marks of the true christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Romans 12:9-21

nothing can separate

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For 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.
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Imitators of Christ

but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

When instead we imitate the ways of Jesus, we are transformed more and more into His likeness. As the Word of Life takes deep root into our minds, hearts, and souls, we are able to live as aliens in this temporal land. We are empowered to stand firm in the pain and mess of life with compassion and love, joyful and expectant of Christ’s return. Instead of merely surviving, we as believers have the joy and privilege of illuminating the character and values of Christ to a world that desperately needs to know Him. By the grace of Christ in us, we become someone to imitate—someone who points others to the hope of the gospel.

My Flesh and Heart May Fail

 Psalm 73:23-28 (ESV)

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.

It’s not even worth comparing

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
As a Christian we will experience suffering, because in reality we have become an alien in the world in which we live. This world that is dominated by the flesh, dominated by men who are dominated by the flesh. We are a minority group. The majority of the people in the world are living after the flesh. We are aliens because we live an entirely different lifestyle as we live after the Spirit. One that they cannot understand, and when a person cannot understand you, you will always become a threat to them. So Jesus said, “Rejoice when you are persecuted for righteousness sake. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Luke 6:22-23). So Jesus, in the hour of suffering or persecution, points us to the glory of that kingdom that we are going to experience for eternity. We are told concerning Jesus, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Yes, He suffered, but as He suffered He was looking forward to the glory of the kingdom and the joy of being able to redeem lost man. So in suffering we should not be looking at the suffering, but at the glorious kingdom that shall come when our Lord comes to claim His own. For the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.  (Chuck Smith)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Hola amigos! It’s been way too long! I finally got to squeeze in some baking therapy during this much needed spring break..and since the sis had a speech on why chocolate chip cookies are worth the calories..I made a quick 2 dozen so that she’d get her A, no questions asked :p. If you go on Pinterest these days, everyone has their sworn-by “best chocolate chip cookie recipe” out there. There are people out there who have had the spare time to test out using butter versus oil, more white sugar versus brown sugar, chilled versus unchilled dough, melted versus room temperature butter, etc. But I don’t got that kind of time..and plus if someone else has done it, then what’s the point right? 

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Why oh Lord?

Moses experienced some major ministry issues while leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, especially in Numbers 11:
Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?
12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?
13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’
14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now–if I have found favor in your eyes–and do not let me face my own ruin.”
God allowed this for the same reason God allows any affliction in our lives – to compel us to trust in Him all the more, to partner with Him in overcoming obstacles, and to love and praise Him all the more through our increased dependence on Him and the greater deliverance He brings.
Moses responded as we sometimes do:
“If You really loved me LORD, why would You bring all this upon me?” God’s response is ever the same: “It’s because I do love you that I am training you, building you up in faith.”
Then God taught Moses a lesson: God wanted Moses to see his wretchedness  – his inability to fix this problem – apart from the mighty hand of God. When Moses sees his wretchedness – his weakness, then he can be strong in God’s strength. As Paul learned: God’s strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Romans 7

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.-Romans 7:13-25 (ESV)
The glorious truth remains: there is victory in Jesus! Jesus didn’t come and die just to give us more or better rules, but to live out victory through those who believe. The message of the gospel is that there is victory over sin, hate, death, and all evil as we surrender out lives to Jesus and let Him live out victory through us. “A short epilogue, in which he teaches us, that the faithful never reach the goal of righteousness as long as they dwell in the flesh, but that they are running their course, until they put off the body.” -Calvin