Monthly Archives: August 2009

Question

I had a great question from my last post about fellowship with God.  I thought it would make a wonderful post and I could reply better this way.

“I have two questions, well one question two parts: How do we get out of fellowship and why?”

 How do we get out of fellowship and why?  The believer gets out of fellowship with God when they sin or choose to live outside of the plan of God for their lives.  At the moment of faith in Christ, every believer is permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, and this indwelling presence becomes the believer’s resource for power and guidance.  When the believer chooses to sin they are separated from this power and guidance though the Spirit never stops indwelling them.  They are effectively out of fellowship and unable to go forward in the Plan of God, do the works of God or have His guidance until this fellowship is restored.  God has given the believer a simple procedure for being restored to fellowship with God in 1John 1:9  “If we confess our sins(our known sins), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness(our unknown sins).”  Because of the cross, God’s perfect integrity, righteousness and justice have been satisfied.  All our sins were imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ on that cross and God is now free to forgive.  Confession to God the Father alone, as often as we know we have sinned, is the procedure laid out in scripture to solve our personal sin issues.  Fellowship with God is restored because God is free to be faithful and just toward undeserving sinners based on the work of the cross.  The technical term for using 1John 1:9 is “rebound”.  Just like in basketball.  We are rebounding from our sins, grabbing the spiritual life and hitting the target. 
For more information on this doctrine you can go to http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d&sf=rea&did=34  Which has a very thorough explanation of rebound as well as many other problem solving devices as laid out in the word of God.  You can also order the book The Filling Of The Holy Spirit free of charge, which goes into much more detail and explanation than I have in my short summery.
I also recommend the audio lessons from last week that I referenced in my post.  You can find that short series at
http://www.gbible.org/ The Believer’s Responsibility Parts 1-6
  
Keep Sailing,
Mary

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Last Week Of August

We had a great week of lessons.  I was reminded of how easy it is to get lazy about rebound(1Jo1:9) and the filling of the Spirit.  It’s so important not to let hours go by out of fellowship.  We only get one day at a time and I’d like each day to have eternal value.  Time out of fellowship is lost but time walking in the Spirit has eternal value.  It’s pretty amazing that we even have the opportunity to have fellowship with God each day. 

The Lessons were also great motivation to keep reaching for being filled with God the Holy Spirit more consistently and mindfully and to let go of that ever present desire to make myself better.  More and more, I see how much the Christian way of life is God doing all the work and me just enjoying the ride.   How much better it is to see the work of God in me than my own exhausting efforts to fix all my flaws.  It was a challenging and freeing week.  As usual.

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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First Week Of School

It begins again.  We are having a great week!  Still taking it one day at a time and enjoying ourselves. 

Caleb was very excited when I explained that history is really His-Story.  He loved making a compass and thought it was really cool.  Samantha too.  It’s been a nice beginning to the school year. 

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Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Moving?

It appears that another military move may be on the horizon.  This knowledge of impending change brought about a very familiar cycle of thoughts and feelings.  Where will we go?  How long will this take?  What does the future hold?  After the questions, in come the secret hopes and desires.  Since we get to list our most desired places to be stationed I get very fixated on hoping for those destinations and fantasizing about what it would be like to live ____ or ____.  Then shortly after that first brush of excitement.  The fear starts nagging, the feelings of uncertainty and worry that we won’t get what we want that we won’t be happy.  And thus starts a cycle of stress and distress.  I’ve decided this isn’t necessary.  Really, Go figure!

While listening to my lesson tonight.  Pastor was talking about laying aside our will for God’s.  It sort of hit me right there that my main source of stress in each of our moving experiences was my desire to have things the way I want.  If I laid aside the desire for any specific outcome and instead focused on being excited for what God has already chosen, I might go into this whole thing with stability instead of fear.  I’ve decided I don’t “want” any particular outcome no dream destinations or care over when it happens.  I “want” to ride this one out with the Lord.  I’ve seen enough to know that He has carefully planned everything and never left me or failed me.  I don’t want my plan this time.  I want His. 

So, I’m VERY excited!  I’m going to be where the Lord sends me.  It’s never where I expect and always full of challenges.  All my roads lead to eternity with God anyway. 

