Wednesday Night Bible Study: QUESTIONABLE THINGS, part 2

We are continuing a three part series regarding ‘Questionable Things‘. To summarize part one, the ‘questionable thing’ is defined:

What is the ‘questionable thing’? I’ve always said if you have to ask, you ought NOT to do ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Somehow, it’s not that easy for some of my Christian brothers and sisters. Much like parents telling you to be a good example to your little brothers and sisters, we have to be a better example…a better Christian to those that are weak or struggling: “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” 1Corinthians 8:9

What ARE the questionable things? Every decision we make has consequences, good or bad. We either allow OR participate in these ‘questionable things’. Maybe you didn’t drink any alcohol, but did you have the party?

“v14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. v15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ v16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” [Romans 8:14-16]

What does God say?

4. Is the ‘questionable thing’ by the leading of the Holy Spirit? I can’t imagine a Holy God that would condone any sin of any kind at any time. BUT we justify our actions by labeling God by our own system of checks and balances. GOD does NOT need our help, I assure you! And conversely, the Holy Spirit guides us to righteousness, not to sin. Ever.

  • Does allowing or participating in the ‘questionable thing’ bear witness to you? If you think it does, then you do not know God OR you are ignoring Him.
  • Are we ‘floating’ God? Remember the days of floating a check? The intent is there to pay that bill but the funds weren’t available. The same is with God; the heart-intent is there to not sin but the flesh-intent isn’t available.
  • Do we ‘hear’ God? We hear AND see Him through supernatural manifestations, healings, the Word of God [study] and other Christians [counsel]: “Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” [1Kings 19:11-12]

5. Does the ‘questionable thing’ PLEASE God? Is the ‘questionable thing’ a besetting sin? Simply, is this sin that you question the reason why you can’t fully come to Christ? Are you an adulterer…then STOP. Are you a smoker…then STOP. Are you an addict…then STOP; you get the idea. But this ‘questionable thing’…is it that one last thing that holds you onto the world?

  • How can God fully use you if you will not give up the ‘questionable thing’: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” [Hebrews 12:1]
  • Are you keeping His commandments, “v37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. v38 This is the first and great commandment. v39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ v40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:37-40]

BELOVED, keep His commandments and you’ll see miracles: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” [1Jn 3:22]

6. Can you do the ‘questionable thing’ in the name of Jesus? Oh, indeed…we are a woeful people that continue to use and abuse His precious name in vain! Ponder His name(s) listed in the Book of Revelation:

  1. Son of God (2:18)
  2. Son of Man (1:13)
  3. King of kings (19:16)
  4. Lord of lords (19:16)
  5. Alpha and Omega (22:13)
  6. Beginning and the End (22:13)
  7. First and the Last (1:17)
  8. Shepherd (7:17)
  9. Lamb (5:6)
  10. Lion of Judah (5:5)
  11. Heir to Davids throne (5:5)
  12. Faithful and True (19:11)
  13. Faithful and true Witness (3:14)
  14. Christ (12:10)
  15. The Living One (1:18)
  16. The Word of God (19:13)
  17. The bright morning star (22:16)

7. Can you give God thanks for the ‘questionable thing’? MANY DO, sadly. But is it biblical or right? Of course not. If we did then we would be saying that God is NOT God:

 “v24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons’. v25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. v26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?'”

8. Does the ‘questionable thing’ bring God Glory? Our sins were never to bring any glory to God; He is grieved by our unfaithfulness and disobedience. “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” [Isaiah 43:7]

We can only gain victory over sins and ‘questionable things’ through Jesus Christ: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1Corinthians 15:57]

BELOVED, we are given, yes GIVEN, a new day everyday to say yes to Christ and NO to sin! The ‘questionable thing’ is there to keep you tied to the world and not to Him, but tomorrow is another day:

“v22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. v23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. v24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!'” [Lam 3:22-24]

The Ugly Christmas Sweater

Everyone has one…the sweater that hides in the back of the closet and lies in wait for another season to openly laugh at us for having saved it and even worn it. Why do we keep the darned thing? Is it to lovingly remind us of that person OR do we keep it to prove to the sweater giver that we would never part with it?

