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Robbing our Affections

I’m going to be honest. This post has taken me a while to write because I really had to do some reflecting aaaannndd it was super convicting for me. In my previous post, I talked about things that stir up my affections for Christ and make me love him better. But the hard truth is there are also things that rob us of our love for our Savior.

The more I thought about it, I realized that the things that really distract me from keeping my focus on Christ are small things, not giant, glaring holes in my faith or anything.

Going again from Matt Chandler’s book, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain:
“No, in fact, the morally neutral temptations are far more apt to rob me of my affections for Jesus Christ, because God’s grown me to the place where those ‘big sins’ aren’t things that appeal to me anymore. But I can easily justify sinfully indulging in things that are non-sins because they are little things, or what the Song of Solomon might call the ‘little foxes’ that get into the vineyard of my worship of God.”

I can think of three things right off the bat that are just like he describes. They are not sins per se, but they do not encourage me to love Christ better and in fact do just the opposite.

  1. Rushing. The ABSOLUTE worse way for me to start my day, or end my day, or get anywhere in between is to rush. I’m pretty sure I get this from my Dad because I can’t think of a single time growing up that we were late to something. And we always arrived at church with 20 minutes to spare. When my mornings are rushed, my devotions are hurried, and I start my day off feeling grumpy and frustrated. If I’m going to any event, I will be on time if it depends on me. The wonderful thing is: I know this about myself. I prepare. I wake up with plenty of time in the morning. I set things out the night before and I leave myself ample driving time to get to work. Do things always work out? Absolutely not. And then God has to teach my heart what is the proper way to respond.
  2. Politics. Wow I cringed just typing that word. I have seen so many people tear each other down over politics that it hurts me. And while I’m an avid voter, you usually won’t find me discussing politics with anyone. And you will almost NEVER find me discussing it online….except now….and here. I have learned that political discussions don’t lead me to love Christ better.
  3. Theological discussions. Did you topple over in your chair? Yeah this was actually the first one that popped into my head when I started thinking about this. Sometimes I get really passionate about theology (which is a good thing!) But sometimes I can get into argume…err…discussions…with people about said theology and it doesn’t end up building up either party. There is a time and place for everything and I have had to learn this the hard way many times.

Now comes the disclaimer. This is MY list. Not yours. Absolutely none of these things I listed is a sin in and of itself; they are just ways that I have found can lead me to sin. They don’t lead me closer to Christ. Now, does it mean if I’m running late, I don’t move faster? Of course not! Does it mean I never discuss theology? Bahahaha! It means that I know how to control my emotions better and have learned when a discussion should be stopped or moved. So the beauty of it is, your list is probably different. In fact, I hope SOMEBODY has a different list because the world would be in a pretty bad spot in all believers refrained from discussing politics! I’m SO thankful for those that can!

Feel free to tell me what’s on your list. I won’t impose mine on you and vice versa. 

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2018 in books

 

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Sinner or Saint?

If you’ve known me very long or ever been in any sort of Bible study with me, you probably know that I can be kind of mischievous when I so choose. For instance, if someone is trying to skim over a difficult topic or passage, I’m going to be THAT person who points it out and forces the group to discuss it. My best friend can tell when it’s coming and sometimes I get a warning glance from her (which is usually ignored) and then she just sighs. 🙂

Sometimes though, if I want to really get a group going, I’ll make one of my favorite statements:

“Well, I actually don’t think we should say we are sinners. We are saints.”

And then I just sit back with a smile and listen to all the protests go on around me. People whip out their Bibles like they are ready to excommunicate me. Arguments start. It’s great.

After the dust settles and everyone is ready to listen, I bring forth my evidence. Let me start by saying that all of this only applies to those who are saved. If God has NOT redeemed your soul, then you are a sinner and that word is highly applicable. And it was for every. single. person. BEFORE we were saved as well. In fact, we are such sinners that Ephesians 2:1 says that we were DEAD in our trespasses and sins. That’s how fitting the word is.

