Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Here's a Churchy Word - Justification

You know it is weird how we have these words that we use in the church circles. I wonder if a newcomer hears them and thinks "what in the world are they talking about", or is this a different language they are speaking?  Or perhaps you have thought it yourself...  I know I have!  Words like grace, faith, redemption, exhortation, propitiation, belief, believe, mercy, fetter, fount, and justification; just to name a few. To see my other blogs on this, go to this topic link Churchy Words

If we are honest, sometimes these words are even hard for us to grasp, and we have been hearing them for years. I mean, you can sit there and sing about amazing grace, how sweet the sound and not really grasp just how sweet that is. I believe we need to ponder these words. We need to investigate them to really grasp what each is saying to us when we use them.

So if scripture tells us we are justified, what exactly is that saying?

I have included below various definitions. You can scroll to the end to see them in their fullness or go to the website where I have attached links for them. 

When the word justified comes up in scripture, I begin to think what exactly does that mean.  I think of how in typing class, (am I really dating myself by saying that?) we would justify the margins.  That means the margins on both sides would be lined up.  So I take that and see how Jesus makes me straight and lines me up.  (this paragraph is justified to demonstrate)

It is also a declaration that one is free of blame, or free one of the guilt and penalty attached with a sin. Another definition is to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation.  Another definition is to show or to prove to be just, right or reasonable.  

I also wanted to look at the meaning according to scripture or a biblical definition.  I found that to be biblically justified is being DECLARED righteous in God's sight, and to be made right with God.

So me going into my pondering mode:  To be justified means to be set right, to be declared right, to be made straight, and regardless of action, to be declared free of charges and worthy to be saved.  HMMM

So if I am justified, I have heard it this way:  It is "JUST AS IF I'D NEVER SINNED"  "JUST - IF - IED" never sinned!!!  Now there's something to get excited about.

So the next time you hear a preacher say you are justified, you read that you are justified in scripture, or you sing a song in a worship service about you being justified; let that sink into your very being exactly what you are saying.

You want one to enjoy right now, take a listen to this one  Glorious Day

With much love today, be blessed. says:
1. To demonstrate or prove to be just, right, or valid: justified each budgetary expense as necessary; anger that is justified by the circumstances.
2. To declare free of blame; absolve.
3. To free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin. Used of God.
4. Law
a. To demonstrate sufficient legal reason for (an action taken).
b. To prove to be qualified as a bondsman.
5. Printing To adjust the spacing within (lines in a document, for example), so that the lines end evenly at a straight margin.

Merriam-Webster's definitions is:
1a : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable
(1) :  to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2) :  to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property
2a archaic :  to administer justice to

b archaic :  absolve
c :  to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
3a :  to space (as lines of text) so that the lines come out even at the margin

b :  to make even by justifying <justified margins>
intransitive verb
1a :  to show a sufficient lawful reason for an act done

b :  to qualify as bail or surety
2:  to justify lines of text

Google definition is:

1. having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.
"the doctors were justified in treating her"
2. THEOLOGY declared or made righteous in the sight of God.

Easy English Bible Dictionary

justified ~ to be made right with God through the death and return to life of Jesus Christ; to say someone is right with God.

From Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
Justify, Justification
Easy English definition for 'justified':

To be justified is to declared legally righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is "declared" sinless. The sinner is not made righteous in that his soul is changed or that his soul is infused with God's grace. Instead, justification is a legal act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer (Rom. 4:11Phil. 3:9). This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, "...having now been justified by His blood..." (Rom. 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and "sees" him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost for it required the satisfaction of God's Law, "...without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness," (Heb. 9:22). By the sacrifice of Jesus, in the "one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men," (Rom. 5:18, NASB). In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself--Jesus. We receive mercy--we are not judged according to our sins. And grace is shed upon us--we receive eternal life. This justification is a gift of grace (Rom. 3:24), by faith (Rom. 3:28) because Jesus bore our guilt (Isaiah 53:12).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Praying for My Sister In Christ - And My Prayer For You!

Yesterday, I prayed for a dear sister in Christ. She was in pain and in need of relief.  Her ailments are being treated by a doctor and there is mention of cancer.  

