My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations
Monday, November 8, 2010
Imagine, living a defeated life, never realizing all the gifts that our Father has given us in Christ? How sad that would be for a Father who desires to give us the richest abundant life possible, and all for HIS GLORY! What glory he gets knowing he has taken the lowliest of low humanity and elevated it to the heights of being actually RELATED to God himself! He did that. WHOOOO! Christ's blood flows through my veins, I am royalty, I am heir, I am so much more than I ever dreamed possible all because I accepted a simple gift I thought contained only eternal life, a Saviour, and love.
It makes me think of the TARDIS: Tiny little box, but when you look inside you marvel at all the glorious gifts and promises that have been crammed in there... How is it even possible?
Self-centered? NO! How could anyone even get a glimpse of all that was given to us at the moment of salvation and be selfish? I'm thinking that after crying my eyes out and hugging and kissing all over the giver I'd be out trying to give that gift to as many people as possible.
---a post I wrote on facebook. :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
And he does not do this just for our benefit, oh no! He has a far greater purpose in mind! Isaiah goes on to say,
"And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" (9-11)
He does it to bring blessings to the world! we are blessed to be a blessing! Our salvation, our deliverance, our dependence of Christ, our joy, our peace, they are gifts from God not only to glorify him in us, but to glorify him to all the world!
That is how I think of counseling. I was blessed of God, now I have a marvelous opportunity to bless others--to bring them the garment of praise!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Thinking about this.. Here's a bit of what Keirsey says about these personalities and their temperaments.
Recap of ENFP:
Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say two or three percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can't wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types.
Fiercely individualistic, Champions strive toward a kind of personal authenticity, and this intention always to be themselves is usually quite attractive to others. At the same time, Champions have outstanding intuitive powers and can tell what is going on inside of others, reading hidden emotions and giving special significance to words or actions. In fact, Champions are constantly scanning the social environment, and no intriguing character or silent motive is likely to escape their attention. Far more than the other Idealists, Champions are keen and probing observers of the people around them, and are capable of intense concentration on another individual. Their attention is rarely passive or casual. On the contrary, Champions tend to be extra sensitive and alert, always ready for emergencies, always on the lookout for what's possible.Champions are good with people and usually have a wide range of personal relationships. They are warm and full of energy with their friends. They are likable and at ease with colleagues, and handle their employees or students with great skill. They are good in public and on the telephone, and are so spontaneous and dramatic that others love to be in their company. Champions are positive, exuberant people, and often their confidence in the goodness of life and of human nature makes good things happen.
People naturally confide in the Champion (ENFP). That's why they make such good mediators, counselors, teachers, consultants, and reporters. Any position that outreaches to others can fit the Champion. They can be columnists, journalists, publicists, copy writers, advertising account executives. In the arts they can be character actors, cartoonists, art educators. If they choose jobs such as restaurateur, be sure that their business sites will be unique and designed for a particular type of customer. Don't be surprised to see them as an inventor. This type of personality wants to experience the whole of life and may change careers more often than many other types. Says Charles, "I've had a number of jobs and when there is nothing left to create, I move to something new. I want my life to be spiced with newness, love, and joy."
ESFP:Performers have the special ability, even among the Artisans, to delight those around them with their warmth, their good humor, and with their often extraordinary skills in music, comedy, and drama. Whether on the job, with friends, or with their families, Performers are exciting and full of fun, and their great social interest lies in stimulating those around them to take a break from work and worry, to lighten up and enjoy life.
Performers are plentiful, something over ten percent of the population, and this is fortunate, because they bring pleasure to so many of us. Performers are the people for whom it can truly be said "all the world's a stage." Born entertainers, they love the excitement of playing to an audience, and will quickly become the center of attention wherever they are. Performers aren't comfortable being alone, and seek the company of others whenever possible-which they usually find, for they make wonderful playmates. Performers are smooth, talkative, and witty; they always seem to know the latest jokes and stories, and are quick with wisecracks and wordplay-nothing is so serious or sacred that it can't be made fun of. Performers also like to live in the fast lane, and seem up on the latest fashions of dress, food, drink, and music. Lively and uninhibited, Performers are the life of the party, always trying to create in those around them a mood of eat, drink, and be merry.The Performers' talent for enjoying life is healthy for the most part, though it also makes them more subject to temptations than the other types. Pleasure seems to be an end in itself for them, and variety is the spice of life. And so Performers are open to trying almost anything that promises them a good time, not always giving enough thought to the consequences.
Like the other Artisans, Performers are incurably optimistic - "Always look on the bright side," is their motto - and they will avoid worries and troubles by ignoring them as long as possible. They are also the most generous of all the types, and second only to the Composer Artisans [ISFPs] in kindness. Performers haven't a mean or stingy bone in their body-what's theirs is yours-and they seem to have little idea of saving or conserving. They give what they have to one and all without expectation of reward, just as they love freely, and without expecting anything in return. In so many ways, Performers view life as an eternal cornucopia from which flows an endless supply of pleasures.
Elizabeth Taylor, John Goodman, Marylin Monroe, Judy Garland, Magic Johnson, Pablo Picasso, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Elvis, and Leonard Bernstein are examples of Performer Artisans.
The Performer, like the Promoter, can also be good in sales, sports, or entertainment. They usually spend a little more time with the customer than the Promoter and enjoy the conversation so much that they sometimes have to be reminded to close the sale. They may find careers in the entertainment industry as a performer, promoter, or musician. In business they can be a PR specialist, a fund-raiser, or a labor relations mediator. Says Brigitta, an emergency room nurse, "Some people might find my job too stressful, but I like having to act fast. I'm good at calming people down while I'm dealing with their medical problems. Every day is different."
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
My adolescent years were spent in a time of identity foreclosure in the areas of religion, politics, and vocation. I was raised in a very conservative Baptist home and I felt strong pressure to perform and conform, to please and to live up to the wishes of my parents and spiritual leaders. I was not apathetic towards self-discovery, Erik Erikson’s identity diffusion (Berger, 2008, p. 416), but I was afraid to question the status quo and accepted my parents’ identity instead.
After getting married, I began to actively explore my identity, even struggling with issues of sexual identity for a time. I realized I was not even saved. As Don Ratcliff said in his article “Adolescent Spirituality,” “merely having strict rules is not sufficient; it is all too easy to conform to rules but inwardly live a very different life. Spirituality is a matter of the inner person, not just the outward activity” (2002, p. 3). I came to Jesus when I was 20 years old and began progressing in spiritual growth all the while seeking my true identity. Sometimes this felt like the hills and valleys which Ratcliff (2002, p.3) describes and sometimes like Darling’s growth loops of assessment, confession, forgiveness, and appropriation of God’s strength (Ratcliff, 2002, p. 2).
