Crystal Writes A Blog

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How Tall is God?


At 4 feet, 10 inches (4′ 10 & 3/4″ when I was younger–LOL), I’ve compared my height to a lot of people. I like that I can make even short people feel a bit taller. I remember when I worked in a truck stop travel store. The cash register was on a platform, but it wasn’t obvious, so when I stepped down from it to make coffee by request, it shocked the driver standing there waiting for his coffee. He said it looked like I had just fallen down into a hole.

Unless I’m trying to retrieve something from a tall shelf, I’m happy with being short, and sometimes it can even be fun. But, if everything in my life was way above my head, then I might desire to measure up to those who can reach all things easily. Spiritually, however, it’s a very different story. I don’t know that I can ever grow enough, so I want to keep growing and learning as long as I’m in this life. Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter talks about our need to set a goal to measure up to a stature greater than ourselves.

Infinite Supply Image for November Thirtieth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Thirtieth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 30

The Purpose of Ministry

“He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
EPHESIANS 4:11-13

Each of these ministry functions fulfill different roles, but their purpose is the same, and that is, to bring ALL of us into that same fullness, that same spiritual maturity, that same experiential knowing, which the elders themselves enjoy. Thus, He gives SOME, till we ALL… SOME, till we ALL… SOME, till we ALL. Do you see this? And He will continue to give SOME till we ALL. Once He has ALL then the work is complete and these ministries will no longer be needed. Until then they ARE needed, and they are critical to God’s Purpose.

Source: The Church in the Wilderness by Chip Brogden

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I think this is a great post for my last day of sharing Chip Brogden’s newsletters with readers. Before I go on, I want to encourage readers to subscribe to these newsletters for yourselves. I’ve been on the list since 2009, and even those posts I’ve read more than once have encouraged or taught me great things more than once. To get deeper, purchase the books he takes these studies from, or go to the site and get involved with the discussions.

On this topic, I love the point Chip makes about God giving some to each of the ministries above with the purpose that we will all become complete in Him. Our completion comes with learning how tall Yeshua is, so we can measure up to His stature. When all of us have become perfect and can measure up to The Lord, we will no longer need others to minister to us. For now, we need teaching, guidance, examples, perspective, and accountability. Not one of us has it all together on his or her own, even if we are teachers ourselves.

Our purpose in serving God is not to become better at being human, but to become more and more like Christ. We are promised that we will see Him one day, and on that day we will see Him as He is. At that time, we also have the promise that our bodies will become like His glorious body. How tall is God? We don’t know right now, but we know He is taller than us, so we might as well keep growing.

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Finish Line?


What is it that you will have accomplished in this life that will make you feel you’ve achieved your best goal? Is there a finish line you see in front of you that will make you feel successful? Some want to die old. Some want to gain riches or fame or some other earthly prosperity.

In today’s Infinite Supply newsletter by Chip Brogden, we’ll read about pressing toward the right goals.

Infinite Supply Image for November Thirteenth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Thirteenth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 13

Press Toward the Goal

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
PHILIPPIANS 3:14

God has a purpose for the universe: that in all things Christ would have the preeminence. This is the Heavenly Bullseye. Since you, dear reader, are part of the universe, you are one of those “all things.” So this purpose includes you.

Actually, this is the same purpose He had in mind for Adam: that Christ would have the preeminence in him. But Adam chose an independent path and failed to give Christ the preeminence. He took the preeminence for himself. Adam missed the mark, which is a life submitted to, and totally dependent upon, God.

Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden

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You know what your finish line is by what you focus on each day. For example, do you focus on where you are now with a steady look at where you are going, or do you fill your thoughts with sentences that start with “if only”? If only my ship would come in. If only I’d win the lottery. If only my health were perfect. If only I’d been discovered when I was young, so I could be famous now. If only we had bigger, better, more, etc.

Like the author says, Adam (and Eve) chose the personal finish line. They had those sentences like:

  • “If only we could eat from the Tree of Knowledge,”
  • “If only we knew what that tree tastes like,” and
  • “If only we could be wise and know good and evil.”

Paul would have told them to change their sentences to something like:

  • “We have the promise of being able to eat from the Tree of Life,”
  • “Thankfully, we have the best flavors from all the wonderful trees we get to eat from,” and
  • “It’s so peaceful to just trust God and not have to know everything.”

