DIVIDED CHURCH, DIVIDED NATION

 

The thread of unity is woven throughout the tapestry of the Scripture.  Unity is the glue that builds the Body of Christ into a visible reality.  The unification of Believers is an essential part of the Gospel message, yet diversification continues to divide the Church.  Jesus emphasized that division will result in failure to exist. (Matthew 12:25)  The evidence of that statement is shown with the demise of nations, communities, homes, marriages, and every type of socially displayed institution.  Instead of pursuing a course of correction, Believers tend to ignore Biblical warnings in favor of acquiring Scriptural blessings.

Diversification of Believers is one of the greatest hindrances to the Gospel.  How to get Believers to unify is one of the most difficult tasks in the Christian movement.  As one studies the Epistles, one becomes immediately aware of the closeness of the followers of Christ.  Any differences were inconsequential, for their goal was to be the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the Believers. (John 17:21)  In Paul’s letter to Philemon, he mentions ten people.  All of them were interconnected with such words as “our brother, dearly beloved, fellow laborer, fellow soldier, beloved, my son, and fellow prisoner.”  Romans 12:5 and Galatians 3:28 both stress the “oneness” in Christ.  There is a plethora of verses that exhort Believers to be of the same “mind,” but these Scriptures tend to be ignored in favor of individual blessings that solidify personal growth in the form of prosperity and its sub-headings.  Our Country illustrates the secular problem of achieving unity.  Instead of striving to unify the goals of addressing poverty, health care, homeland security, and the equality of the individual, the Nation continues to undress both the Statue of Liberty and the Constitution.  Partisan politics continue to rip the mantle of Democracy.  I believe as the Church goes, so goes our Nation.  If the Body of Christ continues to promote individualism, it is like crucifying Jesus again; only this time, it is putting to death all that Jesus came to do.  We use His name so freely, yet we obey His Word so selectively.  It is no wonder our Country is in disarray, for there is no unifying standard that acknowledges God as the source of man’s existence.

Spiritual and political partisanship has weakened both the Church and our Country.  From the religious community to the news media, speculations, innuendoes, and conjectures have dominated our interests.  “Fake News” has no borders.  Spiritual and secular facts have been interpreted to serve individual interests.  It is no longer what is good for the Church and the Country, but what can best serve one’s personal agenda.  At the Battle of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out, “…not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)  When will Christians stop pushing their interpretations of God’s Word and start hearing what the Scripture is really saying?  When will the politicians stop promoting what they want and start seeking what is best for our Country?  When will the Church start putting God first and their denomination or non-denomination last?  When will Believers stop pointing fingers and start offering the hand of fellowship to other Christians?  Instead of looking for the flaws in others, let us start with ourselves. (Matthew 7:5)  It is not about us, but about Him.  It is not self promotion, but an attitude of servitude.  It is not judging one another, but seeing Christ in each other.

The Country and the Church seem to be going down the same road.  “Change the Constitution to cater to the changing times!”  “Change the Bible to be more relevant to our times!”  Political parties illustrate separation.  Denominational groups define separation.  “Freedom exhibited without restraints!”  “Sin experienced without rebuke!”  For the Church to be content in contentious times is to give license for evil to expand its tsunami effect on our Country.  It is time for the Church to shed its choir robes and put on the armor of God and enter the battle, not only for the Church itself, but for our Country as well.

 

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What is the Holy Spirit’s Ministry?

The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been so distorted and misrepresented that the effectiveness of the Believer has been brought into question.  For some reason, the emphasis on the Holy Spirit has been on His Gifts instead of His personal interaction with the Believers.  Much of the teaching on the Holy Spirit today is out of line with the Scripture and, as a result, there has been an attempt to define His ministry as fulfilling the Christians self serving agenda.   Through Biblical illiteracy, doctrines of humanity have defined the Church.

God’s Biblical blueprint for the Church has been altered with so many upgrades and redesigns that the Church has lost its Biblical identity.  New churches pop up regularly with new blueprints that tend to redefine the Church in a more “relevant” manner.  God’s Word points out what man needs, while the neo- modern church offers what man wants.  To limit the Holy Spirit to our shallow understanding of the Scripture is to dwarf our ability to establish God’s visible Kingdom on earth.

When Jesus ascended into Heaven, the earthly Kingdom of God would be influenced by the Holy Spirit.  Instead of having the physical appearance of Jesus, the Holy Spirit would manifest Himself in the spirit of man.  Jesus’ ministry approached man from the physical, while the Holy Spirit’s ministry is from within the Believer.  Jesus showed the Kingdom while the Holy Spirit reveals the Kingdom.  Jesus laid the foundation while the Holy Spirit reaffirms and builds on that foundation.  Jesus shared the Word while the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word.

