Tag Archives: Bible Doctrine

Resistance to Peace

No sooner do I find a measure of peace in homeschooling and I start to resist it, push it away.  Instead of constant insecurity, I find a new angle to obsess over and dedicate myself to working on, until I have no peace.  It’s like I can’t leave it alone, peace isn’t good enough, I want to DO something.  I’m finding that there is a lot of pleasure in the process of working on an area that usually brings insecurity.  That very process of thinking about it and obsessing over it makes me feel like I’m bringing it under control, that I have power over it. 

What I don’t want to do and what I think I resist most is believing what God says.  It goes back to not faith-resting.  I’m not convinced that I can’t control the outcome so I haven’t stopped trying.  Peace isn’t hard to have when I’m applying faith to God’s word about my life.  What I find interesting is that I don’t want the peace as much as I want control.  Peace is scary, as a friend of mine was pointing out this week.  Not having something to work on and take credit for is so opposite of human values.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it.  I’m sort of seeing peace now in the light of it’s always being there, it’s always an option.  The question is am I going to accept it/believe it on a daily basis or am I hoping that it’s a one time fix.  Peace like happiness is learned and is a daily choice.  I find that to be a challenge but I also know that going forward in the word of God day by day under the filling of the Holy Spirit and my right Pastor Teacher, with God as my perfect shepherd,will accomplish His work in me. 

Leaving today behind me and pressing on towards fellowship with God, learning Bible Doctrine, and living in God’s pre-designed plan for my life,

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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2010 Tucson Bible Conference

The Tucson Bible conference was amazing.  I came home exhausted but at the same time refreshed and more relaxed than I’ve been in a long time.  I’ve tried to get a post out but one thing after another has kept me from being able to write.  I think part of the problem is the inability to sum up.  There just isn’t any way to sum it all up and I’m not sure yet how to express how the lessons from the conference have affected me.  I took some time today to listen again to the first part.  There was something life changing once again in these conference lessons and it was mostly a shift in the way I think.  I don’t know how that will affect application at this point but the change in mental attitude is always first.   I caught a glimpse of how complete in Christ I really am.  I saw how perfect my relationship with God is, right now.  I could see that He has made it perfect, that He didn’t wait for me to get it right or do something worthy of Him.  It is an unfathomable love that would go to such lengths to restore fallen creatures even knowing they wouldn’t all respond.  To understand that we are restored to what God wants, right now, that there isn’t anything left for us to do but live in that truth… it was just amazing.  It was also very freeing to know that God isn’t waiting for me to do a great work for Him, I’m to focus on His great work because it is the only work that matters.  Even the great commission isn’t about a great work that we do but sharing with others His great work.  This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have great plans for us but once again it is His plan and His work that will accomplish it.  I have looked at my performance as not being enough, not enough prayer or application but I failed to look at His work in me as being complete.  He has never seen me as “not enough” after-all He paid an enormous price to make me perfect and complete.  As I go through the experience of having two natures this understanding has the potential to give me complete peace of mind even in great failure.  Another part of the conference that really stands out to me right now was the idea of being convinced about reconciliation and restoration.  Usually what happens is that I understand it but in the face of failing or falling on my face I am not convinced that God really is at peace with me and so it takes me a long time to get back up and go forward with peace of mind.  I can see that God is working on convincing me, that He’s really for me and wants me to live in the freedom He has purchased.

We made some new friends at the conference which was very exciting and we also got to spend time with our dearest friends which was very satisfying.  I may have more to say about it later so I’ll just keep it short today.

Keep Sailing,
Mary

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There Are No Points For Keeping Score

I’ve been blank lately with nothing to write about but I think I may have something finally to share.