Paul’s finish line was to become more and more like the Christ he loved and served. He sought to draw closer to Him each day regardless of what it took for him to get there. He learned how to be content in all things by focusing on the steps that were drawing him nearer to Yeshua and Heaven than on anything he was missing here on earth. His finish line was to become less and less attached to earth and its pleasures and more attached to Christ and the promises of eternity with God.

We all have finish lines, little ones and big ones. We all have to set goals in order to know how to run in this life. The big goal, however, should be the same for all of us, and it should run us on the race of faith Paul speaks of in Hebrews 12:1

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Pray, read God’s word, and offer praise up to The Lord, and then when you are in His holy presence, as yourself: What’s my finish line? Comment below if you’d like to share what you discover.

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Measure Up?


Measured Curves by Flickr User greenzowie, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Measured Curves by Flickr User greenzowie, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Do you measure up? Or, do you measure down? In other words, do you try to see people as better than they are, and give them the benefit of the doubt when you notice their failures? Or, are you quick to find faults and failures and to condemn someone who commits them to a hopeless end? There are a lot of Scriptures that refer to measurement with the most quoted being Matthew 7:2 that says (in CJB)… “For the way you judge others is how you will be judged — the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you.” So, we should be merciful in our judgment toward others (looking more to have compassion than to condemn to everlasting torment) if we want mercy given toward us, but that is not the only measurement in our lives.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 19:33 through Leviticus 19:37 (the end of the chapter), God teaches Israel about measurements that are both literal and figurative. This short portion begins with the literal in explaining to the community how to treat a foreigner in their midst as if he or she were native-born. God reminds the people how they were foreigners in Egypt, so they should love the foreigners as they love themselves.

This is the second time in this chapter where God has reminded Israel to love her neighbors as she loves herself. And Jesus quoted this statement as one of the two foundations on which all other laws are to be built. As servants of Christ, we must realize that at one time, all of us were foreigners to life with God, so while keeping ourselves in line with God’s word, we need to be gentle in bringing others along to walk that line with us. If they are true seekers, they may stumble, but they will keep learning to walk for God if we continue to teach in mercy. Even those raised in “church,” until they become familiar with all Christ did on the cross, and make a decision to serve Him because they love Him, they are still foreigners to His mercy.

In the latter verses of today’s portion, God gives Israel (and us) the rules for just measurements. He says to be honest in ALL that is measured; to be honest when measuring length, width, or capacity. He says to use an honest balance-scale, honest weights, honest dry measure, and honest liquid measure. And, after stating these rules, Yahveh once again reminds Israel to keep all His commands because He is God, and He is The Lord.

The measuring stick for everything we do should be honesty toward The Lord. He should always be our purpose. We can do all kinds of right and righteous works for the wrong purposes and the wrong reasons. Maybe we preach a message for the purpose of building up attendance in our churches. Maybe we give because of all the promises that if we give it will be given back to us overflowing. Maybe we sing to be heard, dance to be seen, and volunteer to be lauded. Whatever our reasons behind the works we do, God measures the honesty of our works by looking at the purpose in our hearts.

Good works are still better than bad works, and God will bless them because He measures up, and He gives us the benefit of the doubt as we grow in Him. But as we continue to seek and to learn, and as we continue to mature in the fruits we produce for God, let us measure ourselves against the holy word of God, and let us continually strive to make sure that God Himself is at the center of every purpose for every good work we do. And, let us remember that–as God said to Israel–He is The Lord.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delivered to Deliver


Moses-Aic by Flickr user Brionv CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Moses-Aic by Flickr user Brionv CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open in new tab with access to full photo stream.

How many times have we heard the question, “What am I here for?” Do you suppose Moses ever asked the same question? In today’s reading from Exodus 1:18 through Exodus 2:10, the Hebrew midwives who were told to kill the male Hebrew babies use the excuse that the Hebrew women are quick (lively in one translation) and deliver their babies before the midwives are able to arrive. Scripture tells us that God blesses them to be parents of strong children because of their integrity. But Pharaoh decides then that they should just throw the living boy babies in the river.

As our story progresses, we see Moses delivered multiple times. First, he is delivered as a newborn. Then, for three months, he is delivered from being discovered as his mother hides him to keep Pharaoh’s people from killing him. When his mother places him in a basket of reeds and hides him in the river, he is delivered from being alone as his sister, who works as a handmaid for Pharaoh’s daughter, keeps watch over the floating basket. And then he is delivered from the water when Pharaoh’s daughter finds him, and from death when she takes pity on him. He is delivered from being an orphan when his big sister offers to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the infant and goes to get Moses’ own mother for the task. Finally, he is delivered from being raised in ignorance of his true identity by having his mother and sister around to speak the truth to him about his heritage as a Hebrew.