In my time of prayer for her I was moved to pray for her to be comforted by her heavenly Father through this time.  I was acutely aware that in times of difficulty, there must be much glory to be seen.  (glory simply meaning bringing attention to)  I couldn't help but ask God if that is why we suffer as we do as His children.   Not always do we reflect the most glory for God through healing.  Signs and wonders are great, and yes, God is a God that can heal.  However, the times where we are in pain, in despair or at the end of our rope, WELL that is where we find ourselves seeking Him.  Then, He equips us if we will fully surrender to Him.   In our difficulty and our desperation, we become fully aware of our need of Him. We tend to draw so much more beautiful attention to our Lord during this time (ie. much glory to God).  I have learned far more about Him in my times of hardship and difficulty.  That is where I learn to love Him more.  During our trials is where we can  fall more deeply in Love with Him.  I prayed she would fellowship with Him, enjoying time with Him, and growing in wisdom and understanding of His ways as she travels through this valley of darkness.

However, my most obvious prayer was for complete healing.  I  know God can do that.  However, I have lived long enough to know that God is not at my beck and call to do my bidding, and my desire.  So as I prayed, I asked and I desired to pray according to the Father's will.  I asked Him to increase my faith as well as her's, and the ability to see even beyond physical healing to the greater purpose of growing in trust, faith and belief.  In addition to being aware of the greater purpose of glorifying Him through whatever will transpire.  (bringing Him the most attention in order to exalt Him).

I desire today that if you find yourself in that dark place of pain, trial, suffering, loneliness, scary diagnosis, loss of a loved one, that you would get a glimpse of the Father's love for you.  He loves you dearly and deeply.  He has not left you nor has He abandoned you.  He walks with you in the valley of the shadow of darkness.  Rest today, invite Him in and just fellowship with Him.  Let Him love on you today.  Remember He paid for you by the shed blood of His own son, so that He could not only spend time communing with you in this life but for eternity.  The price He paid was priceless.  

Be blessed today.

WAKE UP!!! For the Sake of the Children

 Today I share this with a heaviness in my heart.  I feel this intense scream within me that I cannot contain.  As you read it, read it as if you hear me screaming this to the top of my lungs.  Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP.  All who are weary, we need you in this battle.  We desperately need you not to sleep through this period of time.  Let the dead in Christ rise up.  I do not mean those who have passed on in death, but I mean the sleeping Christians.  WAKE UP!!!!!

I had a vision or thought throughout the day yesterday as I earnestly and devotedly prayed for a dear sister in Christ. I will share about that in another blog, but it intertwined with my aching heart for the unnecessary suffering of many adults that started by their choices in their teen years.  So much suffering occurs by no action on our part, as was the case for my friend I mentioned, but then there is the pain that is brought on by our sin, bad choices, bad decisions and sometimes our naivete.  This pondering brought me to scream in warnings to parents and teens.  Perhaps at least we can remove naivete.

There is a war being waged on behalf of the children in this very city.  It is coming from Satan himself, and I personally want to expose it.  I want the body to WAKE UP and begin to pray for eyes to be open to the snare before entrapment occurs.   I pray that this message gets into the hands of many teens and parents.    The culture we live in, in the United States, is fostering this need for fun, entertainment and escaping reality.  What no one seems to be noticing is that it is a trap or a snare of the enemy of our soul.  I hear parents say, "kids will be kids"  or "they are just having fun"  perhaps they may even say they are "sewing their wild oats" even "don't be such a party pooper" or "its harmless".  I even heard one parent say "they all do it."  Perhaps in a desire for your child to be accepted, you are looking the other way.

I for one can speak at the other end of this having walked with many who are trying to escape from their captor.  You need to get your heads out of the clouds, open your eyes to the reality around you and WAKE UP.

