He Is In Control

This isn’t meant to be a long post, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days. I don’t know why God allows certain things to happen. I don’t see how some things fit in to His sovereign plan. Why would He allow a young girl to be beaten and raped over and over again? Why would He let a sweet, old lady die of a stroke? Why would He let there be millions of orphans in the world? Why would He let someone grow up in a fatherless home, without any love from their family? Why does He allow these things? How could He let things like this happen?

I don’t know. I hate it with everything in me. I hate knowing that there are girls across the world, just like me, who are being abused every day. I hate knowing thousands of babies are being aborted every year. I hate knowing that children are being sold into slavery. I hate knowing that there are orphans across the world, dying of starvation, without ever knowing a mother’s love. I hate it all. It breaks my heart, and moves me to tears.

But somehow, God is still in control.

How can I say that? It hardly seems that way even to me. Where was God when that girl was being beaten by the one who was supposed to love her? Where was He when the starving orphan in Africa took his last breath without hope?

I don’t know how, but He was still God even then. He was still sovereign, still unchanging. Even in those dark moments, He is still in control. That doesn’t mean that He causes every evil thing in the world, by any means whatsoever. But that does mean that He can work good out of a bad situation. We may not be able to see or understand it now, but He is still in control.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Rom. 8:28

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GO

I was sitting on my bed, listening to “Tears of the Saints” by Leeland Mooring, writing long-overdue letters to a few friends. As I did so, I suddenly stopped to ponder the lyrics I was hearing. I had been listening to it for half the day, so the words weren’t new to me. It had been really encouraging to listen to when I first heard it – the kind of encouraging where you’re going, “Yeah, I agree! This world needs to listen up.” But then, as I sat there, I was convicted. I looked out my window and saw all the houses in my neighborhood. I can only assume it was a God thing: I felt the question, “If you knew that all of these houses would be demolished in a matter of minutes, and all the inhabitants would die and go to hell, wouldn’t you hurry as fast as you could and tell them a way that they could be saved?”

Naturally, most of us would answer with, “Of course!” If this is really true, then why aren’t we? Sure, our neighbors’ houses might not be annihilated in the next twelve minutes, but there’s no guarantee that the inhabitants of that house will still be here on this earth in the next twelve minutes. Things happen that we can’t know, things that we never could see coming. Things happen to people we know and love in a matter of simple seconds. One moment they’re here – the next, they’re gone. And we don’t ever know when it will happen.

This, combined with the Great Commission, should spur us on to reach multitudes around us to find joy and salvation in Christ. It should be enough that Jesus asks us to go into the world and make disciples of the nations, starting with your next-door neighbor. Since this generation doesn’t find that to be enough, we only get moved when it happens to someone we love. Love for Jesus and our fellow man should be the things that compel us to share the good news with those around us.

Sharing the gospel with those who are lost is a biblical teaching that we ignore. We dislike the thought of having to reach out of our comfort zone, and our minds are expertly skilled at conjuring up excuses when it comes to things we don’t want to do. We have taken God’s command lightly. He did not ask us if, whenever we felt like it, whenever we had the time, or had nothing better to do, we could share His love with those who walk in darkness. He didn’t ask us if when we had nothing better to do, we could tell others of redemption and salvation found in Him. NO. He commands, not requests, us to go and make disciples, to go out and save people (not that we actually save people, but rather give them the truth they need to be saved). YOU have the answer to what this world is looking for – YOU HAVE THE TRUTH, AND YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE. It is your duty, your obligation, to share this truth and freedom with the world around you that is shrouded in dark lies. Please, don’t wait. I need to work on obeying God’s commission as well. I need to reach out to those around me, those in my neighborhood, those that I meet on the street. But I can’t afford to disobey God anymore – neither can the people that I come into contact with on a regular basis. “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (Jn. 14:15)

While I’m on my bed writing my friend about her chickens, there are people who are dying. And I do nothing. How much more self-centered can we get??

I hope that this post isn’t just seen as another “go-get-‘em-lost-peoples” rant. I hope it ignites a fire. I hope it wakes people up, that we can join arms together and save lost souls that live right next door, that you meet on a daily basis. I hope that we can rise up to live as Christians should, and obey God and His commands out of our love for Him.

So before you go out and start saving the lost souls around you, watch this video. Then, go.

Holiness

                “God’s holiness means that He is separated and devoted to seeking His own honor.” – Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

Holiness. It’s a word that has lost its meaning in this day and age. We no longer grasp the concept of what holiness is – what it means in our lives to be holy, and how God is holy. Today, the word “holiness” has just become another adjective we use when describing God. It seems to only be another word that we throw into elaborate prayers. “Majestic”, “holy”, “merciful”, “compassionate”, “powerful”, “miraculous”; people don’t really know what they mean anymore. I want to redefine holiness as it should be when we speak of God, and when it becomes the pattern of which we are to mimic in life. What is holiness really?