But if you read just a little further down in Ephesians you come to these verses:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7

Something changes when we become saved. Actually, everything changes. But one thing in particular that I would like to talk about is our standing before the Lord. Once we are saved, when God looks at us, ALL HE SEES IS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS! I mean, how incredible is that??! He doesn’t see our sin, but he sees what Christ did to redeem us! (Disclaimer: Not an excuse for sin. Read yourself some Romans.)

Furthermore, did you know that out of the 9 letters that Paul wrote to churches, in 6 of them, he starts out using the word “saints?” He either says “called to be saints” or outright calls the believers “saints.” He also uses it liberally throughout his letters as he refers to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul definitely thought that word was fitting for believers. (Galatians….not so much…)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is my favorite one and so of course I was curious to see what it had to say on the word sinner. One thing it said was, “It is used in contradistinction to saint, to denote an unregenerate person; one who has not received the pardon of his sins.” Believer, that is not you!

So, here’s the part in my conversation where someone usually goes, “but, but” and stumbles around for some words. Let me help you out. I understand, friend! Of course we still sin and need to ask God’s forgiveness constantly. That’s not what I’m saying at all! I think the problem comes in because some churches have distorted the word saint to mean a perfect person and they worship man instead of God alone but that’s NOT how the Bible uses it. The Bible refers to us as saints not because WE are perfect but because our REDEEMER is! Totally different. But it does refer to believers numerous times as saints.

Because, in God’s eyes, we are no longer sinners. That train has left, that slave isn’t here (another one is lol.)

We aren’t sinners; we are saints that sin.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in theology

 

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An “Epic” Review

I recently had the blessing to travel across the country for a good friend’s wedding. And by travel, I mean fly, because if you know me you know that I get carsick pretty easily so if it was a road-trip, the word “blessing” would probably have been dropped from that sentence.

Anywho…I always take a book with me when I fly and sometimes I actually read it and sometimes I just sit like a creeper and people-watch. But this time I brought a book I had actually been saving for my next flight, as weird as that sounds. It’s small, short, and even weirder for me, I have NO IDEA how I got it or it’s study guide! So while you may have been thinking I was being stuck up with my blog title, the title of the book is actually Epic, and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

I got through security for my flight pretty fast (because I’m a good rule-follower) and since it appeared that the people-watching chances were slim, I opened the book right up. Seriously guys, I hadn’t even read the back cover. I was going in blind on this one, which is really new for me. It’s by John Eldredge, who I don’t know much about, except he wrote Wild at Heart, which I’ve never read.

The very first line of the book hooked me because he referenced my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings. I was immediately intrigued. He also had a quote by G.K. Chesterton and I thought, “Gosh, he’s off to a great start!” The book is about telling the gospel with more of an “epic story” perspective. I’ve never read anything that referenced SO many well-known movies and books: Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, Gladiator, Titanic, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Odyssey, Stars Wars, and so many more. It was insane!

It was quite an interesting perspective and while I can’t say I agreed with all the theology (mainly the section on free will), he came at it from an angle that was really different from anything I’ve ever read.

But after a while I started to notice something. It wasn’t quite fitting anymore. Instead of trying to show how the gospel had similar themes to some of our movies, it seemed more like he was trying to make the gospel fit into the movies’ themes. I think he was letting his imagination run away a little bit.

Because while God’s story is incredible, amazing, and (I would even agree, epic,) it’s not one of our movies. It is written by a supreme Creator, not humans. And somehow comparing it to our flawed stories relentlessly gave it less meaning than reading it how it was actually written, in God’s own Words. 

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in books

 

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Theology for Dummies

Have you ever read any of the “For Dummies” books? You know which ones I mean?

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They are pretty iconic. I mean, most people would recognize them simply by the cover, even if you’ve never read one of the books. They have somewhere around 2,500 titles and over 2 million books in print. Crazy, right? The appeal is that they are easy to read for the average person and present the information in a design where the important stuff is made known so that you can recognize and remember it. I think I read one in high school but I don’t remember what it was.