  • For the parent who is clueless, investigate your child's friends.  Ask your child questions.  They are worth it.  Honestly, they are your child, you had them so they are your responsibility to protect them even from themselves.  Follow these links to educate yourself: Molly , Acid/LSDThe truth about websiteAlcoholTake a quiz
  • For the parent who thinks it is harmless, I can tell you if you will go to any rehab and talk with an addict, you may find that they thought so too at one point.
  • For the parent who doesn't know what to do, get involved with your child.  Talk to them and let them know the dangers.  They need to understand the consequences.  Do research on the long term effects and then share it with your child.  Check this link out:  common risk & protective factors
  • For the parent who doesn't care, please remember they are your responsibility to raise and protect.
  • For the parent who is aiding or actively participating, please get help so you can be the adult and help protect your child.

Again I say, WAKE UP!  The war that is waged can come in many different fashions.  I have seen addictions come in many different forms.  Anything that helps you escape the reality of life.

The issue that got me spun up to write this, is drugs and alcohol.  Youths are convinced that parents are not cool, take the fun out of life or just trying to control their lives.  While parents do not want to be known that way and may be moved to inactivity.  Many just want to be friends with their child.  Perhaps you did it when you were their age, and you feel you cannot say no to them now.  If you didn't get in a snare of addiction you are very lucky.  But you can still speak up, and exercise your parental rights to give consequences for their bad behavior.  It is your job to set the limits for them.   They do not have that abiltiy yet.

In the clarity of a teens mind, they believe and are being told by their peers that partying with drugs and alcohol is a way to enjoy themselves, to experience freedom of choice and exercise independence.  But guess what, here is where I scream to the top of my lungs.  IT IS A TRAP!!!!!  I swear to you it is.  While the pleasure is momentary, the destruction it brings into the life of the user and those who love them, is devastating.  The front end looks harmless to an unsuspecting teen.  It is romanticized by all forms of media.  Even the tragic end to an actor's life is celebrated as a tragic end of a tormented soul.  Almost as if it is exalted.  But if you have ever walked closely with someone desperate to escape the clutches of addiction, you begin to see the pit they fall in, and how difficult it is to ever escape. Unfortunately most never do.  It is clearly portrayed on the front side as fun, but once you enter in, the dust begins to stir, you begin to lose your way, and before long, years have gone by, and you are immersed in destructive patterns that can destroy your life and your potential.  You are in full fledged captivity, you my friend are a prisoner to the one thing that promised you freedom.  It is a lie from the pit of hell.

The best defense is to not go there in the first place.  To begin with, the earlier you start on these substances, the more damage they do.  The front of the brain is still in development until age 25.

  • this is from one of the above links:  "The frontal lobes are responsible for self-regulation, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can result in impulsive decisions or actions and a disregard for consequences."

Because of this fact, parents still need to guide their children during this time to set the limits teens cannot set for themselves.  Many studies show that earlier use increases the chances of addiction developing.

I am writing this in hopes that I shine some light on this area of darkness.  It starts with boredom, rebellion, curiosity, forbidden fruit, or peer pressure, etc.  They usually see it as harmless, or if they are aware of the dangers, they figure it will not happen to them.

This reminds me of a carrot dangling in front of a rabbit.  Then the rabbit gets the carrot to find out too late that it is caught in a trap.  This is the snare the enemy is setting up for the youths of our society.  He cloaks it in  fun, fellowship, and a way to escape.  But in the end it leaves you paranoid, alone, in despair, completely tormented and the way of escape has become the very thing that holds you captive.

Parents, on behalf of your children, get educated.  Be educated about who your children are in close connection with as well as educating yourself on what they are participating in.  We are not here to help them have the best time, to have fun, to enjoy themselves.  We are here in there lives to help them become all they can be.  To set limits on them when they will not set them from themselves.  It is an epidemic, and it is all around you.  Be aware, be informed and care enough to be disliked by your child.  Do the hard things for them.  And above all else, be praying for your children.  I pray frequently that if my children get off track that they will be caught quickly before bad habits set in.  Praise the Lord, so far, that has been the case.

Please take a look at the excerpt from one of the links listed above to see just how much influence we as parents have on our children's decisions.

Youth perception that parents approve of their alcohol or drug use

One of the most consistent risk factors for adolescent drinking is perceived parental approval (Donovan, 2004). Reported maternal care perception has been shown to be significantly lower among alcohol and those who use multiple drugs (Gerra et al, 2004).

