Friday, July 13, 2012

Getting unstuck in my walk with Christ - Day 12

Wow ... it's been longer than I thought!  I've just been super distracted lately hanging out with friends...definitely a worthy distraction :-)

The parental visit went well.  My dad complimented my DIY jewelry holder, which was really nice since my mom's response a few months ago was, "Oh..."  We had a delicious fancy meal which was a welcome change from my usual budget fare ;-)  And, of course, the visit wouldn't have been complete if my mom had not almost immediately started folding clothes and cleaning my windowsills...I didn't complain though...just kinda laughed :-P

In cleaning news (post-visit)...
All of the bug palettes are FINALLY out of my living room!!  I placed them as nicely as possible on the lower center bookshelf in the "hobby room" with the display boxes for pinned bugs on top.  It'll never be the most beautiful thing to look you'll see once I post pictures, but it's WAY better than taking up an entire corner in the living room.  Now I just have to finish washing out the empty vials and choosing which of those vials I actually want to keep and continue to take up space with...

My bookshelves are shaping up quite well...I still have a ridiculous amount even though I've filled 5 bags already to donate or sell.  The most difficult part is grouping since my shelves are only so big and I have huge amounts of certain genres...vampire books literally take up 1.5 shelves.  To make the separation onto 2 shelves make more sense, I put all the series on one shelf and all the onesies on the 1/2 shelf with other fantasy novels.  It works pretty well actually.  Hopefully, the bookshelves will all be finished by the end of the day...

In honor of my spending more time with others, 
I wanted to share this photo as my Day 12 state-of-mind pic.  
From left to right, Shingazi Anna (my aunt), Yeyo Simbai (my mama), 
Raelay (my cousin), and of course me.  
I only spent 5 days with them, but they will always be my family :-)

Spiritual reflections...
I finished Chapter 5 of Unstuck and it was a really great refresher on the daily struggle with sin that even the most devout Christians have.  Take Paul for example (Romans 7),

15  For I do not understand my own actions.
For I do not do what I want,
but I do the very thing I hate.

18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me,
that is, in my flesh.
For I have the desire to do what is right,
but not the ability to carry it out.
19  For I do not do the good I want,
but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
20  Now if I do what I do not want,
it is no longer I who do it, 
but sin that dwells within me.

Just the convoluted nature of this passage clearly shows how difficult the struggle is.  But to give us hope, even faced with the reality of an intense sin struggle for a Christian super star like Paul, check out 1 Corinthians 10:13 >>
13  No temptation has overtaken you 
that is not common to man.  
God is faithful, and he will not let you 
be tempted beyond your ability, 
but with the temptation 
he will also provide the way of escape, 
that you may be able to endure it.

When looking at these two passages together, I think the way of escape becomes quite clear.  While yes, as humans, sin dwells within us, the Holy Spirit is always there to be our helper and guide in knowing the mind and desires of Christ.

As J. I. Packer puts it, "Only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt, and admitted does divine empowering begin."
So the struggle is real and our sinful natures are real, but the power of the Holy Spirit is also very real.  And it is only in the struggle and in our seeing just how broken and inept we are on our own, that the Holy Spirit can do it's most powerful work.  Just think about what happens at the moment of salvation - not only do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, but you also become acutely aware of your sin and your human inability to meet God's standards.

Additionally, the authors mention 3 "equations" that sum up Paul's theology:

Christ + Salvation = Christianity

Love + Grace = Forgiveness

Surrender + Freedom = Faith

I'll end with a fabulous quote from J. I. Packer:

     The secret to discipline is divine empowerment, which builds internal strength.  Fortunately for us, the key to God's strength is our own weakness.  Through humble dependence on Jesus Christ we find the strength to put off our old life and to grow in our new one.  The power pitfall is self-reliance and failure to see that without Christ we can do nothing that is spiritually significant.  The power principle is that divine strength is perfected in human weakness.
     If I could remember each day of my life that the way to grow stronger is to grow weaker, if I would accept that each day's frustrations, obstacles, and accidents are God's ways of making me acknowledge my weakness so that growing stronger might become a possibility for me, if I did not betray myself into relying on myself-my knowledge, my expertise, my position, my skill with words, and so on-what a difference it would make to me!

I think that pretty much says it all :-)

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