Kelsey-isms

The musings of Kelsey. Be excited.

Posts tagged the Bible

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Conspiracies, Gun Control, Governments, and Jesus: The King Eternal

There has been a lot of hype recently over government, government conspiracies, gun control, wars, political elections, etc. It’s pretty obvious people are scared. Whether they are scared of predators abusing the law, foreign powers, failing economies, or our own government, one thing is clear: They are vocal about their opinions. I’ve been accused of seeming apathetic or even ignorant to issues going on in the world because I have remained silent or seemingly passive at times. I’ve been told to “open my eyes,” and “get my priorities straight.”

I would like to share my priorities now and explain why I don’t really plan on rearranging them.

It’s no secret that I am a Christian. If you follow me on Tumblr now, I’d say that’s painfully obvious. One of the basics of Christian doctrine is that man is sinful and fallen. For this reason, it should be no surprise when we see corrupt governments and bureaucracies because every person is susceptible to evil desires. Sometimes people worry and freak out over corrupt governments as if this is a new thing, but it’s been going on since the very beginning of society. All you have to do is take a look at a history book to see that war, government conspiracies, and corruption have all been around for thousands of years. These characteristics are not unique to one country or to one race or ethnicity. They are human, unfortunately.

So if these are matters of broken humanness and not broken society, what can we do? We could be passive and accept this as fact and then become depressed. Or perhaps there is another solution.

Christianity says man is fallen, yes, but not beyond redemption. God loved His people so much that He Himself took on humanity and lived and died to correct all of the brokenness. Trusting in Him and His work is the salvation of man. God then works in the heart to root out the hate, the corruption, and the greed. In fact, the Bible says this:

2 Peter 1:4 — “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

So if we trust in Him and escape corruption, what are we supposed to do with the world and these governments still in a mess? The most popular verse on this is when the Pharisees asked Jesus about paying taxes and, essentially, giving allegiance to the government. Famously, He says, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s." (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17) In other words, there is a healthy alignment with country and with government, but ultimately you are to separate that alignment from the most important one: the one with Him. Pay your taxes, vote, follow the laws, be a good citizen. But at the end of the day, your body, your mind, and your heart were created by God and belong to Him. Give everything truly important to Him.

Jesus fought the corrupt and oppressive Roman government not with militant force and insurrection nor with money and power, but with Himself. He brought His loving words of life, truth, and freedom through salvation. He took care of widows and the poor. He healed the sick. The only way to cure the disease of corruption was to attack it directly at the human heart, not treat the symptoms that manifest themselves in the broken government and oppression. This was frustrating to His disciples at first. They wanted militant power, but instead, they got the patient, slow, loving Messiah who targeted the very nature of man. This is what we should do, too. This is how we should combat the darkness of the world—with the light of God’s truth.

And don’t be afraid. At best, the political powers of this world are temporary. The greatest empires have always failed, the most evil dictators have always passed away, and the darkest regimes have eventually died out in time. Christ and His love and power have lasted for centuries and will continue to last for eternity. Ultimately, the government of not only the world but of the universe lies in the very hands that were pierced with nails for you and I.

Isaiah 9:6-7 — For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

This is the promise He has given us. He will rule eternally as the perfect, benevolent King. He will reign with justice, righteousness, and great peace that passes all understanding forever and ever.

I do not fear the powers of this world because they have already been overcome. With Christ’s death, He destroyed the dominion of death and evil in the world. My peace with the situation does not mean a naivety or trust for political power, but rather it is a sign of my allegiance with another power all together. I am not afraid of any president, government, or bureaucracy, because my King is the King of Heaven and He reigns eternal.

Filed under government conspiracy Sandy Hook gun control Christianity Christ Jesus God love hope encouragement King the Bible Scripture peace

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Unka Glen: Embrace a perfect love

unkaglen:

People are afraid of love. Romantic love, or even God’s love seems overwhelming at times. We’re afraid of never finding love, we’re afraid of losing love when we do find it, and we’re afraid of how that love will change us, as it continues to hang around. 

How ironic that 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When you read the word “perfect” in that passage, it comes from a Greek word -teleios- that refers to something that was laid out, and then completed, like running a race course to the finish line. This word teleios would be stamped on documents to show that a debt was owed, and then was paid on full. 