To understand the Holy Spirits role in the Believer one needs to study the upper room discourse between Jesus and His disciples. (John 14 through 17)  Here Jesus shared some of His greatest truths.  The questions of Thomas, Philip and Judas (not Iscariot) laid the framework for building on Christian character.  Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the only way to God was through Him.  Jesus was so transparent that God could be seen through Him.  Even though He was leaving them, He would still be with them (Hebrews 13:5), and that would be through the Holy Spirit.    In the introduction of this upper room experience, He told them not to be troubled with what was going to happen.  The reason was that the Holy Spirit, to be known as the Comforter (John 14:26), would change the negative into the positive.  The Holy Spirit would be their teacher and would go over the teachings Jesus had brought them. (John 14:26)  He would not speak of Himself, but would share with them what the Father wants them to know. (John 16:13)  Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would not only minister to the Believer, but would also admonish (convict and convince) the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16: 8)  What would happen is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit would exchange ministries.  Jesus takes His seat at the right hand of God, while the Holy Spirit becomes God’s outreach to man.  Jesus gave His disciples “power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1, 2)   The Holy Spirit would equip future Believers to bring the Word with power.  These actions are manifested through what we know as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 12: 8-10)

Jesus paid the price for our salvation, where as the Holy Spirit builds on that experience.  The Disciples were ordered not to leave Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4)  Jesus knew that without the empowering of the Believer, the effects of His ministry to the world would be severely limited.  Some Christians are so hung up with the Gifts of the Spirit that they fail to understand what His ministry is all about.  By attempting to follow Jesus’ teachings without the Holy Spirit, we will limit ourselves to our human initiatives instead of the “dunamis” of the Holy Spirit!  May God open our eyes that we may truly understand the Ministry of the Holy Spirit!

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THE POLARIZING BLOG

Writing Simplyrhetorical has been a journey of polarizing extremes.  The joy of expressing the benefits of obedience through the uplifting of the Scriptures has been a fulfilling experience.  To share the benefits of the Believers’ “Spiritual Life Insurance Policy has been one of the highlights of my writing experience.  To be able to help the reader become more familiar with the Bible has been such a joy.  I wish all of the articles had been accentuated with the positive aspects of the Gospel, but there were many blogs that dealt with the challenges to our faith.  I am sure many people were turned off by some of these “negative articles.”  I understand that sentiment, for I too want to hear the positive in these negative times.  But, the reality is that the Church is drifting farther and farther away from God’s intended purpose.  The Church is becoming self-serving instead of God serving.  The Church is moving more and more from Faith to feelings.  Instead of spreading out into the community, it has bordered itself around indebted buildings.  Instead of being a Theocracy, it has become a democracy.  Instead of being directed by the Holy Spirit, it is motivated by human initiatives.  Instead of defending the Word, it has expanded the Word by misinterpretation.  To write about the negative aspects of the Church has been a challenge, not only to my sleep ritual, but to my daily routine.  I would rather write of achieving the positive results of Biblical exploration, but to say nothing about the challenges that the Church is facing is to deny the truth.  I am not ignorant of the fact that some will challenge some of these articles as nothing more than the writings of a disgruntled Believer.   I guess the only way to substantiate that claim is to look at the Church in an objective way and see if there is any validity to what I am saying.  The diversification of the Church is so wide spread that people face a smorgasbord of church choices.  This ought not to be.  There is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, and one God. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

There are many great churches that are truly Biblical in their beliefs and actions, but they are the exception.  If what I have written has failed to meet the criteria of the populist church, I am sure the delete button has been worn out on their computer.  For those who have taken notice of the reality of these “negative” articles, I am hopeful they will take decisive actions to correct their church’s flaws.  For those who have taken steps to shore up their churches priorities, I rejoice.  For those who recognize Satan’s role against their church, I am encouraged.  I am hoping the day will come when all the saints will recognize the urgency of responding to the attacks on the Church.  I am hoping that people will bury their differences and will bring about the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for unity. (John 17:20, 21)  I am hoping that, once again, the purified Truth will ring from the pulpits.

More and more, the counterfeit truth has replaced the real Truth.  When Christians cannot recognize the true from the false, there will be little chance for a changed world.  One of the most startling verses in the Bible is Luke 18:8, in which Jesus asks that when He returns, will the “Son of man … find faith on the earth?”  If that does not cause concern with every Believer, than we have lost our way.  What is being shared through Simplyrhetorical is a call to arms, a challenge to rise up and serve our living God.  For the Church to fail to recognize its purpose is to recuse ourselves from being the physical exemplification of Jesus Christ.  In about two months, Simplyrhetorical will have completed five years.  Almost 300 articles have gone out.  How much longer it will continue, only God knows.  Thank you to those who understand what Simplyrhetorical is all about, and for your on-going prayers and encouragement.  Together, we can make a difference!