Upon reading Steve McVey’s book “Grace Walk” (1995), God showed me that my identity was found solely in Christ. I began to devour books on grace and identity. I realized that I was already forgiven and that true growth was to be found by ceasing from my own struggles to perform and resting in Christ’s finished work on the cross, and by allowing him to live through me. Once I had a solid foundation of understanding that I was the bride of Christ who is loved, and accepted, in the beloved, a king (or queen!) seated in heavenly places, and a saint who has been placed in perfect union with Christ, I settled into identity achievement.
For me, college is not a time of moratorium, which is a time to put off choosing identity (Berger, 2008, p. 416). It is a time for me to shape my God given purpose that flows from my identity. I do not take my identity from my role of college student or any future career roles any more than from my role of wife or mother. These are just little parts of what constitutes the whole me.
Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span, 7th Ed. New York, NY: Worth
Ratcliff Ph.D., D. (2002). Adolescent spiritual development. Retrieved from
Monday, June 7, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I John 1:9 is the only verse in the NT that seems to state otherwise, so there must be a reason for that. When I read I John, I see that he is talking to two different groups of people. He goes back and forth in chapter one between two comparisons, those who walk in light, and those who say they have no sin. As saved people we are those who walk in light. The second group must be unsaved.
I John 1:9 also must be referring to unbelievers because we already have the righteousness of God! That's all over the NT as well, we already know we have been made the righteousness of God in him, so habitually confessing our daily misteps will not make us any more righteous.
Also, see I John 2:12 "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake."
Now he says your sins ARE forgiven you! This can't be in contradiction to
I John 1:9. Here he is clearly talking to saved people. We are forgiven, period.
Just as Christ died once for all, so I ask forgiveness once for all my transgressions. As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed my transgressions from me!
What I was gonna say is that what I feel (i.e. guilt and shame) does not change what I am (the righteousness of God in Christ Rom. 5:19, II Cor 5:21). Sometimes I feel unworthy, guilty, or just plain unloveable. That does not change WHO I am! I am still worthy, cleansed, and loved and accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6).
Why do we feel guilt and shame? Usually it is over sin that we cannot forgive ourselves for. Christ has forgiven us! Let go of the guilt and shame! Shame is not something that we confess to God, but something that Satan puts on us to steal our joy. When I am feeling guilty, I cannot bask in the fullness of the blessings God has for me. Like Adam and Eve, I hide in the bushes to cover my nakedness, but there is no longer any need for fig leaves! I am free to stand fully exposed before the throne of God without fear of judgement. He is the lover who revels in my beauty, why should I cower in the dark? Within myself I have doubts, fears and uncertainties, but they are unfounded! Christ has washed away every spot and every wrinkle! I am, as Col 1:22 says, "holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight!"
To avoid God because I feel guilty would be like hiding from my husband because I feel fat. He doesn't love me based on my outward appearance, and to put my internal feelings of inadequacy upon our marriage bed is unfair to him. God is ever reaching out with unconditional love, and here we are taking our inadequacies and trying to hide from him. I think we all do this!
The bottom line is, we will never be good enough to please God on our own. We just can't do it. But isn't that what salvation itself was about? When we were lost in sin, and completely unable to keep God's laws, Christ reached down and provided salvation for us. It was not by works of righteousness that I did, but according to his mercy he saved me (Titus 3:5).
Okay, so now that I'm saved, now can I please God with my good works? Of course not! Paul says, "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:3) Nope. Of course not. We are saved by faith, and we mature in Christ by faith. Justification is by faith and sanctification is also by faith. It's a whole other blog, but the sanctification issue is simply one of realizing that we are dead to the law and sin and of yielding/surrendering to Christ (Rom 6). We are free from the bondage of the law and the bondage of sin and death. There is no reason for guilt and shame, for there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1) for the Christian!
So, If I sit and dwell on my seeming failures, I will always be full of shame and guilt. I will always feel the need to continually ask God for his forgiveness. Honestly, I would feel pretty hopeless! But when I recognize that the blood of Jesus has already taken away ALL of that, and that God does not see me based on my past, my mistakes, or my feelings, but on the basis of Christ Jesus living in me, then I am HOPEFUL!
Another thought... Guilt is a judicial term. (Rom 3:19, every mouth stopped, the whole world guilty before God) With the word guilt there is implied a deserved penalty. Christ has already paid the penalty for sin. When we stand before the Judge, and he holds up his righteous and holy laws before us we can say 'guilty' all we want, but all he sees is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "It is finished!" Jesus cried.... It truly was. The word he used there was "Tetelestai" or "Paid in Full." We are judicially right with God for all eternity, and therefore can never be 'Guilty.'
Being conformed to the image of Christ is simply Christ freeing you to be fully yourself without the bondage of the world! The bondage falls away, and the true self that Christ created is free to shine! :) -me
we are created in His image! As the world is stripped away, as religion is stripped away, what is left is the perfect creation that reflects Christ himself!!
I thank Jesus all the time for revealing this to me... I was always afraid that as I gave myself to him he would force me to be something terrible, something that I had no desire to be! But I was SOO wrong!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
So, what are these blocked prayers? In a previous blog, I talked about how that feeling of prayers bouncing off the wall is because we don't realize just how VERY VERY CLOSE AND INTIMATE our Saviour is to us. He is not millions of lightyears away in heaven, he is right here living within us! He can hear our every thought, our quietest whisper. But sometimes we just don't have the faith to believe. Sometimes it is due to sin, sometimes it is just because we are feeling very 'human,' but we just don't really believe he's right there waiting to hear us. We don't really believe he is going to answer, and we don't really believe that he cares. There is this part within us somewhere that feels so unworthy of the 'Christ in me and me in Christ' relationship, that we don't approach him with boldness, as is our right, but in timidity and fear. We don't come to him with passion and love, but with trembling and anxiety that he will judge us and find us lacking.
As I pondered this, my mind immediately went back to 2005 when I was pregnant with Evan. I was struggling with so many things, and I was fighting surrender to God. I didn't feel worthy of anything and my mind was in great turmoil. These feelings were tumbling over into my other relationships and I was feeling very disconnected from my husband. I stumbled upon a copy of Dr. Phil's book on marriage and began reading it. As I went through taking his quizzes, I came up categorized as being in 'emotional divorce.' I was shocked! I was hurt! I was angry! I couldn't believe it! I called Chris in and demanded we go to counseling. I wept, and told him our marriage was falling apart, and I'd known it for ages, and now I had the proof. He almost laughed! To him, everything was fine! He loved me passionately, and the only problem he could see was that I was very sick and needed healing. Our marriage was fine. At the time, I insisted he must be in denial - I was utterly flawed, we were a wreck, and there was no way we would make it through another year!
Of course, we made it through a year, I surrendered to God, found healing and realized that my mind was running away with me and believing lies. Our marriage had been fine all along. I was just so sick and depressed that I was seeing things that weren't true.