  Recently I went through a difficult experience, one that I felt was more of a test for applying doctrine more than anything else.  The most disappointing thing about it was that nothing I did or tried to apply “worked” everything seemed a failure.  I thought, surly by now I should be able to apply doctrine under pressure and when I didn’t and could barely hang on to basic fellowship, I was angry and frustrated.  I found that this attitude leads to a danger zone of give-up-itis.  You hear that there is power and the life of Christ but you have decided that it just isn’t true or isn’t possible(for you).  God didn’t provide what you wanted in the way that you wanted it or in the way you had understood it should happen and so you figure God must be wrong.  I know that sounds ludicrous but in human arrogance we really think that our understanding is the ultimate measurement of truth.  If I understand God to be saying one thing but really I’m only understanding one quarter of it, and things don’t go the way I thought they should, what do I do?  I blame God and I don’t take into consideration that I cannot possibly have it all figured out.  If I daily need to have my mind renewed because I’m daily bombarded by cosmic viewpoint and can’t think divine viewpoint without daily doctrine, how can I think that I have God’s ways all figured out?  I can’t and I’m arrogant to think that I do. 

 In Bible class tonight and last Wed we have been studying what the Bible means by “losing your life” from Mat 10:39.  I can’t say that I really grasp it yet but one aspect really stood out to me, here is a quote “Many believers don’t want to lose the old life because they continue to have confidence in it”  I came to some conclusions when I heard that, and wrote some notes, these are in rough form since I jotted them down quickly:

You value your performance life, so you are bitter that God does not accept it. 

God does not value your performance.  He values your being filled with the Spirit and taking in Doctrine, and Knowing Him intimately.

You are keeping score based on what you think it means to think doctrine, apply doctrine or follow the rules of conduct that you think are the results of spirituality. 

Because I am keeping score and evaluating God’s word based on my own standards and performance during pressure I’m not operating in faith.  It’s much simpler than I’m making it.  Be filled with the Spirit, believe the Word, get to know God and don’t keep score or try and pass the test.  I cannot offer to God my performance as an offering.  He doesn’t want it any more than He wanted Cain’s wonderful vegetables.  He is the goal I’m to be after, not a glorious self. 

How incredible is the power of God’s word to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, to set right the thoughts of a person and bring them into relationship with God.  He is more incredible than there are words to express it. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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The Lego Analogy

I’ve embarked on a near impossible task.  I have about 7 gallons worth of mixed up Lego toys(thousands of pieces) and I’d like to put the sets back together and keep them apart from the miscellaneous Legos.  It’s rather daunting but will be worth it in the end(I think).  I was struck by the similarity between this task and learning doctrine.  Legos don’t come in big mostly assembled parts, they come in small individual mixed up parts.  In the same way, when we learn Bible doctrine, we learn one small thing at a time and before long as we put the small pieces together we see larger and larger portions of the bigger picture.  Whole doctrines become clear one small piece at a time.  Legos also come with instruction booklets which could be like the Pastor Teacher giving you each days set of  instructions “put parts a,b, and c with the previously constructed x,y, and z”.   It’s a loose analogy but a fun one just the same. 

We shouldn’t get discouraged by the slow growth or the small thing learned each day.  That is how we are supposed to grow. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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“With All Your Heart”

The greatest advice given to us from God is this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength”  This guarantees a fantastic life where all that God has desired for you and planned for you, He is able to bring to you.  We use words like election and predestination to make it easy to reference in short this very cool promise.   The more you get to know the God of the Bible the more you want to love Him.  It’s impossible not to be amazed at His plan and who He is.  You will never find another “god” who wants to give you everything and doesn’t want you to do anything but believe it and receive it.  Another “god” who created your soul purposefully and put it inside your body and loved you since before the world was even made.  Who was willing to be hurt and suffer more than you ever will, to solve the greatest problem you have, which is the inability to be with Him.  All because He wanted to be with you personally.  You’ll never find another belief system where it is all receiving on your end and all giving on God’s. 