 

 

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SINK HOLES

Through out the United States there are incidents of “sink holes” that have suddenly engulfed everything from roads, cars, houses, and even people.  There seems to be no warning as to when these holes will appear.  Once the ground has opened, an onslaught of scientist and geologist will descend upon the area to study the causes of these natural catastrophes.  Home values nosedive because of the possibility of more sink holes in the area.  Money is paid out to shore up houses so to give the home owner a temporary sense of security.  A house may look beautiful from the outside, but without a solid foundation, it may be short lived.

The Church is not immune to a foundational crisis.  If not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11) it will be prone to sink holes.  Jesus is the foundation and Cornerstone of our Faith, and when we fail to shore up our beliefs, we will become nothing more than a brick and mortar institute of socially promoted behavior.  A local church may be progressing at a humanly tolerated speed when, all of a sudden, something goes wrong.  In a twinkling of an eye, Christians become side tracked by issues that are not of spiritual importance.  These sink holes engulf the Believer to such a degree that our spirit man takes a time out to face these unexpected challenges.

One of these sink holes is called MURMURING.  This cavity is not an isolated or random challenge; rather, a far reaching phenomenon that undermines the entire church.  The word, or a form of the word, “murmur” is used over forty times in the Bible.  In the New Testament there are five Greek words that define MURMUR.  They mean to grumble, complain, blame, to have indignation, to snort with anger, and to grudge.  Murmuring usually starts with an individual and his immediate circle of peers.  Depending on the determination of the one who is murmuring, the cast of hearers will be greatly expanded.  Sometimes the complainers will single out individuals who do not meet their standards.  Jealousy and envy are great soils in which murmuring exercises its expressions.  When this type of sink hole goes unattended, it could affect the entire local church.  As the sink hole continues to expand, discord will ripple through the fellowship.  The after affects of these holes will expand into gossip and backbiting craters.  At times, murmuring will be aimed at the spiritual leadership of the church.  The aim of Satan’s army is to bring down the local shepherd of the flock.  I have known some great servants of God who have resigned their church because people no longer had faith in their ministry.  Instead of standing behind their shepherd, they allowed the murmuring “sink hole” to take him down.

Many of the start-up churches today are made up of disgruntled Christians that want their way instead of God’s way.  If people cannot change their local environment, they change locations, so as to build on their understanding of God’s Word.  Murmuring has brought down many people as well as churches.

There are charges that much of the secular media reports are biased with fake news.  Rightly or wrongly expressed, it is an issue for the recipients of the published reports to determine.  Adopting this conjecture to the local churches is a real subject that needs to be examined.  Before one accepts rumors, gossip, and innuendoes about other people, we must ask ourselves if what we are promoting is bringing glory and honor to God.  Is it our pride that ignites our murmuring?  What is our objective with grumbling and complaining?  Let us all work together to shore up our foundation so there is no possibility that this “sink hole” will take our church down!

 

 

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CHURCH IMMIGRATION

The forming of an immigration policy for our great country is causing speculations to abound with mind boggling speed.  The arguments on both sides of the issue are inundated with limited facts and knowledge.  The media adds to the confusion by presenting interpretive analyses.  When one sees the vast number of the oppressed, who are seeking to escape the reality of war and poverty, we cannot turn our head in indifference.  Yet, at the same time, we cannot be ignorant to the potential threat from those who are determined to maim and destroy our socio/economic and political system.  This issue should not be a political divide, but a unified quest to find the answer for the displaced multitudes seeking a meaningful existence, while at the same time, creating a way to weed out those seeking harm to our Country.

