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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

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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Even So, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!

Listening to the radio on the way back from Dr. appt ~ talk show reflecting on nature of Heaven according to Scripture, and the very “physical” (in contrast to misconception of “ghostly”) experience we will have there. I was SO blessed to be reminded of the truths laid out in Revelation 21 and 22, and where we will be together forever with our Lord! … 

“Then he who is seated upon the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new!’ … Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the thirsty water without price from the fountain of life. The victorious shall inherit these things, and I will be God to him and he will be son to me….‘ … Then he carried me away in spirit to the top of a vast mountain, and pointed out to me the city, the holy Jerusalem, descending from God out of Heaven, radiant with the glory of God. Her brilliance sparkled like a very precious jewel with the clear light of crystal.

“…I could see no Temple in the city, for the Lord, the Almighty God, and the Lamb are themselves its Temple. The city has no need for the light of sun or moon, for the splendour of God fills it with light and its radiance is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. The city’s gates shall stand open day after day—and there will be no night there. Into the city they will bring the splendours and honours of the nations. But nothing unclean, no one who deals in filthiness and lies, shall ever at any time enter it—only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal as it flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the street of the city and on either bank of the river grew the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, a different kind for each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

“Nothing that has cursed mankind shall exist any longer; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be within the city. His servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name will be upon their foreheads. Night shall be no more; they have no more need for either lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will shed his light upon them and they shall reign as kings for timeless ages.

“Then the angel said to me, ‘These words are true and to be trusted, for the Lord God, who inspired the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must shortly happen.’

“‘See, I come quickly! Happy [Blessed!] is the man who pays heed to the words of the prophecy in this book.’ … ‘See, I come quickly! I carry my reward with me, and repay every man according to his deeds. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End. Happy [Blessed!] are those who wash their robes, for they have the right to the tree of life and the freedom of the gates of the city. Shut out from the city shall be the depraved, the sorcerers, the impure, the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises a lie!

“‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the Churches. I am both the root and stock of David, and the bright star of the morning!’

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let everyone who hears this also say, ‘Come!’ Let the thirsty man come, and let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift….

“He, who is witness to all this, says, ‘Yes, I am coming very quickly!’

“Amen, come Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all his people.”

(from JBPhillips NT)

Like Paul

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE gives us background on the life of Paul, New Testament apostle of the Gospel which was to both Jews and Gentiles, making “one” of “two” and “many.” Radically transformed from murderer and religious zealot, chief of the order of Pharisees the likes of which Jesus scathingly rebuked during his earthly ministry, Paul was a highly educated man with at least a dual citizenship which God would use later in his life to spare his life more than once. Paul was knocked to the ground by a literally blinding, brilliant encounter with the Risen Jesus, a man with a scholar’s mind and, once converted, a pastor’s heart. He went from slaughtering the people of God to *shepherding* them, with boldness in confronting sin, and adamant reassurances of the promises of God. Clinging to the Word! Clothed in the righteousness of Christ! He was a man with his eyes FIXED on Jesus, and a heart and life DEVOTED to seeing people transformed by the grace of God. THIS is a godly man.
(see especially Acts ch. 9 and ch. 17 ~ if you have time, read the 2nd half of Acts as records most of Paul’s missionary journies. He also authored the majority of the books of the NT, so you could take time to read more of his instruction to the churches (called “epistles” which means “letters”) and concerning the Word of God in such books as Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and more.)

Like Joseph

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE paints the portrait of Joseph, in the Old Testament. We meet him as a zealous young man, the apple of his father’s eye, who is, as a teen, abused, beaten and abandoned by his brothers, sold into grueling slavery, falsely accused of rape, wrongly convicted and sentenced to years in prison ~ yet at every downward turn, Joseph rises up to moral victory, to positions of authority even within the confines of his captivity, and ultimately is used by God to save nations because he yielded his life to walking as one LED by (listening to and being quick to obey!) the Spirit of God. Joseph sees GOD as the one to whom he answers, and GOD as the one who ultimately orchestrates all events so that even evil is used to bring about His good purposes. His faith is characterized by confident expectation, and his life by sexual purity and servant leadership; and Joseph uses his position of authority in a way that is “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove,” even forgiving his own abusers (!) and laying foundation for genuine reconciliation when he sees his brothers have truly changed. THIS is a godly man.
(read Genesis chapters 37-50, especially 39:7-10, and 50:15-21)

Like Ruth

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE tells Ruth’s story ~ an “outsider” to the people of God, exiled from her own “unclean” land & people by HER decision to live among the people of God & remain devoted to her widowed mother-in-law. Ruth showed FAITHFULNESS in the face of isolation & poverty because she believed the God of Israel was the one true God, & she was willing to work hard, w/o any recognition, w/o any reward, to serve where HE had placed her. God directed her every step! She ended up working for (“gleaning” in the field of) the very man (Boaz) God had chosen for her “kinsman redeemer,” & God made her beautiful to him & gave him the desire to “fight” for her, protect her, advocate for her, & “raise her up” as a jewel of God’s favor.
Not only is Boaz a picture of Christ, but Ruth in marrying him ultimately becomes part of the lineage of Jesus, the very Messiah to the people of God for whom Ruth was at first an outsider! And she is a forerunner to the Gospel being made available to ALL the nations of the world through Jesus! I *aspire* to be more like Ruth ~ a woman of character, doing whatever she could & whatever she MUST for the sake of loving God & serving those whom he had given her, ultimately trusting HIM with the outcomes of her life, w/o nursing her own “expectations” for how she might think her life should go, but fully yielding to the Lord’s hand, one step at a time. ♥ ♥ ♥
(see the book of Ruth, Leviticus 23:22, and ch. 25, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, and Matthew 1 geneology of Jesus)