How God raises his children

I’ve heard it has been said that in the spiritual life in Christ, we all start out as newborns when we are saved. The old life is not only past, it is buried. Dead. We are born again, and start our lives the same way a newborn does.

A newborn is helpless at first, totally dependent on love, caring and practical help from the people around -preferably the parents. Gradually the baby can do more and more, and manage some things him or herself.

Three things are important to keep in mind about newborn and babies: for one, they have a personality of their own from the first day. Second, they seek social contact with persons close to them from day one. Third, as they grow in age, maturity and physically, they manage more and more of their own.

But children/teenagers WILL still need their inner circle of caring persons around them to guide them, to encourage, cheering them on in life, and to tell them when they are going the wrong way, or to intervene when something bad is ahead.

Children are born with curiosity(in grades that differs from child to child).  In their need to explore, they don’t see limitations and have yet to learn common sense through experience and reflection.

I often feel like I can’t get past the newborn stage in my spiritual growth. I’ve felt that I still -after three years- need to be fed milk, that I am dependent on my inner circle of people(parents =God, spiritual mother/mentor, and the christian community) to live in Christ. And then sometimes, like a night not long ago, I read or hear a verse or two from the bible I haven’t heard before, hear a preaching, or learn something new from someone in my circle.

My immediate reaction used to be: “Oh, no! I’ve lived like this for three years, why didn’t I know this? I should have known this…”etc. I immediately started judging myself. I am my own worst judge. But in that judgement I am not capable of changing my life. That judgement is keeping me from giving everything to God, and keeping me from total honesty and giving myself over to God. That judgement I put over myself, makes me want to hide from God.

I don’t know about anything more unhealthier than hiding from my Father, my Savior.

How could I have known this? I can’t learn everything at once. One of the many amazing and great things about God is that he gives me room to learn one thing at the time. He does not give us everything at once, because he knows we won’t handle it.

God let’s us take those baby steps(and so should I).

As a good Father, God wants us to lay all judgement, all worries, all that is on our shoulders –all that is  in our mental backpack– over to Him. Only then we can continue our spiritual growth like He wishes for us. To do that, I need to be honest with God -completely honest.

If it is something I feel, but can’t describe with words, I don’t have to figure it out on my own and then come to God after. God wants me to talk with Him about it, give it over, and then I am much better equipped to  first of all figure it out, and second, do something about it. Not alone. Always with God, and I promise(Jesus promises) that it will be a much lighter load, easier to carry. It might save us from a lot of pain.

 If you can’t tell even God you don’t have to. Those in Christ has been given the gift of speaking in tongues. Just feel what you feel and speak in tongues, and your soul will pour out whatever it is. Have you only gotten a few words or perhaps only one word in the language The Holy Spirit has given you? No problem. Just use that word. God will eventually give you more words, but He also understand perfectly what your soul says through that one word.

If you haven’t yet received that language, ask someone close to Jesus if they can pray for you, give you the spiritual baptism. After that, you need to try whatever comes to mind, even if it seems/sounds silly. Because it is not silly! It is powerful!

26So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.” Romans 8:26(AMP)

I love to handle things myself and hates setbacks and defeat. But I don’t always see that having to handle things alone usually results in setbacks/defeat… I feel God is saying:

“Dear child of mine. I am waiting for you to tell me, ask me and talk to me so I can walk with you!”

I think I need to print this out and hang it on my bathroom wall so I can read it every day and remind myself of it, because thought it is so clear and obvious to me in this moment, we all need reminders along the way.

In my childhood I was a girl filled with fright. You can ask me what I was afraid of, and I can honestly answer you: “Everything!”. I still don’t watch important news(working on that one), because if I heard anything on the news, radio or from an adult conversation(or from other kids’ who had eavesdropped on adults speaking), you could be sure that I became afraid of whatever it was about.

I remember something about a dying man on TV, whose hands were shaking and that was a part of his disease. I started noticing that my hands sometimes were shaking teeny tiny bit, and I was convinced that I was now dying… I am sure you get the picture.

The point is, I tried to figure out of these things on my own, and two weeks was about the general time it took before my mom caught me being afraid all the time, and had gotten the answer “It’s nothing” too many times on her questions about me being worried about something. She called my “bluff” and convinced me to tell her what was troubling me. After a talk to my mom I wasn’t worried until something new came up(which was shortly after).

