Perfection

Perfection.

Everyone strives for it in one way or another, whether they realize it or not. Finding the perfect college, the perfect job, the perfect car, or the perfect house are a few huge desires for perfection. But what about things like making the perfect goal, writing the perfect paper, running the perfect mile? Don’t we look for perfection in various areas?

I can honestly say that it has been so long since I have blogged because I wasn’t sure how to follow up my last blog post (which got a BUNCH of views). I needed a “perfect” follow-up blog post. (Plus, I’ve been pretty busy.) But is the goal of perfection realistic? I don’t think so.

 

Within Christianity, salvation does not mean perfection.

 

When God declared someone righteous, he is JUSTIFIED. An individual’s first act of repentance and confession is the person’s part of justification, but God was the One who made salvation possible through His son.

 

Believers are set apart – or sanctified – by God at salvation. First Peter 2:9 says that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and we are set part to declare the marvelous light of Christ. God declares believers holy, now brought to Himself because He has washed us white as snow. This sanctification declares the believer’s position in relation to God – we can now enter into His presence.

 

Progressive sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

The Holy Spirit convicts believers to live a life of increasing holiness, as new creations set apart for the glory of God (Colossians 3:9-10). As spiritual beings, we struggle against the desires of the flesh daily (Galatians 5:16-18). The believer’s desire should be holiness because his Father in heaven is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16). {Click the Bible verses to read the passages on Bible Gateway.}

 

And then, one day, we will see God. His glory will be revealed, and we will be made perfect, never tiring, always praising our Father. We will reach the ultimate goal of perfection. Until then, Paul writes of this goal:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Philippians 3:12

 

So is it wrong to aim high in our earthly goals? No. Colossians 2:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” But remember, we, as humans, are not perfect. And nothing we do is perfect. But we can “press on,” seeking the God who made us His own.

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How Then

This month has been full of blessings and it has been a constant reminder of the goodness of God.  Four days ago, I celebrated the resurrection of my Savior!  He is not dead; He is alive!  Even after Easter leftovers are eaten, and the candy from the “Easter Bunny” is long gone, I am still going to celebrate the I serve a God who is alive!

Easter is the very foundation of the Gospel.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

This is the Gospel: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only payment for man’s sins.

Christ came to earth to pay the price of my sins; He came to give me salvation, and bring me into a personal relationship with Him.  He did that for you, too.  He died for the sins of the WORLD!  My desire to share this message with the world stems from the LIFE God has given me.  God’s love, peace, forgiveness, and hope are all things I want everyone to experience.  The passion I have for missions is a result of Christ’s sovereignty in my life.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:13-15

That verse has been such an encouragement to me as I get ready to go to Nicaragua in July!  A lot of the time, when I find a verse that really means a lot to me at that certain time, I’ll write in on my wrist.  Romans 10:13-15 has been on my wrist for the past several days, and in my mind for even more. 

I am so excited to use my life to bring glory to my Lord in Nicaragua this summer!  I want to thank you so supporting me with prayers and financial support.  God continues to show me His provision when I begin to wonder how I am going to raise all the support I need for my trip.  God’s provision stuns me.  My jaw drops at His answers to prayer.  I have seen this Scripture breathed to life:

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Thank you for partnering with me in the Gospel.  I am praying for y’all. 

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:3-11

Nicaragua, Here I Come!

Hola Familia y Amigos!

In 1 Peter 2:9 it says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  I have an awesome opportunity to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ in Nicaragua!  This summer, I will be going to Nicaragua with a group of youth from Shandon Baptist Church from July 16 to July 23, 2011.  We will be involved in evangelism, construction, Vacation Bible Schools, and distribution of food and supplies in the Paradise and Marvin barrios outside of Managua, Nicaragua.  Last summer, I felt God’s call on my life to serve Him through missions.  This is an incredible opportunity to glorify Christ during my summer break and prepare for future missions as well.

First, I would like to ask that you would support me through prayer.  Please pray for me and my team as we prepare and as we travel.  Please pray that our attitudes and our words will be uplifting as we minister to believers and unbelievers in the barrios.  Please pray we have wisdom and discernment in all situations, especially when we face difficulties.

Second, I ask that you pray for the salvation of people we talk to, so that they may experience the hope and eternal life that we have found in Christ Jesus.  2 Peter 3:9b says, “He is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  God wants to see each individual find love in Him and grow in His likeness. The gospel is the reason we are going to Nicaragua; please pray that hearts will be prepared for the good news.

Lastly, I would like to ask for your financial support as God leads you to give.  My trip’s total cost is $1,300.  Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  I am trusting in God that He will call many to give financially, making this trip possible.  This is an opportunity for you to partner with me in this ministry though your finances. 

In appreciation for your prayer and/or financial support, I will send a letter detailing our work and the fruit of our labor after the trip so that you may see how your support in this ministry was used for the glory of God.  Information on making donations is included on the back of this letter.

            For updates on preparation and prayer requests, check out my blog (https://emilythorn.wordpress.com).

Gracias!

[That is my support letter.  If you would like to partner with me in prayer or in finances, please e-mail me and let me know. (emilythornblog@hotmail.com)] 

I am so excited about my trip this summer!  I already have my passport; I received it in the mail a few days ago.  It signifies a step closer to Nicaragua.  I am so excited!  I don’t think I can say that enough!  I have an appointment with the travel clinic on May 6th where I will get my shots and malaria pills.  I’m not so excited about that, but I know it is neccessary to prevent diseases and sickness during my trip.

I really wasn’t expecting to go to Nicaragua this year.  I had my heart set on going to China with Global Expeditions for the month of July.  But my parents didn’t agree to that and they asked me to think about maybe saving money this year, getting a sumemr job, things like that.  And they weren’t keen about sending me to California and then to China with people that they didn’t know and had never met.  At first I was extremely disappointed, but it meant I wouldn’t be in China for the whole month of July.  See, our youth group goes to Nicaragua in July.  I had my heart set on China, and God closed that door.  But He left the door open for me to go to Nicaragua with people my parents know.  And I know this is preparation for my future in missions, even if it isn’t in China.  I am still so excited to share the gospel with others in Central America!  It will be a learning experience and give me a taste of international missions. I cannot express the excitement that I have for this trip and for the work that God will do in the hearts and lives of everyone involved!

I love you guys, and I’m praying for y’all!

Consumed by the Call,

Emily