— Romans 8:28
— As Cities Burn, Made Too Pretty
— As Cities Burn, This Is It
christianquotes101 asked: Would you call yourself a good person ?
I think at times I would. I think I could see my accomplishments, sacrifices, deeds, and the contrast of my character to a bad person as something that would make me a good person. In those times, I would see that my good deeds outweigh my sin. But that’s exactly why I’m not a good person.
The truth is, even though I’d hate to admit it to myself, I am not a good person. I am a miserable failure. I am broken. I am harmful. I am an obstacle. I am a filthy man with filthy lips. I am a sinner. Therefore, if I ever call myself good, I am deceived.
“For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” – Romans 7:15b
I don’t want to do the sin that I do. I want to do good, but I don’t. This is why I need Jesus. I need Him every day. For when I am a failure, He uplifts me. When I am broken, He binds my wounds. When I am harmful, He brings me discipline. When I am an obstacle, He humbles me. Even though I am filthy, He washes me clean. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.
So my friend, I am not a good person. But God is good, and He has taken my sins away. I pray that I may never receive a praise in my life, but may every soul find the evidence of Christ.
God bless and much love,
When we read our Bibles, we come across so many stories of Jesus. All of the time, they have to do with people. For the most part, it all ends the same way. People turn from their sin. Jesus would call people to repent, and they would. He would tell them “Go and sin no more.”
Today, we seem to embrace sin. Instead of showing people the right way to go, we have grown passive in our evangelism. We are quick to accept and embrace the life decisions that our peers are making. We don’t hold the line of truth and show the way of love. Instead, we tell them "Go and sin some more."
Yes, we cannot force our beliefs down people’s throats, but we can give them the option to choose Christianity. Instead of shrinking back and avoiding the awkward friction and tension, we can take a risk and give the option of life. It is strange today to think that Jesus hung out at parties with sinners and embraced their sin. He never did. Everyone knew who Jesus was and what He was about. He made that very clear.
So my prayer for all of us is that we will make ourselves very clear. That we are going about our Father’s business. That we are embassador’s of Christ. That we are not perfect, but forgiven and repentant.
God bless and much love,
Never disregard the impact your father has had on you, and never underestimate the impact you will have on your sons. Fathers are powerful. They shape the next generation of men with joy and protection, or pain and absence. Use your legacy wisely.
— Greg Laurie
Some of us have very good reasons to be bitter. There are awful things that have been done to us, and we cannot seem to let it go. Many of you following me have been victims of racism, sexual abuse, deception, bullying, neglect, and a myriad of other things.
But there’s a catch.
Bitterness is an emotional Voodoo doll. You pain yourself over and over with different thoughts about vengeance, altered reenactments, and ill-meant wishes for your offender.
Let me explain something to you: Bitterness is harming no one but yourself. In fact, by refusing to forgive those who do evil from you, you are being demonic. BItterness is so evil and so profound, that James, the brother of Jesus, calls it wisdom from Satan.
”But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” - James 3:13-16
When someone wrongs us, we can tend to think “I did not deserve that! I deserve to be treated well, I deserve this, I deserve that!” As image bearers of God, we understand this conviction. There is nothing wrong in knowing how human beings deserve to be treated. However, when you start to follow that simple truth with: “They took what is valuable to me! This person deserves to die. I hope terrible suffering comes onto him/her, because they wronged me! I hope their heart shatters.”
That’s bitterness. Someone wrongs you, and you just watch their every step, filling your heart with more and more bitterness. Everything they succeed in, you gnash your teeth at. Everything they fail in, you rejoice in and have an emotional banquet with yourself. When your focus goes from the will of God and onto yourself and how you can commit harm for harm, you are being tempted and coerced by evil. It’s completely selfish and only causes evil.
James then continues:
”But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” - James 3:17-18
Every single one of these qualities crushes bitterness. And yet, if there is anyone in this entire existence that deserves to be bitter, it’s God. He comes to be tortured, mocked, beaten, rejected, and crucified, offering Himself as payment for our own sins, and we do the complete opposite of that act of love. He cries out “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they are doing!” and we cry to that same Father “You better punish them! Look at what they have done to me!”
God forgives us, and we withhold forgiveness from the very people that we are supposed to be giving our lives to. And yes, we might have extremely good reasons for being bitter. God sure does. Look at what we have done to His creation and to ourselves. But He loves you anyway and died for you.
So next time you’re angry with someone, no matter if it’s been years or minutes, stop and ask yourself “Am I being forgiving just as God forgave me?”
Take these moments and reflect on those who have done evil to you, and then forgive them. Pray for them. Tell them that you love them. Ask how you can serve them. Because no matter how many times we slap Jesus in the face with our sin and wicked doings, He keeps on turning the other cheek. Maybe it’s about time we follow His footsteps.
I am praying for you all. I am always here to listen to what you are going through.
God bless and much love
Anonymous asked: What are some passages of scripture to help someone with a doubtful heart? I’m really struggling with fact of am I saved or is God even real. I don’t even know where to look in the Bible please help.