Had I only learned the connection “telling my mom=no more fears”, it could have saved me from a lot of worrying,  but I thought I needed to figure out things for myself. It’s really the same with God now. Just that I am grown up, and have different worries than when I was younger.

Tell God first!

And then let me tell you (and myself) a little secret you’re free to share:

God intended us to live close in community with other Christians who live close to God.

When we forget that we can go to God, someone can remind us(of course there are many others reasons God created us to live in close community with each other). To quote one of my close friends:

“God WANTS us to NEED each other, and even more of course to need HIM, but as parts of a body we need the other bits around us, closely all the time!”

Someone showed me a picture once:

Let say we had a string attached to us. What happens when we get closer to Jesus is that the strings would be tightened, and we would find our-self closer to each other.

When we get closer to Jesus...We get closer to each other!

Dare to take that step in openness.

Take a step closer to Jesus. Let him in.

And dare to invite someone in your christian community into a part of your life you’ve been hiding, or trying to handle on your own.

I am here at the finishline of letting fear get to me.

The line where I stop letting anything other than Jesus rule over me.

I’m finished.
Done.

I’m starting a new life with Jesus.

I am inviting Him in.

And I am inviting you to do the same.

We are your family.

With love,

Ava Sophie

It is the time of the week that I don’t seem to get right. Five minute Fridays, where I tend to arrive (a little) late! Anyway, I wish to honor Lisa Jo who started Five minute Fridays, kept it going for  four years. She is hosting her last Five minute Friday next week(next Friday from now), and giving the baton on to Kate Motaung.

Five Minute Friday

 

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My letter to YOU

I am writing this post after encouragement from Holley Gerth’s series on ‘God sized dreams’:

‘This step for your God-sized dream was to write a post entitled “A Letter to the God-sized Dreamers” telling your sisters why what they’re doing and who they’re becoming through this process is worth it–even on the hard days.’

My dear friend

I may not know who you are, but I would really like to get to know you better. However, what I DO know about YOU is that you carry a dream in your heart. I don’t know if it is a big dream, something you have been dreaming of your whole life, or something that has become your dream quite recently. I know nothing of that. And I don’t need to know that. It is not my place to do so. All I know, is that you have a dream, and that this dream is of great importance for you. That, my friend, matters to me! You see, today I have something really special I want to share with you.

I wonder, what would you say if I told you that you could fulfill a dream of yours? No matter how big, small, irrational, unreachable  or insignificant you feel that your dream is. It doesn’t matter. If I told you that you could have everything you need to make your dream come true. Would you accept? You may wonder if I am asking you a trick question… The answer is yes, and no. Yes, because I am not offering you a wand that can make your dream come true in a ‘swoosh’, or a magic spell that will fulfill your dream in a moment. No, because it is true that I have an offer to you that may change your world, and that will give you what you need to fulfill your dream. It may not be what you think you need in order to fulfill your dream, and may not be at the exact time you want it to come true. On your way to getting your dream come true, you may also change opinion on what your dream is. I’ve heard it has been said: : “Sometimes on your way to a dream you get lost and find a better one“. An awful risk to take, isn’t it? What I wanted to share with you is this:

repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2: 38

For those who are in Christ (which means: believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son and our Savior. It means saying Yes to following Jesus where he leads you, to give your life to Jesus), God has given the promise:

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

You need to follow your dream, and continue making it come true. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a time-out where you are not working towards it, or that you can’t change your dream on the way along, but you need to not give it up! I almost gave up my dream once. I’ve had a dream that formed during elementary school: to become an author. Hopefully to someday be able to have that as my job: so I can spend my days on “work” writing. Several of my teachers have encouraged me to chase that dream over the years. When I was 14 or 15, I wrote a piece that was meant to be the start of a book, and sent it in to a publishing company. I got a letter in return, basically saying that what I had written wasn’t fit for the genre they needed, and that the language I used, might not be professional enough. To me that was like saying: “You are not suited to being an author, find something else to do!”.

