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Promises, Promises January 30, 2011

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.

The hardest part about waiting on God to fulfill His promises is not so much the waiting as it is the wondering if God ever made you any promises at all. It’s even worse when you think God is starting to fulfill them, and then BAM! Out of the blue, you’re back to square one and all God is saying is, “Wait. Wait. My timing is perfect. Another year or two.” This is the part where you (or if this has only happened to me before, I) start to wonder if God is just toying with you. You begin to wonder if God is really for you and will ever come through for you. Is God nothing more than a omnipotent tease? Of course, every Bible verse about God’s character starts popping into your head. Like Numbers 23:19 which says, “God is not a man that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” But, it’s in this state where you’ve been so close to God’s promises that you could almost taste them only to have them taken away that you start to think, “If God were a liar, isn’t that exactly what He would say?!”

Despite our human tendency to doubt, if you’ve been raised in the Church like I have, usually those doubts morph into trying to win God’s promises as if he were Santa Claus and would give you what you want if you would just be good and not end up on the naughty list. You begin to think that if you just read your Bible more, or pray longer, or put more money in the offering plate, then God would give you what He has promised as soon as you get your act together. This mentality is a sad affront to grace and could possibly delay receiving what God has promised even longer. In Romans 4, Paul points to Abraham as a good example of how to receive God’s promises. In verses 13-14 he says, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be heirs, faith is null and the promise is void” (emphasis mine). It’s clear from Scripture that if we try to convince God that we are ready for the promise, then what we are doing is based on the law and not on faith, and “law brings wrath…That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace” (verses 15a and 16a). I’d much rather the fulfillment of God’s promises to me depend on his character and grace than it depend on my performance. The amazing part is as long as we have trust in God’s character and grace, it will increase our own faith. As verse 20-21 says, “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

I firmly believe that if God got us this far, then He will keep His hand on us. He did not take us this far, just to leave us where we are. There is a reason why He has not fulfilled his promise to us yet. He still has to shape us so we will be ready to receive the promise, and He might even need to prepare the promise itself so it will be ready for us. So keep fighting. Don’t you dare give up. It’s gonna be so worth it.


When Grace is Disturbing January 8, 2011

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Bible, Christianity, grace, sin.

Much has been written about grace and I am not one worthy to add to what’s already been written about it in anyway shape or form. I can’t imagine I can add to what people like Brennan Manning, Andy Stanley, or Mike Foster have written about it in their wonderful books. But, a recent conversation I have become involved in on Facebook (gotta love social media) has prompted me to write this blog. I ask a simple question:

What should our response be when grace disturbs us?

No one has a problem when they are offered grace. It is eagerly accepted and appreciated. To a certain extent, to a certain people, we can even happily give grace to others with as much excitement. But, what happens when grace is offered to people who disturb or disgust us? You know the people that I’m referring to. Those who repulse you enough that you would endure a few seconds of Hell if it meant getting to see them burn. Rapists. Murderers. Child molesters. Terrorists. Homosexuals. Abortionists. Muslims. Liberals. Conservatives. Fundamentalists. Lawyers. Politicians. Telemarketers. Whoever.

The conversation I am involved in began with a friend who posted a link to an article about men who were on the run from police for raping disabled women. Evil and disgusting to be sure. Along with the article, he made the comment, “Sadistic absolutely worthless animals like this do not deserve rights. Bullet in the head.” A few people commented and agreed and even added what they would like to be seen done to these men. While I agreed that they need to be brought to justice, I also stated that as Christians, I believe we should pray for them to be set free from the sin and evil that obviously has them in bondage and hope that God saves them. I believe that our attitude toward them should be one of grace and love, and not a desire for death. I argued this because when it comes down to it, we are (or at the best, were) sick, sadistic animals that need to be put down. The Bible is clear on this, just see Isaiah 64:6 or Romans 3:10-12. The only way we are any better is through the grace of God by the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus died for those men just as much has he died for their victims. He weeps over both. While our heart rightly breaks for the victims, our hearts burn with hate over  the perpetrators while they should be breaking over them as well. This is not saying that there is not a place for righteous anger, but it is misplaced. The anger should be targeted at the “powers and principalities” behind them, namely Satan and his demons.

While it is a perfectly natural human response to see those people that repulse us punished in horrible, horrible ways, Christians are not merely natural humans. We are supernatural. And the grace and love we show to people, even people that disgust us, should be in supernatural amounts.

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