Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Food for thought....

Today in classes we talked about life, suffering, people, love........

Going through Philippians has been so very convicting as I see, especially in chapter 1 all that Paul was facing and his response to it. He was in prison at the time he was writing and yet, he was okay with that. He knew that people were coming to Christ because of his imprisonment and since the cross was being proclaimed, he was glad to suffer for Christ. It was all for the furtherance of the Gospel. If I was in a similar situation, would I be able to respond the same way? I wimp out at the smallest bumps in the road. It really is pathetic. If there is a tiny bump, my reaction is to start looking for some way to go around it so I don’t have to trust God to get me over it. Something my teacher said is "suffering is about God and how we fit into His purposes." He is sovereign and has everything under control. His purposes are far beyond anything I could even imagine!! This life isn't even mine anyway. I get so wrapped up in living my life for Him that I forget that it's His life to begin with. My life belongs to Him. My life needs to BE Him. Existence apart from Him isn't even life. Christ must be the source and motivation of all life! Then when we encounter suffering, we can rest assured that it is for Christ and for the furtherance of His message. Am I living for Him? "If what you're living for isn't worth dying for, then it isn't worth living for." (Mike Sullivan) Christ gave up everything to die for me. He is worth living for!! I say this so often and so easily. However, can my heart honestly say that He is also worth dying for? Can I say that and be ready to act on it at all times? Something that was said in class is "Only someone ready to die for Christ truly knows how to live for Christ." How often I fool myself into thinking that I'm closer to this than I really am.

We also talked about the value of people. It's easy to place a large amount of value on myself, but do I value others as I should? If I am to be in ministry, I think it is vital for me to recognize that all people are created in the image of God, He values them, Christ DIED for them......and yet I can often have such a bad attitude and lack of concern toward those around me. There is absolutely no reason to withhold love from anyone at any time. The example was given today of a man who was fed up with his wife. He hated her and wanted to divorce her. He sought counsel from someone at his church asking, "what should I do?! I can't stand to be near her! I want out of this marriage! How do I deal with her?!"

The man replied, "You must love her as Christ loved the Church. He gave everything to redeem her and loves her unconditionally!"

The disgruntled husband became angry. "Absolutely not! I can't love her like that. She doesn't deserve it."

His friend then said, "Alright then, treat her like a neighbor. How are you supposed to care for your neighbor? Love you neighbor as yourself."

At this the husband yelled, "I can't love her! I don't even want to be near her!"

His friend nodded as if he understood. He said, "I understand. In that case, you must resort to treating her as you should treat your enemies. Love your enemies."

I think we can guess that the husband wasn't happy with this answer either, but it really struck me that God makes it clear that we are to treat people in all levels of relationships with great love. Whether they are a spouse, family, friends, acquaintances, or even enemies, we don't have a choice when it comes to love. Love at all times. Love when it is difficult. Love when you aren't loved in return. Love when you are hated. LOVE!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still thinkin about Philemon.....

This is what has occurred to me in all of my ponderings about the book of Philemon. Tell me what you think.... Agree? Disagree? Thinkin' where in tarnation did she pull that from? Don't really care? Let me know!

So anyway, it seems to me that the book of Philemon is kind of like the Church's version of Hosea. God used the life of Hosea to portray His relationship with His chosen people, the nation of Israel. His faithfulness and love vs. her prostitution, unfaithfulness, and rejection.

The book of Philemon, as I wrote about in my last post, portrays our relationship with God. God used the lives of Philemon and Onesimus to paint a picture of our unfaithfulness to God and His forgiveness, love, and acceptance. Restoration! (Isn't that a great word?)

Anyway.....that's what's rollin' around in this brain of mine. Now that I wrote it down, maybe I can concentrate on my Daniel/Revelation test and time-line...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So...blogspot hasn't been working very well at the school...

Up until yesterday, blogspot was completely inaccessible, and even now, it only comes up sometimes. I'll update as often as possible, but if I don't...you know why. :)

Confession time: I've always been fairly indifferent to the book of Philemon......until today.
Why? Because for the first time today I really saw the parallels between myself and Onesimus. I was sitting there in class and was thoroughly excited to see so much of the book come into focus.

Onesimus was owned by Philemon. However, he was an unfaithful servant, useless to Philemon, and he eventually ran away. However, he was introduced to Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul and gave his life to the Lord. The book of Philemon is Paul's appeal to Philemon to forgive and restore Onesimus. Verses 17 through 20 are Paul's plea that Philemon accept this brother, to receive him as if he were receiving Paul. Any debts that Onesimus had were to be charged to Paul's account to be repaid in full by him. Therefore, Onesimus was to be accepted and restored to Philemon on the merits of another person.

I have been unfaithful to God. My back was completely turned him as my sin offended Him daily. Time and time again I wronged the holy God of Heaven. However, Christ came to earth and took my debt upon Himself. He repaid my debt "by canceling the record of debt that stood against us (me) with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:14) Just as Onesimus' debt was imputed to Paul and Paul's fellowship with Philemon was imputed to Onesimus......my sin was imputed to Christ and His righteousness was imputed to me. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Philemon received Onesimus back as he would receive Paul, and God receives me as He would His Son, Jesus Christ. I am accepted and forgiven on the merits and by the work of Jesus Christ.
My response? I must rest in the work that has been done on my behalf, knowing that it wasn't earned. In that rest, there must be an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the One Who did what I couldn't.

Thank you Lord Jesus!!