I still loved writing, like I always had, but every time I tried to write something I couldn’t get anything on the paper. I was afraid that what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. Since that was something I’d felt I was really good at, my world fell apart. Later I have  struggled with the same feeling in all things I’ve done, steered by the thought: if I wasn’t good at writing when I thought I was, why believe that I am any good at this? It took me 6 years before I started writing again, And even then it was only a few lines with  inspiration of what could one day become a story. I wrote this on my phone, and when my phone was stolen, I lost it, and with it the inspiration to write(again). Finally, last autumn, when we were given an assignment at school where we had to make our own blog just as practice, I made this blog and that’s when I started writing again. I may be far from getting my dream fulfilled, but I am on my way. And I am on my way, despite the fact that I almost had a decade of ‘time-out’ in following my dream.

 Someone once said:

”Don’t try harder, try smarter”.

Now I’m telling you the same. Believe in yourself and believe in what you can accomplish through God, but remember: start the process by believing in Jesus and what he can do to you and your life. Then follow your dream! That way: He will be able to do more in you than you ever think would be possible…

With love

Ava Sophie

Naturally I started this post two weeks ago and are too late to link up with Holley, but click on the button below and find out what her God Sized Dream series are all about:

Are YOU in Christ? Part 2

Thoughts on how to have your mind set on what The Spirit desires

Have you got an answer to my two questions from last week?
1. How do I have my mind set on what the spirit desires?
2. Am I in Christ Jesus?

The important part is that you know the answers in your heart and mind, not that you give them to me.
Let me refresh your mind on the bible verse:


Romans 8

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. This verse is the inspiration of my question.

It’s my opinion that these bible verses give some of the answer on their own:
Colossians 2: 6-7:
Spiritual Fullness in Christ
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

To live a life in Christ, I need to be rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as I have been taught, and overflowing with thankfulness

Well, let’s start with the keyword ‘rooted‘. Close your eyes, I was about to write, but then you can’t read further… But picture what you read next in your inner eye. Follow my lead on this one. Picture a tiny tree, a little older than a sapling. So old that it might be called a tree, but only barely. Imagine this tree has a few roots. The roots are thin, because they haven’t had time to grow yet. These roots grow straight down into the soil. These few vertical roots keep the young tree upright. But, and there is a big but here: If someone tries to uproot this tree there will be no resistance and the tree is easily replaced. Since the roots go only straight down (and are only a few) they give no resistance when the tree is pulled out of the ground. Imagine a second tree. This one is also a young one. But instead of just a few roots, this tree has many roots, many, many tiny threads. from the tree. Still straight down into the soil. Still, it is limited resistance if the tree were to be pulled up. But, it will withstand a bit more than the first tree, because there are more roots to cling on to the dirt.

Imagine a third tree. A young tree with many roots, thin threads, that are spreading both down and outwards in the soil. The roots on this tree divide into more roots, and more roots. All the threaded roots spread out in each direction. In the process of growing, this tree will get more, longer, stronger, thicker roots. These roots makes the tree stand strong against being pulled up (won’t fall down in the wind,or because of any human, any living creature).

Imagine that the third tree is you and your spiritual growth in Christ. What do the tree roots consist of? Imagine a mind map, where you stand in the middle, with a circle around you. From you there is threads thad lead out to new circles that surrounds you. What these circles say, is what you build your life on, what keeps you rooted in your faith, rooted in Christ.

For me the answer would be(amongst others):

*The foundation in christ(repentance, faith in God, water baptism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead)
*My identity in Christ
*God’s love for me
*being a disciple
*Gods mercy
*forgiveness for sins
*Forgiveness

I would make a mind map where I would write bible verses which describe the topics I have written above, and I would constantly look up these verses, and subjects, pray, seek God on it,be silent before God,listen to what God has to tell me, let the Holy Spirit show me, learn more about it, and remind my self on it, so that I stay focused and rooted. This way ‘the roots on my tree’ will grow longer, stronger, thicker and able to withstand attack. The roots will divide into more roots and go in different directions as long as my understanding and learning is evolving. (Since I have written it down now, I will have to do this;) I encourage you to do it with me =o)

I am responsible for keeping myself ‘rooted’. I need God’s help. I have to ask for help. I have to let God help me(usually the hardest part for me). Most importantly:

I have keep close to God, the Holy spirit and Christ Jesus.