However, my ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ is an analogy of sorts. We keep something that is not of us or for us. Every Christian has someone that is just plain ugly with their spitefulness and ridicule. Even worse is the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ who is a backslidden Christian that can’t get out of their own valley that they created themselves.

Ah, the valley….the deep part of the valley. 

All families, especially Christian ones, have someone that almost seems to enjoy making everyone else miserable, mostly because they are miserable. I am no exception, we have them, too…..and they LOVE to flex during the Christmas season with guilt, shame, ridicule, mockery, contempt.

It’s time to take off the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’.

I have chosen NOT to battle them. I think the battle gives them more strength to be antagonistic. Does not battling make it better or ‘digestible’? Not really, but I have my own relationship with the LORD that I protect with everything I’ve got.

The ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ is much like the past rearing it’s head to remind us of our weaknesses as Christians and what we will allow into our lives that can keep us in bondage to the ‘old man‘:

“v6…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. v7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.” Romans 6:6-7

And:

“v21…if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: v22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Ephesians 4:21-22

Our ‘old man’, our sinful past, was covered with the blood of Christ when we were born again, “There is therefore NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit,” [Romans 8:1, emphasis MINE]. It should NEVER matter what our backslidden loved ones remember of our past sin:

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25

The valley is a lonely place. We don’t want our loved ones in the valley but God is God, I am not…He doesn’t like being ignored by puffed up backslidden Christians. He’ll take you where you do not want to go to get your attention.

Until the time comes when our backslidden loved ones gets their mind back, all we can do is take off the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ and do what Jesus said at the Sermon on the Mount:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

Free Things

NEVER pay retail: So, how many self-help books have you bought? How about Christian self-help books? What about sermon series that seem to go on and on and on and on without actually fixing anything?

AND even worse, before I became a Christian, I looked to EVERYTHING but God to guide me and fix me….how many of us have trusted horoscopes and television psychics? Yep, I even bought the books. SO SAD, but I’m so GLAD I found Jesus! Not that He was hiding, I just wasn’t looking.

Christians can be their own worst enemy. In my previous post ‘Questionable Things‘ I focused on the worldly things Christians wonder if they can still do, such as smoking, drinking, etc. If you are a Christian that understands STEWARDSHIP, this should be a no-brainer. If you understand stewardship then you understand what you should and should not do.

BTW: Worldly things, the ‘questionable things’, usually cost money we should not spend; it also costs us some of our sanctification.

Are you saved, BORN-AGAIN and still struggling? What if I told you that you can ditch the ‘questionable things’ and not pay one penny to keep your mind and spirit busy that will give you what you desire: PEACE?

FREE THINGS. Yes, FREE, given to us by our Holy God through Jesus Christ:

Salvation. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” [Rom 5:8] Salvation has always been FREE, given to us by way of scourging, beating and humiliation of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ our LORD.

Bible. “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes,” [2Kings 22:11]. Life went on in the time of Josiah, and it was word of mouth that kept Scripture alive…but imagine finding the true word of God hidden in plain sight? There are countries today that have outlawed Christianity AND the Bible! Here in the United States we take this free thing and let it gather dust on nightstands and coffee tables.

Prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,” [Phil 4:6]. We can pray anywhere, anytime. There is no cap on how much we can pray. All it costs is TIME and SUBMISSION, and this is one thing that God really wants us to do all the time.

Praise/Worship. “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever’,” [2Chronicles 20:21]. The free thing that many Christians neglect is PRAISE & WORSHIP. We can praise Him anywhere, we can worship Him anywhere. And in this scripture reference, it’s noted that the singers and musicians were placed in front of the army to disable the enemy with His Praise, not empty riot. When we praise and worship, we see MIRACLES!

Fellowship. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers,” [Acts 2:42]. Even the Early Church knew that fellowship with other like-minded believers made them stronger and kept them from backsliding back to the ‘old man’. This free thing keeps Christians in precious communion with other Christians to edify, encourage and educate.

Regardless of what sin is besetting us, we know we have a God in Heaven that gives us exactly what we need. There is nothing else but Him and the free things He lovingly gives us.

Unlike one book (and the writer shall remain nameless) DON’T eat the cookie or BUY the shoes; instead take the free things God has provided…yes PROVIDED.

