FINDING WALDO

One of the things that I enjoy doing is watching people. As my wife winds her way through the grocery aisles, I secure a seat near the check out and begin my observation routine. Actually, what I do is play a little game. The object of my fantasy experiment is to guess if someone is a Christian or not. I know this might seem to border on judgment, but it is just a game with no ill intent. I realize there is no way to confirm my “guess,” outside of asking them directly, but it is fun to speculate and I do have a 50/50 chance to be right. One might ask what is my criteria for arriving at my unscientific conclusion? It is very simple, all I do is observe them. There is their facial expression, body language, and verbalage. Do they look like they have just swallowed a lemon slice or a candy bar? Do they ambulate confidence or uncertainty? Do their words show negativity or positiveness? Now, to put all these things in the right perspective, in such a short time, is to guarantee that the results will be flawed. Critics of my game will say that I don’t know the unobserved facts in each individual. That is true, but I know what the Scripture says about the Christian life style and the light that every Christian should display. I believe that the face is the window of man’s inner being. The face displays the workings of the soul and spirit.

During Christmas, children will be jumping with joy and excitement as they open their presents and gifts. Should not adults show their excitement of God’s greatest gift to mankind, and not just during this traditional time, but throughout the year? Words are the audio of the soul and spirit. What comes out of our mouth identifies and locates what and who is motivating us. Are we promoting self or the One who gave His life that we may know God?

As I play my game, I am finding it more difficult to identify Christians. Oh, I image there are “secret service” Believers, but seeing light-shinning and salt-shaking Believers is becoming a difficult task. There have been a number of times that I thought about giving up my game for it is not fun looking for spiritual Waldo anymore. I would have a better chance of finding a Believer by flipping a coin.

The world believes with their eyes. What they see determines what they will accept or reject. Materialism all dressed up in propaganda has a tremendous influence on people. People are drawn to things that they believe will bring them happiness and contentment. The advertisement conglomerates know how to draw people to their product. The parable of the Unjust Steward carries a classical phrase which states, “…for the children of this world, are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8) The greatest advertisement that the Church can present is the Believer himself! We should be a walking, talking, living example of the One whom we represent. When we go out in public, we are a “billboard” for the Kingdom of God. So many Christians believe we are in the last days. That means we are facing the imminent return of Jesus. If that is so, instead of sitting on the rapture runway with our bags packed, should we not be concerned about the lost? Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Christians are entertaining the flocks with dressed up activities, while people are facing eternity without hope.

Let our face identify our assurance. Let us walk with resolve. Let us speak of the hope of our calling. What the world sees will have a greater affect than our cars in our church parking lots.

Recording artist Don Francisco wrote a chorus years ago that simply says, “I got to tell somebody what Jesus did for me.” It is time for all of us to face up, stand up and speak up. I look forward to the day when I will stop playing my game, for spiritual Waldo will be in plain sight!

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ARE YOU OFFENDED?

Entering the Christian arena, one is immediately met with scenarios that will both bless and confuse the minds of the faithful. One area that defies spiritual reasoning is the number of people that are offended by different circumstances. It is amazing how many thin skinned Believers there are. The teaching of turning one’s cheek has evolved into an invitation of presenting a verbal response. When one is offended by another, the recipient turns his cheek just enough so that his mouth faces the offender or anyone who will listen. Turning the cheek is to be a one hundred eighty, not a ninety, degree rotation. Why is it so easy to become offended? Sometimes the words and actions of the offender are greatly exaggerated. It is like people are looking for ways to be offended. It is like people are looking for reasons to justify their lack of commitment. Some of the offended show their pride by not attending church regularly. Soon, by promoting the negative, they feel justified in dropping out of church completely. Complimenting their massaged ego, their Bible and prayer life wanes away into a residence of their memory bank. These self-imposed exiled still claim to believe in God and the Scriptures, but the evidence of their profession is difficult to see.