And so Christian's believe the lies of Satan. We have a low point - we stumble, we fall - and we forget who Christ has made us and focus on what we can see with our physical eyes. We take all those feelings of inadequacy, shame, and regret and we then transfer them to our Father. We point our fingers at him and say, "You aren't listening to me!" The whole time his love and passion for us never changes. The fellowship is not broken, we have just forgotten that it is there.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
It is a wonderful prayer as it applies to the Old Testament Jew; however, the song (and the verbal appeals from the worship leader) took this verse and appealed for Christians to come to God with their guilt and shame and seek forgiveness. And then a period of time at the end of the song was spent in repeating the phrase "Lord hear us from heaven."
I mean no disrespect to the song writer, or the singers, as I could feel the passion in their words, and hear the passion in their voices, but we are not Old Testament Jews. We are bought and paid for by the blood of Christ; we have the very righteousness of God imputed to us - we have NO guilt, and NO shame! There is no need for forgiveness, because all of our sins - past, present and future - are forgiven!
I can go boldly before the thone of grace; I need not cower in guilt and shame. I stand in front of my Father just as though I had NEVER sinned! I am justified! And I need not be embarrased or hide my face over the mistakes I make, big or small, God loves me just the same! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But what of this phrase "Lord, hear us from heaven?" So many times I have prayed and felt like I was praying up to the clouds... like God was so far away, how could he possibly hear. Sometimes, it was like my prayers were bouncing back to me! God was so high above me, it seemed like I had to pray more and more fervently and weep passionately for him to hear. To just whisper a prayer to him was nonsensical, as he had so much on his mind, that he would never pause to listen to me. I had to grab his attention!
And so we beg, "Lord, hear us from heaven!" Is that how it really is? Nope! Of course, Jesus is seated on the right hand of the Father this very minute, but he is also here. Right now! In me! In every Christian. He is closer than a whisper; he hears my every thought! Before I utter a word in prayer, he knows my heart and has already begun to formulate his response. Those times when prayers bounce of the walll of clouds and back, are the times when I have forgotten that I have direct entrance to the throne of God within my very being. I have forgotten who I am! I am the temple. I house the throne room. In shouting at the clouds and begging for his attention, I am acting as though I do not have permission to tap him on the shoulder for my slightest need. Jesus is here!! WOW! It blows me away!
I think maybe the reason so many of us feel the need to shout for God's attention is because it seems to good to be true that we have such open and easy access to him. It is easier to doubt and cry out to the heavens, than to trust and whisper our thoughts.
So, there is no guilt, there is no shame, there is no more need for forgiveness, and he is ever present within us to hear our prayers.
One more thought... II Chronicles 7:14 was in reference to the Jew's actual land. As New Testament Christians we have no land holdings. We are joint heir's with Christ in the Kingdom of God, but that is a land that does not need healing! This verse really doesn't apply to us anyway.
Monday, May 17, 2010
My purpose is to use my effervescence and people skills through writing, music, and personal relationships to counsel those who are in bondage and to lead them into the freedom of worshiping God in utter abandon.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Love this!! It so embodies my personal pupose statement (which I haven't posted on here... will get to that evenutally)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Let me start by saying that FAITH is what saves. Works has nothing to do with it. Sanctification is by FAITH. Works has nothing to do with that either. Yet, James says that faith without works is dead. What? Dead faith? I thought faith was life giving?
Well, of course faith is life giving! Faith comes from God! For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. But faith without works is dead? Really? What does this mean?
As a grace person, I have questioned this many times. I know that there is no work for me to do. I know that the only 'work' that Christ has for us is to believe unto salvation. I know that there are no 'shall's and 'shall not's for the Christian. So what are these works?
They are simply the simple outflows of Christ! It is the fruit! By your fruit you will know them. These works are not something that we do, but something that Christ does through us! These works are not something for us, but something for others to see Christ! These works are evidence to a lost world that Christ has made a difference in our lives.
James 2:18 "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
So, a random 'good person' walks up to a random 'good Christian.' The Christian says, "Hey, you need to get saved!!" The good person says, "Nah, I have good works, I don't need anything else. I'm ok." (like the man who told Jesus that he had kept the 10 commandments from his youth) The Christian insists that salvation comes by faith alone, and the good person says, "Sure, prove it! I'm living a good life, but you are just talking a good life."
Hmmm... So James says, "I will show you my faith! I will give visible evidence to you of my faith. You will see it in my works. But were they 'James' works?? Did James then strive harder and harder to achieve a Christ-like life? No, of course not. In fact, James was a total grace freak!!! SWEET! :)
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Can I just say I'm losing it right now!!!!!! I have heard vs. 22-24 so many times 'be a doer, be a doer, yada yada yada. But WOW! James says those who walk in liberty, those who live totally absorbed in the precious grace of God, those people who are FREE indeed, are doers of the work! These people have looked at Grace, and not turned away. These people have looked at Christ and chosen to surrender all and abide in Him, and works are a natural outflow of that! Christ in us, leading us to work for His Kingdom. Some of these things are works we are not even conscious of until after the fact, some of them are things we choose to do at the Spirit's prompting, but all of them are for one purpose: to show our faith to the lost, that people will be saved and that God will get the glory!
Let's back up a bit: Faith is life-giving. Faith gives life to me! Faith brings Christ's resurrected life to this dead spirit. Faith rocks! But, faith without works is dead because it doesn't give life to others. There is life in me, but not life for others. It's kinda like a married couple that are both perfectly fertile. They have everything they need to pass on their 'life' to a new generation. But they never have intercourse. They never consummate their relationship. Hmmm. Wonder where the children are?? What's wrong? They never 'did' anything! We have life. We are perfectly fertile Christians with the very life-Giver Himself dwelling within us... but where are our works? Where is the 'deed' that brings about New Life?
I'm not saying that we need to evangelize more, or soul-win more, or door-knock more, or start nagging all of our friends. NO!!! That is not the moral of the story!! Those are just works. I'm not talking about plain old works. I'm talking about works that spring up naturally out of love for Jesus. These aren't works you have to write down on a list so you don't forget them, or works that you need guilt-trip yourself over if you neglect them. These are works that the Spirit will guide you into and you will look back and giggle to yourself, and wonder with amazement that He allowed you to be his instrument!
But, you still have to take the initiative. We all have the option to look into the law of liberty, face that mirror, see what the Spirit wants to do in our lives to affect the lives of others, and only talk about it.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I haven't found a challenge with that at all. :) I think that the reason many marriages struggle with maintaining a good balance between fellowship with God and their relationship with each other is because they are trying so hard to 'keep God number one'
I have found that it is impossible to keep God number one, and love my husband fully... therefore, I surrendered everything I am to Christ. All of me. As I did that my capacity to love my husband and my children grew by leaps and bounds!! And my fellowship with God, rather than being a struggle to maintain (as in finding time for Bible reading and prayer in the midst of all the daily issues) became a relationship that flowed naturally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is easy to be a Christian and be married if you are surrendered 100% to Christ and filled with his love. :)
"Oh, I am soo burdened with this cross that I have to bear right now... It is weighing soo heavy on me. I don't know if I can make it one... more... step... Every morning I wake up and put that cross back on my shoulder and crawl my way through one more day. But thankfully God is with me! I know that He'll see me through; he is the one who gave me this cross, after all. It was he who said that I must take up my cross in order to be his disciple. So here I am, just plugging away, hoping I can survive one more day of this arduous cross-bearing life."