Parental monitoring (or perception of monitoring)

Adolescents who report low parental monitoring are significantly more likely to use a variety of substances (Shillington et al, 2005). Positive parental style and close monitoring by parents are proven protective factors for adolescent’s use of alcohol and other drugs (Stewart, 2002).
Peers engaging in problem behavior
Associating with drug- or alcohol-using peers, or being rejected by peers, can create problem behaviors and influence attitudes and norms related to substance use (O'Connell et al, 2009). Exposure to peer problem behavior is correlated with increased alcohol and other substance use in the same month (Dishion et al, 2000). Those who drink in a social setting, or who have peers who do so, are more likely to abuse alcohol later in life (Beck et al, 1996).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Organized and Ready to Go

As mentioned in previous blogs, I have been spending time organizing my house and my life.  As I do this, I have established a lot more margin in my life.  I didn't realize just how much I was in need of that.  It has made me a much more pleasant person.

It was quite a process and in the midst of it, I wondered how one family could have accumulated so much stuff.  I began to make piles in areas of the house.  I had a pile to go straight to the garbage, a pile to donate immediately, and a pile for ebay.  I categorized all items in the last two piles, but with the last pile I also took pictures and started the bidding at what seemed to be the average for the items. 

I started this before Christmas and with my girls approval, sold a good bit of toys as Christmas gifts.  I would love to say it went smoothly but it didn't.  Most went off without a hitch, but some snafus occurred.  Over-all, the experience has been really profitable and smooth.  My home has less clutter, but I am still hanging onto a great deal of memorabilia.  Some times you just want to know what will be meaningful to keep, and what is just taking up space.

I am a sentimental old fool.  Memories can get tapped in me by the oddest of items.  I kept some of my granny's dresses she gave me and a few my mom always wore.  Just seeing them takes me back to  wonderful memories.

So needless to say I have items around the house that mean nothing to anyone but me and I think that is ok. 

There comes a point where I have figure out how to manage all these random memories, and usually it comes in the form of storage. 

After all the remodeling efforts of our home thru about 5 phases, my storage area had gotten so out of control.  So during the Christmas holidays while most of the Christmas decorations and containers were out of the area, I decided I would not put the decorations back up until the area was organized and decluttered.

I am proud to say that I was able to put the decorations from Christmas away after the New Year. Oh what a great feeling.

Once that was complete it was on to the freezers. I organized my pantry, refrigerator/freezers.  I also found a website that has been helping me plan meals for dinner.  It is amazing to discover what you have when you take time to organize it.  The organization of the freezer helped me plan my trips to the grocery store better as well.

All it took was time and determination.  I can tell you it gave me a great deal of peace.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The World Needs Love from Instruments of Righteousness - Not a Beating from Self Righteous Instruments

I saw a post on Facebook today and it went along with my heart's cry lately.  It was about a New Church Lady.  If you are interested in reading it, I highly recommend it. Click on this link to see further:  Pearls and Grace

My heart has been heavy from the issue of Christian behavior, actions, deeds.  (You know the "walking out your faith" thing before the world)  I have blogged around the topic, but I sense that I just can't get a full grasp of it.  I am hoping that even as I blog today, it will become more clear to me.

So today I feel weepy as I ponder this.  I am saddened by it.  (As you read this, you may say what is "it") It is the missing hope, it is the misrespresentation of Christ, it is condemnation of the body toward itself, it is being in the word and church to impress God or others instead of seeking Him, it is the missing compassion, love, kindness, gentleness and self control in believers, it is the missing passion for the Lord, His people and the lost world.  It is the missing glorification of God from the body, it is the missing gratitude of God, the missing exaltation of Him.  Are we drawing attention to our knowledge of the Word, our good works, our church, or are we drawing all attention toward God, who He is, what He is doing, and what He has done??

