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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Approval of Man or God?

Galatians 1:10
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

This is hard for because it is such a subtle mistake. It is so easy to just caught up in doing what we think is right or what we think seems like something God would want that we often forget to look at the true motive and purpose for our actions.

Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary, traveled with his new wife and some friends to the country of Burma. In his time spent there he translated the entire Bible into the Burmese language and countless thousands have come to know Christ because of the actions of this man. He buried two wives and multiple children while he was there as well. It was not until 20 or 30 years into his ministry in Burma that he realized he had been there for the wrong reasons the entire time. He had been driven so much to be the first missionary from America and to show everyone what being a missionary was that he forgot why he was there. He had lost his first love, not the love of the people, or the love of missions, those will fail you, but the love of Christ. He was a broken man until he found his passion to serve Christ and Christ alone in what he did. He no longer sought aproval from man and became a servant of Christ. The things he did in Burma were remarkable but they were not enough to maintain him forever without the unfailing love of Christ to carry him through. If Adoniram Judson couldn't make it on man's approval then I know that I have no chance because he was a greater man than I ever hope to be, but with the strength and love of Christ we can all be as great as He desires.

Long Time, No See

Hello blogging community!

Sorry for my hiatus, I'm really not much of a writer, and I just felt like I wasn't writing anything good so I decided to take a little break. Now though, I think I'm going to come back and start writing some again. Hope everyone will read along and see whats up in the "Thoughts of Cody".

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If We Have Not Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

I think at this point in my life, as a college student, it is so easy to get caught up in learning. My focus becomes so much about my theology and making sure that everything I believe is the truth and than I can scripturally prove it as the truth. I want to learn to teach and disciple and I want to know all the mysteries and knowledge that God will reveal to me. I am trying to prepare myself to be willing to give my life for Him in a foreign country if that is what it came down to, but if I do all those things and it is not out of love for Him and for others then it is all for nothing. All of those things are of upmost importance in my life right now, and I am so glad that God has allowed me and helps me to pursue Him in my life, but I cannot allow that to lead me away from my love of God and my fellow man.

I was reading a book by D.L. Moody about the power of the Spirit and he was walking through the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. He was speaking on love and naturally came around to this verse. He thought that if Christians would meditate on and live 1 Corinthians 13 then Christianity would become the most powerful force in the whole world. I don't know if I completely agree because a part of me feels that as Christians we are supposed to be beaten down and defeated in this world so that our dependence comes solely from Him. I feel like if we were too successful in this world then we would become to tied to this world and lose our focus on Him. However, I think his point rings true in the sheer importance of these verses.

Paul makes love the most important and most needed gift we can possess as Christians in these verses. It is more important than tongues, prophesy, knowledge, and even faith. Not that those things are unimportant but without love they are dry and useless. Our words are clanging gongs and our deeds amount to nothing if we have not love. So I pray for my focus to be on love and I pray for all followers of Christ to focus on love. I pray that our deeds and our seeking of Him would flow out of love for God and for our fellow man because if we have not love, we gain nothing and we are nothing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Reap What We Sow

Galatians 6:7-10
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

God is not mocked. I take this to mean that no matter how deceived we are or other people are, we will reap what we sow. No matter how many people at church have no idea what is really going on, God still knows and He will not mocked. I will reap what I sow and you will reap what you sow. If we sow to the flesh then we will by the flesh reap corruption, not only eternally, but here and now as well. However, if we sow to the Spirit, which can only be done by the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. One path is completely dependent on us and the other path is completely dependent on the Spirit. Will we choose to live by our flesh and by our own means or will we choose to allow God to work through us by His Spirit, so that the work done by the Spirit, for the Spirit, will reap eternal life by the Spirit. We also must not weary of this. We can't just live by the Spirit sometimes or just stop living by the Spirit one day and come back to it a few years from then. Living by the Spirit is a permanent surrending of our life, will, and desires to Him. So what does sowing by the Spirit look like? Doing good to everyone when we have the opportunity, especially those of the household of faith. For the glory of God and the good of all people. Amen (Let it be so)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Freedom in Him

Psalm 19:7-11
"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward."

