how should we respond to osama bin laden’s death?

I decided to tackle this because i know it’s a tough and popular topic that will warrant discussion and edify the body, all while illuminating God’s justice, Christ’s death, & His grace.

Photo by Getty Images.

how should we respond to the death of osama bin laden? honestly, i can’t answer that question with a definite action, but i feel comfortable in answering the question, “before i react, what should i think of in response to the death of osama bin laden?

@2live4him tweets, “Osama got what he deserved, but before you start shouting, what if you got what you deserved?”

@pngwolo tweets, “According to God, I and Bin Laden deserve to be bunk buddies in Hell’s Oven. Rom. 3:10-19.”

proverb 28:5 reads “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.”

proverb 24:17 reads “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad … ”

proverb 11:10 reads “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.”

@2live4him prompts us to, before shouting over osama bin laden’s death, think of how it would be if we got what we deserved. Nat, knowingly or unknowingly, is addressing someone already in the wrong, for they are rejoicing at the sole fact that osama is dead, and from a vengeful view. the only person’s death we should rejoice over is Jesus (because He died for us), and that doesn’t break proverbs 24:17, because Jesus (who we were once enemies of) is not in a position of failure anymore; He is at the right hand of God (hebrews 1).

@pngwolo prompts us to look at the sinful state of osama bin laden and ourselves – which are the same. in God’s eyes, the only true eyes, eric michael ward and osama bin laden deserve to be bunk buddies in hell. sidenote: hell is such a lonely place (since we’ll be without God forever) that osama bin laden and i can be bunk buddies and not even know it because there is no community outside of God. PT’s tweets prompt me and others to see that we are no better than osama bin laden, and that we have sinned against God and deserve to be sniped by a bullet of eternal proportion from God’s golden gun (2 Thess 1). God’s righteous judgment is only right because His justice is just.

now, i don’t think we should be mad at someone not responding like us. the issue is deeper than celebration, but of the heart. some believe they are rejoicing in justice, but could be rejoicing in vengeance, which i agree is “contrary to the gospel.” see, most of us (christian or not), rejoice in the fact that bin laden has been killed, but not at the fact that it points to justice – which should ultimately point back to God, the justifier (it sounds like we can’t separate the two, but we can and do), being just and sniping Jesus instead of us. it sounds small when first read but that’s a ginormous [sic] problem. why? see, death & justice are conjoined twins, but some of us want to focus on just 1 head and ignore the other, which leads to either hyper-_____________ (insert view) or a mind controlled by vengeance.

i believe the gospel of Jesus Christ demands we focus on both death & justice, in addition to grace, not either or. those in Christ understand justice, we understand death (we’ll continue to grow in that understanding), and we view the two through a lens of grace. Christ’s death on the cross is something we rejoice over. why? because it should have been us on the cross! and because He rose! that’s grace! now, we rejoice in this because God’s plate of justice which was specifically prepared for you and i … Christ ate it … while He was on the cross! that’s grace by justice!

how should we respond? we should think of Jesus in all things before we react in anything, and that hopefully results in worshipping God. i rejoice at the fact that justice was served once and for all for me because Jesus became my due justice for me on the cross (2 cor 5:21). i can’t rejoice in Osama bin laden’s death, well, because he isn’t Christ and his death wasn’t for my atonement. i can’t rejoice in any man dying and not knowing Christ – because it seems by his lifestyle and devout belief that osama bin laden is away from God’s goodness: hell. that is no reason to rejoice. ever. bin laden’s death actually reminds me of the urgency to exalt Christ’s finished work since there are people dying without Christ as you read this blog. @2live4him & @pngwolo’s tweets prompt me to rejoice in the grace poured on my sinful self, as well as the death and the justice demanded by God, that I escaped because of Jesus. God the Son’s gracious death saved me (all grace). it’s weird i know, but i simultaneously rejoice in the picture of God’s justice, Christ’s death, and the subsequent grace – simultaneously. honestly, i can’t think of 1 and not the other.

what matters more? how someone responds to the death of osama bin laden, or how someone responds to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? let’s not eliminate either side because they both matter, but which really matters more – if one indeed matters more? can we view them apart from each other? i think the latter will effect the former. you? let’s talk.

here is how Francis Chan responds.

#SendingTheSeventy

We love our community and we love Jesus and we desperately want both our loves to meet each other! We are believing that just as Jesus sent 70 people to share the Good News and heal the sick, He will also send out 70 of us (or more) into the Cuney Homes community to share the gospel and meet the needs of our community.