Hmmm. Sounds like the perfect model of abundant life! Is that what Christ really meant by 'take up your cross and follow me? I don't think so... He says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light! He says, "Come to me and I will give you rest!" Rest? Easy? Light? Wow. Are those words that describe your life? For most Christians, those words are a far cry from reality!
But wait, how is it even possible to have rest if we must carry a cross around with us everywhere we go? This is a hard life! We have temptation thrown at us from every direction. We have circumstances in our lives that are not to our own choosing. We have giant trials looming on the horizon everywhere we look, or we are in the midst of one now. Rest? There's no rest for the wicked! is the phrase that gets bantered about. No, there will be no rest until I get to heaven. Sigh.
So sad. That is not what Christ intended at all. This cross-bearing is not another 'chore' to add to our Christian check-list!! (or in this case, the ultimate Christian chore!) Nor is is suffering hardships for Jesus' sake (although that will happen!) The meaning here is so much deeper! So much better!
The cross was an instrument of death and total sacrifice. This cross that Christ asks us to bear is the cross of 100% surrender and sacrifice of our lives to him.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is a life of complete abandon to God, even unto death! In fact, the death of self. With self removed from the picture, Christ is free to live out his life through us. We are FREE to REST in him.
This is not a life of defeat, or a life of unbearable burdens. This is a life of attaining all of my hearts desires! For, I find that as I take up my cross in pursuit of him, he gives me all the desires of my heart. The very things that I once viewed as burdens are transformed into blessings! The things I once counted gain, I now see are worthless! My view point changes drastically. And I am victorious! I am free! I am living the abundant life he had planned for me from the very beginning.
If only I had never viewed that cross as one more thing I had to do every day, I could have been enjoying this life sooo much sooner!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I think there is a difference between being lonely and desiring human companionship and finding complete and utter fulfillment in another human being. I've been there... Finding my utter fulfillment in my boyfriend, fiancee and then eventually my husband... It doesn't work out so well! At the same time, I am completely ... See Moreunable to 'keep Jesus first!' It is completely natural for a person to wholy love another person, and not be able to keep God in that first place. We can't do it! It's IMPOSSIBLE!
Only when I surrendered my all to Christ did all that fall into place... and you know what's funny? I didn't realize when it happened. LOL I just realized one day that Jesus filled up all of my heart so much I couldn't stand it! And it wasn't like, the whole "I love Jesus first, and then I have a little room left over for my husband, then a little bit for my kids..." It was that in loving Christ with my whole heart, I had MORE room for everyone else! I actually loved my husband more and found MORE fulfillment in him. And MORE enjoyment sexually, etc. :) There is nothing wrong with that. God created us as sexual, companionable beings!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I have been asked that before.
'If you aren't under the law, then what do you obey? How do you live? Sounds like you just float around doing whatever the wind does...'
Well, actually, that's a compliment! :)
In John 3:8 Jesus says, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
So, those who are born again of the Spirit of God are as mysterious as the wind! Now this verse does not necessarily say we should not follow the law, so I thought I would give another verse to go along with it.
Galatians 5:18 "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
And just to be clear that those who are led of the Spirit and who are born of the Spirit are one and the same group of people,
Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Pretty plain to me! :) We're talking about saved people here.
So I am no longer under the law, I follow the Spirit of God and he is gonna blow me around like the wind. It's pretty cool, actually! So I guess the ones we should be worried about are those who think they are still under the law and who do not remind others of the wind. Hmmm......
Saturday, April 24, 2010
This was my most recent facebook status... There are many things going through my head tonight after our missions conference weekend, so I thought I'd type them up now.
When I was a child I had a "calling" to missions. Looking back on it, I realize that it was very much peer pressure, and not the Spirit of God. It was the 'accepted' thing to do, and it was something I knew I would get positive feedback for. I lived for acceptance! What I really wanted to do was go to med school, and so I added the whole 'missionary' thing on to it and decided to be a medical missionary. I wasn't saved at the time, and since I was continually looking to please my religious group and especially my pastor and parents, I felt guilty for pursuing something I wanted to do, and so dropped the medical part and decided to be a missionary's wife. Of course, Christopher was the love of my life from the time I was 14 years old, and I already knew he had a heart for missions... So I set my heart and mind to marry him and planned to be on the mission field in Ireland.
After marriage I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't saved, and that I didn't have any desire for missions at all!!! What I really wanted was to go to college, get a degree and be rich! (the whole palomino ranch, sprawling 'Mediterranean style' mansion, and a yacht thing) I didn't want to disappoint my husband, or parents, or church by this (you gotta realize, we were very active in the church! At the time I was under the most conviction about salvation we were leading the youth at Bethel in Barberton), so I kept it to myself. In fact, I pushed Chris to go to Ireland, almost to the point of nagging! We were gonna make everybody, including Jesus, proud! I was going to be mamma's and preacher's pet forever!
During this time of struggle (read my testimony! I really had a hard time admitting that I needed Christ! After all, I had led people to the Lord, never done anything wrong... etc. It was kinda like I'd always been saved! On top of that I had the story my mom told me about praying when I was 4, and I kept going back to that as an excuse), We were at the Bread of Life Camp Meeting and heard about Sri Lanka for the first time. All the missionary needed was someone to come help pass out tracts. I was SOO there! Adventure! I'd never been out of the country before (just over the border in Canada doesn't REALLY count, does it??), and this was the perfect way to get brownie points!! Not only was it a foreign country, but it is considered a part 10 40 window. It was a largely unreached country! It was even kinda scary!
I got saved about two weeks before we left for our trip! WOW! It was very awesome to have my first major experience as a true Christ-follower be on the foreign field like that. It was very life changing. I came back all fired up and insisting that we should go there full time. In fact, I really pushed at Chris to go there! (LOL more nagging!) Of course, he had a huge burden to go back, because he breathes missions! We are talking about Mr. Christopher Dennison, the guy who would pray over individual countries and ask God if that's the one he was supposed to go to!
So we set out on deputation. :)
This was a very difficult time for me. I was really going for so many wrong reasons: emotional high after salvation, adventure, acceptance, and on and on! I HATED deputation. I truly did. I hated pretending to be somebody I wasn't at all the churches we went to. It was soo fake! But we had to jump through the hoops if we wanted support. Inside, all I wanted to do was quit and live a 'normal' life. I had fears that we would get to the mission field, someone would come check up on us and find out the real me and we would get kicked off the field. I was terrified every waking moment that I would crack the wrong eggshell in front of the wrong person. And I didn't really want to live in Sri Lanka forever... Sure, I loved it there, loved the people...