Next time I will write about being built up in the Holy Spirit.

To be continued…

Some of the bible verses I would have on my mind map:
*Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

*6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

*But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:32-34

*For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

*12 Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

* 23 And He said to them all, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. Luke 9: 23-24

*22 And He said unto His disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap, they neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them. How much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you by taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 “And seek ye not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubting mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Luke 12:22-32

*7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.Matthew 7: 7-8

*12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

*15 that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:15-18

*7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. James 4:7-8

*25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

*7 Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

*8 For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath beforehand ordained, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 8-10

*13 Therefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. 16 Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6: 13-18

Are YOU in Christ Jesus? Part 1

Romans 8

Life Through the Spirit

8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

This is absolutely a WOW factor. Imagine: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

I think all of these verses above is so important, but the way I see it, I really need to hear the first line: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!. This line says so incredibly much in these exact words. The rest of the verses sort of explain what the first verse says, AND explains what practically happened when Jesus died for YOU and me at the cross all those years ago. These explaining verses are something I think many Christians might forget, including me, that we are to follow the law of The Spirit, and not the law of sin and death. I keep condemning myself all the time these days, let others condemn me, AND let in thoughts of how others MIGHT condemn me. This is so unnecessary, and not good either for me or others, and certainly not something God wants for me. Seems I got a little sidetracked, but perhaps someone knows the feeling?

Now, there is a “catch” to it (and I don’t really mean a catch here, just that there is a really important part of this that we need to keep in mind at all times): “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus“. “For Those who are in Christ Jesus”. Further down the verses we get explanation: “the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit

But what does it mean then, to live in Christ Jesus, and to live according to the Spirit? We get the answer to this as well in the next line: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

New question for you: How do I have my mind set on what the spirit desires?
This is the really hard part, and the million dollar question. I have been thinking about this a lot, and I am closing up on an answer. But how about I let you think about this for a while(feel free to write your thoughts in the commentary), and then I get back to you?

For some afterthought:
1. How do I have my mind set on what the spirit desires
2. Am I in Christ Jesus
?

To be continued…

A calling…

Matthew 28:18-20

“18 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.

“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.

I thought this was a quite difficult sentence, and I didn’t really understand it. Somewhere, the bible says that we need to ponder on the word of God. That’s what I did with this sentence: I picked the sentence to pieces, and put it back together again. Then I “chewed” on the words and their meaning: Observe means to watch, or to look, and those who watch something, are witnessing. Those who witness, tell what they see. Which means: “Teaching them to witness (and tell the world what they have seen) all that I have commanded you”. Command means to tell someone something to do. If you have been commanded, you are supposed to do what you are told. God has commanded us several things, but one of the commandments is in these verses: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Now, the way I get it: we are to go make disciples of people from all nations, baptize them in the name of our triune God, and THEN teach them to be a witness. But how do we make disciples of people? And what’s the point of teaching people to be a witness? Why do they have to become disciples, and baptized, before they can be witnesses? To be baptized you have to believe: not only in God, but also that Jesus Christ is Gods son and he came to this earth as God, AND as human, to save all the people on this earth, to take away all our sin, so that we can have fellowship with God. While being baptized, you already become a witness, as you observe, “confess” and confirm your belief and promise to give your life over to God(and that you will follow him) in front of God and And witnesses. By doing that you are being a witness of Gods glory.

To be a Jesus disciple is about giving yourself over to Jesus every day, and let ham steer your life. Let Him be captain in your life. To be a disciple is about abort seeking God and do what he tells you , it’s about being disposable to Jesus. That way he can do his work trough you. To be a disciple is: to do what the word commands- and obey to the littlest ting he ask you to do. This means to not have control of anything in your life, and give all of the control to the Lord, Jesus. To be a disciple, this should not be a problem, because he/she loves the word and know that the Lord knows best! Note: It is difficult to accomplish all of Gods commands, and impossible for us as we are human beings. Luckily it is an indescribable grace given to us in Jesus Christ that He will love us and have fellowship with us no matter what we do or don’t do. As long as we have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and as Gods son. However, He asks us to give our life to Him, and that includes giving Him the control in our lives, and whatever follows.

And last, most importantly: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.

He won’t leave us, no matter what.

Not ever!