Why is it when we have been offended or feel that we have, we take it out on our relationship with God? Why is it that we take more seriously the words of people than the Word of God? How can what people say have more influence than what God says? How can the actions of other Christians supersede God’s reaction to our obedience? Why do we give so much attention to the negative words of our brothers and sisters, and so little attention to the positive words of our Lord? How can we be so swayed by the careless words of others, while unmoved by the anointed words of Jesus? Why do so many judge their faith by the actions of other Believers? If our faith is predicated on the Word of God, then we need to be a walking example of that Word. Either God’s Word is true, or it is simply a history book. The answer will determine if our faith is real or not.

Our spiritual walk should never be contingent on the actions of others. We should never allow circumstances to determine our spiritual barometer. Instead of fine tuning our hearing so we can pick up the negatives that are both implied and inferred, let us adjust our frequency to God’s intended Word.

We must never be afraid of criticism. Let us ask ourselves if what they are saying is justified or not. If it is, let us correct ourselves and move on. If their words are unfounded, let us forgive them and move on. Forgiveness is the greatest healing medicine for treating wounds that are caused by loose tongues. Whenever we let hurtful words supersede God’s Word, we need to do a self examination and find out what has caused a resurrection of our carnal man.

If you have left a church due to being offended by people, whether they be the pastor or a teacher or a board member or just another believer, ask yourself, “Am I better off today than I was before I got my feelings hurt?” If the answer is no, we need to “Christian up” and get back to corporate worship and give God the glory for the things He has done and is doing. Have you been offended? How you respond will determine the type of Christian life that you will live. You can either forgive and forget or respond and remember. It is a no brainer!

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FROM MILK TO MEAT

For years, there have been divisions within the Church. They have taken the form of Biblical interpretations, doctrines, music, and types of worship. These differences have exposed the Church to both internal and external criticism. Jesus’ warning that divisions will have a negative effect on different institutions has gone mostly ignored. (Luke 11:17)

One of the areas that seems to generate a continual flow of criticism is the preaching/teachings that come from the pulpit. The verbal challenges that seem to originate from the pews is that some feel they are not being fed! As a result of “diet” preaching, these people become dissatisfied, and threaten to leave the church in search of a fellowship that offers deeper teachings. It is true there is diversity in preaching/teaching, but there is a purpose for that.

The Corinthian Church operated in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and were the forerunners in exhibiting the gifts. (I Corinthians 1:7) Yet something was out of order. One of the hindrances to spiritual growth is humanism dressed up in Christian garments. When Paul came to Corinth, he preached the basics of the Faith. Believers needed to have a good foundation if they were to build a life exemplary of Jesus Christ. Paul realized the church was grounded in carnality. In his first letter to them, he acknowledged that they had not grown enough to shed the carnal label. ( I Corinthians 3:1,2) He attempted in his letters to correct and instruct the fleshly orientated members. Many of the problems with the exhibiting of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit today is the result of carnal Believers that have not matured. So many are living in a “Back To The Future” sequel, where they continue to relive the carnally of the Corinthian Church. The Church needs to learn from the mistakes the Corinthians made, so it won’t make the same mistakes they did.

When the Body of Christ becomes established in the basics of the Christian faith, they will be able to consume the meat of the Word. A good platform on which to build on the Truth is the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7) Many times, Pastors will feed their flock what the sheep need, rather than what they want. We must trust that the Pastor is called of God and is led by the Holy Spirit. If people want deeper preaching/teaching, they need to display evidence of spiritual growth.

Split churches are usually caused by Believers who have not grown up. The Corinthian Church was hung up with personalities. There were four specific groups in their fellowship: The Apollos disciples, the Peter followers, Paul’s army, and the Jesus only people. This last group seemed to have a pious attitude of spiritual superiority. A divided church sends a message to the observing world that diversification among Believers is normal. There are differences among people, but there should never be a difference in the message that is conveyed. Jesus prayed that His followers would be one so “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)

It is time for the Church to grow up. Paul stated that when he was a child he did childish things, but when he grew up he put away those things. (I Corinthians 13:11) If Believers want deeper Truths, they need to grow up so they will be able to consume the “meat” of the Word. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews put all this in the right perspective when he said that Believers who should be maturing into teachers, needed to be taught the basics again. He stated that strong meat belongs to the mature. (Hebrews 5:12-14) Before we start complaining about the preaching/teaching, maybe we should ask ourselves if we have matured enough to receive the “prime rib” when it is served.

