"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

You are God’s Masterpiece

Posted by Emma on July 19, 2013 | Filed under: Books,Christianity

“If you’re in Christ, it doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself. Even if you think, ‘I’m not that good,’ or ‘I’m not that talented,’ you need to understand this: You’ve been made new. You’ve been remade. You are God’s masterpiece.” Craig Groeschel.

You are God’s masterpiece. In his book Altar Ego, Craig Groeschel reveals that truth and challenges you to walk in the identity you have in Christ. This book is split into three sections. The first helps you see who you are in Christ and how to walk in that truth. The second focuses on living out character qualities that Christians should have, and the third address the boldness we can have because we are a new person in Christ.

As I read Altar Ego, I was really challenge to change my mindset and how I think about myself. To think of myself according to what Jesus says and not what I’ve grown up thinking and the world around me says. Craig Grosechel says that “God gave you that new name, and you will grow into it.” He makes the point that we should focus on what we are becoming, not what we were or are. When we realize the fulness of who we are in Christ, we can live with boldness. That is the other part of the book that really challenged me, to live with boldness, act with boldness, and pray with boldness.

Altar Ego is a good challenge and reminder to every Christian. It is definitely worth reading with an open heart. As you read it, let God speak through the words to draw you closer to Himself and show you who He intends for you to be.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Two Little Lines Etching Themselves on my Mind

Posted by Emma on February 25, 2013 | Filed under: Christianity,Daily Thought,Quotes

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

-C.T Studd

What are you doing with your one life?

Proof of the Importance of Unity

Posted by Emma on February 14, 2013 | Filed under: Christianity,Studying the Word

If you read my post on Sunday That I May Dwell Among Them, you have seen that I am thinking about how we as Christians are the temple of God. I also established the fact that it is good to study the Tabernacle and earthly Temple to discover how we, as the temple of God, should live.Ultimately, we want to glorify God and show Him to others as He dwells in our midst. The Tabernacle was copied after the heavenly one, which shows God’s glory and holiness. Our lives too should show God’s glory and holiness. All of that to say, I’ve been studying the tabernacle.

In my study, I came to this verse. “You shall make fifty hooks of gold, and you shall attach the curtains to one another with the hooks, so that the Tabernacle shall become one.” Exodus 26:6

God’s tabernacle was to be one, a single whole. That reminded me of John 17.

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world make know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23

Knowing that the tabernacle was to be one, it should be no surprise to us that we are to be one. Look at the end of those verses. Why are we to be one? So that the world will know that God sent Jesus and loves us and Him. We are not told to be one because our lives will be easier, or because God did not want church splits. No, we are told to be one so that the world would know that God sent Jesus and loves Him and us. This is not about us, at all. It is all about God.

The earthly tabernacle was not to bring glory to its earthly builders. It was to bring glory to God and show His holiness to the people. The body of believers are not to bring glory to us, but to bring glory to God and show Him to the world. I think the American church thinks entirely to much of ourselves and to little about God, when in reality everything is about God and nothing is about us. It is once we really grasp this view that we truly can be one.

Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” And Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” If the truths of these verses sink into our hearts, we could live as one within the body of Christ.

There are two truths those verse present that are critical to living as one. The first is from the Galatians passage. We must be dead to ourselves. We must see ourselves nailed to the cross and then raised, except it is not us who has risen it is Christ in our place. This is very challenging to really live out. I struggle with it everyday, and every morning (when I remember) I pray and ask God to kill myself, I reminded myself that I am dead with Christ, yet I live, but not I, it is Christ in me. Praying that daily helps me remember that it is Christ in me and not myself. You see, self claims to have tons of rights, and wants, and needs, and desires, and annoying emotions that get in the way. When self is dead you have no rights, wants, needs, or selfish emotions, all you have is Christ. Christ living in you produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, you know the fruits of the Spirit. So the first thing you have to do to live as one is to kill yourself and live in Christ.

The second truth is that we must look on other men’s things. Now, this does not mean you covet them or want them. No, this means you are looking out for the best interest of your neighbor. If you see him in trouble, you help in out. If you find something she lost, you return it to her. If you hear something bad about him, you do not repeat it. Remember the golden rule you were taught in first grade Sunday School? Yeah, this is basically that. Love your neighbor, plain and simple. Put other people before yourself. (This should be easy because you are dead, see above.) If you always put others before yourself and their interest before your interest, you would avoid many of the arguments and fights that people have. So look out for your neighbor’s things before your own.

These truths may sound simple enough on the internet, but in reality they are very hard to live out. However, it is essential that we do live them out so that we can be at one with one another. We want to keep God’s testimony true to the world, and Jesus said the way to do that was to be one. Strive for unity. Forget yourself. Be a peacemaker.

This is not to be taken lightly. It is serious. If nothing else motivates you to be one with your fellow believers think about this. When we are at strife with each other and do not have unity, we are destroying the temple of God. God says He destroys those who destroy his temple. Can we afford to not be united?

“That I May Dwell Among Them…”

Posted by Emma on February 10, 2013 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Studying the Word

Today I was reading in Exodus 25 and it set me to thinking, particularly verses 8-9. “They shall make a sanctuary for Me–so that I may dwell among them–like everything that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its vessels; and so shall you do.”

God wanted Israel to build Him a sanctuary for the soul purpose that he might dwell among them. This could not just be any sanctuary, it had to be perfect. God is perfect and holy, he can only dwell where it is perfect and holy. His sanctuary had to be made exactly as He said, exactly like the pattern of the heavenly one that He showed Moses on Mount Sinai.