We will meet at the Center for Hope (3015 North Macgregor Houston, Texas) at 11:30 at the Security Desk. We will be both sharing the Gospel and finding out the needs of the community. No experience is necessary, just a love for people and a desire to be used by God. PLUS, ITS FREE! LOL. If you know some folk who are interested in coming out with us — please share.

Want to make a video like everyone has already? Yes! It’s never too late! Peep the instructions below!

“WHO TOLD YOU?” CONTEST…

Answer 1 or both of these questions in your video: When did you first hear the Gospel? When did you first share the Gospel? Share your story & experience in a short, 1-2 minute video.

INSTRUCTIONS:
(1) Upload your video to youtube.
(2) Tag it #sendingtheseventy
(3) Send the video link to godwithus@mac.com

Let’s get this thang viral! Check out the videos here and spread them on all of your social networks! Be sure to add #SendingTheSeventy! Let’s go!

if there is a God, where is He during all of this suffering?

where was God when the earth decided to quake, subsequently putting a bloody red dot on a nation who has the 3rd-largest economy – giving life to an astronomical tsunami to further showcase everyone’s greatest fear: death?

where was God when the faults in Port-au-prince, Haiti decided to quiver, leaving thousands of Haitians dead while some lay on the street – while some cry on the streets – even while more live on the streets?

where is God now in this sick world? today, countless diseases disperse without our permission. to name a few: cancer, cholera, lupus, alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, ebola, polio, aids/hiv – all of which have no outright cure.

where is God in the family that is falling apart? where is God in the life of the individuals who are being raped, beaten, solicited, abused, trafficked for sex, neglected, ignored, taken advantage of, misunderstood, silenced, and most of all … unloved?

most will look around and observe the obvious sufferings of the world and quickly reason within themselves, “there is no God.” but some look around and see the sufferings of the world and say, “i can’t believe God suffered with us.”

the answer to the question, “if there is a God, where is He during all of this suffering?,” isn’t automatically, “since there is suffering there cant be a God.” the answer is simply Jesus Christ.

the answer is that God saw the world suffering because of our sin, and stepped out of His heavenly habitat and became flesh in the likes of a man named Jesus Christ. to suffer. for us.

the answer is that God in a “skin suit” (eric mason), Jesus Christ, left his realm of absolute perfection, where no suffering nor natural factors of this fallen world exist, and pitched a tent down here on earth for 33 years, and yet did not sin, so that he could rightly suffer. for us.

He not only remained perfect while suffering was all around Him, but Jesus Christ suffered himself, suffering the greatest punishment of all time; suffering the death we should have died while bearing all of the sins of those who believe – for those who caused Him to suffer, us. Christ suffered through our shame, guilt, wrongdoing and emptiness. for us.

the God of the universe. suffered. for us. pause.

the Creator has suffered greater than anyone in creation. so the next time it is asked, “if there is a God, where is He during all of this suffering?” the tense-transcending answer is, “He was on the cross. suffering. for us.”

Romans 5:3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Is Charlie Sheen Winning (Duh!)…or Losing It?

Monday, March 8, VH1 aired a TV special entitled “Charlie Sheen: Winning…Or Losing It?

Dr. Drew Pinsky — reality TV’s most popular medical professional (most popularly known from Celebrity Rehab) — hosted the show.

The show went in on Charlie Sheen.

Dr. Drew and other expert physicians, etc. who “have never met or treated Charlie Sheen” spent an hour dissecting his recent behavior.

They talked about how irresponsible he’s been. How dangerous his behavior is. And about all of the medical terms for his condition. They specifically highlighted how his behavior can be characterized as “hypo-manic.”

The list of symptoms for the condition were spot on with Sheen’s recent behavior, which they made sure we were aware of by craftily plugging in clips from his latest interviews and media appearances.

His problems were impossible to miss. Drew and the other medical experts were successful in exposing just how bad Sheen’s situation is.

Thirty minutes into the show I don’t know if there was a viewer in the audience who could deny Dr. Drew’s hypothesis: Charlie Sheen is hypo-manic.

And, then…

The show basically ended.

Dr. Drew and the others stressed the need for Sheen to have some sort of intervention.

But… none of them — including Dr. Drew — seemed to be too interested in taking serious steps to help Charlie Sheen or connecting with someone who could.

They seemed fine with diagnosing him from afar and giving him a lofty and general prescription.