 

Wednesday Night Bible Study: QUESTIONABLE THINGS.

What is the ‘questionable thing’? I’ve always said if you have to ask, you ought NOT to do ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Somehow, it’s not that easy for some of my Christian brothers and sisters. Much like parents telling you to be a good example to your little brothers and sisters, we have to be a better example…a better Christian to those that are weak or struggling:

“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” 1Corinthians 8:9

At church last night, my husband touched on the first 3 points in this series. Truly, this is a great teaching for those that need and should reference their Bible and notes often in order to continue in their walk with the Lord. As Christians, we are not equal in our personal walk with anyone else. We are all individuals and set with a separate path and will from God, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations”, [Jeremiah 1:5].

What ARE the questionable things? Everyone has wondered if a particular thing is sin such as drinking alcohol or types of television shows or movies. We are bombarded by the outside world constantly with messages that tell us that EVERYTHING is good and okay. What is okay? What isn’t? What does God say?

1. Are you willing to do what is right when you KNOW the will of God? Simply, most Christians know the will of God regarding sin…DON’T SIN! Seems easy enough, but I think that we look for permission from other Christians rather than asking God. “Is she wearing a short skirt in church? COOL….then I can too!” or “He watches R rated movies so I can too!” As simplistic as that sounds, or even childlike, still every Christian struggles because they see OTHER Christians sinning or living in a worldly way. Consider these scripture references:

  • Romans 12:2; “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Retrain your mind to not want the questionable thing that is besetting you. Don’t be your own worst enemy, be the Christian you want others to see you as.
  • John 7:17; “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” Do we know His will? Have you asked Him?
  • James 4:17; “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Most often we KNOW the answer, we want confirmation. Go to the Word, God will let you know, I promise.

2. Does this questionable thing agree with what the scripture says? While I see things very black and white and somewhat analytical, many Christians do not and they seek real answers in real time. The Word of God is for today, tomorrow and all time! Consider these scripture references:

  • 2Peter 1:19-20; “v19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; v20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” In other words, God speaks to us and gives us revelation such as understanding certain verses in the way He meant them. ‘There is nothing new under the sun’ [Ecc 1:9], there is no NEW revelation, rather what God gives you may be new to you, it cannot go against scripture EVER or it is in direct violation of His Word. He is the God that changes NOT [Mal 3:6].
  • Deuteronomy 29:29; “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” What God wants us to know HE will reveal. While we will know everything as we step foot into Heaven, but while we are still here we have to trust God and have Faith in HIM, not ourselves or others.
  • Romans 10:17; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” FAITH. Simple childlike FAITH. God will never tell you to smoke. God will never tell you to wear revealing clothing. God will never steer you into false doctrine. Ever.
  • 2Timothy 3:16; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” ALL scripture is given; not some of it or part of it…ALL OF IT. Scripture is for our DAILY walk, not just on Sundays.

3. Have you PRAYED about the questionable thing? Isn’t that a novel idea. We wonder why our lives are surrounded by grief, fear and sin? If you think your heels are too high, then they probably are. If you think a movie with sex and violence might be wrong to watch, then it probably is. Consider these scripture references:

  • Mark 11:24; “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  When you asked Jesus into your life, you prayed…then you believed AND received! Pray about everything and you’ll have no questions about the questionable things.
  • Philippians 4:6; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” EVERYTHING. If we pray for and about everything, our lives will change! When I pray I HAVE PEACE. When I forget to pray, I am not in the will of God. God gave us Jesus and the Holy Spirit and real tools to use for our everyday walk: Prayer and the Bible….all free to use all the time. No excuses!
  • James 4:23; “v2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. v3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Ahhhhh there it is! WHAT are you asking for? Permission to DO the questionable thing? Or are you asking for discernment?
  • 1Thessalonians 5:17; “Pray without ceasing.” Don’t. Stop. Praying. Ever.
  • Matthew 7:7-8; “v7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. v8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Ask, seek and knock…God will reveal to you what you pray about.

