Throwback Thursday #14

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From a Facebook conversation I had in 2012.

Why Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist

I disagree with the statement that Jesus was a socialist. I think most Christians share the same view as I do on this, which answers your questions. Most Christians don’t believe that Jesus was a socialist, which is why there aren’t many Christians that are socialists. I see why people try to make this claim, though. There are many places in the Bible that Jesus (and apostles) told Christians to give their possessions.

In Matthew 19 (starting at verse 16), Jesus tells a rich man that if he sells all his possessions and gives to the poor, then he will have treasure in Heaven, and tells the man to follow Him. But the man was “sorrowful,” because he didn’t want to have to sacrifice all of his things to follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell the rich man to sell all this things and give to the poor because He was a socialist, Jesus told this man these things because He knew this man’s heart. He knew that He wasn’t good because only God is good (vs17). There were many people that claimed that they would follow Jesus wherever He would go, but when He asked them to follow Him, they couldn’t because they were too attached to worldly things (Matt. 8:18). One of the main reasons Christ tells his followers to give their possessions is because they are attached to these worldly things that pass away and not to Him who is eternal (and who gave them their possessions in the first place). In Matthew 19, Jesus continues by explaining to His disciples that it is difficult for a rich man to enter Heaven (vs23-24). This is because many rich people are materialistic and hold their treasures on earth, instead of in Heaven. In Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” and Matthew 6:19-24, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, you whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” He wants people to be able to give their possessions away so that they will serve HIM and not material things.

Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” I don’t know about you, but if I was in need, I would want there to be someone who would help me out, whether with clothing, or money, or a place to stay. Therefore, I should also be willing to help others who are in need.

God showed us grace by sending His perfect, pure son to die in our place, so that we could be counted clean and spend eternity with Him. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8, that we should excel in grace also (vs. 7), to show others that our love for them is genuine (vs. 8). James 2 tells us that faith without works is dead, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith without works is dead.” If we are willing to receive the grace that God gave us, but are not willing to also give grace to others, are we really saved? I think James would say no.

Jesus wasn’t a socialist. He wanted the INDIVIDUAL to make the choice himself to give willingly to those in need. He did not want the government to determine who gives what. Jesus is interested in the individual. Jesus did not come to be a governmental leader (as many people at that time thought and wanted Him to be). He came for the individual. Christians should not try to make others (non-Christians) live the way they live. Yes, Christians are called to give to the needy, and to not be materialistic, or attached to our possessions, but we cannot and should not try to make others give to the needy if they do not share our beliefs. Socialism is nation-wide and forces everyone to share everything. Yes, the 1st century church had everything in common (Acts 2:44), but they were not forcing others to live this way also. Instead, they were sharing the love of Christ and the Gospel message, and in response to people accepting the message, they began living this way.

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We are back in Texas!

Home Sweet HomeFonts: Simon Script and Janda Stylish Script.

We are home! In many ways it was just as I expected: hot weather, some progress on construction, seeing friends and family, and going out to eat at our favorite places we missed while we were gone. But in other ways it is very different; just as we talked about at debrief. It’s funny how the people you least expect to ask the questions you want everyone to ask, are the ones who actually ask them. Things like, “How is God moving in Helsinki?” or “How does the culture in Finland respond to the Gospel?” or even “How were you stretched and molded by God?” The question “So how was your trip?” has me wonder how much does this person really want to know? It is sort of a “Hey how are you” without actually really wanting to know the details – type of question. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but my guess is that it is for many.

So, for those of you who want to know the details, “How was your trip?”

Lonely and convicting.

It was very lonely in the beginning and even at times near the end, but God used those times of loneliness (and even when I wasn’t lonely) to convict me of sin, and to show me how to engage lost people while just living a normal life.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

-Matthew 5:3-5

When I was at my loneliest times, God showed me that even when I wasn’t busy I still wasn’t engaging the lost. It was never my busyness that kept me from building relationships and sharing the Gospel. He convicted me of that sin. But through that, He showed me HOW to build relationships and share the Gospel using normal, everyday life.

I know I would never have been able to see my sin and see how to live a normal life, doing normal things like going to the grocery store or getting a haircut and at the same time engaging lost people. And it wasn’t doing things like sharing the Gospel to the cashier or to every person I see on the street, but I learned to see connections I have with people and use those things to – hopefully- begin a friendship.

I would really encourage you to look into and pray about the possibility of God calling you to live somewhere else and just live life in another culture while engaging the lost.

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Throwback Thursday #13

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From a Myspace blog post I wrote in 2006.

Wow, can you say “God speaking to me!”