But to be honest, I kind of stayed away from them because I didn’t like reading stuff written for “Dummies!” (Yeah, pride. I know.) I considered myself a pretty well-read person, for which you can thank my parents. My Dad used to read to us all the time as little kids and he can still recite the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” from memory. In fact, if I were to go home and my Dad was read a book to my younger siblings, I would be in the front row.

When we got older, my Mom read us books like King Arthur, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Canterbury Tales. We read a lot. I love books and reading. I used to get in trouble for reading too much (actually, I used to get in trouble for getting upset when people interrupted my reading…) Old English? No problem. Beowulf? Bring it on. Deep theology? My favorite.

But things are different now. My brain capacity and concentration capacity are different. And although the desire to read deep things is very real, I find myself wishing someone would write a “Theology for Dummies” book. Which sounds like a contradiction, I know. But I simply can’t comprehend the books I used to be able to read- which is SO frustrating! For instance, I’ve had Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my shelf for about a year now. I’ve probably started it 4-5 times and never been able to get past the first chapter because I don’t understand what I’m reading. No matter how many times I read the same sentence, I don’t get it. (Is there a kid’s version of this book??)

I used to be able to read several books at the same time and keep up with all the themes. Don’t believe me? Look what popped up on my Timehop today:

book

This was what I was reading four years ago. I liked reading more than one book at a time so that if I didn’t feel like reading one book, I had another to turn to.

But not now. It’s been frustrating but also very humbling for me. The person who used to pride herself in reading the great books of the world has been brought down to the level of a child and is thankful that she can read at all! That person who used to have 6 books by her bed that she was reading all at once is now thankful to be able to open her Bible and comprehend one single verse in it. Thankful to find those authors that do write simply. Ultimately thankful that salvation isn’t for the wise or all-knowing people but that you just have to have faith like a child. That it’s simple. Just thankful.

 

But…if you happen to find a “Theology for Dummies”, let me know. 😉

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in books, epilepsy

 

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A Passion for Theology

Today I was able to enjoy the teaching of several godly men as they expounded the Scriptures. My church had a Bible Conference with D.A. Carson as the key-note speaker. It was wonderful to learn from him and it reminded me of a statement that someone uttered to me this summer.

“Kimmy, you should be a pastor.”

This statement was a result of me sharing some books/commentaries I had read and what I had learned from them. At the time I just laughed, because we both knew that she and I have very different views on women pastors.

As I thought about it today though, I began to wonder why she said that. Isn’t it possible for girls to have a love of theology without any ambitions to become pastors? Isn’t it right for girls to want to be well-versed in the Word of God and have an interest in Hebrew and Greek roots without wanting to be a church leader?  Can’t I be excited to go to a Bible conference and sit under the teaching of learned men or listen to sermons in my FREE time? (Oh, the horror) As I thought about it, I realized I don’t know many (in fact, I’m not sure I know any!) girls my age who love to read books on theology at all. Why is that?

In the first chapter of (you’ll never guess what) When Sinners Say I do (oh, you guessed it? Drat), it talks about how everyone is a theologian. You can either be a good one or a bad one but like it or not, you do have theology. I think it’s important to study the Word and listen to those who preach sound doctrines in order for good theology to take root. If all you ever do is listen to the Christian radio announcers and you take your theology from them, you are going to be in trouble (not to mention overly bubbly).

But, as the book says a little farther on, good theology isn’t dark and mysterious, it is practical. We are “street theologians” as the author puts it. Theology needs to impact our thoughts and actions, our motives and emotions. What we think about God should influence and will influence every part of our lives.

I would encourage more young men and women to do more studying. Search the Bible deeper than what you learned in the Primer Sunday School class. There is always more to learn from the Word of God but we need to get off the milk and get to the meat of it.

 

“11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”  Hebrews 5:11-14

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Bible

 

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