Then I was hospitalized with a terrible pregnancy... I knew it was God wanting me to surrender my life to him, but I refused. I knew that at any moment if I gave it all to Jesus including the deputation and SriLanka that I would be healed... but a HUGE part of me was happy that I couldn't go to churches with Chris anymore. I welcomed the distraction of being stuck in a hospital bed. (Sad, huh?)
Anyway, if any of you follow Chris' blog ( www.myjourneyswithjesus.blogspot.com ) you probably know the story of how we ended up leaving the deputation trail. The eggshell I soo feared was cracked! Chris and I spent months of Bible study and came to believe a different eschatological view than our mission board/sending church/supporting churches. We had signed a statement of faith and knew it was only right to tell them the truth about where we now stood. We were instantly dropped from all our support. So, I got my wish, but it was still devastating. We were well on our way to getting to Sri Lanka before this occur ed.
Since then people have questioned us, "Weren't you called there?" "When are you going back?" etc, and even leveled accusations such as, "You are out of the will of God for you life," and "You should be in Sri Lanka right now, so it doesn't matter how God is using you where you are at." HA! It's very amusing to me. I look back and I know that God knew we were not ready for that! I was not ready for that. I had a long way to grow, and much to learn before I could be involved in that kind of full time ministry. I had a lot of preconceived ideas that needed to be eliminated, and a lot of conforming to the image of Christ to do! I am thankful that we did not end up on the field then! I have learned so many things that I would never have learned had we stayed in Baptist circles and had I gone to that country under the bondage of all that fear! At the same time, I know that every moment of the way we were walking with Jesus! Deputation and all, it was God's plan for our lives! 100%, no regrets, those were experiences that God used to shape me into who I am.
We are now at Heritage Christian Church, and Sri Lanka has come up over and over again! And it's an extremely missions minded church. I have felt a tug in that direction, and have had no resistance to it. I'm excited to see what the Lord will do! We may very well end up there after all...
Ok, all that was to say this... If people ask me "Are you called to Sri Lanka" I would say "NO." You are shocked! I know! I heard the gasp! Let me bare my heart to you as plain as I can!
One of the greatest things that the Holy Spirit has taught me is that our desires are God-Given. When I surrendered my life to Christ three years ago, I surrendered my desires with it, and guess what??? I found that God gave them right back to me! In delighting in him, he gave me the desires of my heart! Only now, it's not me struggling to achieve my dreams, it's Christ achieving my dreams through me! AWESOME! So, right now, I have a huge desire to sell everything and move overseas... just MOVE! I don't even care where... Sri Lanka is as good a place as any to start, because I do have a genuine love for that island, those people. I have a huge desire to live the same life I live here over there somewhere in a land where people do not have the salt and light of Christianity. I want to make friends with people from different cultures and have them over for dinner. I want to laugh with them, cry with them, and just be Me! And I want to see people who have never heard the name of Jesus light up with joy when they are introduced to him for the first time. I want to bring freedom to people who are enslaved to religion and open their eyes to the greatness of the Creator God who loves them and is worthy of all their worship!! I picture myself sitting in a small group, sipping tea, playing the keys and singing, swapping stories, and building relationships.
Wait, I didn't mention church planting, did I? No, I didn't. Jesus will build his church, I am just salt and light! If we end up somewhere with enough people to form a church, well awesome, but if that ever comes, I pray that someone among our new friends will arise to lead it. I didn't mention mass evangelizing, because that's not my heart. Does that make me any less of a missionary?
So many people are terrified of missions because they think that the only people who can go are pastors, teachers, church planters and music people. Ok, so my husband can preach and teach and I do music, and most likely if the Lord allows us to go to the foreign field we will do both of those things, but that is not what defines a missionary!
"If you see the Church as just individuals, then a missionary is simply one person telling other people about Jesus. No problem. Anybody can do it. BUT, if you see the Church as a business-style organization, then only those with proper training and degrees can be missionaries. Hmmmm, no wonder so few people are going these days!!!" -Chris Dennison
Hope I haven't confused you all too terribly! I'm exhausted and my mind is whirling! :) This was a rapid download session!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Before I went shopping this past Thursday I made a list of the things that I needed, and one item on the list was Dial antibacterial body wash (spring clean scent). I love that stuff! I remember the day I went to the store and saw it on the shelf for the first time. I don't recall exactly why I chose to purchase it, but something drew me to take it off the shelf, read the label and decide to try it out. Well, on this day I walked down the body wash aisle, looked around and was puzzled for a moment. Where did my body wash go??? Aha! There it is! It's in new packaging! Kinda fancy looking... a little modern. I like it.
That evening I took a shower with my Dial antibacterial body wash, and I had the thought... the gospel is just like Dial antibacterial body wash!! I don't mean because it cleanses us from sin. I don't mean because it removes the stench of the world and replaces it with a fresh from heaven scent. It isn't because it kills the infectious habits that once held us captive, keeping us from living healthy Christian lives. It's not even because lathering in the gospel's richness is invigorating. All of those things are true, but what I learned from Dial soap is that the gospel is always being repackaged to reach a new market of people.
That's right. I'm speaking of relevancy here! I did not purchase Dial body wash because of the packaging, I purchased it because I ALREADY KNEW what was inside and I wanted MORE! How many other people had walked down that same aisle week after week looking at body wash and never seen Dial antibacterial body wash in spring clean scent? A slight tweak in the bottle design and POOF! DING! an entirely new group of people picked up the bottle, read the label and tried it out for themselves.
Now, did the contents of the bottle change? No! It is still the same body wash I have known and loved! Are these people being 'sold a lie' because they have a packaging different from the original packaging that I bought? NO! They are getting the EXACT SAME PRODUCT!
Here's a question: Did I get angry when I walked down the aisle of the grocery store and saw that the bottle had changed? "WHAT DID THEY DO TO MY BODY WASH!!! How dare they do such a thing! I will NEVER buy Dial body wash again!!" Of course not! I was actually impressed by their ingenuity and creativity in revamping the bottle. Again, I already was sold on the contents, so the bottle wasn't the most important thing to me. However, how awesome is it that the people who work in advertising are trying to find ways to have other people learn the wonders of such an amazing product! Why, it's so fantastic EVERYONE should use it! In fact, if I go into the store next week and see another new bottle for Dial antibacterial body wash, I will smile and think to myself how wonderful that another group of people will be trying out a product that I can't live without.
