Saturday, December 22, 2012

Undeserving...

I think the idea that any of us "deserve" good things in life is a fallacy; even if we do good things and produce good fruits in life and even when we don't. God says His mercy rains down on the just and the unjust. Good comes to those who do and do not. Bad comes to those who do good and those who do not. In all honesty, we all deserve nothing but hell and punishment because the inner-workings of the hearts of men are wicked (and wicked ranges from thinking about someone sexually without being married to wanting to murder someone; it's all wickedness and on the same scale to our Father.) Getting that out of the way, why do so many Christian people think that if they do things it will produce things in their life that they desire and think they truly deserve?

I have struggled with this myself. I remember Natalie Portman saying one time during an interview that she doesn't like the idea of religion or God because people do things in order to get something good in return; in other words: if we forget about God and religion, people will do good just to do it. She has a point but I think she's thinking in a human way. She's not thinking in God's way. I use to struggle with that as a younger Christian. I felt she had a point and it bothered my faith but it didn't take it away completely.

I continued struggling with the idea that if I did good then I deserved good.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us and all we have to do is believe in His Son's name. That's it. He does everything else inside of you. He does the changing, He puts you in situations to change you, refine you, test you, increase your stamina, teach you, prepare you for what He has next for you. When God tells us to not do certain things, it's because He loves us not because He's going to bless you for obeying. Obeying itself is the blessing and always brings about a blessing because obedience protects us and helps us. Obedience warns us and helps us during the waiting process. Again, God blesses the wicked and the good; the difference is that God is with the good and He is able to help the good out of all kinds of situations as they continue to believe and grow.

How we change has nothing to do with us but all to do with Jesus Christ and His love that compels us and gives us the faith to believe. Where does our faith come from? Our faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. It is because of God we even come to the knowledge of Him, He made everything. He made everything so that He could have a relationship, a genuine relationship with each and every believer.

So, God doesn't give people good things because they deserve them. There are many reasons why He gives good things to people. I truly believe that the reason He gives good to the wicked is because He has compassion upon them, for who they are is not entirely their fault. And, He gives good to the good because He is merciful, gracious, compassionate towards us as well and because He believes we are ready to receive such good things (ready in His timing with your heart and Him knowing your heart can handle receiving such a blessing and Him ultimately getting His glory in the right timing as well).

I just want to encourage believers to stop working so hard to do good to receive good from the Father. He is going to bless you and He is helping you. Every situation you're in is to prepare you for the good desires He has placed in your heart. Not everything need come so soon or when you think it should or because you think you deserve it. You receive these good things based on His mercy, His grace, the Son of God, and the changes that He produces in you.

Therefore, whenever you get something good, just praise God and say, God...I don't deserve this, I don't deserve salvation, I don't deserve Your help, thank You, thank You so much for Your love and mercy.

This will take us to a godly understanding of doing good. We do good to please the Father out of a love for Him (not because we are afraid and think if we don't do good we aren't in His good graces anymore), we do good for others and the benefit of others, and we do good because it really does benefit ourselves. Why would anyone do anything if it didn't benefit himself or herself some how? And that benefit to ourselves could just be the good feeling of knowing we helped someone else with no material, physical, tangible benefit to who we are.

God knows He is good and that we need Him, He doesn't fault us for loving Him because He loved us first, He doesn't fault us for loving Him because it benefits us (of course it benefits us! God Himself is a blessing). So, don't feel guilty because you feel like your love for God is selfish, in some ways it is selfish, but that's out of a humility knowing you need God and you need Him desperately.

So, to Miss Natalie Portman, I say, yes I agree to a certain extent; just not to the extent that I would throw  away God altogether. God is wiser than man and He wouldn't allow people who do good just for themselves to get away with that. He has set it up that no man can really say he does good to get something from God because nothing we do could ever make God do something good for us. He produces the changes in us to allow our hearts to be ready for what He believes is good for us and He blesses all of mankind - all the time (whenever He believes it is right); whether they do good or not.

We don't deserve His love!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The first of many...?

Hello blogosphere. I'm a 23 year old art student currently residing in California. I'm also a pretty devout Christian and I am on this earth as Christ's student. I fail miserably some of the time but for the most part I can safely say that I succeed because of His grace and His love for me that I can't turn away or get away from; no matter how hard life can get (for me personally and for others).

Anyway, I started this blog as a way to share my Christian journey with the world and share some of the wisdom I've gained over the years with other people. I don't intend on teaching anyone anything because I realize that to teach, for me, would mean that I know and I don't know anything concretely. If there is anything I do know, it's that we are always learning in life and it's best to stay humble about what we think we can teach.

One thing I want to share with Christians right now would be to start a prayer journal. I just got this amazing journal from a wonderful lady at my church. She participated in a Secret Santa thing for the young girls in our congregation and I was one of those young girls unknowingly waiting for this clandestine article to befall my lap and I would either get excited or be filled with dread not really knowing how to respond. Thankfully, I praise God for what I did receive, the two gifts she gave me were exactly what I wanted in my heart. A placard displaying Jeremiah 29:11 beautifully, reassuring me that God has a plan for this silly, social anxietied-girl, and a beautiful journal (AND I MEAN BEAUTIFUL); every page is designed differently. I find myself not really wanting to use it nor write in its pages. I don't even want to guess how much it cost. It also has quotes from the Bible and notes about God on different pages. It's really an upgrade from my 99 cent journal I bought from the local drug store.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. Whether your journal is from a 99 cent store or the best Christian book place around, this journal is a journal you start from a heart that wants to remember and record the miracles of our Father in our lives (because you know just how forgetful and grumbly we, as humans, can be). It's a great way to be reminded to expect from the Lord; don't just pray and walk away.

I got the idea listening to a Charles Stanley podcast. His instructions were to write in it with prayers, and cross out that prayer neatly once God answers it (don't scribble it out) and put the date He answered it. He said that this journal could even be something you keep and give to your children one day. That was the kicker for me! Not only was I excited to see God move in my life and looked forward to crossing some things out, I, with all my heart, hope and pray that if I ever have children or adopt children, that I could give them something that will bless them to want to pursue a relationship with our Lord.

As I was writing this my mother popped into the kitchen and I was really annoyed, Haha, I just had to to share that because I don't want this to be the kind of journal where I am just "Oh so Christianly," because, like I said, I fail miserably some of the time. No, but I love my mom. She struggles with depression, but one of the things I wrote in my journal was to, "Please make my mom herself again. And turn her into a disciple of Christ." Well, she's been feeling better these days and more like herself. It's really all to God's glory. I had been praying that for a long time now but it just seems like my heart changed when I started praying about it through writing it down in my journal.

Yeah, and from one of the pages of my new journal:

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:3

It's so perfect for what I was just talking about; praying and then expecting from the Lord.

This is just an introduction, I suppose. I wave my right hand in your direction :)

Until the next post,

"For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

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