Teleios was the last word Jesus said on the cross.

This is just so beautiful. I needed this.

Filed under Christianity Scripture Jesus Christ the cross the Bible love hope encouragement 1 John

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If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Gospel is for sinners and saints. It’s for the thief on the cross and the widow praying at the temple. It’s for those who have had abortions and those who are in the pews on Sunday. It’s for the liars, the losers, the lame, and the lost. It’s for those who cuss and those who have tattoos and drink whiskey. It’s for the addict. It’s for the girl who sings in the choir. It’s for the person struggling with their sexuality. It’s for the student who stays up late every night studying. It’s for the families who are broken and for the couples who are crazy in love. It’s for prostitutes and Pharisees. It’s for the hypocrites who say they love Christ, but they don’t know a thing about what it means to love Him at all. It’s for those who hear about Jesus every day and those who could care less. It’s for those who are passionately devoted to God and for those who have given up. The Gospel is for me, but I also want to tell you that it is for you. This list is by no means exhaustive because the Gospel is for everyone. It’s for every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s for the world because God wants every single human being to know how greatly and enormously they are loved.


From “Christianity is much too Exclusive… Isn’t it?

Filed under quote Christianity Christ Jesus the Gospel God the Bible Scripture hope love encouragement help sin struggles addiction happiness peace

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Christianity is much too Exclusive… Isn’t it?

Many of my friends who do not believe in Christianity have shared with me their frustrations with Christianity’s exclusivity. I guess for me this is an ambiguous term, so I have to break down exactly what they mean by exclusive. Truthfully, most things are exclusive. My University, like most I am sure you know, is exclusive to those who have the certain requirements and prerequisites necessary for admission. Taking that idea a step further, being a full-time student is exclusive to those who take 12 or more hours each semester and pay their tuition. Clubs and organizations are always exclusive. You probably won’t have much luck joining the high school band if you can’t tell a tuba apart from a trumpet. Sports teams are exclusive to those who follow the rules of the game. In other words, you cannot go into a soccer game and start using your hands and tackling people like in American football to get the ball into the goal. That is outside the confines of the rules of the game. Exclusivity surrounds us in everyday activities, organizations, and groups, so I am pretty certain this is not exactly what bothers people about the “exclusivity” of Christianity.

I think what bothers people most is not the exclusivity of Christianity, but of Christians. Christians, like myself, often make harsh dividing lines between what makes someone a believer and what does not. We like to draw the lines between which sins are acceptable as believers and which are not. Sometimes the statements get even more ridiculous, saying things like “Christians should vote for a specific party or candidate” or “can’t have that beer with the guys” or you fill in the blank. If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard one of these statements, I would be able to pay off my college tuition no problem.

Let me be clear with you: Christianity has a set of doctrines and beliefs that should be accepted in order to call yourself a Christian—namely, the belief that Christ is God who died for the forgiveness of every wrong thing we’ve ever done just so He could have a relationship with us again. Of course there are more, but I can’t touch on all of those in one post. Christianity is, in fact, exclusive in this way as anything else is in life. If we could just define Christianity by whatever terms we deemed necessary or right for us, there would not be a Christianity. It would be some vague, nonsensical belief with no real basis.

This being said, the belief of Christianity is not exclusive to one kind of person, which is the point that Christians often confuse. The Gospel of Christ is not for one kind of people group or culture. Jesus said this to His disciples during His last few moments on earth: You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (From Acts 1:8). This says something very profound about the heart of God: He wants to be available to all people everywhere. Christ Himself was very inclusive in the people He hung out with. I don’t know many people, Christian or not, who hang out with a lot of prostitutes, homeless people, lepers, tax collectors, and drunks. But Jesus hung out with all of these guys. If that’s not acceptance, then I don’t know what is.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Gospel is for sinners and saints. It’s for the thief on the cross and the widow praying at the temple. It’s for those who have had abortions and those who are in the pews on Sunday. It’s for the liars, the losers, the lame, and the lost. It’s for those who cuss and those who have tattoos and drink whiskey. It’s for the addict. It’s for the girl who sings in the choir. It’s for the person struggling with their sexuality. It’s for the student who stays up late every night studying. It’s for the families who are broken and for the couples who are crazy in love. It’s for prostitutes and Pharisees. It’s for the hypocrites who say they love Christ, but they don’t know a thing about what it means to love Him at all. It’s for those who hear about Jesus every day and those who could care less. It’s for those who are passionately devoted to God and for those who have given up. The Gospel is for me, but I also want to tell you that it is for you. This list is by no means exhaustive because the Gospel is for everyone. It’s for every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s for the world because God wants every single human being to know how greatly and enormously they are loved.