Often times we easily dismiss these chapters as well and good but not applying to us. Be honest the last fifteen chapters or so of Exodus are boring, excepting the golden calf incident, right? However, the more I read the rest of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, it becomes impossible to just dismiss these chapters.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Wow. You are God’s temple and you’d better keep it holy, if you do not want to be destroyed.

That natural question is how do we keep the temple of God holy? We live according to the pattern shown us on the mountain. Which mountain? Well, two actually. The first is Mount Sinai, where God gave us his instructions, showing us the pattern we should live by. They can be summed up in the ten words (as the original Hebrew says) or ten commandments as the English scriptures translate it, which in turn can be summed up in two commands, love God and love your neighbor. (See Matthew 22:37-40) The second mountain is Calvary. On that mountain our Savior died willingly for our sins. On that mountain He proved that He was Lord of all. On that mountain He started the process that would make us the temple of God. We must live according to the pattern that He set for us.

As I read on through the New Testament, I come to 1 Cor 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

The Spirit of God rested on the Tabernacle and the first Temple, in Hebrew it is called the Shechinah, Today, God’s Shechinah does not rest on a building, one place in the world, instead it rest on every believe who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price and now the Shechinah, the dwelling presences of God’s glory, the Holy Spirit, dwells in you. That is why we must glorify God in our bodies. If you are not comfortable being owned by another, you have no business calling yourself a Christian. You cannot be a Christian without being the temple of the Holy Spirit and owned by God. When you accept Christ, you give control to Him and you are not your own.

The next passage that stood out to me was 2 Cor 6:16-18. “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’”

Again we see that we are the temple of the living God and He will dwell among us. Sounds familiar? It is very similar to Exodus 25:8.

These passages make it clear that the current dwelling of God’s Shechinah is not in a temple made with hands but in the midst of His people and as such we are to be holy, we must be separate from the world and stay way from unclean things. (This unclean is not unclean as in covered with mud. Essentially, it means unholy, a full definition would require another article.) In the American church we often miss the reason for why we must be holy and not destroy our bodies, God’s temple. As we look back to the Old Testament and study how God’s Shechinah dwelt in the Tabernacle it becomes clear. When God’s Shechinah dwelt in the Tabernacle not even Moses was able to enter because of the glory. (See Exodus 40:35) What makes us think that we can be flippant about God dwelling in us?

Scripture is clear we are the temple of God, but do you really understand what that means? Can we really understand without studying the chapters in Exodus about the Tabernacle? I do not think we can. I think we must study Exodus, and the rest of Scripture to know how to live so God can dwell in us. The books of Exodus and Leviticus make it really clear that God will not dwell just anywhere. We should be honored that He will make us His temple but we also should be scared stiff because the living God, who is so holy that not one tiny speck of unholiness can abide in his presences and whose Shechinah glory was so much that not even Moses could enter the same dwelling with it, dwells in us and has bought us with a price. We are not our own. We are the holy temple of the living God. God dwells in us and in our midst. Live like it or be destroyed.

The Shocking State of Art

Posted by Emma on January 3, 2013 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Daily Thought

Today I went to the MIlwaukee Art Museum. It was inspiring and beautiful to walk through the displays of art from centuries ago. Here are my two  favorites.
View of Dordrecht

Landscape with Mountains and River

Then we came to the modern art section. To my brother and I, it was repulsing. Seeing the beautiful paintings, can you really call this art?

144 Pieces of Zinc
Yes, this is considered art. It is 144 zinc plates on the floor. This so called piece of art is laughable. Seriously, that is art? (I hope I am not offending someone by laughing at their master piece but considering the other images it holds nothing to them.) I show this image because it is laughable and not repulsing like some of the other ones are. I do not wish to taint you with exposure to them.

Modern art leaves you shaking your head asking what has come over us that we can call this art. After a head shake, we walk on and never give it any more serious thought. It does not inspire us to greatness, it does not awe us with beauty, it does not fill us with wonder. It leaves us empty, confused, and appalled (well, it leaves some of us appalled).

As I pondered this, it struck me how similar art is to the American church. Our culture has degenerated in the past several decades and so has our church. I wonder if the degeneration of art is a result of the decaying of our culture. I suspect it is. I know that a lot of the degeneration of the church is a result of a decayed culture. We have let the culture into our church, making excuses about how we have to reach the culture. Nothing in the Bible says you have to let the culture in to the church, in fact it tells us to be separate from the cultures around us, to be holy to God. (1 Peter 1:16). The church use to be a place of love and godliness. It left people with a sense of awe at the beauty of God, wonder because of how much He had done for us, and inspiration to live for Him and show His greatness to the world. It was a beautiful body of believers tied together by love. That love spread to those around them, showing the glory of God and His greatness.

Today, the church is a disconnected gathering of people, some of whom are there because they love the Lord but the majority are there because it is the “right” thing to do. The church leaves you feeling empty, they have nothing so they can offer you nothing. It leaves you confused. You hear one thing from the Bible and see a very different thing lived out. It leaves you appalled. At least it leaves me appalled. Appalled because of the hypocrisy, the lack of love, the eagerness to be as the world, and the effort spent to NOT obey God’s word. You may think I am being harsh or that I do not know what I am saying. Yes, it is harsh but it is true. I have been to many churches, dozens of them. I have yet to find one church that did not leave me empty, confused and appalled. I have yet to find one church that was a true body of believers bringing glory to God. I have yet to find one church that genuinely loved with God’s love.

Art needs a revolution so that it does not slide into childish scribbles any more than it has. The American church needs a revolution so that it does not slide into the world any more than it already has. It is time that the American stood up, threw out the world, reopened the Bible. It is time that the American church loved as Christ loved. It is time that the American church inspires people with the awe and glory of God by showing His greatness to the world.

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