Thanks so much for your question! I really hope and pray that I can help you discover who you are and help you find answers to the challenges you are facing.
First of all, let me say this: Struggling with the belief of salvation is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very good checkpoint where we can reflect on ourselves and our character and see where we need Christ’s help to renew the broken parts of our lives.
Having said that, let me define salvation for you. Salvation is believing that Jesus Christ, being God, came and died for your sin, resurrecting after his death so that you could walk in newness of life with Him. All you must do to receive his salvation is believe that He is God and He died for you. If you truly believe that, you will follow Him.
Now, what can happen sometimes is that we start to find other things in life that we deem as valuable, and then we soon forget about God. Jesus Christ becomes a concept or fact, rather than a vibrant, living relationship.
Now, I will show you some Scripture:
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NLT)
In this particular passage, Peter is addressing people who truly believe in Jesus (v.1). So this applies to anyone who truly thinks they are Christian. Here is what I want you to focus on: Peter mentions seven things one should add to their faith for growth and maturity (v. 5-7). Doing or not doing these things does not make you saved or condemned, but if you truly believe in Jesus, these 7 things will stop you from becoming fruitless and forgetting that you are saved. So read this over and over and think about how you can improve in all of those areas, and then pray to God to give you strength. If you lack moral excellence, ask God to give you strength to rid yourself of sin and find ways to fight those battles. If you lack knowledge, commit to reading your Bible, join a Bible study, or get someone to hold you accountable or perhaps find a study partner. If you lack Godliness, commit yourself to prayer and fasting and spend time with God so that you can be refreshed and refocused on who He is.
Now that we have talked about that, I want to show you what it looks like to be saved:
“I am thetrue vine, and my Father isthe vinedresser.2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruithe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.3 Alreadyyou are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you.4 Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine;you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is thatbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.6 If anyone does not abide in mehe is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7 Ifyou abide in me, and my words abide in you,ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 By this my Father is glorified, that youbear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.9 As the Father has loved me,so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just asI have keptmy Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” – John 15:1-11
So I want to make something very clear now. If you are saved, you will not be perfect. We all need to be pruned. We have times in our walk when we get distracted by things of this world, and then we begin to wither and die. Every Christian has been there.
Having made that clear, I want you to ask yourself “Do I really love Jesus? Do I want to obey what He commands because I love Him?” You see, Jesus told His disciples in this passage that they would obey His commands if they love Him. If they do not love Him, they won’t obey His commands. This doesn’t mean you will be perfect. Jesus knew they were not perfect, after all, Peter denied Him three times and everyone abandoned Him at the time of His arrest (Mark 14).
Now, in verse 8 Jesus told them to prove they are His disciples by bearing much fruit. This does not mean that they needed to prove to God that they are His disciples (v. 5 says they can’t). What it does mean is that we can see for ourselves if we are truly His disciples. If you want to know if you are a Christian or not, study this passage and ask yourself these questions afterwards:
1. Do I love Jesus?
2. What is my deepest desire?
3. Is my deepest desire to follow and serve Jesus, or serve myself and my desires?
4. Have I been trying to fix myself for Jesus or have I been asking Jesus to help me grow closer to Him?
After you answer those questions, I am sure that you will be certain on whether or not you are saved. After all, who can love Jesus and not be saved? If you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will follow Him.
Bear in mind this one thing: Jesus did not say what He did in John 15 in order to criticize, terrify, or discourage His disciples. He said in verse 11: “These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” Jesus does not want you to be struggling and heart shattered. He wants you to be full of joy. That is why He told His disciples to abide in Him and love Him and bear fruit in order to show that they are truly children of God. Once you know who you are in Christ, you will have joy. But once you forget and do not apply the 7 pillars that Peter talked about, you will become “shortsighted and blind, forgetting that you have been cleansed from your past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)
I hope all of this has helped! I want to suggest to you a few resources. I want you to get 2 books: Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll. Crazy Love is about what truly loving and believing in Christ is all about, and Who Do You Think You Are is a study on Ephesians about your identity and who Christ has made you to be. Please get both of those books! Figuring out where you stand with Christ is worth the 20-30 dollars that you would spend on something else.
Mark Driscoll did a sermon series based on his book that you can find here. You can watch one or two a week until you get through the whole thing. I think it would be very beneficial for you!
Also, I just finished watching a sermon by Francis Chan on being “Lukewarm.” I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that term, but it basically means that you haven’t truly made a decision to follow Christ and you’re just sitting on the fence about it. The sermon was very challenging and I think it would be very beneficial for you to work through it. You can find the video here.
I hope that my words will help you work through all of this. Please take advantage of the resources I have offered. Invest your time into discovering where you stand with God! Nothing else is more important. Cancel social events with friends. Quit your job if you need to! This is far more important than anything in this world. Simply try your very hardest to work and wrestle through this fatal question: “Am I really saved?”
If you have any more questions or anything you want to explain or comment on, please let me know! I am always here to help or simply listen. You are in my prayers.
