Crazy Love

I recently read the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.  My mother-in-law, Margaret, let me borrow it.  I loved it. I especially love the way Francis writes, it’s as if he is just talking directly to me.

If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.  It is quite convicting and calls us to live the life God intends for us to live.  It’s about NOT being lukewarm Christians.  I personally do not want to be a lukewarm Christian, I want to be ALL in.  And I need God’s help with that.  I truly do.  It’s hard to give up everything for God, but I want to do that with all of my heart.  I want my entire life to be for Him and to show him glory every single day.

Here are a few quotes from the book.  As I said it’s quite convicting.  Francis doesn’t sugar coat much.

  • ” I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns.  Thorns are anything that distracts us from God.  When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions or commitments are piled on top of it.”
  • “Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in both at church and outside church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives”
  • ” Lukewarm people do whatever  is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty.  They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them.”
  • ” Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but beside that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever.  They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong”

Wow, right?  It’s convicting stuff, and I love it!  I do NOT want to be a lukewarm Christian and this book has called me to live exactly how God instructs me to live.  I must obey his teachings, not just the ones I like.  And I must always give Him glory in everything that I do. 

I will close with this last quote that really sums it all up:

  • ” As long as we are pursuing Christ, we are satisfied in Him.  It is when we stop actively loving Him that we find ourselves restless and gravitating towards other means of fulfillment.”

Forgiving Others

Why is it so hard to forgive those that have hurt us?  Many of us hold onto those hurt and resentful feelings for too long.  We cling to the anger and the frustration aimed at another person.  We must realize this ONLY hurts us.  The other person is usually not affected by your lack of forgiveness.  We are the ones that carry all of it around and it can do a lot of damage while you are clinging so tightly to it.

If we hold onto forgiveness and we do not forgive others, then we are getting in the way of the good things God can do in our lives.  God has forgiven us for everything we have done (if we accept Christ into our hearts and ask for forgiveness of our sins), so why should we not forgive others?  Who are we to hold onto forgiveness?  By forgiving others we bless them and ourselves.

One very important thing to remember about forgiveness is that it does not mean you agree or condone what someone has done.  It only means you forgive what they have done.  You do not have to continue being friends with someone just because you forgive them.  If someone is not a good person for you to be around or to be friends with, then you need to distance yourself from them.  You can also forgive them and move on, you are not saying that you think what they did was right or okay.

I held onto resentment and hurt for a long time.  Not until I realized that it was only hurting me and that if I forgave this person that I was not saying all that they had done was right or okay.  I was just CHOOSING to forgive them.  It was so freeing.  Forgiving someone who hurt me gave me such a peace that only God can give.  By my forgiving this person, God was blessing me with peace.   Not forgiving this person was only hurting me and getting in the way of that peace that God so wanted to give me.

Here are some verses to remind you what God says about forgiving and blessing others:

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”  Luke 6:37

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”  Matthew 6:14-15

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”  Matthew 5:44

“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven”  Matthew 18:21-22

Don’t Follow Your Heart, Follow God!

I recently found this video on YouTube when I was searching for a way to understand better where God is leading me in my own life.  It’s a very simple and basic video by Joshua Anderson.  The way Joshua explains this topic and bases it on verses is great.  He has a good way of helping you understand the difference between following your own (sinful) heart and following God.  There is a big difference and the phrase “follow your heart” is a worldly phrase, not a Biblical phrase.  God warns us in the Bible to NOT follow our own hearts, because our own hearts will lead us astray.  We are to guide our hearts to GOD!  We are to ask the Holy Spirit to help us follow God, not our own thoughts and desires.  Following God is where we will find ultimate joy and peace.  We will never find it following our own hearts.

Take a look at the video…