But no one seemed to be too interested in getting their own hands dirty and taking steps toward real solutions for Sheen.

This last Thursday, a dear friend reminded us of the humility of God.

He showed us how in Genesis God began a pattern of reaching into human history to correct our most destructive problem: pride.

Though we spit in God’s face, and try this life thing on our own (though we were never meant to succeed at life without God), God didn’t just sit up on His lofty throne in heaven and watch us bury ourselves under an unconquerable amount of sin.

In the humblest act ever (literally ever), after accurately defining our problem, God Himself decided to become our solution.

He sent His Son (Himself) to absorb the consequences of our actions. On the cross — Christ died the spiritual death that we all deserve and paid for the spiritual debt that we all owe God as a result of our sin.

And after His Son successfully completed this mission (which we know because of His resurrection), He sent His Holy Spirit (Himself) to hold private interventions for us.

His Holy Spirit shows us our own faults, shows us the consequences of our lives of pride, and then walks with us through the recovery process, which begins and is guaranteed success by faith in Jesus Christ.

He also calls out to the whole world through those of us who He is helping to walk through His rehab program (commonly referred to as sanctification) and in countless other “random” events and circumstances in our lives.

The Points:

  • If you don’t trust in Christ – let this be your intervention – start asking questions and get to find out about this God who loves you – loved you enough to come down and get you.
  • If you do trust in Christ: I challenge you to start loving folks hands on. Don’t just diagnose folks and walk away. Share with them the love that you’ve come to know. You be the one to lovingly tell them the truth and introduce them to the solution. Put away the pride, put on the love. And be active – just like our sweet rehabilitator.

ministering to your naked grandma!


what are some things God does not want to see in His ministry?

keep this in mind before you buzz in:

5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

some things God does not want to see in His ministry …

the proclamation of rules. hence “what,” “Jesus Christ as Lord.” webster defines lord as: a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due. oh my goodness! check this out, we are to proclaim the ruler: Jesus Christ as Lord! please get that! Jesus Christ AS Lord! God doesn’t want us to proclaim the rules, He’s done that enough! God proclaimed the rules back in the gap with pure grace, in order that we humans could see that we can’t hold to ’em, that we’ll break ’em, and that we’ll need to place faith in a savior in the likes of the 1 and only Jesus Christ! don’t take my word for it, peep galatians 3. why proclaim rules that no one can live by when the ruler that anyone can place faith in is alive, well and “ret” to save!?

individualism. hence “we,” “ourselves,”  “servants.” it plainly says that there isn’t just one promoter. you are on a team. a coalition. you are part of a city. God has called (don’t miss that) multiple cats to proclaim his Son, Jesus Christ as Lord! spoiler alert: “it’s not about you.” you didn’t choose to be on His team, so you have no right to boast and think you (or your church or young-adult ministry or campus ministry) are the only one “preaching the gospel” or doing His word! it’s not about what you do, or what you don’t do, or how much you do of whatever it is that you think is so awesome that you do – do. the glory and the work belongs to him who called us. i’m not lebron with the cavs trying to do it all by myself. remember how that ended right? if christianity were like the nba, then we’re not even one of the “superstars,” we’re riding the bench getting towels and gatorades for the starters during the timeouts. yes, that’s service, but the point is: we are not alone.

silent-evangelism. hence “proclaim.” God did not call us to walk around in silence and “be the only bible that people read.” yes we are set-apart by grace and should walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, but we are not to “preach the gospel and use words if necessary.” if that was the case, the only part of the bible most people would read in us is that romans 3:9-18 part. since that is the case, it is ALWAYS necessary for us to use words and tell about the sweetness of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. if i don’t tell of God’s grace despite my sin, yet only walk around in silence while i post on my facebook and twitter and tumblr and blogspot how “great” of a Christian i am, that would definitely make me a liar and a hypocrite. see, Jesus was the only one who can and who did and who ever will walk around as if He were the bible. because of another part of the bible, colossians 2:13-15, i can walk around and actually, with my mouth and walk, like Jesus did, proclaim how graceful God is, how perfect He is, how loving He is and how He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for most of my ” bible walk,” and how much we need Jesus daily! only “walking the walk” or only “talking the talk” leads to either legalism or hypocrisy. (that’s another blog for another day). submitting to the Spirit helps keep that perfect balance!

