God never tires of forgiving us

House under the stars from istock photos

House under the stars from istock photos

 

True peace comes and washes guilt away completely when we realize that God never tires of forgiving us. Being absorbed in Christ is trusting in His beauty, His righteousness, His approval.

Faith means trusting God’s wisdom in our lives and resting in the knowledge that there is more to life than we can possibly know, more to circumstances than we can possibly realize, more to our present moment than we can possibly appreciate.

In Christ, we receive the full riches of complete understanding. That gives us peace. In the meantime, we appreciate that the Lord shackles our dreams, aspirations, prayers until that appointed time when the Word proves them good, right, and true.

 

lady bugA life in Christ can expect hardship. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:2)

Modeling Christ powerfully reveals itself in how we respond to difficult circumstances in life — bearing pain without complaint, enduring insult without retaliation, suffering shame without bitterness. Instead of enduring pain, we can embrace it.

God provides suffering as one who presents a gift. It is a way of allowing us to live up to the truth we have already attained in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:16) It is only then we discover that in our weakness, God’s strength is perfected. In tears, God molds character, perseverance, and hope. For these reasons, we “press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.” (Phil 3:12)

Single seed juniper by Vincent Ting

Single seed juniper by Vincent Ting

– Thoughts and prayers by Lori Malnes -

Because we live in this world of sin, we hear so much about the tragedies and trials going on in people’s lives on the news, from our neighbors, from our co-workers, on the sidelines of playing fields.

I have been blessed with knowing Jesus my whole life – and I cannot imagine a life without a relationship with Him. I wonder, though, how people deal with the challenges and heartbreaks that occur in their lives when they don’t have God as their rock – God who gives hope – God who gives comfort? What do they cling to? What do they stand on?

Doesn’t that make the need to share Jesus, to tell others about our great God, all the more urgent and important?

I know I cannot shove God down people’s throats, even though I know their lives would have that sure footing, that peace that goes beyond any circumstance.  But I can be daily conscious of the opportunities to share Him with my words, actions, and life.  I live in this world of sin as a foreigner – heaven is my home – and I want to be a part of making heaven home to others, too!!

1 Thessalonians 1:5
Our good news didn’t come to you only in words.  It came with power.  It came with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Dear wonderful Spirit, You make the Word powerful. It is You who works in the hearts of people. Thank You for the power You bring through Your Word. Thank You for the opportunities to share You and Your truths with others. Thank You for being my Rock and my Hope! Use me to make heaven the home for others in my life – Thank You!! Amen.”

 

Other posts:

Deferring Hope on a Reliable Source

Adventures can lead to see God’s handiwork

Rory McIlroy, the PGA Championship, and being right with God

Professional golfer Rory McIlroy came back to win a stunning victory in the PGA golf tournament a few weeks ago. Despite weather delays and difficult conditions, a thrilling battle ensued on the final round with the last shot played in near darkness.

I enjoy playing golf ever since my father taught me how to swing a club. My parents still have pictures of me swinging a sawed-off 3-wood with electrical tape for a handle. Back in the days when a 3-wood was made of real wood, I can still remember hearing the crack of the hickory when my wood hit the ball into the air.

While watching golf on television, I began to draw a comparison between Rory McIlroy, the PGA Championship, and being right with God.

The world says that everybody has the ability to play golf. The key is to learn and to practice. Par is the standard score from which to judge a golfer’s success. Those willing to take the time and energy to learn have the potential to be able to attain that score. Only God can determine what the par is for each individual. Sometimes during the course of a game, the golfer will hit the ball into the water. Sometimes it’s the golfer’s fault and sometimes it’s how the wind blows. The player must suffer a penalty stroke and it becomes very difficult to par the hole. The good news is that there is another hole to play. Every player is encouraged to keep trying until the round is over and hope that God is merciful with your score.

The Bible teaches a different perspective.

A Christian believer who trusts in God’s promises from the Bible, LOVE to play golf. The key is not on how you play the game, but who is playing for you. Par requires perfection. This means that every hole requires a hole-in-one and there are eternal consequences associated with failure. A Christian believer comes to the knowledge that there is no possible way for success. Thankfully, God provided a substitute in Christ. His life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the standard of perfection. Faith receives his score of perfection in place of our scores of imperfection. A life in Christ joyfully plays golf for the sake that this activity brings God great joy. The pressure is off. The trophy has already been won.

