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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” -Galations 6:7

My soul is so tired and weary of dealing with the God-mockers and the lukewarm. Those who claim the name of Christ yet act in as many ways unlike Christ as they possibly can. The people who aren’t simply making an human error, but are perpetuating a lifestyle of sin and essentially spitting on the throne of grace. People who claim Jesus as “ok with it”, but forget that he told the adulteress to “go and sin no more”. Those who talk about Christ’s forgiveness, but forget that he turned the tables on the merchants in the temple. People who say “don’t judge, or you will be judged” but forget that Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

The same Jesus who said “love your neighbor as yourself” is also the one who said “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Referring to teachers who led children astray.)

The same Jesus who forgave the prostitute, healed the lame, and said that we were to forgive repentant brothers seventy times seven times also said “be holy, as I am holy.”

Jesus never excused sin, never allowed for sin, or encouraged it. He forgave the sins of the repentant and gave them a way out! Of course, that is not enough for those who want to live sinfully without the fear of guilt or judgment. Someone once said that if an act (a sin) was excusable, then it didn’t need forgiveness! A sinful behavior might be explainable, understandable, or even anticipated, but it is unacceptable: sin is sin, and we must strive for perfection through the help of the Holy Spirit. What we’re saying when we intentionally sin and sin habitually is that God’s grace and mercy are worthless and that He is unworthy of our praise and respect. If you claim to follow the God of the universe, do not be surprised when something is expected of you, or when your sins are revealed. My God will not be mocked.

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” – Hebrews 10:28-30

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” -2 Peter 2

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“What you have made me see,” answered the Lady, “is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one’s mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before–that the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or setting aside. The picture of the fruit that you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished–if it were possible to wish–you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”     –from C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra

Perelandra

This is too often true in our lives, particularly my own. We set out to obtain something that we desire…a particular school, a mate, a job, etc., and the one we receive is not what we were looking for in the first place. Often we are so caught up in thinking of the joy we expected to find, that we cannot enjoy what we are given, and so make the blessing we have been given taste insipid by thinking of the other.

Recent developments in my life that pertain to this concept, and that others may relate to as well, include my job, school, and my relationships.  I needed a job in early May, and was disappointed that I couldn’t find one after sending in dozens of applications. I finally got a job, much later than I expected but still in the nick of time, at Sam Ash Music. I quite enjoy working there, and there are some slight irritants in scheduling that I’d hoped to avoid, but this is the good I have been given. As far as schooling is concerned…I was uncertain of what to do with my life, wanting to do something great…but also wanting to have a very family oriented life. Where am I now? I am transferring to USF in the fall as a music education major. I didn’t particularly want to do either, because I didn’t want to go with the flow and do what every other music student in the area does…major in music education at USF. But God has worked it all out in such a way that this will be the perfect set up for me.

By far the biggest example in my life of expecting one joy and receiving another is also one most people could relate to…relationships. I’ve always had an idea in my head of the kind of person I’d like to be with. Since my experience in the romance department was limited (i.e., no official relationship ever), I didn’t know quite what to expect.  As I met people through the years (I quite enjoy making new friends), my ideas of what I wanted in a future husband changed a little with each serious interest, as usually happens. I eventually found someone who was very much like me in personality and values. He is a strong Christian, talented, a good man, and someone I might consider spending my life with. I prayed often about him and the potential for relationship with him, as well as conferring with trusted counselors, getting to know his friends and family (I’d be doing that anyway though, because he is still a very good friend) and other such things. In the end, however, he was not interested, for whatever reason. I was alright with that at first, because interest can develop as the friendship progresses, and I was very much looking forward to continuing the friendship without any of that awkwardness between us. All was well until Justin came along. lol. One joy was expected and another given. Justin and my other friend get along quite well, and are very much alike in personality, as well as in some mannerisms. But their differences are great when you compare them in context of relationship potential, and what I had been expecting from someone I was interested in. I was in great turmoil between the two; both wonderful men, one I had been praying about for almost a year who was not interested, and the other newcomer who was interested and already quite devoted to winning my heart. I realized during all of this that I may be ruining what should have been a blessing (Justin’s appearance in my life), by focusing on the good thing that I had been looking for initially. (And I actually thought of this quote at the time.) Now I am happily in a relationship with Justin, and the other guy is still a close friend, and like a brother to me. As my relationship with Justin progresses I discover many things about him that make this relationship better in the long run than the other would have been. Had I continued to focus on the good thing that I had initially wanted, instead of accepting the blessing that God was trying to give me, I would never have discovered these things, and would not have found my sweetheart. ^.^ One joy was expected and another was given.

I encourage you, my friends, don’t ignore the blessings that God sends your way by focusing on the things that you haven’t gotten. Sometimes things happen for a reason, such as losing a friendship or not getting something you sincerely desired, but God wants to bless us abundantly, all things will work out for good in His plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) The choice is yours, my friends…you could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other; or you can accept the joy that you are given, rather than focus on the good expected.

Be blessed.

Lewis, C.S.. Perelandra. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1965. Print.

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Sin.

Slipping, sliding, oozing in,

A silent shadow we call sin,

Sneaking slyly ever by,

Slips past the sometime sleeping eye.

Sweet as sugar, still he drones,

Sleeping smugly in our homes;

Seeking solely to destroy

The source of life, our deepest joy.

 

Watch and wait, my faithful friend,

For it’s your life he seeks to end.

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