Modern Parable ~ Blind Obedience

jenosullivan_20131031_0002_webSometimes I need my 5 year old to just simply obey something I ask him to do: Don’t cross the street yet… Eat your veggies… Go to bed… Don’t eat the entire bag of Halloween candy at once. While his little 5 year old mind cannot fathom any good reason to follow any of these ridiculous rules, he does. Why? Somehow in his 5 long years of life he has figured out that going against what I say as a direct command usually goes badly… sometimes very badly. So, here I sit. Almost 40 years old, still whining to God about this rule and that rule. “Why can’t I just…” on this command and that command. In my bible study today, I was reading and dissecting one verse in 1 Peter. Yes, sometimes it is important to dig into the Bible one verse at a time and digest it fully before moving on. So, here is what I studied this morning:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (1 Peter 1:14, ESV)

God is commanding me to not be conformed to all the things of this world that are sin and that are against His law. But get this, the first part of that sentence is “as obedient children.” This context is like a child is obedient to his father. Like my child is obedient to me. Blind obedience at times. Kicking and screaming but still obedient obedience. I hung my head low this morning as I reflected on my desire to mature in this one point. With the help of the LORD I will prevail!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

DBR Thought of the Day ~ “Now We Live” by Ryan Damato

Ryan Damato by Kathy BurchamBy Guest Blogger Ryan Damato

Paul, when he was with the Thessalonians, explained that he was going to have some affliction. His fear was that the Thessalonians would have the same and that they would turn from the truth in order to live peaceably rather than in affliction. When he hears of their faith, he goes as far as to say that “now we live”! This is such a powerful statement as he is in extreme times of persecution but what brings him joy is the faith of the Thessalonian church.

Christians need to see the sanctification of others as a joyful and exciting thing. This joy and excitement should be so powerful that it causes us to look away from our own affliction and praise God all the more.

I am experiencing this very thing right now and it is one of the most reviving things in my walk with Christ. Seeing a sinner repent and then get excited about what he is reading in scripture really makes me “live” as Paul put it. This charges me up to see more lives changed and lived for Christ!

“for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:7

~ Ryan Damato

Photo by Kathy Burcham

 

James 1:4 “An Active, Strong, Challenging Response in Your Faith” by Jen O’Sullivan

An Active, Strong, Challenging Response to Your Faith
by Jen O’Sullivan

James 1:4 (ESV)
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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The words James uses are specific to that time period and are more precise in meaning than our translation. For example, in the above text the word Steadfastness, or the Greek word hypomone, means an active, strong, challenging response in ones faith.

To put it simply, maturity in my faith is a product of testing.

I am impatient and have difficulty waiting for anything to be complete. My desire for steadfastness is huge. I long for the day when I no longer crumble under this intense pressure from my choices. My knees buckle literally under the weight at times. This steadfastness that I am enduring is definitely a strong, active, and challenging response to my test. I long to be complete and steady, settled in my understanding of God’s will and my own lack to control it. Let us continually ask God to be refined in His fire! Just like gold and silver in its purest form.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Blessing God ~ Joy in the Thorns

God has been putting me through a series of trials and tests. At one point I begged Him to give me respite. I thought, “I can’t do this anymore!” Then he blessed me. He blessed me in a way I would never have guessed. He changed my desire. Instead of changing my circumstances, the thing I kept praying for, he blessed me in the best way possible by redirecting my focus. Can you look at something you are going through right now that you are sad about, hurt by, or just don’t understand and look at it from a different perspective? Will what you are going through matter a year from now? Maybe. Will it matter 10 years from now? It might. Will it matter 100 years from now? Well, that is up to you and your Maker. If it is of this world, then it definitely will not matter 100 years from now. If it is regarding your spiritual life, you better bet it will matter 100 years from now. Change your perspective and rejoice in your trouble.
Joy in the Thorns“Joy in the Thorns”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- James 1:2-4

Photography by Jen O’Sullivan

Blessing God Series
Rain from the Lord
Grass in the Field
Parable of the Pearl
Rocks Cry Out
Flourish

Proof of Salvation

Can you Prove Your Salvation?

When you were born your parents were very aware of your growth. They had 100% proof that you were growing. If you were not, you would be taken immediately to the doctor. I remember having my baby and freaking out because his weight was in the 10th percentile. I was searching for any cause of lack of weight gain. Even to this date I obsess over the fact that his feet seem to not be growing at all while the other kids in his class have shoe sizes that are 3 sizes bigger. Moms search for evidence and proof of growth and life, constantly. How is it then that we never, or hardly ever, search for proof of growth and life in our faith? To have assurance in your own salvation is a huge thing. The word “hope” in biblical terms does not just mean you hope it might come true one day, but that it actually means “confident assurance.” That is a very different meaning and I think you would love to have confident assurance in the fact that you are going to Heaven. Take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to gain greater insight into your own salvation.