I’ll keep you posted,

Mary

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Meet The Robinsons

Meet_the_robinsons[1]Meet The Robinsons is a Disney animated film for children. 

I really like the movie, it’s cute.  The best thing of all is that I find a couple of doctrinal principles in the movie that make it even more fun.  The movie is about an orphan boy who is an inventor.  His name is Louis.  All of his inventions are disasters and just when he is going to give up completely a series of events alters the course of time and sends him on an adventure.  During one scene he is with his future family and doesn’t know it yet.  They are a crazy mix of characters all quirky and intense.  During dinner he is asked to fix one of his future inventions that makes PB and J sandwiches.  He works on it and then when he tries it, the whole thing explodes and PB and J fly all over room covering everyone!  He is completely crushed and yells out that he knew he couldn’t do it, and he’s so sorry, but the whole room erupts in praise.  “Brilliant Failure!” one of the family exclaims.  “I’ve seen better! someone else roars out.  He was amazed at their excitement over this failure.  “From mistakes you learn, from success, not so much” they pointed out.  And then they explain how their motto was “Keep Moving Forward”  You always take each failure as just one step toward success.  You always keep moving forward no matter what.  I thought it was really cool.  

It reminded me of my own Royal Family and how they are always right there ready to spur me on and tell me to Keep Moving Forward!

Keep Sailing,
Mary

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Failure Adds Confidence Part 2

I really needed the lesson we had tonight in Bible class.  It is titled “Anyone Who Comes To Christ Will Certainly Not Be Cast Out”Today was another day where I was guilty of one of the failures I find most horrid and shameful in my relationship with God.  I couldn’t seem to help thinking of the verses that would condemn such actions and it brought me pretty low.  I also tried with all my might to rebound and apply the doctrines I know so well and it was a struggle.  It was a struggle because the guilt would come at me again and again and the doubt that God could really feel the same about me after I had displayed such weakness (especially toward Him).  Lucky for me this was the topic I was already going to talk about.  You see, this has been coming at me in several different forms over the last couple of weeks.  If it’s not one horrible failure it’s another, and not the usual ones or the more “moral” issues, it’s the sins I fear the most.  The ones that relate directly to my relationship with God and causing me to question if it is really even possible that I am a believer going forward.  How can one such as me, weak and untrusting, positively reckless in my capacity for evil, be special to God, beloved and encouraged to go forward?  Under my recent state of mind, in the more low moments I wonder if there is any reward left to receive. 

Despite these feelings, I am convinced that this is a very important stage in the Christian way of life.  It’s not just some attack by evil forces to get me discouraged.  I think it’s a training zone that all must pass through.  It is in this place that only failure can give me confidence.  Sure, I am quite confident in my standing with God just so long as I haven’t had a noticeable failure but as soon as I mess up big time I have no confidence in my standing with God until the sting fades.   I have always heard the phrase “being right with God” and automatically put emphasis on self.  I think to myself, I must stay right with God to have a good relationship with God so that must mean I have to please Him with my behavior and unwavering faith to have continuing fellowship and have Him be proud of me as His child.  Only under those terms, God would have to chuck me, because I continually fail and He would have to be proud of me and then disappointed and finally just give up when I’ve finally done something bad enough.  These thoughts are anti-doctrine, anti-grace and spiritual insanity! 

The confident believer is confident not in their relationship with God but with God’s relationship with them.  When God called me beloved and approved He based it on His faithfulness and love, His Justice that is already satisfied at the cross.  My spiritual inadequacies, failures, sins whatever… were taken out of the way long before I was born.  Just as God is free to give me eternal life because of the cross, He is also free to maintain an unchanging relationship towards me based solely on His own performance, that of Jesus Christ.  Even when He needs to discipline, He isn’t disappointed in me.  He is maturing me, propelling me forward in love.  He just waits patiently till I’m willing to accept the grace for the worst of me and the hopelessness of my ability to put myself in good relationship with Him.  It takes rebound(1John1:9) in the face of guilt and for guilt, especially for the guilt.  The self thrashing and guilt is the greatest barrier to getting back in fellowship.  At some point, one I think I’m closer to, that jump back into fellowship and confidence in God’s approval of me will be like breathing. 