A new creature in Christ has MANY questions and needs answers about the BIG things and the little things. But one thing I ask you to keep in mind is understanding the difference in ‘belief’ and ‘truth’. I can believe all day long that the sky is green but the truth is that it is blue. The questionable things are what we believe, not necessarily what is truth. God has never made a way for anyone to sin, not even a little bit. Contrary to what the world ‘believes’, the Christian is expected to know the truth of His Holy Word, not half-truths or outright lies. He has created us to be in fellowship with Him, not the world or He would have never given His Son Jesus as our propitiation for what we deserved.

Temptation is an evil thing; the questionable thing may just be what Satan uses to tempt you to do something to come back into his will and stray from God. Satan uses the little things to distract us while he works to keep us from a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

In other words, Trust God. His is that small, still voice.

The Jezebel Christian

The story of Jezebel is much more than just another account in the Bible. Her spirit is in the Church today and seeks to divide and conquer. A woman that believes she has authority in her church or marriage can have this spirit. Generally the Jezebel Spirit falls upon a woman that is ‘closet’ insecure but domineering; believes she deserves more attention to themselves and their piety. Today’s Jezebel looks like the most faithful of the faithful and is usually a part of the hierarchy in her church.

“And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that Ahab took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.” [1Kings 16:31]

Contrary to what most people think, today’s Jezebel Spirit is not always sexual in nature, although pride and lust is: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” [1John 2:16]

The Jezebel Spirit is seductive, an emasculator of men, jealous, egomaniacal, evil, gratuitous, pious; she is very religious in nature so that the snare looks beautiful, righteous and virtuous. She feeds on others that are much more insecure and immature than she is. More often than not, she is hiding an outward sin that is kept in secret that her ‘followers’ cannot see; i.e.: drinking alcohol, smoking, adultery, spousal abuse, gambling, etc. She is very selective of the people she associates with and has grandiosity issues; no one is more right about anything or better at anything than she is especially when it comes to the things of God. A woman with the Jezebel Spirit will always be a usurper of authority particularly in their own home. She typically runs the household and wears the pants in the family with finances, children and her husband. She buys the houses and cars. The Jezebel Spirit starts at home and gradually goes to Church.

“For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.)” [1Kings 18:4]

The Jezebel Spirit is part of what is very wrong in the church today. Women were never meant to take authority over her husband, according to Scripture. Instead of going to church to worship she comes to dominate and make a show of it. The rest of us come to church to hear the message and glean from it. Jezebels are part of what Satan does to keep our concentration off the pulpit and on the caste system of the congregation.

“25But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. 26And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.” [1Kings 21:25-26]

What are the idols in the church today? Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the PRIDE of life [1John 2:16].

There is only one solution to this evil spirit – pray. And pray hard. The Jezebel Spirit will always be a part of every church; learning to recognize her is the first step before she can get the better of you.

And finally, Jesus found this spirit of Jezebel so important and grave that He mentioned her in the fourth of seven letters to the seven churches, the Church at Thyarira, considered the corrupt Church. These letters were to warn these churches that time was about up and there was a lot to clean up. The churches were woefully out of order and had forgotten the first love, Jesus Christ.

“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” [Rev 2:20]

What ought did Jesus have against Jezebel? The same problem we have today, false prophets and false prophetesses purposely steering people away from Christ. Eve took the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil AND offered it to her husband Adam because of free will. Jezebel used her free will to seek other gods that complimented her evil nature and took an entire nation and husband along with her; they NEVER go alone. Eve was deceived, was Jezebel deceived as well? To answer that, you would have to prove that Jezebel once knew God.

Jesus loved and held women in such high regard that he remembered the Woman at the Well, the Woman that touched the hem of His garment AND Mary Magdalene, a known woman, who proclaimed Him LORD at the Resurrection. But Jezebel He remembered differently, as an example of false idol worship and non-repentance.

…and the reformed said, THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.

[reposted from 10/31/13] Today is ‘Reformation Day’, NOT HALLOWEEN; the day when Martin Luther saw through scripture that the ‘just shall live by Faith’, NOT an evolution of faith via religion, otherwise God lied to Abraham: “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness”, Genesis 15:6.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

[Which interpreted correctly from the original text should read ‘The just shall live by HIS faith’]

There is always a counterfeit for everything holy.