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IN SEARCH OF PURPOSE

 

Young people today are looking for their purpose in life. The world offers external stimuli that caters to the feelings and emotions of the younger generation. The problem with the secular approach is the ever changing satisfaction level of the recipient. When the level of acceptance begins to diminish, something new and exciting must be offered to fend off complacency. The world strives to feed the hungry seekers with high energy experiences that it hopes will fill the void in their lives. The problem with these approaches is they are temporary and ever changing. Apologist Ravi Zacharias once said, “People listen with their eyes and think with their feelings.” So many people are influenced by what they read and hear. Whatever goes through the air waves seems to carry an hypnotic affect on the hearers. If it is presented through the media outlets, many believe it must be right. Television and its cohorts, the news, and social media, all carry an invitation to experience truth through opinionated editorials. The evidence of this is the post election exchanges. To hear people’s reactions to the election evidences the biased rhetoric they have adopted from their selected sources. Young people are swayed to a large degree by what they see and hear. The world’s invitation to personal fulfillment is only a temporary fix to a permanent need.

What is the Church doing to counter the world’s offers? What can the Church do to attract young people from the wilderness of endless wanderings? Young people are looking for honesty, truthfulness, and integrity. They are tired of trying different things that continue to change seasonally. Young people listen to what they see and if it doesn’t fulfill their void, they will reject it for something else. Since the Church is made up of people, the younger generation will judge the validity of its claim by Christians themselves. If they see hypocrisy, they will dismiss the Church as just another movement that is trying to enlist their involvement. The Church is failing to understand what the younger generation is saying.

The Church seems to be caught up in the world’s methodology. Music is changed to cater to the emotions of the hearers. If you were to take the words out of Christian contemporary music, you could not tell the difference from the world’s music. Many churches are having two Sunday morning services; one a traditional worship, the other a contemporary gathering. Instead of keeping the unity of the Believers, there is a division. Family worship was just that, but today many young people never sit with their parents due to competing services or programs. One local church advertised a second service with an invitation that if they felt uncomfortable with worshiping in their sanctuary, they could come to their alternate service that meets in their gym. Pastors are shedding their suits and ties for jeans and sandals. The efforts that the Church is taking to reach the unchurched is meeting with little or no success. Yet the Church charges on with the hope that somehow they will find an answer for numerical growth.

The biggest problem facing the Church today is Christians who are not complementing Biblical teachings. It is not the type of worship that draws people to the Church, it is the One whom we promote. The younger generation wants unfaltering Truth. The kind of Truth that will set them free! They don’t want a cleaned up worldly approach. They want Truth with integrity.

In these changing times, it is not time for the Church to change from what has worked for generations. It is the proclaimed Word, not the logistics that makes the difference. It seems we sing “more like the world, we shall ever be,” instead of singing, “more like the Master I will ever be.” When we stay faithful to His Word, God will add to the Church!

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PLANTING THE RIGHT SEEDS

There are many different types of seed, each with a distinct purpose. Producing something that will serve for the benefit of both the grower and the consumer is the objective of the sower. Wherever the seed is planted, weeds will begin their attack on the germinating seed. Any farmer or gardener will readily agree that the challenges they face will be a continual battle.

One of the popular seeds that Christians plant is money. The hope is that the “money seed” will result in a reaping of financial blessings. So many of these sowers are hoping that through financial reaping their debts will be wiped out and any materialistic gains will testify to God’s blessings. The Scriptures they use for seeding finances is taken out of context, or stretched so far that it becomes a promoted doctrine. Every Believer needs to erase any preconceived notions pertaining to financial giving and reread all the Scriptures that have been the flagship of the “prosperity gospel.” Look at the context in which the subject was addressed. What was the objective in those situations? It will be difficult to separate oneself from preconceived notions. Unlearning incorrect teachings, especially those solidified in mental concrete, will take a jackhammer effort. What is our objective in searching God’s Word? Is it not to know the Truth? So much of Christianity is focused around materialism. When one takes money out of the Christian equation, it will expose how shallow the Church has become, especially in spiritual truths.

