Thursday, June 19, 2008

Can We Really Live As Christ?

The answer "NO," only Christ in us can. A book called Classic Christianity has inspired this blog. I am on the last chapter about grace. A short read (my kind of book), but filled with so much meat (or veggies if you prefer ;).'s my story...
So we purchased a Suburban. Found it on Craigslist in CA. Everything checked out, and to make a long story short, we got a screamin' deal and are very blessed! HOWEVER (isn't that always the case? Oh no, not a however!) Though it was immaculate (is that with an i or an e?) anyway...the colors we wanted, loaded, leather interior, DVD, moon roof...loaded, and I do mean loaded there was something beneath the exterior that we loved (even the new car smell existed).
We took a trip to visit Eric at work the other day and as it sat in the sun for a couple hours something rose from beneath the surface. I had gone to get the stroller from the back and thought something didn't smell right. I lifted the mat and oh man did that ever stink. Mason and I about gagged. Though it smelled like brand new everywhere else, hiding just below a large rubber mat was the smell of a wet stinky dog and his potty (literally...pee). Now I begin to feel a wee bit agitated. This is not right, they said it was like new....etc. etc. There is a point here to my story...continue...
I came home and spent 3 hours scrubbing, vacuuming (oh yes we discovered tons of dog hair everywhere too), and disinfecting to rid our new vehicle of this foul odor. In the process I found it was just in there too deep. I could probably spray something that smelled pretty and could cover it for a while, but how long would that last? Even the smell in the large mat wasn't coming out. It was a mess and we felt a little jipped.
Well, it's kind of like us. Yep, from the outside we may look beautiful, might even have this fragrance about us that is lovey, but just beneath the surface there is a real stink. Now comes the problem with that statement...if Christ is in us, how come we stink so much? Or do we?
What I have discovered is this...we as Christians know the truth, we accept the truth (Jesus dying for our sins), but we fail to allow Him to live life through us. It's putting faith into practice I suppose. If we are filled with Him, if He is in us, shouldn't we just ooze Christ all over the place? Well you'd think anyway. Here's the problem, though we have that power, somehow we forget to plug into it (so to speak). If we beleive what His Word says, then we should be able to step back and allow Christ Who is in us to do what we can not. Love, forgive, swallow pride, speak truth and grace, share, step up etc....
The enemy has convinced us of something serious, that we just can't go on. That we are that stink below the surface and we have been discovered. Here's the truth though...just as I scrubbed and cleaned and sprayed and vacuumed for hours, that stink was only going to come right back out when exposed to heat. Sort of like us when we're exposed to a little heat huh? All the cleaning in the world would maybe help, but would never totally eliminate the deeper problem. Not until we actually take the vehicle in and have it recarpeted...all the old out and all the new put back in, can we actually know for certain that the smell is completely out. Now compare that to us. We can look good, smell good, sound good (you get the gist) but until we actually allow Christ to come in and yank out the bad stuff and fill it with Him, we will always have that smell...not the good one either.
The thing is as a Christian, we have had our carpet replaced (so to speak) but for some reason we don't all believe it, so we go on living as though we are not changed. It would be like me complaining of the dog smell in the Burb (we call him Bartoli, AKA Sam...another story) anyway...after we had the old carpet taken out and the new put in. How silly would that be? Not enjoying the new carpet smell even though I actually had it put in. The old stuff long gone, but I just don't believe it, or feel it, or whatever, so I wallow in the past.
Here's something to ponder, how do you think Christ feels when He hears us saying "We just can't go on" or "I can't do it anymore" or "I'm just a failure"? He has to be brokenhearted. You see really the truth is that He is in us...hear that again...HE IS IN US. We are ONLY THE VESSEL. It's not the paper cup that makes a great grape juice. It's the thing that fills that matters...not what it's in. The Suburban could be fully loaded with everything imaginable to mankind, but if a dog peed all over it and it reaked of smoke etc. when you opened the doors nobody would want it. That was us before Christ, but now because He lives in us, we are the gorgeous, loaded Suburban that smells brand new....because it is! We are new. It is NOT us, IS NOT US. Can you grasp a hold of that?
Ok, I still haven't figured it all out...will work on that for eternity, but this book has helped me to begin to realize that if God is in me, and all I have to do is abide, then life truly is that easy to live. It's all about just being the plastic cup and allowing Him to fill and use us.
So I begin this new journey of learning to take up that promise in His Word that we HAVE LIFE in HIM! We really do, a life that is fulfilling, so much we've missed because we don't allow Him to live that promise out in and through us. I would love to know your thoughts.
If anyone wants to order a book with us (Classic Christianity), we are ordering a bunch in bulk at a cheaper price to do a Bible study. Interested in a book? Let us know.

God bless...T

Thursday, June 12, 2008

God Gettin' Into the Neighborhood!

Jesus Christ did not come just to get men out of hell and into heaven; He came to get Himself out of heaven and into men. (Classic Christianity-Bob George)

This inspires me to write the experience I had today. After spending much of my last two days cleaning up puke, doing laundry in such large loads it felt like we just got home from vacation, and trying to keep up with the housework, I wasn't too sure if I wanted Eric to take all the kids and the two neighbor boys to church last night. I just wanted a break and time for myself, not chasing after a baby, and cleaning up after my sick 3 year old...but...I new this was important. It just was.

After the family came home from church they shared with me how the one little boy (Marty) raised his hands in worship, and fell to his knees in prayer. I was amazed! Now here's the cool the two boys are outside playing with my kids. They are writing worship songs. Marty told my kids that last night he felt like something was making his hands light and that he just had to raise them in worship, and that he also felt like he needed to kneel and pray, like a weight was being lifted. He said he wants to go to church with us whenever we go, and he will hide in our trunk if he has to just to get there.

Here's the beauty of this story...if that isn't beauty enough. Two years ago we were to move into a new home. God didn't allow it, no matter how hard we tried to make it happen. Though we were very sad, we began to pray more and more that His will would be done, that He would clearly show us where He wants and needs us to be for His glory. Today, more then ever before I see so very clearly one reason why God kept us planted right here, for this time, for this purpose. I am so very thankful and have been in tears praising my God for His faithfulness.

Please pray for these little boys (Marty & Andrew). Marty is the one who had the God experience last night, but Andrew is just as excited and is a great kid. They are still on the porch writing worship songs. I hope we can get some music put to them and maybe even share them with the worship team in Jr. High. Maybe, just maybe God will use them to write words that will bring praise to our Father's ears.