The 95 Theses, his revelation of the truth of the doctrine of God, were written by Martin Luther in October 31, 1517. Ignoring the fact that Luther unlocked what was purposely omitted shows where the true heretic lies:

JESUS SAID: “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Luke 12:51

AND: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

testimony‘They just shall live by faith’ is the basis for Evangelical Christianity [the Doctrine of the Bible] because it points to what Christ did at the Cross instead of trusting in organized religion and its man-appointed leaders. I know this does not bode well with organized religion but the Word of God supersedes anything that man says or does.

Martin Luther was given revelation by God to undo what ‘man’ had done for centuries to His Word, His opinion, His ultimate goal. The Reformation was now the line in the sand to mark those that cause the actual division – those that teach religion to salvation.

This is why there is such a thing as ‘Nondenominational Christian’. While organized religion thinks we run with scissors, I assure you that if one reads and understands the Canon of Scripture in the intent it was written [from the original texts of Hebrew & Greek] and understands that it is THE inspired Word of God without the opinion of man, you would see that Nondenoms are actually ON the Roman Road by way of His leading. The Bible taught order, not liturgy.

While Martin Luther was not a perfect man nor lived a perfect life, he did do this one thing: caused division from the ‘Church’ and showed that Christians needed to put their Faith in Jesus Christ alone and not organized religion or man. We needed a Saviour, not a figurehead, general superintendent, presiding bishop, general overseer, general conference, self-appointed prophet & apostles or even the Pope: ‘The just shall live by Faith’. [Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:7, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38]

We forget that organized religion killed Jesus on that day, and most certainly do not read the entire Bible to see what Christ himself said and did. If organized religion says they will decipher scripture for you, run FAST. Asking an opinion is one thing, but someone dictating from opinion of an organization rather than straight from the Word of God is frightening. However, I do like sharing ideas about Scripture; it makes for great conversation BUT getting away from the Finished Work of Christ can change your Eternal destination. Always back up what you say with Scripture because if you don’t, then the point is moot.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” [John 5:24]

Wednesday Night Bible Study: ANGER.

We are continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, tonight touching on a common sin among Christians: ANGER.

Did you know that no sin is without consequence, especially anger? We are called children of God, not the crowd at a cage fight. We are required to keep it together, learn and relearn how to battle what our mind wants to do before it falls out of our mouths and through our fists.

At Church

Jesus equates anger and hate to murder. Murder is different than killing; murder has intent. Then our anger, our HATE, has intent toward the person we are cross with. Some of us quietly plot the demise in our heads to that person that has wronged us. We are human…free will. But with the gift of free will comes responsibility to govern it in a GODLY way, not murderous.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is trying to reteach us how to consider what we do with our minds before we act upon them, such as lust. How many of us have lusted in the heart? ALL OF US. Jesus tells us that what we DO in our minds is precariously close to acting upon them.

Matthew 5:21-26 says, “21You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Yep, it’s that ‘turn the other cheek‘ stuff. But the explanation is much better than that. How do we turn the other cheek? How do we discern what is righteous anger? Having righteous anger is not a bad thing, we should be angry with sin! But only AT sin, not the sinner. In other words, being angry at the sin  of abortion or homosexuality is okay, but slinging it at the sinner is NOT.

We need to consider righteous anger versus relative anger:

Ephesians 4:26-32 says, “26Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. 28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

And there it is: FORGIVENESS. We have to forgive or we will be bound in a way that is not of God to continue in a spirit of anger and hate.

The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses spoke of our shortcomings as humans since the fall of Man in the Garden; critical thinking put the apple in the hands of Eve rather than trusting God. So, understanding that we had free will in the Garden, how much more do we need to renew our minds now? Not just daily, but but every minute!

Romans 12:1-2 says, 12I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

There it is: The Sin Nature. In this passage in Romans, Paul directed it to the ‘brethren’, or Christians, not the guy on the street. The church was young then and was going in a way that was unseemly. The Apostle Paul understood the sin nature because he also had to battle it. Remember, PAUL WAS A MURDERER. Paul need a Savior, Paul needed to learn how to rewire his mind to be GODLY. Paul struggled with the sin nature just like we all do.

Renewing our mind, rewiring it from what it was, is key to not having a murderous heart and replacing it with ‘what is good for necessary edification‘ and ‘acceptable to God‘.

Be the Christian you want others to be.

O Death.

