Wednesday, November 23, 2011

18 Things that Eighteen Means

Eighteen means Grace. For eighteen years God has graciously given me life and breath. He loves me, yet I don't deserve it. He sent His Son to die my death, and, by His grace alone, He saved me. Instead of my filthy rags, He sees Christ's righteousness! Praise be to God!

Eighteen means Time. Yeah, it's time for me to get a car. Still workin' on that.

Eighteen means Choices. Boy, I am so grateful that God has a definitive plan for my life... because I don't! Yes, there's a bunch of choices, but thankfully, I don't have to rely on my own wisdom.

Eighteen means Legal. You betcha I can vote now! (And buy all that stuff off TV.)

Eighteen means Wisdom. I have a tiny bit more and need a LOT more of it.

Eighteen means Family. Without the love, encouragement and comradery of my family, I wouldn't be the person I am today. (Or here, for that matter.)

Eighteen means Endings. *Deep, scoffing voice* "Ah, high school, your end imminent!"

Eighteen means Beginnings. The beginning of a new season of life, new responsibilities, and new decisions. And another year. :)

Eighteen means Fast. Whoa... these eighteen years have gone by a lot faster that I ever dreamed they would. I'm pretty convinced that life continually gains momentum. (Which leads me to....)

Eighteen means One. "Only one life 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

Eighteen means Wonderfundle. I'm not sure why. It just is. (Actually, I think it's just because I like that word.)

Eighteen means Vision. I may be considered young, but having vision is not defined by youthfulness. Whatever age I am, I want to have God's vision for my life.

Eighteen means Uncertainty. Honestly, I don't know what lies ahead. But as Corrie Ten Boom said, I don't have to be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. I've learned more about trusting God these past several months than I ever have in my life.

Eighteen means Adventure. With God, life is one big adventure. I can't wait to see where He takes me next!

Eighteen means Food. What can I say? My birthday is always Thanksgiving week.

Eighteen means Memories. Dear family, friends, and e-quaintances (my bloggy readers), thank you for being a part of my life. I have a plethora of stupendous memories tucked away in my long-term memory.

Eighteen means Closer. I'm one year closer than I was before, closer to the finish line. And as I press on, my goal is to one day hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Eighteen means Anticlimactic. That's weird. I don't feel any different. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Bigger Gospel

Do I really know what the gospel is about?
Well, I thought I did... until my youth group started studying the book of Romans. It wasn't that I was incorrect about what I had known before, but it was that I was missing the bigger picture of what the gospel is truly about. Because of a few misconceptions I had about the gospel, my view of it was narrow. However, the gospel is deeper than I ever realized.

The Gospel is for Believers, Too
I think it's safe to say that most Christians think about the Gospel in terms of those who are not Christians. But notice that Paul writes the book of Romans to the Roman church. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul commends the Roman church for their faith because it's known "in all the world" (1:8). If anyone should know what the gospel is about, it should be the Romans. Yet, just several verses later, Paul says that he's "eager to preach the gospel to them" (1:15). Why would they need to hear the gospel?

The reason that the gospel is for believers as well as non-believers is because the gospel is not a one-time event. Salvation is the first part, but then it continues to feed the Christian. The gospel is living and is to be a part of our lives every single day. Believing is not what I did yesterday -- it's present tense, it's continual. Yes, it has a starting point, but it keeps on going. I want the gospel to play an active role in my life, and I want my entire life to be about the gospel.

The Gospel is Not About Me
While it's true that my salvation is definitely a part of the gospel, I don't think that's what the gospel is about. The very first verse in the book of Romans mentions "the gospel of God." So often, I see the gospel in relation to myself. I think of it in terms of my salvation, how Jesus saved me, or how I have been forgiven. But it's not about me.

Before the gospel is about me and my salvation, it's first about God and His righteousness. Next time you read Romans, I challenge you to mark every time the word "righteousness" is used. (It's a LOT, by the way.) The gospel is all about the righteousness of God! Because God made a way to pay in full the penalty for sin AND therefore justly forgive sinners, the gospel displays His righteousness. It screams with the righteousness of God.

The Gospel Has Power Because of Christ's Righteousness
Jesus came and died so that we can be forgiven, right? Well, yes, but there's so much more to it. You see, there's a problem with forgiveness. A big problem. God could have just wiped out our sins and forgiven us all, but... it's not right. If a convicted criminal goes before a judge and pleads for forgiveness, the judge would not be just if he just pardoned the criminal and let him go. Consequently, if the judge gave the criminal what was rightfully due him, he would be upholding justice.

That's what it's like with God. He can't just freely pour out forgiveness to everyone who asks for it because He would be marring His righteousness. To forgive guilty sinners would go against God's character. But God solved this problem. He made a way to forgive sinners AND uphold His righteousness: justification. When I placed my faith in Christ, God could declare me "not guilty" because He imputed Christ's righteousness on me. Jesus died, taking my sin, so that I could have His righteousness. This is what justification means; I am made just (or righteous) in God's sight.

The Gospel has power to save because of God's righteousness. Romans 1:16-17 says that "it is the power of God for salvation... for in it the righteousness of God is revealed...." Without God upholding His righteous character, the Gospel would be powerless.

Do I really know what the gospel is about?
The Gospel is so much bigger than I ever realized. It's beyond myself and all about God. Now that my perspective of the Gospel has changed (from being about my salvation to about God's righteousness), I get so excited when I hear the Gospel preached! Before, it used to be that I'd already "heard it, done that." Now, I can't help but thinking how great, how glorious God is! The Gospel is not just a thing of the past - it's about the present and the future.


Monday, November 7, 2011

I Love Martha

Martha Mahinsky has all the answers to life, so her videos are certainly worth checking out:

"Not everybody is like me... unforntunately."

"If you werew a Bible verse, I would memorize you."

"If you're single... you obviously have communication problems."

"Once again, you're welcome for watching."

(You should really check out the Jostie Flicks Youtube channel. The Jost family uploads new videos nearly every week... and they are so creative and hilarious! Yeah, you might be seeing more of them on my blog soon!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So He Can be Gracious...

Give Him time to do great things. The greater work He plans, the greater the prayer preparation that may be necessary, including prayer for guidence. God often waits so that He can be even more gracious.

~ Wesley L. Duewel

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Point of Waiting

Swamped. That's what I've been. Constantly searching for scholarships, writing essays, and trying to squeeze in some school. I feel so bad that I haven't been able to comment on any one's blogs lately... but I've just been so busy. But you all know what that's like, right?

As I am in this season of "waiting" in my life, I thought it appropriate to share this poem. Read it. It's amazing.

What's the Point?
By Josiah Schwartz

The point in waiting is
to enjoy
To love and worship God
In act of your life

Including the waiting.

And in the waiting
Remember His nature
That He is the Giver of every perfect gift
That He desires to lavish on you with such treasures
Treasures that are worth the wait
Solely because He is in them.

Rest in this:
He is going to give you
Exactly what you need
At exactly the time you need it.
That is reason to smile.
That is reason to breathe easy
And rest in Him.

Let go of "when" and "if"
Because His ways
Are so much higher than yours.
His thoughts
Beyond what you could ever fathom
Because He loves you.
Oh, how He loves you.
And that is the point
of your entire existence
To experience His presence
His love
Inside every moment.

Especially in the waiting.