self-promotion. hence “not ourselves.” this ties with individualism, but isn’t exactly the same. self-promotion is literally marketing yourself (or the church body you belong too, or the ministry you help lead, etc.) instead of Jesus Christ. we do it all the time. remember that testimony you gave? the one that said, in a paraphrased-self-glorifying-nutshell, “my life was horrible but then i got on the right track and now i’m a champion that never does wrong. i’m #winning, word to charlie sheen.” sounds good on oprah but there was NO Jesus in there. it should really go like this, “i unknowingly but very knowingly put hip hop, sex, and popularity before God , thinking that those things were all there was to life while basking in my self-righteousness. crazy thing is, when i wasn’t even thinking about God, He sent people to show & tell me the love of Jesus Christ and what righteousness really is, and how much a filthy person like me needs Him daily. that message of love penetrated my heart and literally made me a new person. i still struggle with idolizing music, sex, and wanting to be seen on the scene and be ‘cool,’ but the love of God constantly tugs me back to Him and reminds me just that, HE loves me. i’m complete, but only in Christ.”

and the last thing that God does not want to see in His minstry is

me-Christianity. hence “your servants for Jesus’ sake.” breaking news: Christianity doesn’t start nor end with us. it is not about you living your best life now, being all that you can be, being fearfully and wonderfully made, being a man after God’s own heart, doing all things through Christ, moving mountains or even getting your blessings. it’s about Jesus. it’s about Jesus living the life that we couldn’t and dying the death that we couldn’t afford. it’s about Jesus being all that we couldn’t be. it’s about Jesus who was never made, never fearful, but always wonderful. it’s about Jesus who literally had the heart of God, completing the work of salvation on the cross for us – now that’s a blessing. it’s about God, being so indescribably set-apart and perfect (we just say holy), that He can’t stand to see the world in the mess that it’s in forever, so He’s going to reconcile all things unto Him, and has already began – through Jesus. it’s about the love of Jesus loving so hard that His love through the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of those like me who didn’t know what love is (and sometime i still act like i don’t know). it’s about Jesus initiating healed hearts to overcome hate – to love, and then by the power of the Holy Spirit new creatures are able to love on folk through service – like Jesus did. it’s not about us getting all the blessings in heaven and living eternally – that’s just a crazy silly OMG HALLELUJAH THANK YOU LAWD bonus that we do not deserve.

it’s not about us. it’s all about Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

power. part 2: “no one man should have all that power!”

as we saw in part 1, one of the definitions of power, via meriam-webster, is a possession of control, authority, or influence over others. according to the depiction of malcolm x by academy-award winner denzel washington, it is safe to say that malcolm x had some power.

i’m not just talking about any power, i’m talking about that “gimme a crisp pair of jeans, *** button up” power that literally ended the throwback jersey era. i’m talking about that eddie murphy in coming to america, “bark like a dog” power. that’s power.

in order to communicate a demand that will eventually become a reality is authentic power, power that Jesus exemplified above malcom x, jay-z, and prince akeem combined.

read mark 2:1-12 right quick and peep the power of Jesus!

in this instance, Christ Jesus showed his authority over forgiveness & sickness. not only did He heal the paralytic, but Christ forgave the paralytic’s sins – which seems to be of first importance. now that’s ultimate authority! Even the scribes were tripping at the fact that Jesus, a man, was talking like he was “God” or something! Only God can forgive sins, right? True, but the beauty is, although that Jesus is a man, He is God! And He has the same authority/power to this day!

no one man should have all that power – but a Godman should 😉

pray. sit. meditate. look around. look inside. how is God’s power manifesting in your life today?

After The Music Stops

“After the show, after the set, after the music stops, what’s next? Are we just writing songs or are we concerned with uniting a people to follow the great commission of Christ”

In one of Lecrae’s hits, “After the Music Stops,” he poses this question only to answer it later on in the song by saying “the importance of the show’s not to excite these folks but to make God’s truth relevant, ignite these folks.”

These convicting yet inspiring lyrics build up to the often overlooked importance of discipleship, an aspect of ministry we cannot neglect. I knew what being discipled had meant to my life, but I had yet to find out the impact I could make through discipleship on someone else’s life until I met Airwin Ward. Airwin is a young man out of Houston’s 3rd Ward community. I had the pleasure of sitting and talking with him. We talked casually about his past and his lifestyle before making a serious commitment to Christ. He portrayed a lifestyle filled with, as he put it, “things 15 and 16 year old boys had no business doin.”