 And, if I’m ever going to be effective in spiritual battle and perseverance I can’t be without confidence.  That is what this training ground is for.  If I can maintain great confidence in the face of shattering failure.  I will be ready for what God wants to bring in my life.  He can’t put me in battles I am not ready for.  Great spiritual battles contain great failure and without the ability to know exactly what God is thinking of me, without absolute confidence in God’s relationship with me, I can’t fight.  He wants me to be in the game so I can share in His victory.   He suffered unimaginably to give this worthless creature all the blessings for time and eternity that He has prepared.   Everything about me that goes on into eternity is part of Him.  It’s His eternal life I’m going to live, His blessings, His righteousness. 

Thank You Lord.

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Failure Adds Confidence? Part 1

Failure adds confidence?  This seems sort of backwards on the surface.  You would think failure would cause insecurity but that is not the case in the Christian Way of Life.  When out of fellowship with God, failure does bring insecurity and self condemnation but when we are in fellowship, God uses failure as a launching pad for growth.  Failure brings us face to face with the impossibility of the self life(sin nature) to please God. 

The lesson of sin and failure isn’t doing better next time or finally overcoming sins.  It’s gaining confidence in God’s relationship towards us and His work to transform our lives.  God’s goal for me isn’t the eradication of sins and arrogance.  I think He is well aware of the fact that I’ll have a sin nature in my flesh till I die.  I think the goal is putting off the sin and arrogance we get so easily entangled in and living in the new nature through rebound(1John 1:9).  Since we get so easily entangled, we will have to put off the sin nature and it’s sins a lot. The sin nature isn’t going to get more righteous, it’s simply not possible to eradicate even one sin from it’s roster.  Even if we think we are on firm grounding because we are eliminating one sin after another in our experience it may just be that we have gotten really disciplined at avoiding the ugly sins we don’t like.  That doesn’t mean we are becoming more spiritual.  God isn’t more pleased with me because I sin less.  He is pleased with His New Nature inside me and my choosing to live in it and stay in it as much as possible. 

Living in my sin nature isn’t going to glorify God even if it cleans up it’s act.  The beauty of God’s plan in this is that the natural result of putting off the “old man” and putting on the “new” is less time lived in the sin nature and more time in the plan of God for my life.  There may be less actual “sins” committed but they will still be committed even if maybe less frequently.  We should never be shocked at the sins we commit or the arrogance we fall into.  We need to rebound and get back in the plan of God. 

Lets say for example that someone has a problem with gossip.  They know it’s wrong and they fall into it so easily but one day they become very convicted that they must stop gossiping.  So they work hard at stopping and they succeed.  Only now it’s not that they are living in the new man necessarily it’s that they have trained the sin nature to stop one particular behavior.  Not doing “bad” things can make life easier and less painful but it doesn’t make you spiritual.  As we get older we do tend to outgrow some of our more obvious flaws and learn to avoid the things that make us feel bad or cause negative consequences but yet again, the sin nature hasn’t actually gotten any better it’s just changed it’s operation.  We will actually believe that the better we behave the more pleasing to God we are.  This is a complete deception.  Spiritual living is living in the perfect new nature which cannot sin anyway.  The sin nature begs for our attention and tempts us continually and when we choose to listen to it and let it control our soul we sin.  When we choose to rebound(1John1:9) we listen to God the Holy Spirit and He controls our soul putting us back in fellowship.  Why am I repeating myself?  Mostly for my own benefit.  The whole process is repeated innumerable times till we die.  I can’t be reminded enough.  I never get tired of getting back in fellowship, it’s the sin nature I get tired of.  And if you say you have no sin (1John1:8) as in, you have conquered your worst sins one by one and have become more pleasing to God, then the Bible says the truth is not in you and you are deceiving yourself.  We never outgrow rebound and fellowship with God or the struggle to not live in the sin nature.  God being fully understanding of our dual natures made provision so that we would not ruin ourselves with the effects of the sin nature.   A way out, an easy transition from sin, to spirituality.  It always comes back to volition.  At every moment the choice is ours.   More on this subject next time.

Keep Sailing,
Mary

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