Sunday, July 17, 2011

John 14:12

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father."

How powerful is this statement! Christ has given us the authority to do even greater works that what He has done! We have the authority to heal and cast out demons. We have the God in us and for us whom parted the Red Sea and created our inmost being.

And let me tell those who are doubting this authority right now - I have seen demons come out of human bodies. I have seen God use my prayers and an elderly man's faith to heal his twisted knee right before our eyes. This is not of my authority and God know's it's not to brag - I just need you to know, you have to know, our God is big and He is powerful. He really can move the mountains and heal our broken hearts. He really can answer prayers and show us His power in the most real and unexpected ways! Not just 2000 years ago when Jesus walked on the earth! He did it two years ago when I was in Guatemala, He did it last week when I got the best opportunity and everything worked out for me to move back to Atlanta, and He did it this morning when He met me right here in my bed and wrapped me in His love. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and be with us, for God's sake, don't forget about Him! Pray to the Holy Spirit every once in a while. Demand the power of God to be shown in this place, where ever you are. He will be there, I guarantee it.
Also, There are so many more Christians now than in His time - we can make such an impact together... if we feel like it. Sometimes I feel like Christians (very much including myself) are getting lazier and lazier. I mean, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, all his followers wanted to do was preach and do good works. Of course they still had to eat, drink, sleep, and many of them fell in love and started families.

So what is our excuse?

At the Pentecost (Acts 2), shortly after Christ went to Heaven, more people became followers of Christ than in the 3 years of His ministry on this earth!

So what makes them so different from us?

Yes it is true that not all of us are called to be preachers - but we can still love and be open about our faith and prepare ourselves for when opportunities to share it arise! We are given the most real and powerful authority on earth! Let's use that. Let's remember why we're here. It's not for us, for crying out loud! It's for Him who died for us!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Big 21

So, I must admit, having strep throat on my 21st birthday wasn't the best. But I did have some of my best friends, my awesome family, and my handsome boyfriend there to help me feel better. Oh, and this prayer from my dad:

"Happy Birthday, Julia, 21! Thank you, God, for a daughter who is such a delight. Thank you for making her just the way she is.

I am so fortunate to have a daughter who loves you, loves people, that you love well through her as a great friend because people see Jesus in her, and loves life in general. I am fortunate to have great memories that she was so loving and vivacious growing up, loved her parents, and was even so very cute physically and personality-wise. I am fortunate that she has gradually become more and more responsible as a child, teen, and young adult. I am gratified that she and Cindy have been and still are such good friends. I can't believe my youngest is now 21.

I feel first of all greatly blessed by You, thankful, humbled that you would entrust her to us all of these years, joyful that she is turning out this way, sad for any opportunities that I missed to be with her or closer to her along the way, gratified that we have the relationship that we do now, confident in that you have planned for her in her role in your greater story.

My desires for Julia are- a few great friends that love her unconditionally for life; a husband that does that plus provides for her real needs well, appreciates her great heart and how we all see you in her, and has fun, joy, and ministry together as a great partner; work/ministry opportunities to use her gifts, her heart, and her love to fulfill her unique design and rol in your story; children to love, raise in Christ, and enjoy; finally I desire for her things so great that I can't even imagine, that Genesis 21:6 will be true for her- And Sara said, 'God has made me to laugh, so that ll who hear will laugh with me.'

Happy birthday, Julia, 21! Thank You for a daughter who is such a delight. Thank you for making her just the way that she is."

As you can imagine, we were both in tears and each other's arms by the time he finished reading this to me. Fathers, don't let your kids go another day without telling them how proud they are of you. Happy Father's day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some thoughts about the "Lamb of God"

John 1:29- The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

This verse got me thinking about just a few of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled by coming to this Earth, living among us, and dying for us. When the Apostle John calls Jesus the "Lamb of God," he is referring to how Jesus will fulfill the prophecies and symbolism of the passover lamb.

Leviticus 1:3-4- "If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish... and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him."
"Make atonement"- Hebrew form is "kipper." This is of fundamental importance for what the ritual of sacrifice achieves by the shedding of blood. The term means both the removal of sin and appeasement of wrath (expiation and propitiation). This is done so that the sacrificed animal dies instead of the offerer.

What's also really cool is in Leviticus 2:1, when the grain offering (offering of petition or praise) is being described, one of the necessary elements is frankincense, which was also one of the gifts presented to Jesus by the three Magi.

In Leviticus 3, the peace offering is described. This is really neat, because it was a time to remember and reaffirm the covenant relationship between the Lord and Israel. It was also a time of communion, such as the "Last Supper." Jesus shared with his disciples where he broke the bread as his body and drank the wine as his blood. It was the last time this offering needed to be done before the final offering of the Lamp of God. He broke his body and shed his blood so that we would no longer need to make burnt offerings nor grain offerings nor peace offerings.

This was also the start of the "New Covenant" between God and Israel (Christians). This covenant is summarized in Hebrews 8. It says that God will "be merciful toward their iniquities, and will remember their sins no more." Jesus's sacrifice made it possible for us to have a personal relationship with God that required no more sacrifices, just recognition, acceptance, and faith in the final sacrifice of the blemishes Lamb of God.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Here's a thought.

