Sola Scriptura – Lundie Style

I am pretty sure I have written about Sola Scriptura (“by scripture alone”) before. I believe it was in the context of the Seventh Day (Sabbath) being the true Sabbath. I’m still not 100% sure where I stand on the whole “day of worship” and “Sabbath” issue – but that’s not what this post is about.

After hearing it from a couple different places, I have decided that my morning time with my Bible will be just with a journal and my Bible. I have had a lot of white noise when it comes to what it means to be a Christian. While there are a lot of really good books out there by people expounding on what Christian life should look like, I have come to a place where I need to weed out the interpretations of others and take some time to read for myself*.

I’ve decided to start with the book of John. I read a chapter (or a portion of a chapter if it’s long) and just let it sink in. I read it a few times, then I journal about my impressions.

Interestingly enough, I hear this same message today from what I read.

John 4:39-42

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay at their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many of them to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe because we have heard him ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Savior of the world.”

So, that’s where I am today, and for this season — spending long enough to hear His message for myself, not just because of what someone else tells me.


*PS: Technically, I probably believe more in Prima Scriptura rather than Sola Scriptura, but I am SOOOO far from having a debate on these issues that this is where I will end my commentary on the topic.

Thinking About Things

Excerpts from Romans 7:21 – 8:16
It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you…. So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family — calling him “Father, dear Father”. For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.

Truths from this that I want to highlight (and remember):

  • I have a sinful nature. It’s part of the package I got when I was born, due to the Adam & Eve thing… I will not be rid of this sinful nature until heaven. It will continue to be a factor in my life until then. Sometimes I feel that God blames me for not being perfect – for being born with this sinful nature. But God doesn’t condemn me for having that sinful nature. In fact, he sent Jesus to free me from the obligations to it.
  • When I get lazy and revert to my “natural state”, my sinful nature emerges and my thinking drifts to sinful things, I fall into doing sinful things, and I feel “hostile to God”.
  • That state of hostility is not irreversable. I have “no obligation whatsoever to do what my sinful nature urges [me] to do”. Once again I’m reminded that I have the power to choose. I often feel like I am a slave to my feelings. I get tired of fighting against the fear, worry, anger, frustration that I feel. But Jesus did what he did so that I have a choice.
  • As I am reading in “The 4:8 Principle”, I have to exercise that choice, consciously, to think about things that please the Spirit.

So, that’s my goal today….to be conscious of my thoughts. To move them onto God, and things that please Him.

Exposure

Sometimes when I finally “get it” it hurts. My heart hurts from the joy, sadness, relief, wonder. I am in disbelief that God just talked to me. Little ol’ me. He just put things into place in front of me in a way that clicked. The best kind of learning. The joy of dots being connected in my mind and heart. No, not the discovery of the meaning of life, but almost.

I had one of those moments this morning. My heart hurts with the joy of wanting to just tell everyone exactly what happened, how it happened, in the hopes of sharing that kind of moment with others. I know I can’t re-create it. I think it was the infinitesimally brief moment of connection with God. Any more than that and I think it would literally kill me.

Several nights ago I got another brief message that I recognized as “from God”. The message was simple. “Expose yourself” (in relation to Him). I’ve started to realize that these mini messages can mean any number of things. Does that mean “expose” in the sense that I need to be more brutally honest about myself TO God? Or does that mean “expose” in the sense that I need to be more exposed to God as a form of input – face time with God. Though I am trying to improve on both areas, the latter seemed the more important.

Since I don’t have a regular morning devotional book, and I’m not currently using any kind of regulated Bible reading plan, I spent a day or so mulling over what more exposure to God would mean. I settled on reading the Gospels. I haven’t spent time there in a long time.

As I’ve recently shared, I struggle with legalism, and yet any mention of the Law in the Bible throws up a mental road block. Today I was reading in Matthew 5. Verses 17-20 are where I found my “a ha!”. I want to share my journal entry because, well, I want to put it out there in case someone else needs the same message I got today.

The verse I read in my version of the NLT

Matthew 5:17-20 NLT
[Jesus talking here – giving the “Sermon on the Mount”] “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s law will remain until it’s purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. but I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!”

My Journal Notes:

“September 19, 2008
Matt 5:17-20
Did Jesus say all of this to highlight the “old way”? He’s talking about your/our ranking in the K of H, then closes saying unless we’re perfect following the law we’re out of luck anyway…

It’s hard sometimes because Jesus’ death changed it all, so it is confusing to me to read his words to know if what he says is part of the old or the new.

God has absolute requirements (the law). Those requirements have literally no way of being met.

God can’t change who He is. Those requirements are facts. Laws of God are Laws of Nature. He didn’t arbitrarily choose them, they just are. Jesus came to fill the requirement so we could have that relationship with God.

This is the part that swirls my brain.
— God and sin can’t coexist – it’s one of the “rules”, “laws”, “facts”.
— God’s “laws” are just examples of many many ways to illustrate what sin/evil/wrong is.

