Tuesday, March 1, 2016

HEY Y'ALL GUESS WHAT?! THE VLOG IS HERE. SO without further ado, here ya go :)


Again, thank y'all for all of your amazing questions. I felt so loved to have so many to answer :) I told Lauren I'd leave a list of devotional books I like, so here they are (they're not really devotional per se, but they all focus around the gospel and its impact.)

The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges
Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett Harris
Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman
Counter Culture, David Platt

I'm currently reading Redefining Beautiful, and it has space to write in. Also, Who I am in Christ by Natalie Durso leaves space to write. Those use more of a hands on approach if you're looking for that.

And -- in case you were wondering -- the book I kept obsessing over is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's based off Hosea (a book of the Bible), and, as many times as I said it in the video, it is so good.

And anonymous commenter said, "1 John 5:16-17 talks about how there are sins that lead to death and notes that there are sins that do not. How would you interpret this passage? "

Thank you, Anonymous, for the challenging question!! I didn't have time to talk about it in the vlog (it was originally forty minutes, y'all. FORTY minutes. *eye roll emoji*), so I decided to write about it instead.

At first I read the verses indicated, but I decided it was easier to understand with the surrouding context, like all bible verses are. Here is the passage in ESV:

"13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:13-21).

This passage, as you may have noticed, is a little bit challenging (especially to a sixteen year old girl, i.e. me). To make it a little more clear, I decided to look up the Message version. The message isn't a direct translation, so it's not appropriate at all times, like in sermons, but when trying to gain an understanding it can be okay to use. So I'll quote the same passage using the message text:

"13-15 My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

16-17 For instance, if we see a Christian believer sinning (clearly I’m not talking about those who make a practice of sin in a way that is “fatal,” leading to eternal death), we ask for God’s help and he gladly gives it, gives life to the sinner whose sin is not fatal. There is such a thing as a fatal sin, and I’m not urging you to pray about that. Everything we do wrong is sin, but not all sin is fatal.

18-21 We know that none of the God-begotten makes a practice of sin—fatal sin. The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them. We know that we are held firm by God; it’s only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One. And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life. Dear children, be on guard against all clever facsimiles."

I think we find the key text in the last paragraph above. John is simply saying that true Christians do not take part in certain sins. You may catch them lying and maybe even cheating on a test, but a true Christian will come to repentance because of the power of the Holy Spirit inside of him/her. If a man has willingly, with a clear conscience, murdered someone, for instance, then there is a chance that, even if he claims to be in Christ, he is not a Christian at all.

Now, I want to point out that it is not our place to judge whether or not someone is saved. That can be dangerous for us as Christians and will cause a spirit of pride to grow inside us. I've been there before:

"Well, that guy just cursed, and I've never cursed in my life, so he can't be a Christian" or "She just lied through her teeth but claims to be a Christian. There's no way she can actually be one."

Those are actual thoughts I've had, y'all. It's dangerous -- very dangerous -- to start thinking that you have the authority to judge what's inside someone's heart. You don't; only God does.

Back to the point: In verses 19 and 20 of the ESV text, John notes that the "evil one," i.e. Satan, does not have a grip on those who are in Christ. We are possessed  by the Holy Spirit -- God Almighty lives inside of us -- so, of course, He will give us strength to resist the devil.

John's main point, I think, is that we can pray for strength to resist temptations, such as lying, lusting, or even things like not having confidence in God (aka doubt). And in making that point he has to note that you can't pray for an unbeliever to resist sin and expect it to work. In other words, you can't pray someone out of hell. But, if we are in Christ, and we have the confidence that He will give us the strength to resist temptation, He will.

James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee." Verse 8 holds and amazing promise: "Draw  near to God, and he will draw near to you."

In a way, I think John is pretty much saying the same thing in this passage that we looked at today. I can't say much more without studying it a whole lot, so I'm not trying to sound scholarly. For this post, just remember this: Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. He will, and He does. It's the kind of thing that you really have to experience for yourself to understand just how amazing it is.

Did you like the vlog?! comment below if you have any questions about the passage above, and let me know if you'd like for me to do another one in the future!! 

ONE MORE THING!!! I'm planning on doing a review of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, so stay tuned for that!