Month: July 2015

Worth versus worthy

Sometime in 2014, I heard a caller call in (cause that’s what callers do) to KLove radio station in response to conversation about being worth the price that Jesus paid on the cross. This is roughly what the caller said.  We are not worthy of the grace showered upon us, but because Jesus Christ loved us, we are worth it. That conversation touched me and made me really think about the difference between being worthy of something and being worth something.

So what does that mean when we say we are not worthy but we are worth it? First, when Christ died on the cross for each person’s sins, it was a very personal gift of invaluable measure. Let’s pretend for a moment: if you went to a FANCY party, and you took a gift to the host and hostess that you had hand-made, and it was created from the finest materials and ingredients, taking years and years of effort, uncompromised emotional and financial commitment, and no one had anything like it, it would not compare to the gift of redemption given to us by Christ. It just couldn’t. That’s how invaluable God’s gift of grace-filled redemption truly is.

But lets take it a bit further; what if the host and hostess served you hot dogs, cheese doodles, and grape-ade beverage on disposable tableware? What the heck?! You came to the fancy party in your finest clothes. You wore pantyhose and heels for this. Plus, you brought that amazing gift of beauty…while they’re serving you picnic food.

Their actions aren’t really worthy of all that you have done for them.

Lets face it….their actions aren’t really worthy of all that you have done for them. The gift….and not to mention you had to have that dress dry cleaned before the party. For cheese doodles. (seriously…they need some Martha Stewart help here). And yet when you presented the gift, you did it with love, not giving a thought to what was served or how it was served.  The host and hostess were worth it. You knew they would look at that gift every day and remember how much you loved them. Going forward, every time they see it, a thought of you will come to mind, and they will feel good and smile at that moment. They didn’t have to earn it, and quite frankly, a gift of that value can’t be earned. Their actions weren’t worthy, but they were still worth it.

And such it is with our heavenly father. He has given us an amazing gift (redemption from sin and eternal life). In the NLT, I Peter 2:24 says He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.  But we didn’t earn it. We couldn’t have because it’s beyond value.

Why would God do this for us?? According to Ephesians 2, it’s because God loves us. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  It goes on in verse 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Wow…we are God’s handiwork, and He loves us while we were yet sinners. His love for us is beyond measure, beyond value, and He deemed us to be worth the death on the cross, even though we weren’t worthy. Our cost – faith and love. Believe in the one true living God and engage in a relationship with him. He deemed us worth what we are not worthy of. That’s a pretty sweet deal. 

Christ died for you, for me, for all of us. He paid an amazing cost, so high that we cannot put an earthly value to it, and He did it because of His love for us.

I hope that you are touched when you are pondering the chasm between not being worthy of the cross, and yet being worth the cross. For me, it’s incredibly humbling, and at times, gut-wrenching. Spend some time with your Savior today. If He were doing an advertisement for hair dye, he’d say “After all, I’m worth it”.

Prayer, study, worship & fellowship.

Blessings.

Heidi

 

Continued patience in well doing – Romans 2:7

A few days ago, I was reading Romans 2. I don’t recall what took me there or if I just opened my bible and started reading. The whole chapter is about God’s judgment of our sin and our disregard of the law,  specifically when we are busy condemning others for the same sin. If I may be bold enough to summarize, it is dealing with spiritual hypocracy. The last verse (29) also summarizes where our heart should be by stating ‘And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people’.

I say all of that to state what kind of stuck in my mind a bit – and that was a few words in verse 7. Disclaimer: I summarized the meaning of the chapter so that when I drill down into just a few words in verse 7, we all understand that the whole chapter has a different focus than what I am going to point out from verse 7. Its never okay to change the meaning of the scripture, and I don’t want you to take that away from this posting.  

Rom 2:7  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life (KJV)

Rom 2:7  He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. (NLT)

Patient continuance – wow…did that resonate with me. Patient continuance in well doing. What exactly does that mean? Well, the scripture is saying that those who patiently seek after obeying God’s laws will inherit eternal life. In context of verse 29, it means through a change of heart by the spirit of God. So how do we patiently seek to obey God’s laws? Well, that would mean to do good works with a spirit-filled heart – and there are plenty of scriptures to support that such as Titus 2:7 or I Tim 6:18 and 19.