Today my son’s best friend died; he was brain dead from a car accident this past week. Death, at times, is expected. Death is sometimes a complete surprise. But hardly is Death ever welcome.

One thing is certain: Death is a part of life and we will all experience it. Where will we go?

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1Corinthians 15:55)

I HATE DEATH. Let me clarify: I weep for the unsaved. They amble along in life and have little interest in the things of God. There will be time for that later, they think. Then later came.

win nothing

People are scared of death but Christians that put their faith in Jesus Christ know where their eternal destiny is. Maybe that’s why I grieve for the unsaved. I hate knowing that there is a fiery hell that will welcome them with little fanfare for a life not well spent.

Eternity is a long, long time. And we can decide where we would like to spend it.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2Corinthians 6:2b)

Tomorrow may not come, but death might. Jesus is the only way to salvation, the only way to eternity with Him. There are no short cuts, no other way but through Him.

Grief is for the soul that is lost, but JOY comes in the morning for the child of God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

 

The Pauline Christian

A bunch of years ago, I worked at an upscale beauty salon and heard a curious question: The hairdresser asked her client, “When I highlight your hair, what do you want people to see?” This hairdresser was asking her client what she wanted other people to think when they saw her as their ‘first impression’ of her. This is a great lesson on what people think of us at first glance or impression and that we can change what we look like to garner an opinion, good or bad. In other words, if someone saw you on the street or the mall today, would they see a Christian? Are you sure?

Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

While researching this subject, I came across many ‘secularized christian’ denominations regarding the teachings of Paul and found that they follow [if you want to call it that] the teachings of Jesus, but not of Paul the Apostle:

Universalists are rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition and are Christian in that we follow the teachings of Jesus, but not the teachings of Paul, which frankly does not make us Christian by most Christian’s definitions.”

…not Christian? If that ain’t the truth.

And it’s not just universalists that don’t follow the teachings of Paul, most of the emergent movement does not; they feel that Paul was not called or that his Damascus Road experience and ministry was not enough to make his teachings and epistles part of the Word of God or even viable. That being said, they also believe that the Bible CONTAINS the word of God, as if it’s a piece of Tupperware.

Regarding Pauline Christianity: “Reference is made to the large number of non-canonical texts, some of which have been discovered during the last 100 years, which show the many movements and strands of thought emanating from Jesus’ life and teaching or which may be contemporary with them, some of which can be contrasted with Paul’s thought.” Interesting.

Contrasted with Paul’s thought’ is a great example of what pains most pseudo ‘christians’ that endorse the gay agenda and lifestyle, abortion rights, ecumenicalism, and the Liberal agenda…to name a few. They believe that since Christ did not mention these ‘maladies’ that they would not be the abominations that Paul cited and therefore either excused, overlooked or even encouraged: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners [1Cor 6:9-10, Rom 1:29-32].

Paul said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1Timothy 1:12-15

Paul KNEW he was a sinner! He acknowledged that he was NOT perfect but taught a perfect message that Jesus gave him on the Damascus Road. The relevant ‘easy believism’ that befalls the emergent is not taught by Jesus, it is a demon spirit that seeks to consume and forsake the righteous.

Yes I am getting to a POINT: Even some of the most godly Azusa Street offshoots have been bewitched by not pleading the Blood of Christ or preaching the Holy Spirit inspired teachings of Paul, who was once Saul of Tarsus [Acts 7:58-60, 8:1-3], an evil murderer that was a large part of the ‘church’ of the day. How ironic that someone gets saved from his own church [Acts 9:1-19].

All this being said, the outward appearance of a Christian as a Christian is nearly invisible. We are seen as part of the world with short shorts, miniskirts, men that don’t wear shirts in public, heels that defy gravity or description, foul language, drinking alcohol, gambling [yes, the lottery is gambling], smoking, drugs, adultery, defiling our bodies and fornication…and that’s just the highlights.

“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 1Thessalonians 4:1-5

Is this a maturity problem of the Christian? Are holiness, modesty and chastity not taught in church anymore? Or is the Emergent Movement making the rest of conservative Christianity look and act like the world to attract moths to the bug zapper? Are we selling ourselves to the highest bidder: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” [1Cor 3:16-17]

Considering that Pauline Christianity is too conservative for the ‘modern christian’, wouldn’t it be apparent that the Holy Spirit has been told He is not welcome anymore?

