Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seven months in, two months to go!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on what we’ve been learning so I want to be able to do that, but first I want to thank everyone who contributed financially to me… my school fees are now paid off :D  Thank you for being willing to partner with me in my journey through the Bible, both God and I are blessed by your generosity.
So after about six months trekking through the Old Testament we finally reached Matthew, and what a transition!  The climax of the Bible rests in the gospels; God has promised since Adam and Eve sinned to fix the problem of sin, so how are His people going to respond to it?  I love the chronological method because God’s plan is so clearly laid out through His covenants: He promised Eve that her descendant would crush the serpent that deceived her, He promised Noah that He would not give up on people, He promised Abraham that He would make his descendants a great people who would bless the whole world, He promised Moses to make Israel holy and set apart, and through the prophets He promised to send a descendant of David to come and make everything right, renewing God’s relationship with His people.  Jesus fulfilled all of these promises, but in a completely unexpected and shocking way to the Jews.  Jesus was so compelling and yet so frightening at the same time because he showed people a better way to live, but that way challenged just about everything they had depended on.
The Jews saw themselves as justified by their ancestry, but Jesus constantly said that faith, not Jewishness, made people healed.  The Pharisees thought that by following the law better than everyone else they could earn the favor of God, but Jesus came hanging out with sinners and prostitutes, claiming that it is those who receive forgiveness that are the most acceptable to God and not those who thing they don’t need it. 
Jesus confronted people on their hypocrisy and exposed the ways they depended on themselves rather than God.  His humility clashed with their pride, His boldness overshadowed their cowardice, His love melted their judgment, and His faith challenged their unbelief. 
I was challenged by Matthew and Luke in how I view other people and how I view myself: Do I expect things from myself that God is not expecting?  Do I think that by getting everything “right” I will somehow be in a better place with God and have His favor?  Do I wait for other people to “get it together” before I feel like I can love them or show patience and grace?  Galatians confronts this religious mentality, emphasizing that nothing in the physical can add to what Jesus does in the spiritual when people accept His sacrifice.  I loved Galatians 4:6 that says how we are children of God and He has put the spirit of Jesus in our hearts crying out “Abba! Father!”  This was His plan all along; from the very moment Eve and Adam chose sin God’s blueprint was laid out and He knew exactly how He was going to bring humanity back into relationship with Him.  Now Jesus offers us that same relationship, and we get to have access to everything the Father has, and we don’t have to do a thing to earn it, not a thing!
  I struggle sometimes with reconciling what God says about me with what I’m feeling in the moment, or what I see around me.  However, Jesus shows me that all I need to do is believe God, and that’s it.  When I’m feeling alone I can remind myself that the Spirit of God is permanently camped out in me, never leaving and always interested in everything I do.  When I feel intimidated by my own inadequacy I can remember that God said it isn’t about me, it’s about Him, so I don’t have to have everything together.  When I get frustrated because my plans didn’t work out I can believe God who said that He has a plan for me, and His plan is much better than anything I can come up with.  Jesus was perfectly at peace with himself in a fallen world because He knew that God’s plan was bigger than what people thought about Him, how He felt and what He saw; He now offers the same peace to us, and all we have to do is say “I’ll believe you.”  That’s pretty incredible in a world where everything has to be earned and there’s always a catch; there’s no catch with Jesus, there is only everything and we can get it through simply saying yes. 

Thank you so much for all your prayer and support, we are so close to the end and yet have so much more to do; I would really appreciate prayer for clarity and openness in my heart as well as endurance to really finish this school well and get all God wants to show me.

Love, Aubrey

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