Jesus, in the rest of chapter 5, was establishing that he wasn’t a dissenter, a rabble-rouser, a radical trying to change the truth about God. He was telling the people that the God of the Jews is still the same God, his laws are even more difficult (impossible) to keep, but still to be desired. They [the laws] were still in force and always will be. Laws = Right. But he came to fulfill them because we are not capable. He is the SOLUTION to: How can God and I be in a close relationship when I am a sinful human and God cannot be connected with sin?”

Legalism in my life is when I think that I somehow can work harder to meet God’s requirements of perfection. Any striving I do in that area leaves me bitter and angry. I will NEVER be able to modify my behavior in a way that is good enough. Never. If I end there, then I’m miserable.

God so badly wants to be with me (us) anyway that he worked up a plan that would take care of his laws and would restore our relationship. That plan was Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the requirements (laws) with his perfection, took the (undeserved) punishment for sin FOR us. Because of Jesus, I do not have to struggle to live up to anything in order to be connected to God. God is not repelled by my sin any longer. If I accept all this (everything I’ve written here), then Jesus’ life and death are EVERYTHING to me. It’s my way out of legalism. It’s my restoration. It’s my hope.

Hey, guess what! That’s “Good News”! 😉

Seriously, though, I know what I have written is very simple to some. Being stuck in legalism is nasty. It’s a place of “not getting it”. So many voices saying “But it CAN’T be that simple…”. I think it is.


– – – – – – – –

Post Script:
The K-Love verse of the day…

This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
~ 1 John 4:10, NLT

God and People

The message last week in church (will post a link if I can find the video) was inspired by John Ortberg’s book, “When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box“.  It’s had me thinking this week, as I struggle with priorities.  There’s just too much to do in my life, how do I decide what the important stuff is?

The answer is: God & People.  These are the two things that do not “go back in the box” at the end of this game we call life.  I don’t know why I was surprised to learn this considering Jesus said that very same thing when asked what the most important commandment was:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

– Mark 12:29-31

That’s got me asking myself what I am doing to improve my relationships in these areas.  The 60-60 Experiment is all about me and God.  Last night, before bed I read this verse, which just affirmed this idea:

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

– Psalm 16:11

That’s the “way of life”.  Having the joy of God’s presence, living with Him.  Forever.  Pretty cool.

The rest is about helping other people to find that out too.

What a Woman Can Do

A wise woman builds her home; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

There is so much building we can do as wives and mothers that we may not realize. And in the same way, we can destroy. And though it’s nice, it doesn’t require an “on board” spouse to be a builder. We can begin on our own. God will grant us the wisdom if we just ask Him for it.

Father, please guide my heart and my hands today. Let me be a builder, not a destroyer. Help me to see where I most need to build.

Thank you.

What do I get out of this relationship?

1 John 4:7-19 NLT

Loving One Another

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real lovenot that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.


Psalm 46:4-7 NIV

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

Psalm 25

  1. To you , O Lord, I life up my soul.
  2. I trust in you, my God!  Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
  3. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
  4. Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord, point out the right road for me to follow.
  5. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.
  6. Remember, O Lord, your unfailing love and compassion, which you have shown from long ages past.
  7. Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth; look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
  8. The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
  9. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way
  10. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.
  11. For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins.
  12. Who are those who fear the Lord?  He will show them the path they should choose.
  13. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the Promised Land.
  14. Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him.  With them he shares the secrets of his covenant.
  15. My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies.
  16. Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress.
  17. My problems go from bad to worse.  Oh, save me from them all!
  18. Feel my pain and see my trouble.  Forgive all my sins.
  19. See how many enemies I have, and how viciously they hate me!
  20. Protect me!  Rescue my life from them!  Do not let me be disgraced, for I trust to you.
  21. My integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.
  22. O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles.

My brain is getting old…

Being influenced by my friend Beth, I am working on memorizing Romans 5:1-11 (the verses that I quoted a few days ago).  There’s no better way to write it on my heart, than to ingrain it on my brain, right?

Are there any verses that you have found have changed your life when memorized and meditated on?

We’ve been having a discussion on what it means to have a renewing of our mind.  I think this is one good step in the right direction.

Time to allow God to do the New Thing!

Now, if I can just get my rusty gears turning.  This mommy brain of mine is a lot more fuzzy than it used to be!

I get it.

I get it. The Good News. I think I’m finally getting it.

Romans 5:1-11 (NLT)

Faith Brings Joy
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

My precious Jesus. I get it. Please, please, please, help me keep it!

Galatians – Part 1

I’m reading Galatians right now and want to just note here some verses that impacted me and that I really need to “digest”.

And yet we know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ – and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.

But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Galatians 2:16-21

  • It seems to not be a surprise to Paul if we try to be made right with God through faith, yet fail. He doesn’t seem to go too far into the idea, except to say it’s not Christ that led us to sin. He says we make ourselves guilty if we try to go back and be “right” by “works”.
  • The instruction in this passage is this: I need to live my life by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. And not disrespect grace.

That’s one of the hardest things for me to understand. Living under grace. Christ died for a purpose. To save me. To save each one of us who wants to be saved. His death accomplished something. And it did away with something.

I really want my behavior to reflect my understanding and appreciation of that. I just don’t think I “get” it yet. The impact of grace in my life should be evident, right?