The CHRISTmas Christian

or, The failure of CHRISTmas.

It’s Christmastime…that time of year! Or to me, a time to witness people trample over Christ to cheap adornments, cheap gifts and perceived traditions that keep Christ OUT of Christmas. Everyone loves a holiday, loves to say ‘Christmas’ but have no intentions of including Christ.

Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of the Savior; whether it was His actual birthday is not important…we don’t mind having Presidents Day or Martin Luther King Day off from work when that day does not reflect their actual birthdays.

In Redmond and Seattle, Washington, “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas” signs were called ‘not sensitive‘ and ‘alienates other religions‘. I’m pretty darned sure that ‘other religions‘ don’t have anything to do with Christmas anyway. But as usual, people want the holiday, but not Christ.

Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. I can’t make that any simpler. If you don’t want Christ in Christmas, then go to work on December 25th…..and a ‘Happy Holidays’ to ya.

In true Christianity, the Bible teaches us to discern and teach against false doctrine. We are to be a ‘watchman on the wall‘, not passive. Passivity causes slumber, slumber causes CULT. Then, if you are a Christian and don’t care about what CHRISTmas is, then  you are in slumber.

There is no middle road, no gray area…either Christmas is about Jesus Christ or it’s about YOU.

The Prayer of the Sorrowful Christian.

I cried, but no one heard.
I was hurt, but no one helped.
I fought alone to no avail,
I waited, but no one came.

I saw, but couldn’t remember.
I heard, but couldn’t discern.
I held out my hand, but it came back empty.
My heart hurt, and no one comforted me.

How can I love when I receive none,
Where is the delight in life?
Is it in the mirror looking back at me
Or is it in the eyes of another?

Lord! Come closer, be near me
Because my fight is harder than ever.
You are my only Joy, my Salvation
From a life of tears and remorse.

I have lost so much and gained little.
This world has spewed me out
But it won’t let me go.
Let me go, world…I am not yours.

But I look up and see my Abundance
In a face I have not yet met.
His beauty is infinite, His love is unmatched.
Just a little while longer, He says, You are not done.

I hold my hands up to Him in Praise
and seek His warmth with sweet tears.
I am yours, I say, I am yours!
Touch me today, Lord…Touch me today!

I am a stranger, a sojourner in this world.
My woes are His, but the consequences are mine.
I look to Him, I Praise His name!
Until I cross that River, I will rest in Him!

©katherinemarple

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

 

The Christian Sojourner

We, all Christians, are all sojourners here. This world is not our home; it is as temporary as our human flesh is. But we still have to live here and fellowship here until that time when we can finally go Home.

God made a way for the Christian Sojourner:

If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.” Leviticus 25:35-38

As a sojourner while still on this Earth, we seek the Father continually. We see Him through the eyes of a child, the infirm, the meek, the poor…and through a godly stranger. God is everywhere, He is in everything, even in the darkest of times:

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were.” Psalm 39:12

The Christian Sojourner sometimes is cast out from whom he trusted to fend for himself outside of the ‘city gate‘. For our Faith we are chastised and criticized and censured. The Christian Sojourner continues in the Faith, not luck! We are a wayfaring stranger, a rank stranger with chaotic worldly lusts all around. But we stand, we stand FAST, we stand in HIM, no matter the cost, and sometimes that cost is our own home, family and friends:

“If we had forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god,
Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Psalm 44:20-22. 

Who will help the Sojourner? Even Job said, “But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, for I have opened my doors to the traveler.” Job’s door was open, are ours? Until it’s time to go over that River, we are wayfaring, sojourning….travelling through and hopefully the love of a neighbor will let us lay our head down for a little while. Jesus said: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Yes, even Jesus.

Sometimes the Christian Sojourner has to move on relying on the mercy and love of other Christians. But with every step the River gets closer and the blessings are sure – this journey is shorter than you think.

Mary Believed.

Unimaginable. To think that a young girl, barely marriageable, was chosen to be the vessel God would use for the birth our Savior, Jesus Christ. And even more unimaginable is her Faith in whom she heard this Good News!

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

The New Testament reflects what the Prophet Isaiah said regarding the birth of The Redeemer:

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Is 7:14], saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

Why was Mary so special to God for Him to choose her? It has to be assumed that Mary’s heart to some degree, while yet a sinner by nature through the fall of Adam, had a level of receptive purity toward God. This would fulfill the sovereign Plan of God.