Revelation 2:2 –

2I know what you do, how you work hard and never give up. I know you do not put up with the false teachings of evil people. You have tested those who say they are apostles but really are not, and you found they are liars. 3You have patience and have suffered troubles for my name and have not given up. 4But I have this against you: you have left the love you had in the beginning.  5So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first.

i think its when we become content with our relationship with God is when we should worry. a healthy relationship means desiring more. i think when you know you don’t have enough of God is when your are at least on the right track. i think we get off that track when we forget our first love (Jesus), and when we stop desiring Him, when we want to be better people but forget why. i know that the grace of God saves us not the stuff we do, but we sometimes we begin to believe that the good stuff we do will make our relationship better. i think that’s backwards. that we should seek the relationship first, remember our first love, the reason for the good stuff we do. and then the stuff is done in love not in vein.

this was just my opinion, God just really spoke to me when reading this. i’ve been having a problem with doing things for God in vein lately… kind of thinking out loud. what do you think?

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Tiekstra & Lawrence Album Art

album

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Throwback Thursday #12

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From my Tumblr in August 2012.

Well, our first year of marriage is over, and I have to say that it was awesome! People kept telling us,”The first year is so hard” or “The first year is the hardest.” But we both agree that it honestly wasn’t so hard and if the first year is the hardest, then the rest of our lives is going to be so great!! I love Cody more than I did the day we got married, and it has been proven to us that we’ll grow in love with each other more every day. Honestly, lately I’ve often found myself looking at him and thinking, “I never knew I could love someone this much.”

The months leading up to the close of our first year of marriage and in to our second year were filled with business and lots of traveling. Cody was gone most of the summer ministering to students by playing at kids camps all over Texas. Thankfully, he was able to be home on the weekends with enough time for us to go on a date and for him to be able to lead worship for our church. Then, the week before our anniversary (the same week we were on a mission trip to Mexico), Justen, my brother-in-law, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Heartbreak. We left Mexico and were dropped of in San Antonio at the hospital where Justen was receiving chemo treatments. We stayed there for about half a week, including the day of our anniversary (which means no, we didn’t get to eat the top tear of our wedding cake). Cody did take me on a pretty great date, though:) We went downtown (San A) to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and to Hard Rock Cafe. It was awesome. I wasn’t back in Fort Worth for more than a couple hours before I had to leave for Florida to help with Kortney’s wedding. I was there for a week and a half before Cody came up the day before the wedding. Two days later we finally came home. After three weeks of last minute traveling, we were both so relieved to be home. Since Cody had been gone from work to do worship stuff, they had to technically “let him go” with the ability to rehire him when he was done. We knew that going in to it, but now he hasn’t had a job in more than two weeks (prayers!!). He actually finally got re-hired today and will start again tomorrow. But let me just say that I’m so thankful we learned how to regularly put money in savings early in our marriage, because I don’t know what we would be doing if we didn’t have savings. God also provided for us the opportunities Cody has had working with Myna Media doing web design stuff (which has actually lead to the possibility of a permanent position… we would love… But we will see).

All this to say, we’ve had a rough month or so. But even through the time gone, the heartache, and the traveling, every day I can’t help but think what a great husband I have, and every day I love him even more. This first year of marraige has been one big learning and growing experience. And I hope it never stops. I began learning and practicing what it means to be a good, Godly wife. And through Cody’s leadership I’ve seen what an amazing, Godly husband looks like. I’m so thankful for the knowledge and wisdom that God has given us through this first year of marriage. Even if we don’t get anything else, I hope we continue to receive wisdom in our marriage.

I know our marriage is so young, as we are also, but I want to share the wisdom and knowledge that I have with others to hopefully bless and allow others to gain this as well.

  • Involve. Do things together. Play games, go on walks, cook, laugh, make music, etc. Just because you may not be in to crafts like your wife is, or videogames like your husband is, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy those things with them. Participate in your spouse’s hobbies with them. Involve yourself in your spouse’s hobbies.
  • Serve. When you entered into this marriage covenant, you are no longer responsible for just one person, you’re now responsible for two. You’re a team. A partnership. One. Your spouse should now be your priority. Your spouse should be first on your list. If you’re spouse is down, lift them up. Always say yes. Serve your spouse like you take care of yourself, remembering that they are now part of you.
  • Communicate. Talk.to.each.other. I know this may seem like a pretty obvious answer, but its surprising how little some couples actually express their feelings to their spouse. It’s also surprising how horrible some couples talk to one another. Rude attitudes, doubt, bitterness, careless. Another obvious statement: talk to your spouse how you want to be talked to. Listen to what your spouse is saying and respond with love, patience, grace, and selflessness. If you have a problem with something your spouse did or said, tell them. Always be honest. Communicate your thoughts and feelings with your spouse, and make sure you know your spouse’s thoughts and feelings as well.
  • Pray. Praying for one another has got to be the most important. I’ve definitely found that if we’ve been lazy about praying for each other, tension will rise or our communication will tend to be less effective. And personally, I tend to be more selfish when I’ve been lazy about praying for my husband. Not only is praying for your spouse incredibly important, but pray with your spouse as well. Share prayer requests, burdens to pray for, share things that you are thankful for, and praise God for those things together. Joining in each other in prayer really does help to tie your hearts together. Pray for each other, with each other.

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