Ok I just thought of this concept and need someone to help me (If you don't believe in predestination, I don't feel like arguing right now):
My dad brought up the verse in Psalm 32:9 which says, "Don't be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you." He said he read this and thought "THIS is why not everyone is saved, because our love would mean less to God because we would just be walking around like a mule lead by a bit and have no say in it all."
However, I brought up the point that whether it's one person or every person on earth, it means the same to God. If he predestined us (regardless), giving us the ability to love him, and then we continued to love him and follow him by utilizing our free will, then it would make no difference whether it was part or all of his creation that he predestined. Romans 8:30 says, "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." I mean, I always understood that verse, but now that I think about the fact that it brings God just as much joy when one person becomes a Christian as it would if the whole world was Christians, I just don't understand why he didn't predestine everyone. And if Ephesians 1:11-12 is true ("In him we are also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of hom who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.") then I don't get why all of Creation was not chosen by the Creator to bring him glory!
I'm not sure if this even makes any sense and I know it's not going to change the way I live, I'm just curious. If any one has any thoughts, please send them my way. I'd love to know what you're thinking right now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

John 1:1-18

I'm trying to lead a Bible Study of a few girls this summer and we will be going through two chapters of John a week and a chapter of Crazy Love (by Francis Chan) a week. So, to help keep me accountable of my daily readings, I will be posting my notes on this blog! Enjoy!

John 1:

v. 1

"The Word" - Greek, Logos

Introduction of Jesus

"Word was with God"

"Word was God" -- Introduction of the Divine Trinity (Three in one)

v. 3

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (knowledge). The light shines in the darkness (sin), and the darkness has not overcome it (evil, Satan)."

We cannot be overcome by Satan if we are followers of Christ. We will stumble and go through hard times, but Christ will always prevail and will always use every situation in our lives for our greater good and His greater glory.

How does this fact encourage you to live?

v. 8

"He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light."

This is what we are called to do. We may not even know what we want to be when we grow up, but we should know that our purpose is to represent and share Christ.

v. 12-13

"But to all who did receive him, who believe in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will or man, but of God."

This is our Salvation.

"Receive Him" - Not only an acceptance of facts (for "receive" implies more than merely understanding), but welcoming him and submitting to him in a personal relationship.

"Born, not of blood… but of God"- Neither physical birth nor ethnic decent nor human effort can make people children of God- only by God's supernatural work (adoption).

v. 14

"The Word became flesh."- The most amazing even in all of History. Our Creator, our Almighty, Holy, Eternal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Son of God (aka God Himself) took on human nature and lived among human beings.

Philippians 2:6-11 (Kenosis Passage- Greek for "emptiness")- "Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped (Garden of Gethsemane), but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross…"

"Made himself nothing" - Greek kenoĊ means "empty, pour out" or "to give up status and privilege"- Christ had all the privileges of the king of the universe and gave them up to become an ordinary Jewish baby bound for the cross. He had every right to stay comfortably where he was in heaven, but his love drove him to a position of weakness for the sake of sinful mankind (whom he KNEW would reject him, spit on him, and torture him).

What does that mean for the way I should live?

v. 16-17

"And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

"fullness"- everything that Christ is and does and became

"grace"- God's unmerited favor that brings blessings and joy- free, undeserving gift

v. 18

"No one has ever seen God" in a full, complete way. There have been people who saw glimpses of God in the Old Testament, but never the fullness of His glory.

Before Jesus came to earth, the only ones who could get physically near God were the high priests. They had to go into the Holy of Holies ( totally clean and with a string tied to their ankle in case they weren't completely clean. Jesus's appearance on earth completely changed everything. People, not matter what ethnicity or ranking, could not tough him and hear him. And even now, we have the privilege and ability to speak directly to him! I often forget how much of an honor that is! Jesus came and died so that we could communicate with him and through that, we could share a joyous relationship!

Don't forget that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mark 9- The Transfiguration

It's been a while, but I couldn't keep this to myself.

"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, 'Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.' For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came ou of the cloud, 'This is my beloved Son, listen to him.' And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only."

How great it is to have the Glory of the Lord revealed specifically to you! Much of the reason for Moses and Elijah appearing before the Lord in flesh was to fulfill the laws of the prophets (Ex. 34:33-35: "When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD."), however, He chose to also bring with him three of his disciples!

I can just picture the radiation coming off Jesus and how terrified the disciples were. It is a wonderful thing to be in the Glory of God; emerged in His Beauty, but it strips you down bare. There is no hiding in the glowing presence of the Almighty. I am sure that I would have responded just like Peter and just blurt out something because I have no idea what to saw. Or, I would just stand in awe and say nothing like James and John. All along, they had been wanting to see their Savior as strong, mighty, and powerful, so He gave them just a glimpse of that. What a blessing!

Sit in the presence of you God today. Soak in his Glory. Drink up his holiness. You will not go away the same.