So much of the Church doctrines are interpretive instead of Scripturally factual. So much of our teachings evolve around the “improvement theory,” which attempts to share what the Bible is “really” saying. There are so many translations of the Bible that it has left serious seekers bewildered as to what display of words convey the real Truth. Diversification of teachings, especially pertaining to the same subject, has caused a mockery of responses by the worldly spectators. What is needed is a revival in the Church, not in individual bodies of Believers, but in the Church itself. Whatever labels are on the doors of our local churches, we all need to fall on our knees and ask for forgiveness for our divisions. One of Jesus’ last prayers was that His followers would be unified, just as He and God are one. (John 17:21) Much of the dialogue of Christians seems to center around what church they belong to, instead of to WHOM they belong. We must stop promoting buildings, and start presenting the Cornerstone of our faith. (Ephesians 2:20) We must stop picking and choosing Scriptures that form a doctrine that defines us. We must stop proclaiming selected Scriptures that can be twisted and turned into tools of inclusiveness. We must stop presenting a diversification of Believers, for we are all one in Christ.

The seed we plant must always be able to produce a result that will bring honor to God. Generic seeds produce division and self promotion. When the Church plants the seed of God’s unaltered Word, it will experience phenomenal growth, both numerically and spiritually.

Our whole life should be dedicated to being more like Jesus. The “money seed” that is being promoted today is more like the Rich Young Ruler questing for eternal life, but his heart was on his monetary achievements. (Matthew 19:16-26) If we are looking for financial stability, we will not find it by sowing money to get money, but by seeking first and only the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)

Let us plant seeds of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and then harvest the Fruit that will bring a hungry nation to the Table!

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IT IS THAT SIMPLE

IT IS THAT SIMPLE

There are many roads that have veered away from the foundational truths of God’s Word. A plethora of doctrines and beliefs have led to a widening of separation between Believers. Many of these pursuits have been human desires to enhance  their own needs and objectives. Somewhere along the Christian journey, there has been a desire to receive instead of give, to be served instead of serving, to be the center of attention instead of the giver of attention. Many of the Christian roads lead to misguided doctrines that cater to a “selfianity” instead of Christianity. Much of what is displayed by Believers is an evidence of how far the Church has swayed from the basic truth of God’s Word. There can be no questioning as to the sincerity of the truth seekers, but what their motive is exposes their vulnerability. Every year there is yet another promotion of a supposedly new discovered truth from God’s Word. People in Indiana say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a day.” Believers seem to have the same attitude; “If the teachings are too boring, wait around, a new teaching is coming.”

In this time of history, we are seeing a continual ripping of Biblical truths. New teachings are tearing away the fabric of Scriptural intent. ( Luke 5:36-39) Instead of the Church building on the basic principles of God’s Word, a newer gospel, which is not the Gospel, is eroding Christianity’s basic beliefs. Paul warned in his letter to the Galatians to be aware of those who divert from the Gospel and teach things that are contrary to Scriptural intent. The consequences of diversion is to render separation from those who teach such. (Galatians 1:6-9) Today, wrong teachings tend to go unchallenged due to not wanting to offend anyone.

The effort that is being exhibited to bring relevance to the Church is making the Church even more irrelevant. Those in local church leadership gather in their mission control center and brain storm ideas that might cause an awakening in the constituency and, at the same time, entice the non-committed to join them. Their efforts might constitute a temporary rise in emotional involvement and new faces, but eventually it will grow old and mission control will once again be in session. Look back over the last fifty years and you will see a trail of temporary fixes.