There is nothing exclusive about that.

Filed under Christianity Christ Jesus God the Gospel religion questions about religion exclusivity faith hope love encouragement Scripture the Bible Acts 1:8

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Scarlet Sins + Scarlet Blood = Spotless Sinner

A friend had this conversation with me the other day, and it really touched me. He asked, “Why do you hang out with me? I’ve done a lot of horrible things, and it’s not like I’ve hidden them from you. You know all of my stuff. So, if you don’t do those things, why did you ever talk to me to begin with?”

I just smiled and said, “You know I am a Christian.”

"Yeah, but that’s even more reason to avoid me, right?"

"Not at all. It’s the opposite. You see, I believe very firmly that who you were yesterday does not define who you are today. I believe that who you are today does not have to be who you are tomorrow. If my worldview is one that says that anyone—even someone like me—can be redeemed, can be made better and new, why wouldn’t I think that way when I see you?”

I had the joy and opportunity of telling him that when I see him, I see him as someone whom God loves so desperately. I see him as someone that Jesus Christ gave His life and His blood just to be close to him. I don’t think myself better than him by any means because we have different pasts. In fact, I got to tell him how God sees him and how that affects how I see him—a beloved, precious, amazing child of God that He misses so much.

Then, this morning, I found this scripture on my phone first thing:

Isaiah 1:18 — “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

I don’t know who this is for, but I feel like I must write this for you. Come now. Settle the matter with Him. He misses you and loves you. He shed His blood for you. It doesn’t matter what you have done, so stop making excuses and feeling guilty and trying to get it all together before you come to Him. That’s not how it works. He wants your crimson, scarlet, deepest and darkest stains. He wants them so He can wash them before your very eyes and make you white like snow or like the wool of the Lamb. Nothing is too dark for the light of His grace, and no sin is deeper than the matchless love of Christ.

In fact, I’d say that the greatest mistake you can make is to wait a moment longer. Come now.

And wow. I wish you would see yourself the way He sees you—you’d never go back.

Filed under Christianity Christ God Jesus personal love hope encouragement scripture the Bible

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See You on the Other Side

I feel as though recently I have been surrounded by death. I know this sounds morbid, but it’s true. Several of my friends have called me this week with news of deaths or illness in their families. My own grandmother is battling cancer currently, and a dear and important woman that I know and love recently lost her fight.

Before I became a Christian, I welcomed death. I wanted it to come. I didn’t want to live in this world filled with such pain and sorrow. To me, life had no point or purpose or plan. So, I thought it seemed only natural to die and hurry into nothingness. Yet when the time came, I couldn’t take my life. I was afraid. If it was so natural and logical, why didn’t I want to die? Now, things are so different. I understand that death is not natural—it is an enemy and a curse. We were not meant to experience such a thing. Death was the physical representation of our spiritual separation from God. It was the final triumphant act of sin’s hold on the world.

Was.

I don’t pretend to understand everything about life, the world, God, or my faith. There are a lot of things I do not understand and death is one of those things. I do know this, though: My God did not exempt Himself from death. When Christ was on earth, He defeated the curse of sin in unusual ways. His disciples expected a powerful Messiah who would come with thunder and lightning, swift justice and swords. He would force His perfect reign on everyone. But God had a different idea. He came with love and compassion, humility, poverty, and tears. He was scorned, misunderstood, betrayed by His closest friends, abandoned by even His family, and subjected to a criminal’s death in His innocence. But the grave could not hold Him. The resurrection was the shining, crowning victory of Christ where He destroyed death and the separation of man and God. Death was the final curse of sin to be broken.

George Herbert wrote a poem simply titled, “Death,” in which he shows the transformation of Death from something ugly and horrid into something beautiful and fair. He talks about how Christ’s blood colored the paleness in Death’s cheeks and brought hope to man. He describes death as merely going to sleep, and then having our bones clad in glory and beauty as we awake to see the face of God. It is nothing to fear anymore. In fact, death is only the beginning. The real life begins on the other side.