That kind of grace does something to you.  It creates a sort of gratitude hunger.  You love God because He loves you and has given you so much.  You want to reciprocate with a furvent zeal.   Most people hit that moment and God never really sees them again.  They are off in the world trying SO hard to make God happy, all the while growing more and more miserable, bitter or just plain crazy.  They think that now it’s their turn to start doing things for God almost to try and pay Him back in a way, that it’s what a Christian should do, work, work, work, get busy for God go to church and “get active”.  They forget that this whole thing was about receiving what God has planned to give them since before the world was even made.  The way to give back to God is simply to continue to receive everything He is waiting to give you. Go to the place where you can learn His word daily, which reveals who He is and what His plan is all about.   The more you find out what He has for you the more you know how to receive it.   When He gives and our lives take on meaning and depth, He gets the glory because it comes from Him.  When we are busy working, we get the glory and things get screwed up.  It’s why you’ll find some scary bitter old Christians. 

When I talk about “all that God has planned to give you”, I’m not talking about new cars and big screen TV’s, although sometimes we get things like that too.  I’m talking about knowing why you are on this earth and finding out the thing that you absolutely love doing and can’t seem to stop only to discover that it’s what some people might call a “work” only for you is a passion almost like you have a supernatural gift in that area.  I’m talking about sufferings that start out as a sorrow and end in happiness to the point where  you would never have missed that experience for the world because it gave you insight into who God is and you gained depth(it doesn’t leave you wounded).  I’m talking about overcoming death and fear and insecurity.  It’s being a happy young or old person who on their dying bed is confident because God’s word was proved to be truth and God was so personal with them that they can recount the thousands of times He revealed Himself to them through things no one else could have known.  It’s knowing that “all God has planned” doesn’t end here, there is much much more after this life.  We will not be bored in the eternal state.  We will have incredible indestructible bodies and God will always have plans. 

This post took on a life of its own but I’m glad it did.  I have that outpouring of gratitude tonight, that inexpressible joy and it’s found its way into this post.  

Keep Sailing,
Mary

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Time of the Cross

We had a lesson this week that helped open my eyes more clearly to the purpose of this life or more exactly what isn’t the purpose of this life.

I am admittedly a romantic.  I’ve always held onto this desire for a certain kind of lifestyle.  For some it might be living in an urban setting or fulfilling a certain dream of their own but for me, it’s always been the tranquil country life with rolling green hills, farm animals and the old country house with the fireplace and the warm quilts, cozy kitchen and the soft loving cat.  Well, while there is nothing wrong with my desires they have nothing to do with God’s plan for my life.  As a military wife it’s my job to be ready to move when-ever or where-ever the Air Force sends us.  This means not getting settled in one place, this means, that particular dream is not a part of God’s plan for my life at this time.

In class, when Pastor was teaching about our lives being patterned after The Lord Jesus Christ’s on earth, and the fact that He always knew and welcomed that the Father’s plan was the Cross and never tried to live in any other plan during his life on earth, something clicked!  The Lord knew that a crown(as king of all the nations in the future) was His destiny but in order to receive the crown, He had to fulfill the Cross(The Father’s particular plan for His humanity).  I have also been promised a crown and a destiny that is wrapped up in His and I have also been given now and in the future, my own set of circumstances which constitute the fulfilling of a “cross”(participation in the Angelic Conflict) in my lifetime.  My life on earth was never supposed to be associated with earthly “crowns” and pursuing all that I consider the epitome of human existence.  My life as belonging to the Lord is supposed to be wrapped up in pursuing God’s plan for my life.  This life on earth is all about being the “time of the cross” not the time of the “crown”.  To the natural mind this may sound like some form of self imposed suffering but really what I’m talking about is quite the opposite.  I’m not talking about living the plain life and giving up all my earthly desires to live on some mental mountain top.  I’m talking about really and truly understanding that the treasures promised to me that come after the time of the cross which belongs to life on earth, are very real and go way beyond the dreams this life has to offer.  If I want a destiny better than the one I can dream up, one that contains actual happiness and reward, I have to understand that the Cross comes before the Crown, just as it did for The Lord Jesus.  The “crown” is a promise and part of it is the fantastic life that goes along with living in God’s plan right now. 