(Ronnie on left, Airwin on right)

So what changed for the Houston teen? He began to be discipled by one of Houston’s own gospel hip hop rapper’s, Ronnie ‘Reconcile’ Lillard. Ronnie has taken it upon himself to spend weekends with Airwin. And he doesn’t just verbally tell him right from wrong and occasionally spoon feed him the gospel, he actually does life with Airwin and shows him actively how to live a lifestyle rooted in Christ.

I asked Airwin what life on life leadership in Christ looked like as opposed to the leadership he received outside of Christ. He replied:

“I was the high on Saturday in church by Sunday type of guy. Ronnie taught me I could worship and live for God all day every day. I realize now that my lifestyle is a choice. I can choose to live free and be fulfilled. Before I had brothers who showed me things that were real, but still fake. Now I see what’s really real. Ronnie uses the truths of the Bible to lead me. “

Witnessing the transformation of Airwin has deeply impacted me. I’m filled with so much joy as I see this new life emerging and evolving. It inspires and motivates me. And although I’ll never be a rapper, I do believe that we all have to come to a point in our lives when we ask ourselves-what’s the importance of the show?  After the music stops, at the end of the day, I got my salvation, so what’s next?

It’s a question that Ronnie has answered not just with words, but with actions. Ronnie isn’t just a friendly face that checks up on Airwin every once in a while. As Airwin puts it “Ronnie has become a brother from another mother …

And I mean that seriously when I say it, because he really is my brother.” As one of Houston’s hottest up and coming rappers, I believe Ronnie’s legacy will not be defined by a record and will not be confined to a stage. His legacy will be defined by the words of life that he breathed into the lives of those he touched on and off the stage. As part of his legacy he’s passed on an everlasting record that you can leave on replay for a lifetime. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if you ask me that album is epic.

To lean more about Ronnie’s ministry go to www.frontlinemovement.org

and to scoop the free download of his EP hit up http://reconcile.bandcamp.com/album/burn-this-city-ep

the gods of heaven and death part I

I asked someone, “what do you desire the most?”

They responded, “heaven”.

The remarkable thing about her answer was that she doesn’t believe in the afterlife.

I asked another person, “what do you desire most?”

They responded, “heaven”.

The unremarkable thing about his response is that he believes in the afterlife.

Upon deeper questioning these people had the same motive for wanting heaven – materialism.

Heaven is not fire insurance

Heaven is not a place for people who fear hell, but a place for people who love & are loved by God. The first woman that I asked feared hell, but at the same time did not believe that anyone could definitively prove that the afterlife even exists. Quite a contradiction.

Before I knew the gospel I would have told her, “what do you have to lose in believing in Heaven besides living a good moral life free from the repercussions of sin?” (#fail)

Now that I’m learning the gospel I told her, “Eat drink, for tomorrow we die.”

If heaven is not a reality then why care? Why sit in school learning some stuff you could care less about? Why sacrifice your goods to help feed a homeless person? Why not go out & gratify your fleshly desires?

The gospel of Christ is that you get the desires of your heart now & after you die. The tragedy of that truth is that apart from being born again you have a desire for everything that is not God. The desires of man are to fulfill this God-shaped void with everything but God. No one seeks God, no not one (Rom 3:9-18).

Christ kidnaps our hearts and transforms our affections toward him. One of the greatest blessings from God is to be allowed to worship Him. If we are not worshiping God we are worshiping something (Rom 1:25). On the cross Jesus replaced our hearts with his perfect heart.

“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” –Genesis 6:5

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” –Jeremiah 17:9

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” –Ezekiel 11:19

So now the desire of your heart is Jesus. You will get Jesus now & after you die.

How do I know there is more to life than this earth? Because Jesus rose from the dead & told me so, &  if it were not true he would not have told me (John 14:2).

Heaven apart from Jesus is hell

The other person I spoke to wanted the pearly gates & golden roads. Heaven basically became about material & being rich. Heaven was merely fire insurance & his moral living was a response to the idea of earning heaven.

It saddened me for a moment, but because I’m learning the gospel I knew how to respond.

I told him, “Heaven without Jesus is hell“.

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” – Revelation 21:23

Heaven without Jesus is a dark barren place with beautiful sights but no way to see them.

Desire Jesus & you will get him. Hell is simply the desire of your hearts, the unblemished wrath of God.

Jesus absorbed God’s wrath on the cross & is giving away his absolute peace with the Father as a free gift. Sadly there is no afterlife: There is only the here & now, but the here & now will last forever.

Forever apart from Christ is a long time.

Sweet Failure

Learning to accept failure has been hard for me.