That folks is how we should treat the gospel! Tell me the old, old story! Tell it to me again and again and again! I love it! I'm sold on it! I know it by heart, but I must hear it again! Yet, feel free to 'repackage it' to reach others who have never heard, or who may have walked by it every day and never noticed. Draw their attention to this glorious gospel! Bring them in! Once they have tried it they too will say they can't live without it! They will beg to hear it over and over and over! Oh, don't change the contents. Don't mess with the death, burial and resurrection of my Saviour or the pureness of his grace! But please do put it out there in ingenious, creative ways so that more and more people/culture groups will hear it and be cleansed.
Friday, March 26, 2010
People often ask me about my tattoos/piercings, so I decided to give the stories behind them all here on my blog. In order to do that I have to back WAY up to just before I surrendered my everything to Christ in me. My journey into the grace walk was not an easy one by any means! Having posted much on this before I won't go into the whole story again, but I have more to add.
I was terrified to yield to Christ. Absolutely terrified. Before I got saved I was afraid to become a hypocrite. I was afraid to be pressed into the particular Baptist mold that I had witnessed all my life. Then on the brink of abandoning my all to Jesus, I was afraid that once he had me he would throw me away. I couldn't possibly believe that he could accept all of me exactly how I was. How could he? I was hopelessly flawed. Yeah, yeah... I'd read all the stuff Andrew Murray, A.W.Tozer, Steve McVey, and Watchman Nee had written on being dead and God no longer seeing that stuff. And I knew the book of Romans inside and out: there's no condemnation in Christ, he sees me just as though I've never sinned, I'm accepted in the beloved, he'll never leave me nor forsake me, etc. I wasn't convinced. Sure, he saved me and that was pretty fantastic! But wasn't he kind of under contract for that? He died on the cross for redemption, and salvation was offered freely to all who would believe. It was a given. Acceptance however? That was another ballgame altogether. He just couldn't love me when it was all said and done. I envisioned it all too frequently... God would beckon me to come to him and place my life in his hands and I would do so with many tears. He would than laugh maniacally and say something along the lines of, "I've got you where I want you!" This never ended well - there was a lot of crushing and bruising involved.
I had an idea. Maybe not my brightest idea ever, but in my mind I had to formulate a test. I had always wanted to get my belly button pierced for as long as I could remember (super cute!!!) and had even asked Chris if I could many times. If I got a piercing God could either choose to abandon me or accept me anyway. He could either heap loads of guilt on me or shower me with love. I knew people who would never talk to me again if they knew about it, and the question in my mind was, "Is God like that?" So that's exactly what I did. I went out and got it pierced. Strange, I didn't feel different afterwards... In fact, I felt very free in a good way.
Two days passed and the axe didn't fall. I felt the wooing of the Spirit leading me to fall into his arms, and for once I thought maybe I believed him. If you have read my blog you know the rest of the story, for that is the night I knelt on my living room floor and did just that: I entrusted all that I was, all that I had, all that I would be, everything to Him. It's funny... it was so effortless. All those months of fighting it, and it was one of the easiest things I've ever done. You see, surrender is not something you "DO," It's something HE does. I simply laid down yielding to him, and he filled me up. That's it. I felt acceptance! I felt love!
So that's it in a nutshell. My belly piercing was nothing more than a fleece to see if God truly accepted me or if he could only accept me based on who I was. My silly attempt to figure out God! Apparently God didn't care one way or the other, all he wanted was for me to enjoy the perfect union he purchased for me on the cross as fully as was possible. Salvation was far more than the gift of life. It was the gift of LIFE in me! Christ in me! He desired a relationship with me! Wow.
Friday, March 19, 2010
God's kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.
Honestly, I don't even know how to describe this better than it already is! I have written and rewritten sentence after sentence in my head, and nothing sounds quite right. I was lying here in bed trying to go to sleep when the Spirit brought several verses to mind, starting with the thought that when God looked down at me he saw the most beautiful pearl he had ever seen. He was breathtaken! He was awestruck! He could not take his eyes off of me for one second. There was a problem though; there was a steep price to pay. You see, I was owned by Satan. I was claimed by sin. I was a slave to this world, and he could not simply have me for his own. He pondered this predicament. He couldn't sit and do nothing about this marvelous gem that he had discovered! It would be such a waste of perfection! It came to him then: he had to sell all that he had to purchase me. There was no other option. No other choice. It must be done. He HAD to have me. And Oh! the glory it would bring him to lift me away from the darkness of sin and into his wondrous light! He looked through heaven; only one thing could pay the price for such a pearl and that was the precious blood of His Son Jesus. The sacrifice was made. Jesus was sent to the cross. The blood was spilled; the payment offered. "Tetelestai!" Jesus cried. It is finished. Paid in full.
One day I knelt at the foot of his cross, accepted his sacrifice, and basked in his love. Satan was powerless to keep me, for the price was paid! I was free! Oh, how the Lord lavished his love upon me, his precious pearl. He told me how beautiful I was and how much he adored me... over and over....
But there was a problem.
I couldn't believe a word of it.
Me? a pearl? Perhaps a crusty piece of quartz... but a pearl? And then, IF I was a pearl, a pearl of WORTH? Of beauty? I looked at myself in the mirror and all I saw were smudges and smears of grime. I saw sin stains. I saw the devil's handprints. I saw chips in my would-be smooth exterior. I didn't see what he saw. He must be confused!! Is he even looking at me right?
He smiled at me tenderly and reminded me that he bought me. He paid for me. He CHOSE me. He desired me. He accepted me.
Such words! I looked in the mirror again, and wondered at how I could have my reflection match up to the one that he described. The answer from him was simple: 'Abide here in my hand. Sparkle for me little pearl! Glorify me in your body! Glorify me in your spirit! Glorify me now! Shine for me now! Take every part of yourself and turn it upon me as if you are the perfect pearl I see you to be.'
And so I did. I forgot the image in the mirror. I forgot the smudges, the handprints, the dirt and grime. I forgot the broken and rough edges of my face. I looked upon Him! I loved on Him! I gave my all to Him! I lived every moment of every day to make his existence more beautiful. And one day I glanced at the mirror and noticed that I didn't look quite as dirty as I used to look...
I Cor 6:20 KJV
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
S.H.A.P.E. stands for Spiritual, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences...
my number one gift is Knowlege (scored 14)
I had a three way tie for my second gift : faith, leadership, and administration (scored 13)
I had a three way tie for my third gift as well: pastor, missionary, hospitality (scored 12)
(The reason I put the ties in instead of choosing three is because of how highly I scored in these areas 15 is the highest possible score)
My top three things I love to do from the list I had to choose from are organize, influence and perform.
My top three abilities are musical/compositional skills, people skills, and my memory
I am an ENFP which is something that I have blogged about before if you would like more details on that
Family - What did you learn growing up in your family? I learned Bible facts, docrine etc., I learned legalism (which I've been freed from!), I learned music, I learned to love reading and writing
Educational - What were your favorite subjects in school? Everything! Sciences, history, music, literature, creative writing, algebra.... pretty much all of it.