 The Bible says that  God’s plan ultimately brings unshakable happiness, contentment and an incredibly meaningful life here on earth and that there is nothing in the strictly human experience that brings lasting happiness.  I believe that there are things that bring temporary happiness but it always fades and we find ourselves restless or disappointed that the thing we have worked so long to get or achieve was empty in the end.  In fact, nothing on this planet was designed to satisfy our ultimate desire.  Truly unshakable happiness is God’s monopoly and it can only be found in Him.  Everything else is a vain pursuit for lasting contentment and happiness.  Sure, you might be happy when things are going well but be honest, human powered happiness fails when disaster falls or things don’t go our way. 

It’s hard to put into words what I’m trying to describe.  My life is about much more than my dreams.  There is a life beyond dreams.  I have experienced it in part but I have not arrived.  If my dreams fall into the Plan of God He gives them to me.  If He knows that they will make me miserable and something else will be best for me He does that instead.  His plan is perfect but baffling to someone on the outside.  How can death bring life?  How does disaster bring prosperity?  In God’s plan everything is opposite.  It really truly is.  Suffering and happiness  are inseparable on earth.  Without the Cross Jesus Christ’s crown would have ended when He died and all that we could hope for would be bottled up in life on this planet.  Because He endured the Cross and did it the Father’s way, He gets a crown that lasts forever and we get eternity.  The world tells us to hold onto our dreams and reach for them relentlessly  The Lord was also offered the world and all it’s kingdoms by Satan as a temptation to abandon the plan of the Cross.  The insidious thing about the world is that the system knows what it offers has no  lasting value, it’s empty and will leave you wanting more.  God offers you His plan which guarantees contentment and satisfaction but it also includes a measure of the “cross” individually tailored with suffering that brings blessing and it doesn’t make sense if you don’t understand what it’s all about.  The perfect loving God with a plan to give you all that He is.

What I’m getting at is, that I don’t want to miss out on fulfilling the purpose of my life in exchange for green pastures and chickens.  I can now see why those things, pleasant as they are in my mind, don’t compare to my life as it is now(I already have an amazing and challenging life) and what I have the opportunity to live in.  It would be wise to put those fantasies in God’s hands and let them go.  He loves me and always gives me His highest and best, be that outward blessing or suffering what ever I need to have capacity.  

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Notes on National Chaos

Our recent lessons have been on the subject of Why Chaos?  This subject turned to the reasons for National Chaos as well.  I’ve been learning a lot and thought I’d share some thoughts on the subject:

Good leaders and bad leaders mean nothing, it’s the spiritual maturity of believers in a nation that brings stability and freedom.  You can put all the right leaders in charge but if believers are not going forward in the plan of God chaos is the inevitable result.  What we see in the nation as chaos and downfall is really the result of a majority of Christians in the nation with no idea what the plan of God is really all about and who don’t know how to live it or refuse to do so.  It takes faith to put aside the petitions, political activism, and clamor about all the undeniable evil and loss of freedom in our day and trust that your daily intake of Bible doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit and walking in the Spirit on a moment by moment basis has national impact.  Mankind does not possess the power to bring blessing on their nation through will or desire or human action.  National blessing comes straight from God and is a result of spiritual maturity in a nation. 

Watch the other nations who go from Chaos to Chaos as they go from one form of leadership to another.  Watch the other nations who enforce morality on their citizens and have nothing but chaos and oppression to show for it.  I would love it if my believer friends and family would be less concerned with the democrats or the republicans and all the emails that tell the story of fear and evil and do as the word of God tells us and encourage one another all the more to be in Bible class and go forward in the plan of God reaching for the things ahead, the eternal.  The believer’s power is spiritual not political so don’t waste your time.  If you want to help your nation press on to living the spiritual life.  Trust the word of God that He will bless your nation because of you.  Trust Him that He will always do what is best for you no matter what condition your nation is in. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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