Growing up I took a lot of pride in being a good kid.

I was rambunctious in elementary school, but always with a sort of nerdy catch. Like: I wouldn’t do my work in class because I was reading ninth and tenth grade level novels in my desk. Or: I’d be tardy after lunch because I was too busy discussing the differences between the Catholic and King James Bibles.

I was weird; but as I got older I turned these odd tendencies into the key pillars of my identity.

I took pride in:

  • my desire to learn
  • my appreciation of diversity
  • my ability to excel academically (if I decided to apply myself)
  • my willingness to embrace the odd and the old and the unpopular (I studied Latin for four years)

And for me failure was unacceptable!

I just knew that if I really applied myself, really exerted enough effort, that there was nothing that I should not be able to do. Nothing.

But all that changed!

In The City we walked through book of Romans and my own shortcomings were undeniably exposed:

10as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12

The book showed how both by my standards and by God’s standards I was an imperfect and rebellious creature.

If I was following my own standards – I never quite lived up to them. I always made little exceptions (like “I’m a good student, if I apply myself) so that I didn’t have to acknowledge my own lack.

By God’s standards – the fact that I had even created my own standards was a sign of my rebellion against Him.

And the reason I had created my own standard was because 1.) I knew that I couldn’t meet all of God’s standard (partly because by the time I’d actually sat down and read all of Leviticus and Deuteronomy it was too late – not that I was keeping up with 10 laws that I did know) and 2.) because I still had an understanding of what right and wrong was and still knew cognitively that I should be trying to do something at least kind of right (though I refused to even live up to my own lower standard 100%).

At that same time I was struggling with my classes, struggling with adjusting to the very different cultural make-up of the University of Houston (definitively situated in 3rd Ward, Texas), and struggling with applying all of the random knowledge that I had spent my short lifetime collecting.

It was undeniable: though I had prided myself on being a certain type of person and doing certain types of things I was unable to actually be  and consistently do those things.

If the true test of success was measured on a pass-fail standard, I had failed.

Thankfully:

Romans 3:21 – Romans 10 or 11 are about God’s epic plan to deal with our inherent failure through what is called the Gospel or Good News.

God understood that we all fail and He sent a Man who did not.

He gave this Man the punishment that we all deserve and credited all who trust him as Savior and follow him as their Lord with the perfect life that He lived on Earth.

He then raised this perfect Man on earth as proof that this Man is righteous and that we in him can look forward to an eternal Life like He now lives in heaven.

On top of that – God even provides the faith that we need just to trust and follow him.

He understands our insufficiency and made a provision to satisfy His own justice and show us loving mercy.

The 1st step though is acknowledging our own failure.

In our current study in 1 John on Real Faith the first chapter tells us this:

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Basically:

An acceptance of your own failure is the first step to walking into the success of Jesus Christ.

And so, what has always been so bitter for me, has become a sweet reminder of the love that God has for me and his gracious goodness in spite of me.

laugh now, cry (tears of joy) later.

i peeped an old journal rant entry (subject to error) from this summer and it read:

the LORD visited sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to sarah as He had promised. – genesis 21:1.

for a little backtrack, God said to abraham in genesis 15:4, that his very own son will be his heir. verses 1-6 are a part of a dialogue between abraham and God. at the end of verse 6 … abraham believes what God says, and it is counted to him as righteousness (by faith).

genesis 17:15-21 describes what God said and what He promised right here – that they would have a son. abraham was 99 when he heard the news, while sarah was 89 (i believe).

is anything too hard for the Lord?

even though abraham and sarah both laughed (no really, they laughed at almighty GOD) when they first heard God’s plan, God still did what He said, and did as He promised. i literally read genesis 21:1, and immediately shouted, laughed, and #lowkey cried – in awe and in worship. my God is not a man that He should lie. let God be true and every man a lie!

if i believe in what God said I will be (conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ) and in what He promised (eternal life for those who believe in Jesus’ work on the cross), i will be an heir to His kingdom. what He has for me on earth, i have to believe it – because it is essentially only to build His kingdom.

when God called me to proclaim his gospel, like sarah and abraham, i laughed. i was like, “no way.” me? shy to speak in front of people. hating the voice that God gave me. i was basically in fear and fearing man. but i grew to finally believe what He said.

faith.

the Lord will do what He said (give me His Spirit to be a witness for Him) and He will do what He promised, which is build His church and bring salvation to the elect!

SOLI DEO GLORIA.