I am saying this not to beat anyone up.  I don't believe that it is done intentionally, but it is done out of desire to do the right thing.  It is done typically out of a lack of understanding.  I am in no way looking down my nose at anyone, but lump myself in the category as guilty too.  Any of our religious acts are of no real value apart from God.  (they are garbage and filthy rags)

Here is what I believe is at issue:  we are in need of revival as the universal body. We need to know how much we need God daily.  We need to become aware of our neediness.  We need to become aware of how hungry and thirsty we are for the Spirit of God in our lives.  It is when you eat all the wrong foods and drink all the wrong things, we may feel VERY full but we will still be starving for nourishment.  We may be drinking liquid but it is not a liquid that will quench our thirst.  

The actions of doing religious do's and don'ts is not going to produce the fruit and will not satisfy the soul. That is conformity and will not bring about the transformation that comes from walking closely, dependantly and completely surrendered to Christ.  He wants to use us and equip us for good works, and in doing so, we will be made holy and set apart for our godly purposes. (obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and the commands as He prompts)

In 2 Timothy 2:20-22, the Word describes the difference between a clean, special instrument and an unclean or dishonored instrument.  But as you read the scripture, I sense that it is all about the use of that instrument that makes it one or the other.  In Romans 6:13 we are to offer ourselves to God to be used as instruments of righteousness.  

Follow these links to look at the verses and even compare in various translations

Such a practical picture of God's love on a needy world
God's love was intended to pour out on the body of Christ as we walk intimately with Him.  But we were not to become reservoirs to collect His love and blessings, yet we were to be conduits where God's love flows through us to a world in need of that hope, love, peace, and joy.  Through this, His kingdom comes to earth as it is in heaven!  That is the hope that we have to offer to the world.  

So we need to stop trying to be an instrument of righteousness, which according to Isaiah 64:6 says are filthy rags. (see also Philippians 3:8 )   Instead we need to be surrendered vessels available to walk in fellowship with our Creator.  So that when we do this, we, by His use of us, are made Holy, sanctified (set apart for a special use) and a sweet savor to those we encounter.

Lets study the Word of God under the inspritation of the Holy Spirit.  Inviting the Spirit to inspire us, feed us with spiritual nourishment.  So we will know Him more.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to us through the study of the Word.  We do not need to manufacture a form of godliness by our own strength and conformity, but allow Him to carve out in us our godly character and transform us in the image of Christ.

Perhaps  as we the body begin to do our part, which is to surrender to His hands for His holy use so we become those instruments of righteousness as His slave, then the lost and dying world will see Christ in us and begin to recognize just how hungry and thirsty they are.  The world doesn't want what the Christians have because it is a conterfeit version, and the world recognizes it more than those of us who are in the body. 
I pray today that the body will begin to see its independence from God and turn back to Him in full surrender.  I pray that the body would see that it is all about being in communion with God by the Holy Spirit through Christ's sacrifice.  We need relationship not religion.  We need transformation not conformity.  We need TRUE change that can only be done by Him.  We need to be authentically changed not manufactured.  

It seems in many American churches today, because we live in a time where many of our true physical needs are being met (even many of our wants) so we are clueless of our spiritual poverty.  Hard times of any kind seem to help awaken us to our spiritual needs.  Nothing like a hardship to bring us back to the basics of our faith.  Not one of us would ask for hardship, but it is in those difficult trials of life where, because of our humaness, we become pliable and available.  This is when we tend to be more ready to turn our ears back toward the only One with the answers.  The only One that can transform us and make a difference.  The only One  that can make us truly righteous instruments.

So today as you read this, if you find that you have been "doing the church thing" apart from God, and you sensed that something is missing, just confess it and ask for the Lord's help.  Welcome Him back into your life's activity.  Tell Him today that you are available for His use.  (simple surrender) see: 1 John 2: 1 and 2
If we fall short, it is not for our condemnation.  We have Jesus as our advocate pleading on our behalf to God.  So in this, if we have offered our bodies to sin in order to be used as instruments of unrighteousness, confess, and Jesus is there as our advocate and faithful to forgive.  

Apart from Christ, we can do NO-THING.  But in Christ all things are possible.  Surrender to Him, seek His will, and walk daily in fellowship with Him.  That is it.  

Have a blessed blessed day.

I pray today that my fingers were used by God's Holy Spirit as instruments of righteousness for His glory to convey these words to us all.  If any of this was just of me, may they be discarded with the garbage!  AMEN!