Vocational - What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed most? sales, small business
Spiritual - What have been your most meaningful times with God? When I've been searching for freedom and grace and he showed himself to me and taught me the things that I just could not figure out for myself.
Ministry - How have you served God in the past? Childrens ministry, music leader, teen leader/mentor, worship team, worship band, solos, piano, keyboard, hospitality ministry, small group, welcome team, leadership team, drama team, pastor advice board, janitorial, short term missions trip, deputation for full time missions, and pretty much anything you can think of... lol
Painful - What problems, hurts, thorns and trials have you learned from? how hard it is to escape legalism, suicide and depression, being outcast from family and the 'accepted' religious circles
As far as where I think the Lord wants me to serve, I know that I am going to be using my music in someway to help free people from the bondage of religion and show them the wonders of a true grace walk relationship with Christ. I am pursuing psychology as well to help me as I deal with all the intricacies of the mind/spirit connection.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I know, you are all smiling a little to yourselves right now. It's a familiar scene in many homes; the never ending struggle to get the kids in bed. And how sweet of him to want to help mommy, hug mommy and take care of mommy, right? We love the little guys so much, and the easy thing would be to just grab him up and cuddle him and tell him we love him and let him stay up as long as he wants.
Here's what I told my son (which is what I usually tell him!): Just because it's a good thing, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. You are still disobeying me right now.
And then I had the thought: all of our own righteousness is like a pile of filthy rags to God.
It may be good, but it's still not right in God's eyes. An unsaved man can work and work and work to get to heaven, performing deeds that humanly speaking are greatly honourable and worthy of reward and yet still be deserving of eternal punishment when he stands before God. The saved son of God is righteous before God, BUT not one bit of that righteousness is his own. We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Apart from Christ, we are no better than that unsaved man, a pile of filthy rags in the eyes of God.
How does this apply to the Christian? Well, for one thing WE HAVE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD!!! WHOO HOO!! Doesn't that excite you?!?! We have the love and righteousness of the Father. He offers us liberty, freedom, rest and abundant life at no cost to us but the loss of ourselves.
What? It can't be! I must have to offer him something? Perhaps I should teach a Sunday School class? Go soul-winning? Read my Bible through in a year? Pray an hour every day? There must be some formula for me to be able to attain this righteousness. There must be a way to earn this freedom and rest. So one after another we parade our good works before the Saviour bragging about how good they are while he looks on sadly shaking his head. He never asked for us to DO anything for him, he simply asked for us to yield our lives a sacrifice to him. He never required a performance from us, he asked for our bodies as a vessel to be filled with HIS life. In essence, by our show of self-righteousness we are disobeying the very one we try to serve. [This doesn't change God's view of us of course; once saved, we are always righteous in his eyes, regardless of how we are in our own eyes.]
On the other hand, the Christian who realizes that their righteousness comes solely from God, and wholly surrenders to him will find peace and rest. It is a beautiful thing! That Christian realizes the right thing to do is let Christ do it! There is no good thing that we can do to gain his approval. There is no work that we can accomplish that can make us any more righteous than we are. There are no Christian principles or disciplines that can 'impress' God. The only thing that impresses God is the Son. PERIOD. Are you saved? You are in Christ. In Christ? You are hidden in God. In God? You have his righteousness. Have the righteousness of God? Rest in him!
Back to the little boy: Go to bed and go to sleep! Your Father has it all under control.
Monday, March 8, 2010
We all were once slaves serving the Pharoah of Egypt and God rescued us all and brought us over the Red Sea... We are all brothers in Christ having tasted of salvation! In that instance, those on both sides of this matter of grace understand the need to cry the gospel from the rooftops.
Yet... some of those who have entered into salvation wander in the wilderness never receiving the full abundant life that God has promised us. They believe there is victory in Christ.... some day. They believe that there is rest in Christ... someday. They are afraid at every moment to mess it up and offend the God who redeemed them. Their daily lives do not match up to the New Testament example, and they excuse it with, "Well, it will all be made right when we get to heaven." Or perhaps the daily struggles in their lives are so great that they actually would prefer to return to the chains of Egypt, because at least there they had a few pleasures in life.
Then there are some of us who reach the Jordan river, and perhaps with great trepidation or with anticipation we cross over in the arms of our Saviour. The victory, rest, and abundant life they find there is so fantastic that they feel the need to cry out to all the world, "There is FREEDOM in Christ!" We do not ever need to walk in defeat again! Why should we ever desire to return to Egypt when this land flows with milk and honey and the grapes are so HUGE! This is a land of plenty! A land of GRACE.
When we of the grace community come across to you as judgemental, please understand that we are trying to show you something WONDERFUL! We are in pain for you. We remember how it felt to be slaves in Egypt so we tell the lost man how to be saved. We remember what it is like to wander in defeat so we tell the Christian how to find freedom in Christ. We hurt for you and want to help you.
And on the other hand, we love our Saviour soooo much, that we cannot help but speak about what he has done for us! He is our everything!
-if though, you are still intent on finding hate speak in our writings, I will allow this one thing: We are bold proclaimers of hatred of religion in any form. So was Jesus, so this shouldn't be offensive to anyone. :)
Friday, February 19, 2010
April 4, 2008
In continuation of the study I started earlier, I thought I would pick up on a controversial term in Christianity: prosperity. There are those who say that God promises us prosperity in everything we do from spiritual blessings to physical and financial well-being… In fact they believe this so strongly that some of them feel that if something goes wrong in your life you must either not be saved or be fallen into some major sin. There are those who believe that God has nothing to do with the day to day little things in our lives, as he is so focused on what is truly important – the souls of man… ’and did God ever promise that the Christian life would be perfect? And besides, all those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." And then there are those who choose a middle ground and say that God does wish to prosper his children in all things, and in fact does, but we live in a sin-cursed world where ’LIFE HAPPENS!’ as well as trials, temptations, and let’s face it, persecution. SO as a result sometimes it seems that we are not very prospered.
So who is right? It all sounds so good. They all say they have Scripture to back it up. But do they? That’s what I’m going to find out.
Merriam Webster’s says prosperity is "the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being"
Just out of curiosity I also checked the 1828 Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of The English Language (which I love!) and it says "Advance or gain in anything good or desirable; successful progress in any business or enterprise; success; attainment of the object desired;"
Strongs: (I will number these so that you know which Scripture reference is which Greek word, but I haven’t necessarily used all the forms)
From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a
noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a
good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good
men or women), also as an adverb (well):—beautiful, best, better, bountiful,
cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, liest, -
ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, X
most, pleasant, + pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth,
welfare, (be) well ([-favoured]).
åìÅLÜ åéìÅLÜ äåìÅLÔ
shaòleòv shaòleòyv sheleòvaòh
shaw-lave’, shaw-lave’, shel-ay-vaw’
From H7951; tranquil; (in a bad sense) careless; abstractly security:—(being)
at ease, peaceable, (in) prosper (-ity), quiet (-ness), wealthy.
