// “Where there is love, there is pain.” Something I did for a friend of mine’s birthday. She’s a native Spanish speaker, and we’ve had to work really hard to overcome that language barrier, and I’ll admit she’s the one that’s worked the hardest. This is just one of my attempts to make it up to her. //
// First attempt at a bullet journal for Bible studying! Not terrible for a first try. //
// “The most beautiful women I’ve ever observed are those that have exchanged a self-focused life for a Christ-focused one. They are confident, but not in themselves. Instead of self-confidence, they radiate with Christ-confidence.” - Leslie Ludy //
// Psalm 119:71 //
// Psalm 119:34 – Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Psalm 119:88 – In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free…
Romans 6:22 – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
These verses show us that when God gives us something, we are expected to serve him in some way with that gift. In Psalm 119:34, the psalmist is not only pleading for understanding, he realizes that the end goal of getting understanding from the Lord is to serve and obey that Lord further. Christ has set us free, not to do whatever we please, which would mean immediately falling back into sin, but for the freedom of sanctification, the process of Christ making us perfect, which is finally completed when he returns again. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an argument for a legalistic, works - based salvation; its simply looking at scripture and seeing that God wants us to honor him with the gifts he grants us.
The inverse is also true.
Psalm 119:71 – It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
God also intends for our suffering to ultimately honor him as well. When we are “afflicted,” we should remember that “for those who love God, all things work together for good.” We need to ask ourselves, ‘What does God want me to learn from this? What kind of fruit may he be producing in me through these trials?’ It is good for us when bad things happen, and we are expected to praise God, not in spite of those things, but because of those things. //
// A year ago Friday, I got to go on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and for the first time in my life I was able to meet other, mature Christians my age. When I was hanging out with some of those boys, I realized the most attractive thing about my new friends was how much they love Jesus. I realized that I didn’t want to be the spiritual leader in a relationship, like I’d always thought. I didn’t even want it to be completely equal. I’d always struggled with that because scripture is very clear that men should be leading women spiritually. But once I was around those boys, those young men in Christ, God showed me exactly how beautiful the relationships he has divinely designed for us should be, and I can’t wait for a man that will lead me straight to God, and not just to the bed. //
// Galatians 6:17 – From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
“When we say we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we must remember what happened to the hands and feet of Jesus.”
When Paul wrote Galatians, he was writing to a church that was forgetting the true gospel and was questioning Paul’s own legitimacy as an apostle. This is a reminder at the end of the letter that he is exclusively devoted to Christ.
I think it’s also important to remember that when Paul speaks of “the marks of Jesus,” he’s not talking about any verbal or social sufferings, he is talking about actual physical persecution. “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things,there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:24-30
God gives each their struggles, but I think we need to be careful not to equate our first world problems with persecutions, always keeping in mind those throughout history and around the world who actually face these things. But for those who do carry the effects of real persecution because of Christ, is there a more beautiful way to describe those effects than “the marks of Jesus”? If ever I meet such a saint, I will have to marvel at the beauty of the proof of their devotion to Jesus. //
// If a farmer doesn’t farm, is he a farmer? It is the action of doing something that makes you that thing. Therefore, perhaps the most important part of being a disciple is making other disciples. Making disciples isn’t part of a legalistic works-based salvation, it flows out of our love for Christ, just like all the other fruits of the Spirit.
Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. //
// Why we worship – Psalm 63:3 //
All is vanity! There is persistent vanity within my own heart.
It has penetrated into my very soul;
to purge it I need more than coal.
Indeed, a thousand burning coals could not make me clean.
I need the blood and water from Your holy side,
I need the grace for which you cried
But I am not forsaken, never am I lost.
You, O God, are only true.
Nothing has meaning outside of you.
My Father, my Captain, my King;
to you I cry,
my soul forever sighs,
for from this valley of vanity
I cannot rise.
O that I, your creation,
have turned from your salvation!
I have walked into the waiting arms of death
yet only a breath of your will
may still save me.
// If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. – Daniel 3:17-18 //