What can the Church do to regain its faltering position in Gospel promotion? One of the first things is to do away with “brain storming” at mission control. It is time churches allow the Holy Spirit to chair the board meetings. It is time to move from mental ideas to Biblical facts. A lawyer once came to Jesus seeking how he might inherit eternal life. Jesus simply asked him what he understood from reading the Word. His response was the key to not only eternal life, but also to the abundant life in the here and now: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus complimented him on his answer. The Lawyer seemed a little hesitant and he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29) This recorded experience sheds light on how the Church today tends to experience God’s Word. We know what the Word says, but we tend to look for some “wiggle room” when it comes to compliance. The Church must accept the Word of God with simple trust and obedience. When we learn to love vertically, we will love horizontally. What the world needs is love without judgment. The more we love God with our total being, the greater our love for one another. The more we love God, the more we will reach out to the unlovely. Church growth is directly related to the degree of our love feast!

This simple, but profound, truth holds the key to a successful church, no matter how big or small it is. Let the Church teach love. Let the Saints practice love, and then watch the Church expand from its Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria into all the world. (Acts 1:8)

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FAITH WITH SECULAR EVIDENCE

 

Faith is the flag ship of the Christian movement.  Faith is believing and seeing the reality of God’s Kingdom without the benefit of any “outside stimuli.”  Faith left to itself is simply a word in the dictionary.  The faith that is exhibited by Believers today is more like hope, which Webster defines as “A feeling that what is wanted will happen.”  This secular definition of hope is what has been substituted by Believers for faith.  Many believe that feelings will not only jump start their faith, but will also give them the help they need in fulfilling their hopeful desires.  Feelings tend to dilute faith.  All of us have been propelled and decelerated by feelings.  Feelings tend to decide how we respond to life.  “I don’t feel like going to church today.”  “I don’t feel like reading my Bible.”  “I don’t feel like praying,” etc…  Feeling is the antidote to faith.  When Believers use feelings to nudge along their faith, they will experience limited spiritual accomplishments.  So many Christians limit their faith by their feelings.  They will take a Scripture and initially accept its intent, but as time passes and the Word does not seem to work in their lives, they begin to question whether they correctly understood the verses.  The “can of feelings” opens and everything from sadness, disappointment, depression, anger, and confusion push against the truthful reality of God’s Word.

Faith rests in the integrity of the Scriptures.  God means what He says and says what He means.  There is no need for secular evidence or prompting by feelings to bring about the reality of God’s Word.  What is needed is faith upon faith, faith to believe in faith.  We must have faith that the Bible is the Word of God, and faith to believe the fulfillment of the Word.  A Syrophenician woman came to Jesus to seek healing for her daughter.  After a challenging statement from Jesus and her response, she left for her home with faith in His words that her daughter was delivered. (Mark 7:25-30)  Feelings had nothing to do with her faith.  She simply believed and responded in faith.  I can imagine that as she returned home, she walked with a confidence that was not attached to feelings, but with an assurance that her daughter was healed.

A Christian must never allow feelings to interfere with their faithful obedience.  There should never be a time when feelings determine the degree of one’s faith.  Feelings can compliment faith, but never question faith.  Whenever feelings dominate our reaction to the Word, the Word will be limited in its action.  A number of times, Jesus confronted His disciples for not exhibiting faith.  The reason for their faithless behavior was they were operating on feelings and emotions.  On the Sea of Galilee, they saw the boisterous waves and wind and feared for their lives.  Feelings snuffed out their faith. (Matthew 8:23-27)  When are we going to stop letting feelings challenge our faith?  Feelings should be subject to the Word, not the Word subject to our feelings.  One of my favorite songs is, “The Word Is Working Mightily In Me.”  David Ingles composed this little tune that simply says, “No matter what I feel or see, the Word is working mightily in me.”  The Word takes precedence over every emotion or feeling that our mind wants to exhibit.  We don’t need any evidence to help secure our faith.  Faith is simply believing and acting on what God says, no matter what our eyes and emotions tell us!

 

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THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

Across America, Believers are resurrecting the exhibiting of lawn signs that depict the Ten Commandments.  What they hope to achieve can only be interpreted as a conscientious response to activating their Christian duty.  Bringing awareness to Biblical principles may identify one as a Christian, but does little to influence others into seeking a hunger for the things of God.