There is also another immigration issue that has been largely ignored, and that is the “open door policy” of the Church.  Participation and eventual membership in the diversified Church has been an easy road to travel.  To those seeking deliverance from the sin filled world, the Church offers itself as a “sanctuary city” where people can be secure from the “deportation” policy of Satan’s kingdom.  It is through Jesus Christ, by the Cross and His Resurrection, that man can be a part of the Kingdom of God.  What a wonderful message for the world to hear!  The Church must recognize their pilgrimage and be ready and willing to offer them the peace that passes all understanding.  BUT, the Church must also be aware of those who seek affiliation with no intent for peace, but aim to disrupt and divide the Church.  The infiltration of the Body of Christ by the “enemies of the Cross” (Philippians 3:18) is so wide spread, that the effectiveness of the Church is brought into question.  Many of these “illegals” begin as attendees and slowly climb the ladder of service to positions of trust.  Sunday school teachers, Board members, and even Pastoral positions lay exposed to the ungodly.  Soon “strange fire” (Leviticus 10:1) and doctrines are introduced to the faithful hearers.  Jude, in his epistle, warned about ungodly people who crept into the Church unnoticed. (Jude 1:4)  As one searches the Scriptures, one will become readily aware of how many verses warn of the “illegal aliens” invading the Church. (II Corinthians 11: 13-15 e.g.)  Gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, grumbling, complaining, will seep into the very fiber of the Church.  Bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, lust, arrogance, and the works of the flesh will become an evidence of a church that has lost its direction.  Schisms and divisions will lead to yet greater cracks in the Church’s foundation.

People hate to hear the negative, but for the Church to ignore the assault against the very core of our beliefs is to guarantee an ineffectiveness in carrying out God’s calling.  While the Church basks on selective truths, Satan sends his soldiers to dilute the Truth through deception.  Jude stressed the importance of seriously contending for the faith. (Jude 1:3)  For the enemy to succeed, all the Church needs to do is to ignore the Biblical warnings and continue the way it is going.

So what should we do?  Should there be a vetting system?  Should there be qualifications for not only membership but for attending the local church as well?  Should there be references solicited for the potential attendee?  How far should the Church go to ensure its security?  The Gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to help the Believer be effective in his mission.  One of the Gifts is the Discerning of spirits. (I Corinthians 12:10)  This gift is essential to recognizing and identifying threats to the Church.  We must never confuse this Gift with judging.  This is a supernatural discerning of the spiritual world.  When this Gift is in operation, it will be very difficult for an armed aggressor to enter into an active role in the Church.  Those with spiritual authority will be able to recognize “illegals” and, if their actions are a threat to the church, the leaders should take the necessary action to remove them from the fellowship.  They are welcome to be an attendee, but never to hold a position of trust, at least not until they have had a life changing experience with Jesus Christ.  Sadly, so many churches do not believe in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and as a result continue to have “open boarders.” The Church must not be naïve to the challenges that face its existence.  We must shore up our boarders or expect a greater erosion of Truth.

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GETTING IN SYNC

Whenever I visit a church for a Sunday worship experience, I find myself scanning the congregants trying to get a read on how they are reacting to the “worship” experience.  I know I should keep my triune man focused on the purpose of the gathering, but dealing with my curiosity of how people are responding to the message is hard to resist.   Basically the faces of individuals display their ongoing thought patterns.  From boredom to intense interest the minds of the recipients evolve around the presented word.  To some, there is little understanding.  To others it is a rejuvenating of the mind.  To still others, it a process of thinking with a determination to understand spiritual matters.  What I see in the faces of so many Christians is emptiness, a void of truly grasping what is being presented.  Yet their seat in the church will continue to be occupied, for that is what they are programmed to do.  I know that some of the negative expressions of the hearers are justified because of the lack of anointed preaching.  Sadly, a lot of hors d’oeuvres are served instead of the main entrée to the hungry saints, which in turn fails to generate a positive response from the people.  On the flip side, when the Word is presented, many listeners are so wrapped up in the things of the world that there is little or no room for the things that really matter.  Then there are those who display expressions of joy and excitement as the Word is met with understanding.

The church of Ephesus went through a growth pattern.  They experienced everything from the characteristics of new birth to the heights of maturity.  One of the aids to their experience was the prayers Paul offered up for them.   He states that he prayed that God would give them the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” pertaining to knowing God.  He prayed that their eyes would be enlightened in understanding.   He petitioned that they would know the “hope of His calling,” and what the riches of His glory were.  He asked God that He would reveal the greatness of His power to them. (Ephesians 1:16-20)   Many times I have prayed for my spiritual brothers and sisters who do not understand His ways.  To see people attentive in body, but so inattentive in mind is a tragic reality in the Church today.  I remember in one of the churches I served, that each Sunday morning I would touch every seat in the sanctuary praying for those who would occupy that space to receive the Word with understanding.  If people are not grasping the Truth, much of the Word will fall harmlessly to the ground.  When Christians cannot comprehend the Scriptures, their life outside of the church will fail to display the Truth of the Word, and without a Christian example how will the world know the God who loves them?

