Note to self: remember the “with love” part

So, this is a post that I’ve been trying to write for a long time.  It has taken many forms and all have been trashed when they start moving in the wrong direction.  This one might get trashed, too, but I hope not because I really need to get this out there.  It is about something specific, but I’m going to try to avoid the details, for so many reasons I can’t even count them all.

The thing that has been weighing on my heart is this: what happens when you don’t follow God’s plan?  We know from Jeremiah 29:11 that God has plans for us (I fully accept that some people believe that this message was only meant for Israel, but it doesn’t change what I have to say, so I’l keep it).  Good plans.  I believe the “us” in that statement includes individuals, families, churches, organizations, communities, businesses, etc.  Sometimes He reveals those plans to us and sometimes He doesn’t, but there is always a plan.

Has He ever revealed part of His plan to you?  If God has given you a clear vision for what He wants to do through you, it is extremely empowering.  Maybe He wants you as an individual to share the Good News with somebody specific.  Maybe He wants your family to become missionaries in another country.  Maybe your church is supposed to minister to a specific community or start a specific ministry.  That is all great and I hope that we all desire to be used by God.  Sometimes He uses us in ways that He doesn’t reveal to us until afterward.  That’s great, too.

What happens, though, if God tells you a specific way that He wants to use you or your family, your church, organization, whatever, and you don’t do it?  What if you start moving in that direction, but you get distracted (possibly by something else that is also good, or possibly by sin)?  What if you are too afraid to even start?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but one passage from Revelation comes to mind:

Revelation 3:15-16–I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

Yikes!  I don’t know about you, but I think vomit is pretty gross and I don’t want to be anyone’s vomit.  I especially don’t want to be God’s vomit because of what that means.  If you remember Jonah, and a lot of other prophets, you know that God gives you lots of chances to change your mind if you decide not to do what He wants.  I think this passage in Revelation, though, indicates that at a certain point He will just give up and look for somebody else to do what He asked you to do.

I think that God has been showing me this lately.  Is God not blessing your ministry (individually or as a body of believers working together)?  I’m not saying that you will always have blessings (because the Bible is pretty clear about the fact that we will have trials).  I’m also not trying to say that if you do what God asks you to do then you will instantly see the results (or ever see them), which I am aware can be disheartening.  What I am saying is this: if your ministry at whatever level is not experiencing blessings, do yourself a favor and make sure you are on track with what God wants from you.

Remember this: God will accomplish His will.  He will do what He sets out to do.  If He asks you to do something and you don’t, then He will just take the job and give it to somebody else.  That is what He has been showing me through all of this.  His will will be done, even if He has to use different tools to do it.

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I’ll bear your burdens, if…

Sorry I’ve been curiously absent lately.  It isn’t because God isn’t speaking to me, but because I don’t really know how to share the things that He has been speaking to me about.  I mean, I think there are things that I need to write about, but I need to do it without being a jerk.  God has been teaching me some things about myself and about how He builds His church.  Really interesting stuff.  So, here goes.

Galatians 6:2–Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].

Romans 12:15–Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].

I’ve never really thought of myself as a particularly sensitive person.  Not that I don’t get hurt easily, because I do, but that I don’t really empathize well.  Most of the reason for that is the fact that I don’t tolerate stupidity well.  People who bring bad things on themselves by their poor decisions get very little sympathy from me.

I’ve only recently noticed (although, in talking to my hubby about it, apparently it is obvious to him and maybe everybody else), that I am in fact a very empathetic person.  The only thing is I only empathize with people I care deeply about.  I think, however, that there is more to it than just feeling the pain of those that I love.  Because sometimes I can be really hard with those people, too.  So, what is the thing that determines if I feel your pain or not?  The answer surprised me a little bit.

You see, the same people whose decisions I look at with scorn and anger are the ones that I weep with and whose burdens I bear at other times.  The difference between the two responses is this: the individual’s willingness to accept responsibility for their situation.  If somebody’s pain is due to circumstances out of their control, then I feel for them if they are somebody close to me or not.  If they are the reason that they are suffering (by making poor decisions), then I usually just get angry about their decisions (even to the point that I don’t listen when they are complaining about their pain), unless they admit it is their own fault.  If they admit it is at least partly their own fault, then my heart gets the okay from my brain to hurt for them.

It isn’t a conscious decision.  I don’t look at somebody’s situation and say, “they meet my empathy criteria.”  It’s just a pattern that I can see when I look at my life and my interactions with those people in my life who are suffering.  I’m not saying that it is right.  I’m also not saying that it is wrong.  I’m just saying that is how it is.

So, take that for what it is: a glimpse at my inner workings.  If I have ever seemed like I didn’t care when things were not going well for you, it might be because of this filter that I’m only now discovering that I have.  It is also probably because of this filter that I find it hard to share my burdens with others (if I have a filter like this, others might, too).

Do you have these kinds of filters through which you view the people around you?  What are your thoughts?

THIS is what’s wrong with American Christianity (a blog post) | Jesus Needs New PR

THIS is what’s wrong with American Christianity (a blog post) | Jesus Needs New PR.

 

I don’t agree with everything that is said here, but I think it is a powerful message that most Christians in America need to hear.  Enjoy!

Life In Utah: Myths About Mormonism

Life In Utah: Myths About Mormonism.

Yet another post about the differences between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism.

One thing I really want to address (which it seems was added as an after thought) is this:

In addition, how many Utahns will vote for a Mormon candidate next year in the GOP primary because of his Mormonism? Romney didn’t win his party’s nomination, yet garnered an overwhelming 90 percent of the vote in Utah’s 2008 Republican primary.

It’s something I’ve been giving great thought to lately, but from a different angle.  The question that I’ve been pondering is would I vote for a candidate simply because he or she is a Christian?  The answer is no.  All power comes from God, so I truly believe that He can use anybody to accomplish His will.  I have never been a single issue voter and I don’t have any loyalty to any particular party, so I try to vote for the candidate that best represents my values.  It isn’t always easy and sometimes I get it wrong, but at least I try.

That being said, I don’t know if I could vote for a Mormon to be President (mostly because of the final “myth” addressed in this article), but I think it would depend on what he or she stands for.  I try not to get political here, but I have to say that next year’s Presidential election is not giving me much hope for change on the horizon.  Luckily, though, my hope comes from the Lord.

Missing the Point…and the Greatest Blessing « Captivated by Christ’s Blog – Linden Wolfe

Missing the Point…and the Greatest Blessing « Captivated by Christ’s Blog – Linden Wolfe.

 

This was actually so powerful that it brought tears to my eyes.  I think that we often forget what our greatest treasure should be.  Seek the kingdom first and you will receive the greatest blessing.

Here’s to “Religious Leaders”, Jesus-Style

Here’s to “Religious Leaders”, Jesus-Style.

 

I just loved this so much that I had to share.  What kind of leader are you?  What kind of leader do you want to be?  To paraphrase Winston from Ghostbusters: I love Jesus’s style.

The Nature of False Teachers « Soulherbs

The Nature of False Teachers « Soulherbs.

 

I found another good blog and one of the first posts I read was about False Teachers.  Anyway, this post highlights another one of the ways in which my LDS neighbors’ beliefs are different from mine: they are based on false doctrine.  I’ll let Soulherbs take it from there.

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