So many people think that if you are a Christian it must means you can't have any fun at all in life. I mean if you can't drink, cheat on tests, and have pre-marital sex all throughout college then what are you even there for? Right? I think not. John 8:32,36 "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free....So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." If we live under the law then we are slaves to our sin. We are kept in bondage by the law that we have failed to uphold and live in the domain and darkness of sin. But thank God that he has offered us freedom. Christianity is not a religion of rules, regulations, and precepts handed down by God to enslave us to His will, but to free us to do His will! Now that he has freed us, by His Spirit, from the bondage of sin, we are now free to allow the Spirit to work in our lives for the glory of God and the good of all people. Not only this but we have earthly and heavenly rewards for following His commands. He revives our soul, makes us wise though we are simple, makes our heart rejoice, and enlightens our eyes! His commands are sweeter than honey and more desirable than much fine gold and we have been warned, in keeping them there is great reward. So what does that say about not keeping them? I would say that there is great punishment. We must persevere to the end and make our calling and election sure by following His precepts and commands for His glory and the good of all people. Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ministers of the New Covenant, Part III

2 Corinthians 3:12-18
"Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, the same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."

Are we very bold because of our hope? We have the hope of true life here and eternal forever and we are not bold?! We have the greatest message the world has ever, or maybe NEVER heard, and it not being shared relentlessly?! The law brought a veil, it was a foreshadowing of what was to come, a precursor to the Christ. It established in man's mind a neccesity for the Messiah because we were able to see over and over again how depraved we are, how dead we are. Now through Christ the veil has taken away, glory is free to shine in unveiled faces! But it does not. Why does the world not see us as different? Why does the world not look to Christ, through us, when the world comes crashing down, because we are just another flavor of religion?

Our God is the only God who unconditionally loves a sinner, our is the only God who has come to this earth to die for our sin, our God is the only God who has risen again to claim victory over death, sin, hell, and the Adversary. Our God is the only God that calls His people to give them forgiveness of sin and hope of eternal life. Our God is the only God who gives grace freely to all He chooses, not of our own doing, but completely of His. That's our God, do they know Him? The Spirit of the Lord is freedom. We have been set free from the bondages of death and depravity, should we not want a dying and depraved world to know the same message? Now I'm not saying that we are the only medium through which Christ can speak to the peoples of the world, but I would say we are a favorite. He reveals himself through his creation, miracles, and ways of which I may not even know, but the command is still there, go and make disciples of all nations.

Lastly, with unveiled faces we now behold the glory of the Lord. I would say that the glory of the Lord is Christ because it follows up saying that we are being transformed into the same image. Image of what? His glory. So what is His glory and something we are supposed to be transformed into? Jesus Christ. We are also supposed to be transformed from one degree of glory to another. It is supposed to be a constantly growing process in which we become more like Jesus and more free from sin every single day. The process of santification, and where does this come from? The Lord who is the Spirit which sets us free from sin. So the Lord that brings us justification thens leads us along the path of santification as well. "He who called you is faithful; He will surely do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ministers of the New Covenant, Part II

2 Corinthians 3:7-11
"Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory."

When Moses came down from the mountain with the law carved in letters on the stone, the glory that shined forth from his face caused the Israelites to not be able to look at him, but his glory was the ministry of death and condemnation. It is not that the law was bad or that God made a mistake but that His work was not yet done. The law was sent forth to show our need for the Savior we have in Christ Jesus the Messiah. It was planned from the begininng to be "brought to an end" and be replaced by the ministry of the Spirit, which is life now, and forevermore.

So should not the glory, as a reflection of Christ's glory, shine from our faces in the same way? Should not people only be able to see the glory of Christ shining from our faces as the evidence of His Spirit living within us? I think the answer is a resounding yes! So why does this not happen? Why is Christianity just another part of the world that plays its role and blends in fine with everything else? I believe, as I have stated before, that we have lost the seriousness of our sin and the majesty of God's grace. Sin is incompatible with God, but thanks be to Him that he has given us grace to cleanse us of our sin, but that day has not yet come! We live in a world ruled by the the prince of the power of the air, and we must go to war against him daily! Our sin is forgiven but it has not yet been purged from our flesh. It is our duty, by the gifts of the Spirit, to mortify our sin.

To come back to the end of our passage, the glory of the law has passed away. It has been replaced by the surpassing glory of Christ and Him crucified, for which we have forgiveness of sin and access to life now and evermore. The law was passing, the law was not plan A and Christ plan B, it was meant to pass and Christ is now our permanence in life, love, and joy.