God bless and much love,
I see no end to Your flowing grace
You sow life in the deepest of graves
Anonymous said: I was reading Acts 2 this morning and it talked about getting baptised, and I know several other passages of scripture talk about getting baptised. But how important is to somebodies faith?
Thanks for the question!
I need to be very clear in what I say. I do not want to mislead you or anyone else. Baptism is very important and is regarded highly in the Christian faith. Jesus commanded all Christians to be baptized. Obviously, that sounds pretty important.
Now, baptism will not save you. You are saved by grace alone, through Jesus Christ. Baptism is the symbol that you have died to your old life, your sins are washed away by the sacrifice of Jesus, and you are reborn into the new life found in Christ. It is the public proclamation of your eternal commitment and evidence of your repentance.
Again, baptism will not save you or give you some sort of spiritual buff. Is it necessary for salvation? No. The only thing necessary for salvation is believing and following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So, Jesus said a lot of things unnecessary for salvation, yet completely important for living and following Him. One of those things is baptism.
I hope that helps a little bit! If there is anyone reading this that wants to give in their two cents, feel free. I pray that I have communicated this topic very clearly have answered it well in truth and light of Scripture.
If you have any questions, let me know!
Anonymous asked: Can you make a post talking about one thing you really love about God right now?
What a wonderful question! However, I can’t pick just one because I just can’t. I love every aspect about God. All parts of perfection are incredible.
Though, one thing that I’ve really been noticing and learning about more and more is God’s peace that I experience when I am close to Him. When He is the center of my life, when I am truly walking side by side with Him, I am at peace. This world and its troubles mean nothing. In the end, it will just be me and Jesus. It is that peace that fills me.
Obviously, when bad things happen I get upset and that’s perfectly normal and God-given. I am talking about intimately knowing the unshakable reliability of God’s character. If He is for us, who can be against us? It is wonderful. That is all.
Anonymous asked: I’ve been very torn on some topics I’ve been reading in the Bible. Jesus states to be peaceful and versus like Matthew 5:38-42, but in different books of the Bible people talk about being warriors of the faith and wearing the armor of God. My question is how do we be kind and peaceful, but warriors at the same time? I have a friend who is a navy seal, so this has been weighing on my mind of is this right to go into war or not?
Thank you for the question! I am glad you are wrestling with your convictions and the Bible!
Here’s what I think: When it comes to Matthew 5:38-42, I think Jesus is not talking about defending yourself, I think He is talking about refusing to seek vengeance. If I am attacked on the street, I will defend myself. If my family or friends are attacked, I will defend myself. Here is the key: Do everything in love. Seek peace. If fighting is not necessary, then do not fight. If it is necessary to defend yourself, then by all means, defend yourself.
“For everything, there is a season. There is a time to kill, and a time to heal.” – Ecclesiastes 3.
Your friend is a navy seal. I think that is a heart issue. If he wants to go to war because he is bloodthirsty, he is in sin. If he wants to go to war to prove something to someone in the past, he is being selfish. If he wants to go to war because he wants to die, he is not seeking hope and joy from Christ. If he wants to go to war to see his country protected, then he is being selfless. Do you understand where I am going with this? So talk to your friend and find out his heart. This is not a black and white topic.
Also, when the Bible talks about wearing the armor of God, it talks about it in a spiritual sense, not in a physical war sense. It draws on what we know about earthly war, and applies it to spiritual battle. You can read about that in Ephesians 6. As for being warriors of the faith, I’m not sure where the Bible says that, but I highly doubt it would ever mean to be physically violent for Jesus. That does not match up with the life and truth that Jesus wants us to live by.
At the same time, when Scripture tells us to seek peace, it does not tell us to lay down and die. Instead, it tells us to seek peace by pursuing love. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can ever do is fight evil and oppression. Standing up for what is right and standing up for what is true, more often than not, causes opposition instead of peace.
Speaking about the truth, Jesus said this:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 10
This does not mean that God wants us to cause strife. It simply means that standing up for the truth and following Jesus is not going to help you live a peaceful life. You will find peace in Jesus, but obeying and following Jesus is going to cause hardship. It’s going to stir people against you, and you’re going to have to deal with that and find peace in Him.
So here’s what I think. I think that violence is sometimes justified. I think that there are times where we need to use physical force to protect ourselves or the ones that we love. So the question is not “Is war justified?” But the question is “In this specific situation, how can I stand up for what is right in love?”
I hope that helps you a little bit! Let me know if you have any more questions or concerns!
I will be praying for your convictions and for your friend as well!
Idolatry is taking anything, even if it is good, and elevating it to a place of recognition where you say “If this god disappears from my life, I will be crippled for life.” Whether this god is a job, financial situation, person, idea, state of mind, place, emotion, event, or anything else, it will rob you of true satisfaction and joy which only comes from true worship of the one and only God: Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings.
Take some time to reflect on what or who you are worshipping: Is it creation or Creator? Is it a lie or is it truth? Is it temporary or is it eternal?
What do you hold as top priority and love in your life?
There is only one god who will not fail you in this life and the next. Take these next moments to realize that this god is Jesus, and He will never leave, forsake, or fail you.