A New Law…Sort of (Part 2)

Ok, so basically…
Jesus fulfilled the law, this doesn’t mean the Ten Commandments and other OT laws. It refers to all the Mosaic law. The law that people followed for the forgiveness of their sins. The difference between the two is this…
The law that the OT people obeyed for the forgiveness of their sins was a ritual they practiced for just that. Jesus came and fulfilled all of this so we no longer have to perform these laws/rituals.
The Ten Comm. weren’t given as rules to be followed through ritual. Rather, they were given as rules to just live by daily. In all we do keep them in mind and don’t break them, is all. -Like good morals to follow, they don’t change your daily routine (except for maybe someone who is just starting their walk with Jesus).
So yes, there is freedom in Christ, as He has fulfilled the law that would require us to change our daily routine altogether.
My question then is where does tithing and tattoo’s fit in? In Leviticus it talks about men not shaving any hair on their face…hmmm? Did Christ change the rule on tithing regarding what I said in my last blog at the end? In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says, (and I read this this morning)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Then in the following verses he talks about some of the rules of the law and and tweaks them, but only in a stricter sense. Not in a releasing sense. But when Jesus talks about giving to others, even the coat on your back if they need it, does that tweak the tithing law? I’m thinking not, because he would have specifically said so.
As usual, any comments or questions are welcome πŸ™‚


A New Law…sort of (Part 1)

I was reading Ephesians chapter 2 last night, as part of my “Bible in a year” reading, and I had a little revelation at verse 15. But just for context I’ll type out verse 14 -16 from the New Living Translation.
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
Earlier in the evening, before reading this passage, my friends and I were talking about the Bible and my one friend mentioned how Christ came to fulfill the law. I’ve always heard people say that, but I never really thought about what it meant. When I read verse 15, I remembered hearing what my friend said and it finally made sense. Christ ended the system of law with its commandments (all the law that was written before He came) through all His teachings and then by dying and rising from the dead. Simply put, He fulfilled the law.
Since Christ fulfilled the law, we no longer have to try to fulfill the law ourselves. Meaning, we no longer have to sacrifice a clean animal unto the Lord for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus was symbolically the lamb that was slain for all our sins eternally. We simply have to ask for forgiveness and it will be given to us.
Secondly, because Jesus fulfilled the law, he created new (sort of) commands through all His teachings here on earth (which is what verse 15 is saying). Therefore I truly don’t believe we are bound to the old laws, specifically, to the Ten Commandments anymore….if we do everything Christ asked us to do, and live by Him, we will indeed follow all the Ten Commandments and many of the other Old Testament (OT) laws without being religious about it. The people of the OT followed the laws because they had to and sacrificing an animal was a ritual for them. I believe Christ came to change that. Jesus pursues every single one of us and desires a relationship with us, not a ritualized relationship, how awesome is that?
I feel similar with tithing (and any other specific law in the OT). Jesus doesn’t speak about tithing, rather he asks us to give to those in need, and to bless even our enemies…I think this far exceeds the giving of 10% to the storehouse and is less religious. When we tithe, many of us are guilty of tithing for the wrong reasons…”the Bible tells me to so I will, even though I want to keep it”….or, “God will honor my giving to the church, I’m giving to get blessed in return”. Giving is only meant to be done with no expectations of a return, it’s simply because of the joy of blessing someone else. And when Jesus asks us to give to those who need, it is easier to do so “unreligiously”, if you will. Although unreservedly, not so much; and I know this too. I know that either way can be done with corrupt motivations, but I personally would like to see a need and give to it (knowing it could lead to salvation for someone) then give to the same cause my whole life.
Ok, so I wrote this blog about a month ago because I wanted to do more research. So if you disagree with it, read Part 2. I did more research and changed my view.