Terri, I miss you. I miss your gentle nature, your fabulous grace, your heart for God, and your love. You didn’t know it, but you meant so much to me. Your daughter was my only friend for much of middle school, and you and your family treated me so well and brought me the confidence and love I was starving for. I desperately needed those positive relationships in my life. I wish I could have repaid you for all that you did for me. I wish I could have seen you one last time. But I know I’ll see you again. I’m not afraid anymore. I can’t say that I long for death as I did before, but I look on it with fondness. I look at it as new life and as Christ’s great victory over my sin. I look at it as my way home and my way back to my loved ones. I look at it as your freedom from pain and suffering. While I feel like my heart is breaking, I know that you are singing your joys in heaven today. I can hear you now. Holy, holy, holy…

In the end, even Death shall die.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Filed under Christianity Christ God love hope encouragement death funerals the bible scripture poetry George Herbert

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"I don’t see how someone who advocates gay marriage can still be a Bible-believing Christian."

This was said on Facebook today… and I think my heart broke a little.

Let’s do an experiment here. Let’s replace some words in this sentence and see how the meaning may change for some people.

  • I don’t see how [a liar and a hypocrite] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (1 Timothy 4:1-3; Revelation 21:8)
  • I don’t see how [a person who struggles with lust, masturbation, sexual immorality, or porn] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Job 31:11; Matthew 5:28-29)
  • I don’t see how [a greedy thief] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Proverbs 1:18-20; Matthew 23:25; )
  • I don’t see how [the advocate of war rather than peace] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Psalm 34:14; Psalm 37:37; Matthew 5:9)
  • I don’t see how [a drunk] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:3)
  • I don’t see how [the lazy and incompetent person] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Proverbs 15:19; Proverbs 18:9)
  • I don’t see how [the gossiping friend] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Leviticus 19:16; Proverbs 17:4; Romans 1:29)
  • I don’t see how [someone who is divorced] can still be a Bible-believing Christian. (Jeremiah 3:1; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 5:32)
  • I don’t see how [anyone who has broken any one of the 10 commandments] can still be a Bible-believing Christian.

Shall I go on?

If you related with any one of these, then you and I are in the same boat. I can’t technically be a “Bible-believing Christian” by such a definition and implication because I have failed. I cannot live up to the law.

Here’s the thing though: It’s not about you. I know, hard to hear, but it’s true. The Bible is not about you. It’s about Christ. It’s about what He did. Not you. It’s about how He fulfilled the law. Not you. Not you and not me. The law serves as our mirror. We can look at it and look at the Bible and say, “Wow. I have messed up big time.” But the Bible is not even about the law—it’s about Christ. It’s about Him and His radical, crazy, amazing, game-changing, life-altering Grace.

When are we going to start getting it, Christians? It’s all about CHRIST. How long will we be content with skirting around the issue? We’ll keep making excuses, keep saying… you can’t do this and be a Christian… this is how it is… that’s unbiblical… that’s against the law…

Let me tell you, that’s what the Pharisees did…and hardly anyone was further from Christ than they were.

Here’s the thing: I used to be crazy, legalistic, and super into theology and apologetics and all of this mess, and I never reached anyone during that time of my life. I was, in every sense of the word, a Pharisee. One day, I woke up and realized it was all about Jesus. It was all about His love and grace. I didn’t need tricky theology and apologetics because it was simple:

I messed up. Big time. Christ loved me, and He did ALL of the work for me. After I grasped that, I loved Him, too. Slowly, surely, I loved Him more every day, and I started even doing the “right” things and fulfilling the law more than I ever did before… not because it was the right thing to do, not because I had to or even tried, but because I loved Him so much, and He loved me. With time, my heart became more like His own. Let me tell you, if a wretch like me can be redeemed, anyone can.

Anyone.

So if you’re still confused about how someone like me can be a Christian, I’ll tell you how: The grace and love of Jesus Christ and nothing else.

Filed under Christianity Christ God Jesus love hope encouragement Scripture the Bible gay marriage drinking sins struggles GRACE the good grace of Christ