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

While Mary’s lineage went back to King David, the Bible doesn’t say who her parents were. However, the Scriptures do tell us her husband’s lineage [Luke 3:23, Matthew 1:16], both Mary and Joseph being descendants of David [Romans 1:3]. They seemed ‘common’, but they were chosen.

Though Mary was chosen by God, she still needed to answer the Call. Mary believed, through Faith alone, that her sacrifice would change the world.

Unimaginable…but Mary believed.

Authority & the Cult Christian

Do Christians believe in cults? Do they participate in cults? But do they believe they are involved in cults?

A cult isn’t always obvious…in fact, they are usually sneaky, which makes sense considering the source. ‘Strange Fire’ was addressed early in the Scriptures [Lev 10:1-3] to let the reader/believer know that bringing anything before the Lord that isn’t holy [false doctrine] will not be recognized by Him. The work of one’s hands is not of Faith, it is worthy of damnation.

The flesh is an ugly thing; God addressed this in Leviticus essentially saying that nothing unholy can be in His presence:

“Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, whichwas for himself. Then the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him. And he dipped his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the base of the altar. But the fat, the kidneys, and the fatty lobe from the liver of the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses. The flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp.” [Lev 9:8-11]

The Prescribed Order of Victory, Christ’s finished Work, does NOT include or allow:

  • Perverting the Truth [2Pet 3:17-18, Acts 13:10]
  • Faith turned into law [Gal 1:6-7]
  • Arrogance, personal agenda, pride or self righteouness [1Tim 6:3-4, Neh 9:16]
  • Ignorance [2Tim 2:22-23]

Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Too many Christians are tempted to add to or subtract from Christ’s Finished Work. It is tempting to abuse our authority in Him to exalt ourselves, but we are called to ‘watch and pray’ rather than divide and conquer.

There are Christians that believe in the Prosperity ‘Gospel’, Calvinism, Mormonism, keeping the Sabbath, etc. But what they are really saying is that what Christ did at the Cross was NOT ENOUGH. They have to add to it to suit themselves, they bring outside authority to it rather than the Godly authority we have in HIM.

Why do Christians add to or take away from the Finished Work of Christ? Even Christians who sit under correct teaching sometimes stir in their own personal authority – or superiority – to what they are being taught, unbeknownst to the teacher/preacher who purports Truth. The teacher/preacher cannot control what the Christians thinks they hear from the pulpit.

Do we have authority or a false sense of authority regarding the word of God? Then, do we abuse the knowledge of the Finished work of Christ by adding our own salt? This why many Christians don’t have or walk in victory.

Christians have authority in the name of Jesus and believing in His Finished Work at the Cross. We do not have authority in changing His Word to suit our agenda. We cannot put our Faith in anything but the Finished Work of Christ or we add salt to an already Perfect Truth.

It is an abuse of power and authority that can make a cult out of truth! Adding your own salt is an improper authority called PRIDE & SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS. We humans are so imperfect that we continue to follow paths that Cain followed. Improper authority killed Abel, improper authority cast out and marked Cain [Gen 4:8-15].

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” [James 2:20]. AND works without Faith is empty and has no power, only a presumed authority that is not of God.

WE HAVE TO DIE TO SELF [Romans 6], ‘allowing’ Jesus to do what He was called to do by the Father, dying for a people who abhorred Him, spat on Him, abandoned Him. How can anyone add one extra grain of salt to that? How is that NOT enough?

IT IS FINISHED. Once and for all, forever and ever.

 

*EMPHASIS MINE.

The Christian Public Witness

My husband and I were having a conversation about being a public witness. What I mean by ‘public’ is sidewalk ministry at the abortion facility or street ministry at strip clubs, bars, for example. Public means what and where is legal. Public means public, anyone can be there…even the opposition. TRUSTJESUS

In public ministry people love to battle, to justify sin, to embed their superiority. But the truth is they know they’re living a lie out loud, they know way deep down that this lie they live is getting harder and harder to keep up with.

When I remember who I used to be before Christ, I had to keep my justifications in absolute order so that I wouldn’t seem WRONG or in error of a badly lived life…after all, who’s life is it anyway? I thought it was mine alone.