A New Day

So this morning I decided I need to get more serious about my relationship with Jesus. So I changed my Bible app on my phone to one that has a daily Bible plan everyday for the next year. So everyday I can read a chunk of the Bible, not just a daily verse. Which is good, because when I read the verse it’s usually in the middle of doing something and not really memorized. Usually it’s forgotten. I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that as long as I read it once, it’s in my heart somewhere and if God wants me to share that verse, He’ll bring it to my mind…Just writing that out feels so silly, because it is!
So I’m on this new adventure (hopefully a lasting one), and I’ve decided I should blog my way through the Bible. I have had, well sort of writer’s block, for the last couple of months. But reader of mine, I have not forgotten you. And today I have finally returned πŸ™‚ Hopefully I will not disappoint you.
I haven’t fully read through today’s reading, but I’m on the 3rd (of 4) chapter. Today’s reading is Revelation 19 through Revelation 22. I’ve gotta say, I have never really read the book of Revelation, I’m really just scared. It brings up a topic that I need the Holyspirit to fill me with his presence on. I should know better, though. Anytime I take time to read God’s word, the Holyspirit shows me something and it’s not fearful at all.
So far I’ve read chapter 19 and 20, and I’ve started 21. While reading 21, though, I felt the Lord telling me to stop to write a blog. And the kids are still sleeping, so it seems I have perfect timing…none but the Lord.
This passage is about the end of the earth, and the beginning of the new one. The first verse I want to talk about is 19:6. “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters, and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.”” I couldn’t help but listen to those sounds in my head, thanks to the thunderstorms we’ve been experiencing lately. And thanks to Hollywood’s Armageddon-type movies, I can hear the roar of rushing waters. But combine these with the shouting of praises and it becomes unfathomable and my heart becomes so excited thinking I may hear this one day! And then I think of my mom, growing up, who would roll down the windows, mid winter, just to hear the jets taking off as we drove down Airport Rd. Hehe, I giggle to myself.
Then starting in verse 19 I read how the beast and the false prophet “who had performed signs on its behalf.” had been captured. The false prophet “with these signs…had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” This chapter just gets better and better.
And in chapter 20:4 we read how Christ will reign a thousand years while Satan is bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. And that all who were beheaded for Christ, who had not received the mark of the beast, will reign with Christ in those thousand years! But it says the rest of the dead won’t come to life until after the thousand years. This has really encouraged me. I already knew that the reward was amazing for being martyred, but I really had no idea it was that great!
Lastly, in chapter 21, there is a new heaven and a new earth. Basically, God will be living among us! Then in verse 7 and 8 it says something that really hit me. “7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Well, I know I have lied without ever telling some people the truth. I have been cowardly when God has asked me to go out of my comfort zone to spread His Word. I have been some of the other things too, but have repented. Only the lies have I asked for forgiveness from God, but not all the people I’ve lied to. Hmmm. What does this mean for me? Should I go to all these people and tell them the truth of whom I can remember? I would like feedback on this one.
Regardless, while reading the whole passage, I basically decided in my heart that I shouldn’t be living as comfortable as I am. And I have been around many Christians who claim it’s OK to live comfortably, as long as your heart is right. But I know the Bible tells us we are aliens of this world. Which means that by our very thoughts and actions, uncomfortability should be our normal. Because an alien is never comfortable in a foreign land, that making excuses for being comfortable is just icing over the guilt so many Christians feel. Eventually they don’t feel guilty, because it is who they’ve become, and they get angry when anyone tells them they need to get out of their comfort zone, they feel judged.
How I came to this realization through this passage? Well I actually can’t remember. But God used this passage somehow to show me it. I hope you can learn something life-changing from it too, should you choose to read it πŸ™‚

Faith, or just hope?

Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). Many of us know this verse very well and, in fact, live by this verse… Well, at least we think we do. A couple of years ago I finally realized what this verse really means. Like, I had an “Aha! That’s it!” moment, and God completely opened my eyes. A revelation from God that has since changed my life and my thought process on faith.
This past Sunday, Dave and I visited our last church and Pastor Matthew said something that described exactly how I feel about faith, but I could never seem to put it into words. He said that we have many times called hope, faith. That faith is actually when you KNOW it (whatever you’re believing for) will happen, that “you’d be willing to bet the farm on it”. Hope on the other hand, is an expectancy on God, believing it can happen, but not KNOWING it will. We have many times, if not all the time, called this faith. I really believe that we, (as Christian American’s) have become a people of very little faith. Instead we are a people of hope. Basically, instead of praying, “Lord, please heal her”, we should be praying, “You are healed in Jesus’ name!” It has to be decided in our heart before we even start praying, that it IS going to happen! Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen”, we KNOW He formed it, not we hope He did. Which is the exact faith we should have in our prayer’s.
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We have to always stay put in the Bible and see things through God’s eyes, which comes from reading His word. If we’re not reading it how can we back up our prayers with it. Because “by His stripes we ARE healed” is what His word tells us and is what we should claim. And if you’ve read the Gospels, you would see that when Jesus healed someone He always said, because of you’re faith you have been healed! The followers of Jesus KNEW Jesus could heal them and that he would. The word of God does not change, therefore if it was by faith they were healed, then by TRUE faith, we are healed too!
If there is something miraculous you are praying for right now, I would challenge you to put your new faith up for the challenge. Remember, nothing is too big for God, it just always seems gigantic to us.

