Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning More & More Every Day...

Well, I have been learning quite a lot lately. God taught me some more about perseverance over the weekend... and not just perseverance, but perseverance with the right attitude. I seem to miss that part sometimes! He also taught me the value of family and spending time with them. Sunday was my little sister's birthday and I am just so thankful to God for her!

In Sunday School my teacher is using material from "Way of the Master" from Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron as the material for the class. Sunday morning my eyes were opened to quite a lot. Charles E. Hackett says, "A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately ninety-five out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In face, most of them will not return for a second visit." Why is this? A huge reason is because they are receiving the wrong Gospel. A lot of them receive the Gospel message of "Accept Christ and your life will be filled with love, joy, peace, and lasting fulfillment!" And then when they face trials and hardships, they "throw off" their faith because it is not what they were told it was or what they expected it to be. The truth is, God offers us Salvation because of His perfect Sacrifice on the Cross - Jesus Christ. We have broken His law, and therefore we should be condemned. However, through Jesus Christ, we can be saved from the wrath that we deserve and restore our friendship with the Almighty. What an amazing truth! It is so sad that people are teaching and being taught a thwarted Gospel. It is our job as followers of Christ to obey Him and teach others the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

My pastor's sermon was on Truth and more specifically, on absolute truth. He elaborated on twelve points of absolute truth in this culture today (despite its claim of relative truth) that were eye-opening:

-You can't know what is just unless you know what is unjust.
-We know intuitively that some things and people are better than others.
-We treasure progress and say that some things are getting better. How do we know what is "better" if we have no absolutes and no standards?
-Everything can't be relative. We'd have no standard or reference point.
-Moral disputes demand an objective standard outside of the dispute. There must be a moral objective standard. We don't invent laws (scientific, mathematical, spiritual, etc.); we discover them.
-Universal moral guilt shows that there's truth in a universal moral law.
-Why do we choose duty over instinct if there are no moral absolutes?
-Why do we all find some things evil?
-The same basic moral codes are found all over the world.
-Truth transcends culture.
-Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincere. You can be sincerely wrong.
-Being raised in a given culture or belief system doesn't make those beliefs true.

It is obvious that Truth does exist. To say, "Everything is relative" is contradictory. Whoever made that statement is implying that they believe in absolutes; they have stated an "absolute" statement. Our world today may claim to believe in relative truth ("what you believe is true for you, but not for me") but it lives as though it believes in absolute truth. It is contradictory and makes it even more clear that Truth does exist.

As my pastor said, "We're not here to wrap the culture around Jesus. We're here to wrap Jesus around the culture and change it for His glory."

Tonight I lead Bible Study on identity. I challenged myself and the girls to think about where we place our identities and then to imagine that thing being stripped away from us. Where does that leave us then? If our identity is in anything but God, it is fleeting. God is the only One who does not change and who will never be taken away from us if we have accepted Him as our Savior. So, who am I?

Am I:
What I do? What happens when I fail or when what I am striving to accomplish does not work out the way that I had anticipated?
What I look like? Beauty is fleeting; what then?
Who I know? What happens when they move on or when they let me down?
The fleeting pleasures of this world? How long will those "pleasures" last and do they offer anything more than temporary satisfaction?

We will live according to where we have placed our identities.

We will:
~Strive after it
~Live for it
~Pursue it
~Be passionate about it
~Consume our minds and lives with it

Why wouldn't we? It is our identity! Exodus 20:3 tells us to have no other gods before God. Have I created other "gods" in my life that I place my trust and my identity in? They will only fail me. There is only one God. And when I place my identity and my trust in Christ and in Christ alone, I will find true life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
-John 10:10

Satan is our identity thief. Jesus is our Life Giver. And Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full!

After honestly asking myself this question, I realized that I have placed my identity in things that I would have never thought that I would. After honestly searching my heart, I realize that I have placed my identity in the wrong things without even realizing it.

Only God can give Life. And He is the only one who will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)!

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