GETTING TO THE POINT: There was not one time that I was ever confronted with a public witness for Christ, not at the abortion facility where my mother forced me to go to OR at the local night life clubs/bars I used to frequent.

Do we know we are a sinner? Yes. Even if we have one shred of ‘morality’, we know that we are failing God and slowly losing our life to sin.

A public witness does what Christ told us to do, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature”. Being a public witness for Christ is not a comfortable thing to do, people don’t like being confronted with a jealous God.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25, NKJV

Most people are caught up in a worldly web of deception, a web of discontent…a web they feel they cannot be free of. And like most people, I wanted someone to come along and save me from this horrible life…was I worth more than a glass of vodka and a pack of cigarettes? As I sat in that bar every day….I mean EVERY DAY….I wished for that great guy to come along and save me. And one day He did. But it wasn’t who I expected.

I didn’t believe in the supernatural, I saw only in disparity, what was around me. Never was I told I was better than the next cocktail, the next guy, the next party. I HATED to look at myself in the mirror, I HATED what I saw, I HATED ME. And the reason I hated me was because I allowed it.

Much like the woman at the well [John 4], I gave up. This life is what it is, I can’t change it, my family left me, my children left me, my dignity left me. All I had left to do was die.

But then Jesus came, He didn’t say I feel like going to Samaria or say maybe I’ll go through Samaria…Jesus said He NEEDED to go through Samaria. He met her where she was, at the well. This was her divine appointment with her Savior.

Street preachers and ministers meet people where they are to preach a loving Jesus who wants to save them from this existence of stacking sin in a neat pile. We are all the same, we need a Savior to be saved from this life….we have enough ‘friends’ to help us out with sin.

There is no judgement, just “Go and sin no more”. One day your accusers will go away, one at a time. And Jesus will be there for you. That’s the Jesus I know and that’s the Jesus we preach.

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

Street preachers/ministers are Christian Public Witnesses, just like the Apostles. Christianity hasn’t changed – we’ve changed it. We keep putting Jesus in a nicely decorated box called the Church. Church was NEVER a building but a concept and a reality since the first century.

Churches are full of people and Pastors that are hearers only. The street affords nothing but the purity of the Word and the intent behind it because I did not get saved in a church, I was presented with the Gospel by a man who was led by God to tell me about Jesus. You see, He came to where I was – at work and hungover.

Thank  you God for bringing Him to me.

TESTIMONY: Choosing LIFE & Faith, no matter what.

For there to be a testimony, there has to be a test. And as Christians, we are tested all the time. In a time when a woman finds herself pregnant at the very worst time, God tells us it’s never bad time to be the life giver He made women to be. Since the foundation of the WORLD we have been known by God, each with a divine purpose only He can give.

FAITH.

Being on the sidewalk, we hear so many ‘reasons’ why they can’t have their baby. But there are no reasons…not ONE…good enough to kill an innocent unborn child entrusted to the parents by God.

What a blessing to read this incredible testimony given by God’s woman, a woman who follows Him no matter what. After all, lemonade tastes much better than sour, bitter lemons.

Thank you God’s woman, for sharing this incredible testimony, and thank you for choosing LIFE: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” [Gal 6:2]

Written in her own hand, enjoy this beautiful testimony:

One year ago today at this time I was saying hello for the first time to my 2nd little bundle of joy, Zachary! I knew as soon as I found out he was a boy that the Lord put the name Zachary on my heart for him. I knew the meaning of the name at the time but I didn’t know why in particular the Lord wanted me to name him it until after he was born. You see I’m not going to go into details but a few months before Zach’s birth I started going through one of the worst times of my life and it was something completely out of my control. There was nothing I could do to avoid or help the situation but I had to just deal with it and do it 7 months pregnant at that! The beauty of being a child of God though is that I didn’t have to deal with it on my own but as always my Heavenly Father was right there by my side taking care of me in any way He could. If I only had the time to tell you all how many ways God has showed me how much He loves me and has had my back through this thing! One of the biggest ways was by Him giving me Zach. Before his birth I honestly was a little worried about how I was going to take care of a newborn and a 3 year old in my emotional state but after he was born and I spent a little time with him I understood immediately why the Lord gave me the name Zachary for him. Zachary means “God remembered” so you see in a time of deep despair God remembered me and gave me a literal bundle of joy! He really is just the happiest most laid back baby ever and has been since his birth. You can pretty much guarantee a laugh out of him whenever you see him. Of course my 3 year old already made me smile and laugh everyday no matter what but the Lord gave me another little blessing to make me smile and laugh even more despite what I was going through. Words can’t even describe the love I have for my 2 little boys and the joy that they bring to my life! [Anonymous]

The Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus

The Day After Mother’s Day

You may have noticed that I did not post anything for Mother’s Day. To me, Mother’s Day is not what it is for everyone else.

I have learned a long time ago not to wait by my telephone on Mother’s Day. Sometimes it rings, sometimes it doesn’t. This is why my husband and I usually take a day trip that day. We really love to get out and drive the countryside, see and hear God’s creation, give Glory to God….because sometimes, my telephone doesn’t ring.

It doesn’t ring for everyone else, either. I know too many moms who have been rejected by their adult kids. I have grown accustomed to the disrespect and hate, I can’t change them. So, I have to change ME.

As I mentioned a bunch on times during the 30 Day Parenting Prayer Challenge for our adult kids, parents have to not look back but blaze a trail FORWARD. If we are forgiven by God, then who are they to keep us in THEIR subjection? That, my friends, is being held hostage. And I won’t live like that….anymore.

There are other victims of Mother’s Day: post abortive women, women who miscarried, mom passed away, kids in foster care, adopted kids, the brokenhearted, etc. A victim stays a victim until you escape. A holiday does not identify who we are to God. We are His, we are forgiven; if our kids can’t forgive, then too bad. I can’t live in the memory they have for us for the rest of THEIR lives.

My husband honors me for Mother’s Day. He always has. He knows that this day is really about MOM, they one who gave life, the one who loves unconditionally, the one who is there when she’s not needed or wanted. I have made mistakes just like every other person in the world, but I certainly don’t need a holiday to remind me of it.

Happy Day After Mother’s Day:

v16 Thus says the Lord:

“Refrain your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tears;
For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord,
And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
v17 There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.” Jeremiah 31:15-17

The Minimalist.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist life. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Coach purse? Did you have to get leather seats in the new car? Just how necessary is the mid-life-crisis Harley? How does anyone NEED a 3000 sqft home unless you’re a Duggar?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into a debt abyss to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We do not need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee with my husband, we discussed whether Christians should live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. My first thought was if this lavishness glorifies God – I don’t think it can. We are to be a light to the world, not a lighting concept: “v14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. v15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. v16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.

There is a great peace that comes with having less. We are unencumbered with ‘things’ that have no room in a Christian’s life. By choice we have one vehicle; by choice we do not have cable television. By choice we have a home that is reasonable rather than getting one big enough to store more stuff AND still rent a storage unit to store the rest of it. By choice we choose to have less so we can have more with Christ.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:18-20

Give much? While it is true that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack. God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”

The Valley Christian

Are you a valley Christian or a mountain Christian? Is God only God when it’s all good? That’s too bad; you’ll never know the fullness of God.

Psalm 23:4-5 says: “v4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. v5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

I do believe that some of us spend more time in the valley than others because our ‘free will’ is conditioning us to continue to fail rather than learn and get the victory. God wants us to learn from our valley experiences. God does not hate us, He wants us to be victorious…but we keep getting in our own way and blame Him for our own rebellion.

“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts.” Isaiah 65:2

The mountain Christian definitely believes in God only when life is going their way, which isn’t very often. Sin has a way of sitting us down a spell. The mountain Christian HATES God in the valley; they truly think that being a Christian gives them a pass. The truth is Christians are tested more after salvation than before. Is that from God? Maybe. Remember, God EITHER causes or allows bad things to happen for His Glory, not ours. He gives us every minute of every day to repent and come back to Him, but most won’t. Being so high-minded is going to get ya a nose bleed, not victory.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

God goes before us, He is there waiting for us, He will protect us.

 “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut 31:8

The valley isn’t so bad, it’s where God is. Trust God to bring you out of the valley, His promises are sure. Pray for His guidance, not your own.

“v22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. v23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23