YIELDING]  ….  I THINK I CAN! -> I thought I could -> I think I can’t -> I know I can’t! -> I think He would? -> I think He can! -> I KNOW HE WILL!

 

I think there is a future book in these reflections….

 

Be Blessed!

~Leah

 

Conviction? or Condemnation?

What follows below are some of my recent “tweets” ~ especially reflecting on the difference between “Godly sorrow” which leads to life, and “worldly sorrow” which leads to death.  I have found that one of the greatest confusions in my life has been to differentiate between when this feeling of “depression” is because of CONVICTION? (ie, from the Holy Spirit, because of some sin, and something of which I need to repent to be restored into right fellowship with my GOOD FATHER and others w/in the Body of Christ (my family and the Church)), or CONDEMNATION? (ie, an ATTACK from the enemy, trying to persuade me that I am worthless or so offensive to God that I couldn’t possibly be forgiven, etc.)  … Before chewing on my tweets, please read this Scripture from the Apostle Paul to the church at Corinth, following a rebuke he had given them, and in response to which they DID evidently repent and were restored both to right thinking and fellowship about and with God, and with each other and Paul as their pastor…..

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8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.  (2 Cor. 7:8-12 NKJV)

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  • What we are so quick 2call Depression may in fact be the Lord working 4our humility &sanctification! Ain’t nobody “happy” about dying 2self!
  • Do u feel trappd by ur sin? as if u cant do the right u wish u would? (Rom 7) Check ur affections &appetites; start w/where u spend ur time.
  • Circumstances of life are always testing our perseverance, our hearts/minds (increasingly more like Christ?), our walk in his peace, et al.
  • We may be 2quick 2placate or “medicate” our griefs, not realizing that mourning life’s losses INVITES God 2b our very present Comforter.
  • “Better 2go 2the house of mourning than 2the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, &the living will take it 2heart…” Ecc. 7:2
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1Leads 2Repentance & LIFE, the other 2Despairing Unfruitfulness.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1 is authored by a Loving Holy Father, the other only sees Self.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1speaks sweet HOPE &promise, the other of failure &falling away.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1clings to the WORD of God 4RESCUE, the other wallows w/o faith.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1points 2Christ who CLEANSES, the other LIES “u can’t be clean!”
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1 = confession&RESTORATION! the other = hiding &self-mutilation.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1gives way 2rejoicing &FREEDOM, the other 2wailing &bondage.

Blessings!

~Leah

For Further Study….

Two Unrelated Topics??

Well, a conversation with a friend about “speaking in tongues” has naturally progressed into a discussion on biblical masculinity and femininity because of “headship” and “submission” ~ I did not predict this course! haha! (if you’re interested, check out 1 corinthians 11-14, romans 12, jude 1, 1 timothy 2-3, 1 peter 3, genesis 2-3, ephesians 4-5 ~ all of which are making appearance in this discussion. see if you can spot the connections in these two topics?)

aka #ilovethedeependofthepool ♥

Here’s a link to ALL of the above texts in one spot for your convenience ;)

Blessings!

~Leah

Sunrises and Rainbows

I was out early this morning and got to see not only the sunrise (which I never view) but also a HUGE (big, fat, juicy!) rainbow over the city.  Absolutely gorgeous!

I was struck by how I normally only get to see the “EFFECTS” of the sunrise ~ I am usually getting ready for work or church in the mornings, and I watch the outside get lighter and lighter from the window of the upstairs bathroom.  But today?  I got to the see the sunrise, ITSELF!  Gloriously bright and multi-hued (bright oranges, pinks, purples, and eventually yellow and light blue) as it climbed up over a somewhat overcast and rainy sky, just enough clearing in the clouds to see the violent fireball blazing at the center….

I could not help but see there was a parable, here ~

How much more glorious! to see and know the REAL THING (God), than only be satisfied with just the “effects” (his good works, the “salt and light” effect in the world).

To follow that up with the rainbow was yet another reminder that God keeps his promises!  What a great way to start the week!

Happy Monday to all!

~Leah

Like David

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE is so honest with its “heroes” ~ we see their flaws as well as their faith, as in the case of King David. David wasn’t perfect, but he was quick to repent. David didn’t run from God in his sin, he would receive and yield to the rebuke of God’s Word and turn and run TO God for grace and forgiveness. A man guilty of adultery and murder, he was also a man who loved God and knew God’s covenantal lovingkindness, who poured out his soul to God in worship, who longed to build God’s temple…and instead God told him HE would build DAVID’S “house,” promising an everlasting throne for one of his descendants (Jesus), the Anointed One of God. David was “a man after God’s own heart,” flawed yet faithful, zealous for God’s glory. THIS is a godly man.

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(We meet David in 1 Samuel 16 when he is first anointed to be king, and follow his story through the rest of this book and 2nd Samuel, and the first part of 1 Kings. David also authored the majority of the Psalms and was known as a musician before the Lord. A few key chapters to read:  1 Samuel 17 David and Goliath, 2nd Samuel 7 God’s covenant with David, 2 Sam. 9 David’s grace toward Mephibosheth, a picture of God’s grace towards us, 2 Sam. 11-12 his sin with Bathsheba, Ps. 51 David’s repentance over that sin, Acts 13:20-25 God says David is “a man after my own heart.”)

Looking for Purpose?

“EVERYONE WHO IS OF THE TRUTH HEARS AND LISTENS TO MY VOICE.”   ~ Jesus
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I found this so beautiful, this morning! You want to find your “Life Purpose”?  ~  It’s in being a friend of the Truth.  Belonging to the Truth.  Hearing and listening to the voice of Jesus.  Bearing witness to the Truth!
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…Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas’ presence into the palace.  It was now early morning and the Jews themselves did not go into the palace, for fear that they would be contaminated and would not be able to eat the Passover.  So Pilate walked out to them and said, “What is the charge that you are bringing against this man?”    ~    “If he were not an evil-doer, we should not have handed him over to you,” they replied.   To which Pilate retorted, “Then take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”   We are not allowed to put a man to death,” replied the Jews (thus fulfilling Christ’s prophecy of the method of his own death).    ~    So Pilate went back into the Palace and called Jesus to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked.    ~    “Are you asking this of your own accord,” replied Jesus, “or have other people spoken to you about me?”    ~    “Do you think I am a Jew?” replied Pilate. “It’s your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done, anyway?”    ~    “My kingdom is not founded in this world—if it were, my servants would have fought to prevent my being handed over to the Jews. But in fact my kingdom is not founded on all this!”    ~    “So you are a king, are you?” returned Pilate.   “Indeed I am a king,” Jesus replied; “the reason for my birth and the reason for my coming into the world is to witness to the truth. Every man who loves truth recognizes my voice.”

["...This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth (who is a friend of the Truth, who belongs to the Truth) hears and listens to My voice."]

To which Pilate retorted, “What is ‘truth’?” and went straight out again to the Jews and said: “I find nothing criminal about him at all. But I have an arrangement with you to set one prisoner free at Passover time. Do you wish me then to set free for you the ‘king of the Jews’?”  At this, they shouted out again, “No, not this man, but Barabbas!”  Barabbas was a bandit….
~  John 18:28-40 (JBP)
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