2014 archive

Doubt your Salvation?

By Hayley DiMarco

doubting woman

Do you ever doubt your faith? Wonder if you are really a Christian at all? After all you don’t always act like one. You don’t hear from God the way others do. You often feel empty and alone. These thoughts and feelings plague even the most faithful of believers. But they don’t need to. There is a way to know, to be sure, so that you can stop the worry and the doubt and rest assured in your salvation. And so that you can honestly know that you belong to God and say of yourself, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39, ESV)

When you become a Christian you become a new creature. And as a new creature these 8 things happen to you:

1. Your heart is changed. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26, ESV)

2. God’s law is written on your heart. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33, ESV)

3. You love God’s law and agree that it is all good. “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12, ESV) Even if you sometimes fail to act accordingly, you still call his law good and your actions sin. “Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.” (Romans 7:16, ESV)

4. You learn to love selflessly because you, like Christ, have died. You have died to yourself.  “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:8, ESV)

7. You live to serve righteousness instead of the law. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6, ESV)

8. You become meek and grace-filled.“So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:16, ESV)

As a Christian your heart will confirm these things are true in your life. But if you fear that you cannot confirm them, take heart, you can find your faith. John 1:12 tells us that “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12, ESV)  That means that if you can agree to the terms laid out in scripture, that Jesus is as the Puritan William Guthrie put it, “a King to rule over me, a Priest to offer sacrifice and intercede for me, a Prophet to teach me.” Then you can give your heart to him and rest in the knowledge that he is sufficient, and that you are a true believer. And as you surrender your life to Him these 8 things will become a part of your new life in Christ and doubt will be the last thing on your mind. 

What do you want?

By Hayley DiMarco

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An idol is something that you have devoted your life to. It might be a way of life that involves self-sacrifice, self-discipline, or self-obsession. It might involve devotion to family, applause, comfort, power, more stuff, less stuff, more friends, more likes, more followers, even more church. The bottom line is that idolatry happens when you obsess. When there is something in your life that you are consumed with, that you can’t live without, or that you would do anything to keep—if you love something with all of your heart—then you have an idol. We can say that because of what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). That means you were made to obsess, to give 100 percent of your everything to Him. So when you obsess over anything other than God, you make that thing your little God, your idol, and God is replaced.

excerpted from Own It, Leaving Behind a Borrowed Faith

Just Do It

By Hayley DiMarco

bible

Never read God’s will concerning you without honestly deciding to do it at once, and asking God the ability to do so. God has given you His Word, to tell you what He wants you to do and what grace He has provided to enable you to do it: how sad to think it’s holy to just to read that Word without any serious effort to obey it! May God keep you from this terrible sin! – Andrew Murray

Killing Yourself

By Hayley DiMarco

the-procession-of-the-trojan-horse-in-troy-1773

Prayer without fervency and violence is no prayer; it is speaking, not praying. Lifeless prayer is no more prayer than the picture of a man is a man.”  Thomas Watson

This idea of violence to one’s self might be offense to modern man, but it is not out of date for the believer. Watson was a Puritan who spoke passionately about the idea of dying to self; so passionately that much of what he said could be called too puritanical. But that said, the portion I have posted here is valuable and faithful in its approach. The language however is very old English and may be hard for the modern soul to fully ingest, so I have updated the language here without changing his message:

“Offering violence to one’s self, in a spiritual sense, is mortification of sin: Since self is the flesh, we must die to self. Our flesh is like the Trojan horse within the walls that does all the mischief. The flesh is a sly enemy; at first it is sweet venom, afterwards a stinging scorpion, it kills by embracing. The embraces of the flesh are like the ivy embracing the oak; which sucks out the strength of it for its own leaves and berries. So the flesh, by its soft embraces, sucks out of the heart all that is good. The flesh fights against the spirit (see Gal. 5:17). So it goes that the pampering of the flesh, is the quenching of God’s spirit. The flesh chokes and stifles holy motions: the flesh sides with Satan and is true to its interest. There is a part within that will not pray, that will not believe. In fact, the flesh inclines us more to believe a temptation than a promise. It is because the flesh is so near to us that its counsels are more attractive. But a man must offer violence to his fleshly desires if he will be saved, as we see in Col. 3:5, which says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” The mortifying and killing of sin at the root, is when we not only abstain from the acts of sin, but hate the existence of them.

Even in the best of saints there is something that needs mortifying, such as pride, envy, and passion. Therefore, mortification is called crucifixion in Gal. 5:24. This is not done suddenly but every day some limb of the ‘body of death’ must drop off. There is always something that needs mortifying. So it was Paul would ‘beat down his body,’ by prayer, watching, and fasting, (see 1 Cor. 9:27).

As flesh is taken to be physical, so it is to be cherished; but as flesh is taken theologically with all of its impure lusts, so a man must hate his own flesh. The apostle says, ‘passions of the flesh wage war against the soul’ (1 Peter 2:11). If the flesh wars against us, we have good reason to war against the flesh.” – Thomas Watson, The Christian Soldier