The story has a long way to go before we will see Moses act as a deliverer for his people, but we are told in today’s reading that his lineage comes from the tribe of Levi, and we will learn later that this is the tribe of the priesthood. And what are priests called to do? They help people in becoming delivered from the bondage of sin. So deliverance was in his DNA as well as in his history.

Deliverance is also in our DNA through our salvation and new birth in Yahshua. In 1st Peter 2:9 (NKJV–italics mine) we read, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Just like Moses experienced an abundance of deliverance to become a deliverer, we who have been delivered (saved) from sin through the grace and mercy in the Blood of Christ were also delivered for a purpose. We may not all do the same job, but we all can do whatever we are called to do for the same reason–to help deliver others from an eternity of separation from the presence of their Loving Creator.

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to My Writing World


BLOG by Flickr User Christian Schnettelker of www.manoftaste.de, CC License = Attribution

BLOG by Flickr User Christian Schnettelker of http://www.manoftaste.de, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I’m editing and updating my first post on this blog to be more of a true welcome to all who stop by to visit. I hope to get back to every post before I get too far along. I want to add images, double-check for grammar, and do a quick readability check. I would love for every post to be five-star perfect, but I know that’s not reality. My most difficult issue is probably with the use of passive verbs, but when talking about past events, it’s a bit difficult to do otherwise.

So, what is this purpose of this blog? I’m using it as a place to make myself write more things to be read by others. I write a lot, but it’s mostly in the form of prayer journals or other journals, though I have had requests to publish my prayer journals because I speak to God as if He is the Best Friend I have ever had–because He is. What little I’ve shared from the journals has brought great encouragement to others, and being an encouragement is one of my greatest desires.

The first post I made here was probably a year after I actually created the blog, and it was just one little paragraph and a link on June 7th, 2009. I had tried to post before that, but each time I would run into a struggle in getting it to do as I wanted, I would quit for a long time before trying again. That’s an old bad habit wrapped around a fear of failure that I consistently work to free myself from. That said, daily struggles with recovery from a neck injury (and two surgeries), from the pain of fibromyalgia, and from PTSD related to many abuses in this life, kept me from updating the blog again until May of 2012–almost three years.

I added another space of nearly six months without posting until I shared my thoughts about the hero worship I saw the world offering Obama, and I compared it to the elevated worship ignorant Christians offered the apostate preacher Todd Bentley. Find that at November 6th 2012 article called “When I Said I Knew It.”

Just under a month later (a record considering how much space I had been leaving between posts), I shared about my purchase of materials from “Pro Blogger” and my hopes that they could help me get more done. I’m certain they would help if I would apply them, but I’m far more interested in being available for others who say they need my assistance than in taking the time to learn how something new and how to apply it.

In early 2013, I thought I would become consistent with posting a daily thought on the book of Proverbs and the thirty-one readings that correspond to the 31 days in the month. I got through two of them before whatever I allowed to distract me stopped me in my tracks, and I went another almost 4 months before posting again. That post on April 21st, 2013 called “So Many Laws” is about a lawful heart versus a lawless heart and how lawlessness it was actually creates the need for more laws.

Finally, on September 28th, 2013, I began writing a daily post with my commentary on portions of The Torah (the first five books of The Bible). For once I have focus, and I have posted regularly now for over eight months as of this update. I have learned that having a focus makes a lot of difference, so I’ll need to figure out what focus to apply once I have gone through the year of Torah readings. I know I love to teach, and I love to encourage, so I hope to find a way to incorporate that into whatever I do. In the meantime, I hope readers enjoy my commentary as I share my love for God and His great creation, mercy, and love for me. In the meantime, consider this your invitation to read, comment, and vote on my blog content; add a like if you like, and take a gander at some of my other blog-type projects…

And with that, may I introduce you to my first post on this blog…

My first post here will actually be a test on posting a PDF with line numbers so members of Louisville Christian Writers can post editing comments a little more easily. I had a bit of a hard time getting the PDF into my blog where people can read it as part of the blog. But, with perseverance, I finally got it. Just click the link below.

The Power of Faith by Crystal A Murray

June 7, 2009 Posted by | LCW for Edits, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

   

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