Believers emphatically believe that the Ten Commandments are the basis for social justice.  It is through obedience to these laws that the Sermon on the Mount can build Christian character.  If we promote the Ten Commandments, we are obligated to affirm all of them through our actions.  A problem seems to arise when the Fourth Commandment calls us to an action that is hard to justify by the Church.  “REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY.”  There is very little, if any, wiggle room to try to adjust or substitute a word for the Sabbath.  The observance of the Sabbath was to be perpetual, which means everlasting and never ending.  (Exodus 31:16)  What the Church tries to do is substitute the “Lord’s Day” for the Sabbath.  It is true the New Testament church did meet on the first day of the week to worship through the sharing of the Word, Communion, and fellowship, but that was not the purpose of the Sabbath.  It was to be a day of separation from the world.  It was a time to cease from the grind of six days and to rest in the Truths of God’s Word.  It was a time to shut out the world and its pollutants.  It was a time of worshipping God with spirit, soul, and body.  It was a time for renewal and spiritual reflection.  Jesus stated that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)   What a gift God gave us, and yet we lose its blessing by diluting God’s intention.  We attempt to have the Lord’s Day be our Sabbath.  The problem is we think by going to church we have honored the intent of the Fourth Commandment.  In fact, if we take out Sunday worship, there is really no difference from any other day.    If we are going to substitute the Lord’s Day for the Sabbath, we must also be dedicated to keeping it Holy!

I remember years ago, as a young boy, my parents would not even let me change out of my church clothes. (People use to dress up to go the church, but today we dress down as we worship our God!)  I could not go out and play baseball.  My parents made sure we had enough food in the house so we did not need to go to the store.  Many stores were closed on this special day.  We would share the Word together and pray as a family.  There was also a time for a nap.  The day wrapped up by going to church in the evening. (It is very difficult today to find churches with Sunday night services.)  By Monday morning, we were ready for the challenges of the week.

The argument of Saturday or Sunday as the Biblical day for the Sabbath has long been the focal point of division.  It has even come to the point of birthing new denominations.  Straining over the actual day of Holiness has dwarfed the intent of the Fourth Commandment.  One day of the week is to be set aside for the renewing of our body, soul, and spirit.  If we want that day to be Sunday, then let it be.  We must be certain that whatever that day is, it is totally dedicated to God.  When we fail to keep any of His commandments and try to teach others the insignificance of any of His teachings, we will be called “least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)  Many Believers claim this Fourth Commandment pertains only to the Jewish people.  If we want to be completely truthful, all the Commandments were for the Jews because the Church had not yet been conceived.  Yet, the Ten Commandments have a place in the Church today, and all we have to do is let the Holy Spirit guide us into the application of not only the Commandments, but all the teachings in the Old Testament.  Instead of looking for loop holes in Scriptural principles, let us simply obey what God says.  Is it that difficult to set aside a day, different from all other days, to focus on Him and to honor Him?  May our Sabbath be a day that prepares us for the challenges of the upcoming week.  Let us rest in the Lord that we may serve Him in the days ahead!

 

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WALKING WITH GOD

The Bible is the “Holy Grail” of the Christian Faith.  It is the Word of the living God penned by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  It is the closest evidence the Christian has to substantiating the basis of their Faith.  It starts with “In the beginning,” and ends with “The Grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.”  Between these verses is God’s love expressed throughout man’s illustrated existence.  We are to read, study, and live the Word.  The Word is our compass that keeps us focused on directional obedience.  But there is more than just knowing the benefits of the Kingdom of God.

The Bible is the launching point in which we are lifted into the presence of God.  So much of the “right wing” Church is limiting itself to the reenactment of Biblical days.  Miracles, signs, financial prosperity, and wonders are pursued with a zeal that borders on fanaticism.  Health, financial security, and social acceptance seem to be the goal of so many Christians.  It is gratifying to experience those realities, but to base the success of our faith on them is to miss the mark.  I believe the goal of every Believer should be to “walk with God.”  To experience that reality will overshadow the greatest epiphany any Christian could ever hope to achieve.  Both Enoch and Noah walked with God (Genesis 5:22-25 and 6:9).  If only we had a recorded account of what they shared together!  It was such an uplifting experience that one day, as Enoch was walking with God, God simply “took him.”