From H7999; safe, that is, (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also
(abstractly) welfare, that is, health, prosperity, peace:— X do, familiar, X fare,
favour, + friend, X greet, (good) health, (X perfect, such as be at) peace (-able, -
ably), prosper (-ity, -ous), rest, safe (-ly), salute, welfare, (X all is, be) well, X
A primitive root; to push forward, in various senses (literally or figuratively,
transitively or intransitively):—break out, come (mightily), go over, be good, be
meet, be profitable, (cause to, effect, make to, send) prosper (-ity, -ous, -ously).
From H7951; security (genuine or false):—abundance, peace (-ably),
A primitive root; to be (causeatively make or act) circumspect and hence
intelligent:—consider, expert, instruct, prosper, (deal) prudent (-ly), (give) skill (-
ful), have good success, teach, (have, make to) understand (-ing), wisdom, (be,
behave self, consider, make) wise (-ly), guide wittingly.
Prosperity in the Bible:
There are 17 total references to prosperity and 49 (in 48 verses) to prosper, not all of them having to do with this study. Several talk about how prosperity can make you lazy or how it can be the downfall of the wicked which we should keep in mind! If we are prospered as Christians there are many side issues that can arise in that (i.e. jealously, covetousness, selfishness, lust, pride, idolatry, etc) if we do not remember who it is that prospered us and remain utterly surrendered to Him! And that includes spiritual blessings… I’ve met (and been one of them before) many puffed up Christians who are so proud in their spiritual gifts, talents and blessings that they forget that it’s not all about them, it’s all about Jesus!
Job 36:11 If they obey and serve [him], they shall spend their days in prosperity (1), and their years in pleasures. (side note… one of my favorite verses in Job is in this chapter! Verse 7)
So, we see that obedience is a prerequisite to prosperity. That seems to ring true with what we know of New Testament Principles. Not that we are under the law, but we show that we love him if we keep his commandments; and as John says, "his commandments are not grievous…. And this is the commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." (I John 5:3b, I John 3:23)If we keep his commandments it gives us confidence that he WILL hear our prayers and give us whatever we ask. (I John 3:21-22, -15)
Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity (3) of his servant.
I still marvel at this verse no matter how many times I read it. Jehovah God, The Eternal One, The Almighty really does care about me. This doesn’t just say he cares about his children plural, it’s singular: His servant. And he doesn’t just care about me, he actually takes pleasure in me. Wow. That in itself would be amazing and utterly mind-blowing! But it doesn’t stop there either. He has pleasure in my prosperity - My individual everyday life, My ups and my downs, my successes and my failures – He is watching. And what really makes him happy through and through is my prosperity! I can’t fathom that. Every time something good happens to me my Heavenly Father rejoices. Doesn’t that just sound like what a daddy would do? Dad’s love to hear when their children are doing well for themselves.
Psalm 118:25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity (4).
Ok… I’ve been here numerous times. Do you ever feel guilty for asking the Lord to bless you? I do. It’s been put in me over and over again that God will bless as he wills, and we should just be thankful for what we have… but if that is true, then what is He our Father? Why do we pray? I’d be so hurt if my kids never came to me for anything… if they just assumed that I would get them what they needed all the time and never asked for anything from me personally. Sure, God knows everything, but He loves to hear from us. It’s called a relationship! In fact there’s a great Biblical example of someone who prayed for blessing and got it…. Jabez! He asked for a blessing. He prayed to enlarge his territory. Did he need that? No. But God did it simply because there was a man with the faith and the relationship with God to ask. He ended up with a city named after him later on! Must have been pretty influential as a result of what God gave him. Nehemiah also asked for God’s prosperity (Neh. ) specifically with help for a task that would eventually further God’s kingdom.
Gen.39:3 And his master saw that the LORD [was] with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper (4) in his hand.
39:23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing [that was] under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and [that] which he did, the LORD made [it] to prosper (4).
Joseph was made successful in all he did because of his right attitude with the Lord despite his circumstances. Here is a man that at surface glance appears to be quite unprosperous, and yet God prospers all that he does to the point of promoting him to grand vizier of Egypt and allowing him to take care of his family when they are in need. This is a key lesson, I believe, in becoming a prosperous Christian person. God, Satan, people and life will bring things about that seem insurmountable, to some unthinkable that a Christian would ever have to endure it, but it is all a test. Our Father is watching us to see how we react, who we turn to when we need help, who we rely on for strength, what attitude we have during that trial. Those things will make a huge impact on the outcome. Will you come out as Job did with two times as much as he started out with? Or like Joseph? Most of us (me included) get so focused on the trial and so mad at God and circumstances that we miss the blessing and prosperity that he delights to give us if we would only bow our head in surrender to him and ask for him to get us through.
On the same note:
Lamentations And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity (1).
That’s exactly what Jeremiah was feeling right about now. Hello God! Where are you! Did prosperity ever exist? In Jeremiah’s case, the prosperity of
More verses on Obedience resulting in Prosperity:
Deut. 29:9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
I Kings 2:3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
I Chronicles Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning
2 Chronicles 24:30 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
Other good examples:
2 Chronicles 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
Interesting… as long as he sought God. Those who seek Him will find Him. Those who ask will get. He sought and was prospered. Once again, it’s all relationship folks!
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The context here is the righteous (which is all saved people because we have the righteousness of God imputed to us), and it’s saying that our prosperity will flourish like a tree. This would by natural deduction in thinking spiritually reference bearing fruit as a Christian, growing as a Christian, and the outflow of ministry in our daily life… but it does say whatsoever he doeth shall prosper so that is not limited to our ministry.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Prosper as your soul prospers. And what could prosper more than a soul saved by the blood of Jesus? That’s what John wished for Christians everywhere – a life as prosperous as salvation itself.
From a compound of G2095 and G3598; to help on the road, that is,
(passively) succeed in reaching; figuratively to succeed in business
affairs:—(have a) prosper (-ous journey).
Closing:I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions about what you think prosperity is or isn’t, but as for me, I believe that God desires to prosper me and does so all the time. I know that as for me I am often times too blinded by the circumstances of life to even realize where he has prospered me! God brings trials/tribulations into my life to help me grow so that he can bless me more. My obedience and willingness to surrender to him is crucial to the end result of receiving that blessing! A life of harmonious, conversational relationship with God brings about prosperity and blessing that could take on numerous forms. God does not promise specific blessings, such as health, wealth, or happiness, to always abide on me, but he does enjoy to lavish those things upon me, especially when I ask Him. My Father loves it when I ask him for things that I need and desire! And I know, yes I have confidence, that as long as I walk in him I have the petitions I ask of Him. He cares for me, for his eye is on the sparrow and he has numbered every hair on my head. He loves me! And He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. )