Suffering But Not Forgotten

“At the age of eleven, Mihai began to earn his living as a regular worker. Suffering had produced a wavering in his faith. But after two years of Sabina’s imprisonment he was allowed to see her. He went to the Communist prison and saw her behind iron bars. She was dirty, thin, with calloused hands, wearing the shabby uniform of a prisoner. He scarcely recognized her. Her first words were, “Mihai, believe in Jesus!” The guards, in a savage rage, pulled her away from Mihai and took her out. Mihai wept seeing his mother dragged away. This minute was the minute of his conversion. He knew that if Christ can be loved under such circumstances, He surely is the true Savior.”
This story is just a little piece of what Richard Wurmbrand’s family went through during their persecution in a Communist Romania. Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyr’s organization that helps Christians around the world being persecuted for Christ, was imprisoned for a total of 14 long years while enduring solitary confinement and much physical torture. He wrote about this story of his wife and son in his book “Tortured for Christ”, which he wrote only three days after he was released from prison.
I have recently ordered and received this book in the mail and I gotta say, It’s one of those books you start reading and 20 pages later you realize you haven’t lifted your eyes except to go from the bottom of one page to the top of the next. But it will surely open your eyes and turn your stomach a little as you read about the reality of what many Believers in Jesus are going through right now all around the world. I have lately been realizing that I love Jesus so much more than I have before. And yet as much as I love Him, it seems there are many people in so many countries that must love him so much more!
Take Kim Kyung Il, for example. Originally from North Korea, this man crossed the border to China and soon after became a believer in Jesus. He has helped many refugees and was an overseer of a safe house that discipled over 70 refugees. Much of the group got arrested and while Kim was fleeing, he and his wife were arrested. They both were sent back to North Korea and prison, where his wife lost her baby because of being hit in the stomach. They were released soon after and while she went to South Korea with family, he went back to China to work at another safe house. He was arrested again in 2002 and still remains in prison. He is scheduled to be released this September, but they plan to send him back to North Korea, where he is sure to be executed.
Or take Ibaragi Kun from Japan. He and 25 other Christians were sentenced to die and marched to the place where 26 crosses stood. Kun, being only 12 years old, was taken aside by an official who strongly encouraged him to recant his faith. Kun replied “”Sir, it would be far better if you yourself became a Christian. Then you could go to heaven with me.” The officer stared, startled by the young man’s faith. Finally, Ibaragi asked, “Sir, which cross is mine?” The bewildered official pointed to the smallest of the twenty-six crosses. Young Kun ran to the cross, knelt before it, and embraced it. When the soldiers began to nail his hands and feet to the cross, he did not cry out in pain. He courageously accepted the path God had laid out for him. The crucifixion of the twenty-six Christians on November 23, 1596, was the beginning of a period of intense persecution of Christians in Japan. Over the next seventy years, as many as one million Japanese Christians would be killed for their faith.”
It is people like this that I find so much encouragement in living for Christ. I don’t think I even know what it is to truly live for Christ. I mean, the persecution I fear is of getting a weird look when I bring up God to a stranger, or having someone tell me they don’t want to hear it. I say this with shame…as I should.
Well, part of the reason I am writing about this is to bring an awareness to more people about the silent, innocent sufferers. I have recently found out that I can write letters to those who are imprisoned for their faith in Christ. I can write to the officials who are imprisoning them. I can make a difference and I can let these people know, that even though the prison guards might try to scare them into recanting their faith and will try getting them to say where other Christians in hiding are by telling them they are forgotten, that they are NOT forgotten. And that I , Cheryl Ramsay of the USA, know about them and am so encouraged by them! That I am praying for them. You just go onto http://www.persecution.com, the website for The Voice of the Martyrs, and click on Prisoner Alert. They keep you updated on Christians around the world who are imprisoned and then you can write to that person, or the officials in charge of them. Kim Kyung Il is the most recent prisoner I have received an alert for and I just hope that whoever reads this will have some sort of, even small, urgency in their heart to even just pray for this man that he could be reunited with his wife once again. I think once we really put ourself in someone else’s shoes is when we can truly feel that urgency to pray, and pray with all we’ve got.