I saw an employment ad for a ‘Growth Pastor’ once. Look and act like the world, but just show up? Is this the future of the Church? Is this the Church that Christ is looking for when He comes back? Of course not…He did not die for the mega church, He died for me and you. And until He comes back, we need to sanctify ourselves because we are His and His ways are correct. And until then:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

 

A Life of Omission – What God Really Has For You.

I am writing this to the pre-abortive moms and dads; I am also writing this to the addict and prostitute. We humans are very quick to judge God for our lives…why are we here? We feel used, abused and unimportant. Our very existence seems without worth but we’re still here. Does God KNOW we exist? I can tell you that there were times when I wondered all of this. I have thought long and hard about how much I have violated God’s trust in me; an expectation He has for the life He gave me, a stewardship and an assignment for my own life that I was not taking seriously.

Bottom line is that I was trying to be my own God for so long that even the God I thought I was gave up.

We are not alone in feeling left on the side of the road. But that is not God’s plan for us nor is it His intention to keep us from being who He meant for us to be. WE ARE KEEPING GOD FROM BEING GOD.

If we feel that we have a life of omission – that is NOT from God. He created us to be called to do a work for Him. The implication that God doesn’t care about His creation is not only NOT true but unbiblical:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

There is much that this verse says about LIFE. We feel so insignificant because of our sin and circumstances that we wonder why God would bother with us. God is not the author of confusion (1Corinthians 14:33) nor does He delight in watching us fail (1Corinthians 10:13).

Life is precious to God. He gave it to us with hope that we will protect it. As Jeremiah 1:5 says, every human being is known by God before the creation of the world; we are known, we are ordained, we have a work and a plan by God to follow and finish.

Not one person or unborn child is exempt from the will of God or His plan:

  • We are known regardless of our social status. Next time you drive down the street and see the homeless, the prostitute, the drug dealer, the passed out drunk, keep in mind that they are also known by God and has a plan set before them BY GOD. Their current status is NOT from God, it is not to be their expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). WE ARE ALL CREATED BY A HOLY GOD. PERIOD.
  • Not defined by our parent’s sin. More often than not, children that are aborted are from single parents. Marriage and sexual integrity has become some kind of byproduct of a bygone era; society feels it’s too big of a step to get married but not a problem to have many children or many abortions. Some unborn children are a result from the horrific sins of an incestuous relationship, rape or outside of marriage….even so, everyone is created by God.
  • God creates us, not our parents. Our limited sphere of thinking about who our Creator is gives us limited views of everything else in our life. When the awesomeness of God is taken away, then our lives seem less important and our tendency to sin is greater. When we finally realize that God knew us before our parents did, then their sin doesn’t have its effect on us any longer; i.e.: if they are alcoholics or an addict, then we can break the chain of EVERY addiction knowing that WE DO NOT INHERIT WHAT IS NOT OF GOD. Your parent’s sin does NOT define who you are or will be. (Romans 8:1-2)
  • God ordains us, the world does not. This temporal world is not going to give you what God can. God has a work specifically just for you. He will protect you and provide (provision, not worldly prosperity) for you when you do His work: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:9)
  • Abortion binds the hands of God. Aborted children had a plan by God that was heinously interrupted by being murdered in the womb. Women and men that act as God to determine what is right and wrong is why multiple millions of unborn children have been slaughtered. God has never ordered that any man or woman abort their child for any reason. Doing so is telling God He cannot be God: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29-31)

Beloved, God has not forgotten you. He will be with you to strengthen, affirm and to deliver you. We are not forsaken, although I know it feels like it sometimes. But the good news is that He loves us:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

If you are pregnant and thinking about abortion, remember that God has a separate plan you and your precious unborn baby regardless of your current circumstances. If you are post-abortive, abortion is forgivable through the healing and saving power of Jesus Christ.

If you are an addict, afflicted or hopeless, remember that God has a plan for you, too. He seeks you to do His will; He will provide, He will gird you, He will heal you.

If you are suicidal, God is waiting for you to acknowledge Him so He can help you. Your life is NOT in vain, it is ORDAINED.

Your LIFE can change today: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

You are not forgotten.