Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Romans 1

This may be more for you; it may be more for me. I don't really know yet. But I hope that both of us will benefit from this :)
I am using Biblegateway.com for reading different translations, and I am not planning on reading any extra notes. I'll let you know if/when I use some though ;)
1-6: The letter starts with Paul introducing himself, although he quickly moves on to what/Who is more important: God, and His calling on Paul's life. Paul starts off with what is most important; he has his priorities straight-God is first. I like that. I admire that. And I want that in my life. Do you ever think about that? Where should God be? And where is God?
11-12: I like that, "that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith." I think that is how spiritual gifts are supposed to work. One person, gifted by the Holy Spirit, uses their gift for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and it encourages others in their faith. Then the one who used the gift gets to see and hear others' excitement for God, and are mutually encouraged. I like that :) It reminds me of being at church and singing worship music. I quite look forward to singing worship music (now, that has not always been the case). It is wonderful to be reminded of who God is, and what He has done. It is great to hear others sing His praise and to feel the connection that is provided by the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-6). God is so good :)
Verses 1-17 are all quite encouraging, I think. The compassion Paul has for the people is prevalent, and he is clear that his mission is to spread what God has revealed to him-that righteousness has come by faith through Christ. And this is good news :)

And then he gets into why we (humans) suck. Why we fail. Why we are evil in God's eyes.

18-20: Paul outlines why God has reason to be angry at people. Paul says that "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to [all people]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." 21-23:Even though it is clear that God is powerful and divine, we have still chosen to put something else above God in our lives. We think we know what we are doing, but we don't...we think we can live a life that is better if we choose our own way, but that is foolish, Paul says.
24: Ahh, this reminds me of a quote I heard recently by CS Lewis. I'll see if I can find it :) Found it! "There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Thy will be done." In this verse, God says to the people, "Thy will be done." God continues to do this in the later verses...He lets us have our way...He lets us continue in our foolishness, in our lust, in our pride. And Paul ends it by saying that not only do we know that God tells us to do what is right, but that we approve of those who do wrong. We say, "Good show chap!" to those who deliberately choose to disobey God.
We know what is wrong. And we approve of it. We know it deserves death. And we pick it anyway. We choose death over life, because we have chosen not God.

Things are not looking so good for us humans at the end of this chapter. I hope you keep reading though ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's do Another Love Post

Alright so here goes something.

I don't think I have asked this yet, but how do you know someone loves you? Or, if you are not sure if you can know whether or not someone loves you, what gives you hints that someone loves you? If you prefer, what evidence is there that a given person feels love towards you? What is it that gives you reason to believe that a friend, family member, whoever it may be, loves you? Do you really believe it? Or do you just know that you are loved, and you struggle to believe that it is true?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

After a Week at Camp...

I am tired. I am worn out. I am thankful. I am convicted. I am desiring more. I am going to do something.

This post will probably be mostly incoherent for those of you who do not understand my thought process. Which should be most people, unless you know something I don't.

I do have something that I will type a blog about later. I don't know when later is.

I feel like my life is quite full. And by 'my life' I actually mean my time. I feel like I am missing out on something. I feel like I am falling dreadfully short of what I want to accomplish with my life. I am so discontent with what I do day by day. I look forward to the things that are 'different' from my routine: Maranatha camp, Bible study, church/youth group. There are things that I want to add to my daily routine: more time in prayer, more time spent reading my Bible, more time spent getting to know my friends and showing them that I truly care about who they are and what they are going through.

It bothers me when I think about how I want to spend my time getting to know people. That is something I (re)learned this week; hearing a person's story, what they have been through, how they got to where they are, where they are now, and what they still struggle with, hearing all of that makes me feel alive. Listening to someone pour out their heart makes me feel like I am doing something right. I'm not sure if you know, but I feel constantly, and I mean constantly, harassed by what I am not doing good enough. It doesn't always come from outside of me, but there is hardly a moment when I don't feel like I could be doing something better. I don't feel that way when I listen to someone. When I pray for or over someone. When I show a friend that I deeply care about them. Maybe there is a reason for that...

I felt like God gave me a clear command this week. I do not know what He meant by it, but I intend to figure that out (haha not by my own power though, no sir!). I felt like God moved in my heart this week, and I am so thankful for that. He has given me a new heart of flesh and removed my old heart of stone. These bones have been raised to life :) [Reference to Ezekiel...I don't remember which chapter(s)]

After this week, I dearly miss some of my friends... Some of my 'old' friends, many of whom I have not even known for more than a year, but have known more about me than some who have known me for years. I miss you, friends. I long to sit down somewhere with you and hear what you have been through, what you are going through. I want to pray for you, pray with you, and watch God come and redeem these broken parts of this world. I would like to hear what God has been doing in your life lately, and if you have been feeling far from Him, I would dearly like to help you get back to Him. Know that He has never left you. Know that He has never stopped loving you. That is something else God showed me this week. God's love goes beyond His wrath! God's love for us goes beyond His hate for the sin that we commit! He loved us, even when we were His enemies, enough to be patient with us and teach us how to live, to be beaten and bleed, to take our punishment, our death, so that we could take on His life. Breathe deep. Breathe in His Spirit, and live. Be refreshed by the God of all things, know that you are loved by the Lord of Lords. Know the Lord, and find out what He wants you to do in this life, on this earth.

Be cut to the heart, and ask what you should do next. Do not sit and wait (unless He tells you to do so) but take action. Speak, if that is what you are called to do. Listen, do not hurry, take time in silence and solitude. (Who am I speaking to anyway?) Be in awe of the Lord and remember who He is and who you are.

Why do you think God says so many times (especially in the books of the Law) 'I am the LORD'?