Quotes taken from “Tortured for Christ” and “Extreme Devotion”.

Can you hear it?

“Well it’s about time!” is all I can think as I start typing. At the age of 14 I decided to start going at it with pen and paper and ever since I have realized that I LOVE to write. Whether it be poem, essay, story, or song, it seems to be a part of my core being. On the talented end of the stick, not so sure I’m as great as I think I am, because we all probably think of our work (in what it is we love to do) as great, but I’m hoping at least one person can get something from the blogs I write. And hopefully I can get something back from them.

As for the point of all this? Well, I’ve finally realized that I’ve seemed to learn a lot in these 5 years of marriage. I am young and have much to learn, but with what I know and what I am learning there’s an endless possibilities list to choose from in writing these blogs. My main focus? God. From there I can pretty much discuss anything and it should get interesting.

Lately my life has been all about hearing God’s voice. I mean, I’m no professional at it, but have any of us really acquired the perfect skill in doing this very thing? I’m thinking that we all hear Him wrong at somepoint, or we at least choose to do the wrong thing. Either way, none of us have “arrived”. Quite the encouraging statement there, for me. But through selling our home, moving to an aparment, then a home, through trial after trial in trying to raise 2 little ones, through trying start a computer business out of our home, through helping a new church plant get started, through going to school part time, and through just being a woman, I’d say I have really come far. My husband, Dave, and I have always tried to wait for God to speak to us in all these areas and do what it is the Lord wants us to do. “What is your will, Lord?”, or “Please guide us on this new journey, Lord”, or “We just don’t know what to do anymore, Lord, we need your help!” are all things we’ve prayed many times! We’ve often times tried to make it through something on our own, and then finally when things are going wrong and we just can’t take it anymore, we call on God for help. The sad truth for all of us, but God is so good! He shows us His love as a father when at that moment changes our perspective on the situation and gives us peace. I never feel though that He is angry with me for not calling on Him in the first place. I always feel his grace and the lifting of my burden.

One important thing I’ve realized, is if we’re going to hear God’s voice, we need to close our lips and listen. I like to talk, so this tends to be a hard one for me, but when I really focus and seek the Lord in my prayer time, He shows me how to listen and tells me when to be silent. The more I do it, the easier it seems to get.

Lately the struggle for my family is with our finances, a common struggle with many of us I’m sure. We’re in our new home just under a year now and it sure is a rough one because with a new home also comes a new mortgage. In these winter months it sure is enough to settle in some depression, which leads to a mommy and wife who tends to be quite a bit more frustrated. After a couple of weeks, I finally realized about two weeks ago that I need to lift this burden up to the Lord and listen to what He wants to tell me about it. I really needed His peace. So I was sitting in church during a time of prayer, worship, and listening….and I just felt in my spirit that all the Lord wants from me is my devotion to Him everyday. Just setting aside some time for him everyday, which I had been struggling with doing in the past. If I do this, He will take care of our financial burdens and everythign else that is weighing on this family. What a weight lifted off my shoulders! It’s two weeks later and I am still free of any depression and overall frustration!

It’s so neat how sometimes we need to hear God’s voice in a situation where we need to make a decision, and sometimes we need to hear God’s voice tell us we’re going the wrong way, and then sometimes we just need to hear his voice say “I love you and I’m holding you in the palm of my hand”. His voice is always there, all we have to do is wait and listen. At the right time, He will speak to us. I have learned this through the past 5 years of my life, and am finally catching on…and oh how I am excited to hear more and more of the voice of my father.

May we hold fast to this promise…
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. β€œThey are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.