Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

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Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

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Thoughts on being fearless leaders

Giving grace + giving tolerance are two different things.

Endure all things, hope all things, believe all things (good things!) 1 Corinthians 13

Stop feeling guilty for just doing your job or calling. Make no apologies for doing the work the Father set you out to do, ministers! {Tweet this!}

Spend more, more, MORE time hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd. Nothing can deceive your heart if it’s His!

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NKJV)
My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.

 

Matthew 5: 12-16 (NKJV), “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Not to judge those outside the church

Context is very important when you read the Bible. If you don’t read your Bible regularly and pray to the God who wrote it– then it is nothing more than a book that you may contort any way you wish.

Over the course of my life I have heard many Christians say, “The Bible says you are not to associate with the immoral or wicked.” Some extreme ones even coined the term “separatist”– when I asked as a child what it meant, they said it meant “not associating with the world because Satan is everywhere, and will try to convince you not to follow Christ.”

What does the Bible actually say about this?

A verse I’ve heard misquoted a lot about “separating from the world”:

1 Corinthians 5:6-7, “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

Context, this passage is a letter from Paul about sexual immorality, as in incest, inside the church. People who say “I belong to God,” and then act another way.

1 Corinthians 5:6-13:

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister {in Christ} but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Did you catch that? “not … meaning the people of this world … In that case you would have to leave this world… you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister {in Christ} but is sexually immoral ….

Christians, how have we missed this? Are we using this passage to tell ourselves we don’t have to “associate” with people we may not agree with?

I hope not.

I may not agree with the new World Vision policy, but I don’t think we are to judge those outside the church and writing nasty things about them isn’t exactly what Jesus would have done.

I’m a sinner too, and have written this out of my own shock that I used to believe every word fed to me by other people, instead of listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God and reading the inspired Word of God. I’m disgusted I myself have missed this for so long.

Did Jesus Christ not associate with the sexually immoral, giving them second chances upon second chances? The woman at the well, Mary Magdalene to name a few. Was King David himself not a tad immoral for seducing a married woman and then murdering her husband?

You can say “We love you, LGBT community” all day long- but if you use judgmental and harsh words {to those outside the church!} then it doesn’t carry any weight.

Love is an action word.