How does one walk with God?  The Bible says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)  To begin the ultimate fellowship with God is to know His Word.  To know His Word is to read His Word.  As we study the Scriptures we are brought to an understanding of its meaning by the Holy Spirit.  When we can grasp the reality of the Word, we can then walk in obedience to the Word.  When we agree with the Word, we are in agreement with God, and fellowship results.

Walking with God is being in His presence without any thought of petitioning or desiring anything from Him.  It is just basking in the reality of His being.  It is not about us; rather, it is all about Him.  It is being still and knowing He is God!  During these times of walking with God, our spirit soars.  We are not children tossed about by doctrines and craftiness of man, but walking with Him as joint heirs with Christ.

The more I read the Word, the more I find myself agreeing with everything I read.  My actions in life are predicated on those Words.  I realize that my walk with God is just an agreement away.  That great hymn writer, C. Austin Miles, must have understood what walking with Lord was all about as he composed the Hymn, “IN THE GARDEN:” “and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

It seems God walked with Adam in the Garden before Adam’s disobedience.  What an experience that must have been.  But when Adam came into conflict with God’s Word, he hid from God’s presence.  God wants to walk with His people, but when they break from His Word, the “walks” are only a distant memory.  As God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” He is calling out to every Believer to walk with Him and enjoy His presence.  Read the Word.  Study the Word.  Agree with the Word.  Live the Word and enjoy your walk with the Lord

 

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TROUBLE WITH YOUR FAITH?

One of the most difficult words to understand and apply is the word FAITH.  To grasp the reality of the word is to challenge what we know by sight and reason.  Faith moves from the obvious to the unseen.  Faith challenges the factual evidences of the five senses.  Faith asks us to overshadow our carnal instincts and rely on things of which we have no physical knowledge.  Faith asks us to get out of our boats of human understanding and walk on top of life’s stormy challenges.  Faith asks us to trust, instead of reason; believe, instead of doubt.

The problem with walking by faith is that we try to fit faith into our lifetime experiences.  We can talk about faith, but to walk in faith is an entirely different thing.  Viewing the invisible is to defy all reason.  Calling into existence things that are not is to challenge the very core of human understanding.  To fully understand the basics of faith is to venture into actions that will either break through our mind barrier or reinforce our mindset.  Our works will determine if we truly understand what faith is all about.  Faith is either an action or just a word in our religious vocabulary.

Many Christians today have a qualified faith.  They will accept selected Scriptures as long as it does not interfere with their human reasoning.  Believing Jesus died for them is a basic faith that seems to be easily attainable, but when it comes to taking action that threatens their understanding, the action is limited.

How do we respond to life challenging events?  How do we deal with the premature death of a loved one?  How do we respond to personal illness and financial uncertainty?   One of the most difficult steps that one can take is to move from fleshly acceptance to faith.  The Word of God teaches that all of us have been given a “measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)  This means that we all have a limited or measured amount of faith.  This initial faith opens to us an understanding and acceptance of God’s Grace.  Every Believer has the responsibility to grow that faith to the point of believing, accepting, and experiencing the Word of God.  This process is done by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)  When we fail to read the Word on a regular basis, our faith will be limited.  Our responses to the challenges of life will be measured by the amount of faith we exhibit.  The growth of our faith is in direct correlation to the time we spend in the Word.

The reason so many Believers are struggling with life’s challenges is because they neglect God’s Word.  Weak faith is a result of weak reading.  The stronger our faith, the stronger we will be in resisting our spiritual enemy.  Faith is the elevator that lifts us into the presence of God.  Hearing Him assure us of His daily presence, we are able to walk into each new day with the confidence there is nothing that we cannot overcome.

During these trying times, we need more than ever to go to our Christian Library (the Bible) and check out one of the sixty-six books everyday.  Feeding our spirits with the Truth will not only renew our minds, but will equip us to face the inevitable storms that will come our way.

 

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