IMG_0515

Jeremy ready to launch a drive on the practice range.

When sharing God’s Word with others, we can emphasize the joy and peace of what Christ has already done for us. We can emphasize the positives of God’s promises as the object of our faith versus the stresses of trying to look like a PGA champion.

Portions of this post taken from “How Playing Golf is a Picture of Mormonism

In another post written by tilm.org blogger, Mark Cares writes about the seriousness and extent of sin.

The Good Doesn’t Outweigh the Bad

“Although Moses did a lot of good, that goodness did not give him a pass. He suffered some major consequences. When you think about it, that holds true not just in God’s courtroom, but in courtrooms around the world.  When a good and upstanding citizen breaks the law, he or she isn’t given a pass. They still get speeding tickets. They still receive prison sentences. The good they do does not cancel or outweigh the bad. Sin – all sin – is serious. There are no misdemeanors when it comes to sin. Not only is every sin a felony, every sin is a capital crime. Every sin is deserving of the death penalty. That is something that we need to remember for ourselves. That is something that we need to emphasize with our LDS friends. We need to do that because only when people see the serious straits that they are in will they become serious about getting help.” (Click here to read more.)

Platforms or dreams: How God views ambition

Dreamers take risks.

A writer exposes their soul. A musician offers a gift. A coach wants to make a difference.

They willingly place themselves on display and dares to dream with quiet ambition.

Dreamers desire influence.

The creative desire an audience. Leaders desire followers. Craftsmen desire consumers.

Are there not aspirations associated with dreams? What fuels human ambition to capture an audience, grow a business, or win a game or two?

God does not seem to disparage ambition, but He does give warning to the self-ambitious.

Ambition prompted Paul to preach the gospel (Rom. 15:20) and God nods his head in approval.

Six times the Bible warns against “selfish ambition” causing God to shake his head in disapproval.

Vain conceit and envy seem to be the tag words associated with ambition that centers on self. God directs his concern on glory. When glory is directed to God it is good. It is both God-pleasing and beneficial for the giver.

God can handle praise far better than we can. When glory is misdirected back to our selves, it feeds our pride. Ambition turns to self-ambition. The insatiable appetite for praise, affirmation, or appreciation misdirects our focus. We lose sight of the fact that God is the sole author of all blessings. He draws the audience. He brings the followers. He is the control of the victories.

For Christians, when we seek to build platforms, what is our ambition?

[In a recent article, "Every Platform an Altar" Ann Voskamp, a well-known author, thoughtfully addresses ambition that will cause every aspiring author to be both uncomfortable and soul-searching.]

God created engines within human beings that require fuel to make it go. Is ambition a type of fuel that creates the desire to practice, to not give up, to build a platform, to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

The Apostle Paul, whose ambition was to preach the gospel, was also inspired by God to write,

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” (1 Thess. 4:7)

Martin Luther, whose ambition was to bring people back to God’s Word, wrote,

When riches come, the godless heart of man thinks: I have achieved this with my labors. It does not consider that these are purely blessings of God, blessings that at times come to us through our labors and at times without our labors, but never because of our labors; for God always gives them because of his undeserved mercy. For, as we have said above, he uses our labor as a sort of mask, under the cover of which he blesses us and grants what is his, so that there is room for faith and we do not imagine that by our own efforts and labors we have achieved what is ours.” (“What Luther Says” ed. Ewald M. Plass)

Is it wrong to own a business, to write a book, to record music, to be an Olympic champion?

(I follow the blog of Susan Dunklee, a U.S. Olympic biathlete, who writes about training and competing.)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)

Dreamers take risks. God places the desires in our heart, whatever they may be, and encourages us to be ambitious in carrying them out. This is his will, his purpose, and for his good pleasure. The end result is for his glory — no matter how small or large it may be.

In our ambition, we can ask one simple question, “Whose applause or approval are we seeking?”

I look forward to reading your comments about ambition. Do you struggle like me in trying to define the difference between godly ambition and self-ambition in our lives? What helps you?