Holiness is defined as follows:

1.Dedicated to religious use; consecrated; sacred.
2.Spiritually pure; sinless.
3.Deserving reverence or worship.
4. Associated with Jesus and his life.

It’s black and white – He is holy. He is spiritually pure. He deserves worship.

An aspect that Grudem mentions in his book Systematic Theology I thought was significant to point out on the topic. He brings out that since God is separate from sin, then the devotion is to the good of God’s own honor or glory; one example he uses being the fact that the most holy place where the ark of the covenant was kept was the place most separated from evil and sin and most fully devoted to God’s service. Ps. 23:4, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place?” Where God dwells is holy – it is separated from sin. And fully dedicated to His own honor.

Now we’ll see that God’s holiness goes hand in hand with His sense of justice in a certain aspect. Being that He is 100% pure and separated from sin, it cannot enter into His presence. Because of His holiness, Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire from the Lord (Lev. 10:1-7). Because of His holiness, Uzzah was struck down and died (2 Sa. 6:1-7). His holiness cannot allow anything impure into His presence.

This is why there must be atonement for our sins, which was instituted at Calvary. However, this does not let us off the hook. Holiness applies to our every day lives.

Our key verse is 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” But for however well-known this verse might be, there are still others that address the issue.

Heb. 12:10, “…but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.”

Heb. 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy…”

2 Cor. 7:1, “…perfecting holiness out of reverence to God.”

Even the church is to be holy. Eph. 2:21, “In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

Holiness applies to us directly. We are to be holy as God is holy. For us, this would practically look like separating ourselves from sin, worshipping the Lord, and consecrating ourselves for His honor and glory. “What?!” I hear you cry. “Are you telling me to never sin? That’s impossible!”

It is impossible to stop sinning completely. But that by no means gives us the chance to use the whole “God gives us grace!” excuse. (Which is so over-used, y’all, come on.)

Yeah, we’re a fallen race. We are born sinful, and we will never be able to overcome our sin nature. But we are called to persevere and press on toward the right thing, even with the knowledge that we will never reach it. We are to always seek after the things of God, always to walk in His ways, always to yearn after Him and to obey His commands. Yes, we will stumble. Yes, we will fail and make mistakes over and over again. But we are not called to give up and declare it only for your church elders. We are called to acknowledge our mistakes, and keep going, pushing on toward achieving the same holiness that is the Lord.

More Beautiful You

I know I haven’t posted a serious post in a while, but I’m here to assure you it’s coming. I’m working on some more serious stuff, but while it’s in the progress of coming along, here’s a video and song for those of you who struggle with the same things as me.

Guest Post

Here I have a guest post from Rachel Joy over at Noteworthy! Thank you Rachel!

– The Daily Struggle –

“The struggle is so real!” I said to my brother as we painstakingly walked away from the last M&M.

As I continued living my day, I began to think about those words, and the phrase normally associated with getting out of bed. “The Daily Struggle.”

As I thought, I realized that that’s not the only struggle we have to deal with daily.

You see, the daily struggle is to surrender. To surrender my will to God—even when I don’t want to. Even when it involves pain and heartache. To pick up my cross and follow Jesus even when the waters rise.

The daily struggle is to worship through the storm. It’s to look for Jesus, and not just a passing glance, but daily seeking him until we find him.

The daily struggle is to love like Jesus when people drive us crazy. It’s to love them even when they don’t deserve it in anyway. It’s to love people like Jesus when we are treated unjustly, when we are hurt and when it is painful.

The daily struggle is to stand strong. It’s so easy to lie down and let the overwhelming might of the enemy surround and accost us. It’s easy to lay in the corner and cry. (Trust me, I do it all the time) But it’s so hard to stand up and make a difference. To break the chains that daily try to bind us, is constantly a battle.

It’s easy to take. We all find it easy to receive. But to give it all? That’s not easy. To give your everything to the one who gave it all to you? To trust that he knows what’s best and to receive his blessings? That’s the daily struggle.

The daily struggle is to sing hallelujah. Saying “God be praised” in the pain, dizzy tears and mourning. That is hard. To praise him unconditionally with all of our being, that is the daily struggle.

Everyday we have so many struggles. Things that make it hard to want to get out of bed and to live life, but the crazy thing is that we don’t have to do this by ourselves.

Jesus is right there to walk with us all the way. He is there to help us when we slip and fall into the depravity that this world so often thrusts upon is.

Through him—and only through him, can we win this battle.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

~ Rachel Joy