So back to my topic: why did that word patient stick in my mind? Well, for starters, as a society, we have forgotten what patience is. Sure, there are some individuals who are dipped in melted patience, covered in patience-flavored sprinkles, drizzled with patient sauce, and topped with some whipped patience. But most of us aren’t quite there. We’re lucky if we have the patient cherry on top, right? Why is that? Perhaps, we can take a look at the influences on our lives, and come to an answer together (or stick with my answer since I am writing this blog). Many of the things we do involve receiving gratification quickly. Vehicles, cell phones, computers, Internet, email, texting, tablets, and microwaves all help create a quick result to our immediate need. Who remembers rotary dial phones? Remember when you got to the last number and you dialed the wrong digit?? The agony. 45 seconds of my life wasted…gone forever. 

So what does that have to do with our spiritual life? We expect everything to come quickly, including spiritual matters simply because it popped into our head. We are used to instant gratification – the quick result to an immediate want or need. Hello – how long did God wait on us??

So what’s the application? We should be patient with ourselves while trying to work on overcoming our fleshly habits? Yes of course we should. But what else? How about patiently loving others while they are working on reconciling their salvation, and/or fleshly habits. Yes!! Patience also applies to others, just as Christ was patient with us while we were yet sinners. Actually, the scripture says that He loved us while we were yet sinners. Part of love is being patient (I Cor 13:4). So that goes to stand that he loves others who are struggling with sin. 

So if we are striving to reflect Jesus Christ and mirror his actions (which we are), and He loves the sinner, and love is patient…is it that far of a stretch to determine that we should also love the sinner, and since love is patient, we should be patient with the sinner?  Of course, especially since we’re all sinners.

When your friends, brothers, and those who do not know Christ are open to hear you, be loving, be patient, be kind, and only share as much of God’s word as they are willing to take in. Don’t worry…they’ll come back for more in time. Be patient. That is the same grace extended to us.  II Tim 2: 24 and 25 say that (24) A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (25) Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. By the way, when  your friends, brothers, those who don’t know Christ aren’t open to hear you, still be loving, be patient, be kind. It’s okay.

Blessings

Heidi 

 

Courage and Bravery

Sometimes I wonder how brave and courageous I truly am. It’s easy to look at all accomplishments from the past and think that it didn’t take much to get through those moments and to those moments in life. The past can be oversimplified, negating what God has done in my life. On the other hand, the goals in front of me seem larger than life, often with teeth and claws, ready to do battle and knock my confidence down a few notches.

In the moments when I am trying to move forward and be courageous, doubts sneak in, like thieves, and undermine the path that the Lord has laid out for me. Why do I ever doubt what the Lord has set in motion? This is the same God who created the heavens and the earth. Surely, He can handle the unknown details of my future. I’m pretty sure that my life is much simpler than arranging atoms.

In Philippians, Paul talks about a level of confidence that I need for my daily life. At that moment, Paul was imprisoned (possibly house arrest) and was writing a letter to the church in Philippi, thanking them, and encouraging the people to be brave in the face of persecution.

Philippians 1:4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV).

Paul knew that the people of Philippi would encounter doubters, nay-sayers (AKA Facebook bullies), and all sorts of negativity from all around them, possibly even self doubt, though that isn’t mentioned here. What Paul wrote then still applies now.

What things are you afraid of when it comes to your spiritual life? What areas are you brave and what things make you a bit weak in the knees? Honestly, it’s okay to be  afraid, or a little intimidated by things in your life. If you weren’t, there would be no room to grow spiritually, nor would there be much of a need to lean on the Lord Jesus if we were never afraid. We just can’t let doubt creep in.

Go and be brave in the things that God has called you to do. Experience your gifts the way that He has intended you to.
Prayer, study, worship & fellowship.

Blessings

Heidi