So much of what Christians believe is based on the tutorial system.  They learn from religious leaders and their spiritual peers.  What they neglect to understand is that they still have an obligation to open the Bible themselves.  Much of their belief system is based on adopting “presented” truths rather than studying the Scriptures themselves.  The organizational Christian will defend his church’s doctrines to the point that they are divinely ordered and as a result are unquestionable.

The challenge that I face daily is how I can get the inactive Believers to shun their non committal attitude and renew a new hunger for the Word.  Many are so fixed in their prefab theology that they do not think there is anything more to learn, and as a result settle into a faith of status quo.  It is my prayer that God will awaken the Body of Christ.  For those who understand what the Kingdom of God is all about, let us run the race before us praying that the Church will awaken from its slumber and reestablish itself as the living Body of Christ!

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COUNT IT ALL JOY

Everything we face in life is a potential learning experience.  The trials and testing of our faith are meant to bring about growth and stability in our lives, but instead of recognizing them as such, we tend to take cover and question why these speed bumps are happening to us.  These challenges to our faith are introduced through the physical, mental, societal, financial, and spiritual arenas.  The Apostle James, who undoubtedly experienced his share of trials, revealed that when the Believer faces difficult circumstances, he should “count it all joy.” (James 1:2)  At first reading, we want to quickly find another translation that will soften the shock of his rhetoric.  What could James possibly see in the times of testing that would cause people to display total joy?  I can image how he felt when the Holy Spirit first revealed this to him.  He must have questioned how one facing a life altering situation could display joy.  Sometimes, Believers have a hard time experiencing the reality of the Word when it does not fit their understanding.  When we do not fully accept the reality of a Biblical teaching, we tend to back away by dismissing its relativity to our lives.  We must never retreat from Biblical truths.  If we don’t understand certain Scriptures, let us wait for the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us.

The testing of our faith produces PATIENCE which, in turn, begins to work in the challenging situations that the Believer faces.  Patience helps to solidify the Believer’s faith and trust in the Lord.  Patience is not susceptible to time restraints.  The reason many Believers fall short of victory is because they are too impatient.  They want instant results and, as a result, they fail to let Patience perform its “perfect work,” which is to develop Christian character.  The longer the trial goes on, the greater the opportunity to grow in the Faith.  When patience has completed its work, the Believer will exit the trial in victory.  They will be “complete, lacking nothing.” (James 2:2-4)

During the working of Patience, there are bound to be questions that will arise pertaining to the ongoing testing.  There is nothing wrong with asking questions, as long as the objective is to reach spiritual understanding.  James tells us if we lack direction in our challenges, we should ask God for wisdom.  God is more than willing to give us this guidance.  Wisdom is not a reckless abandonment of faith, but a spiritual grasping of how to deal with our challenges.  There is a stipulation to receiving wisdom; that one must ask in faith, “with no doubting.” (James 1:5, 6)  In the middle of our testing, we must never try to find a way out, but a way through to the victory.  Patience is a road less traveled by so many Believers, yet it is the pathway to spiritual growth.  God knows that so many Christians are on the “clock,” and because of their impatience, have lost great opportunities to mature in the Faith.  We cannot have the mind of Christ and a resurrected carnal mind when it comes to facing our various trials.  The Bible states that a divided mind will result in spiritual confusion. (James 1:8)

In every major airport there is a mark along the runway that signifies a point of total commitment to the take off.  At that point, there is no aborting of the flight.  It is either lift off or crash.  Many Believers start their spiritual flight with God, but for some reason they never reach the point of total commitment.  They go along by playing church, but when the trials and tests come, they fall into feeling and emotions instead of seeing things by faith.

Our Trials are there to help us grow.  So let us say with James, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

 

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Spiritual Potpourri Part 3

* The world is looking for the difference only seen when Christ lives through us.

* The more the Believer increases in understanding, the more visible the Kingdom becomes.

* Hearing the Word is more than giving audience, it is understanding what the Word is saying.

* When we mix our tangible opinions with God’s intended Truth, we will run with our emotions instead of our faith.

* Praise is to raise up every aspect of our being in acknowledgement of His Holiness and Sovereignty.

* Worship comes out of praise.

* When our crisis situations fail to compliment our confession, we are doing more damage to the Kingdom than we are by being a silent Believer.

* One of the causes of decreased spiritual stamina is an overactive memory bank.

* One of Satan’s objectives to get Believers to realize old hurts.

* It is not a question of how bad things are; rather, how good God is!

* Maybe one of the reasons we fluctuate so much in our faith walk is because something in our belief system is out of order.

* What is our motive in worship, to feel the presence of God or to confirm His presence?

* It is not a one time acceptance of the Truth, but a continuing effort to display it.

* We may not understand everything about God, but with everything we need to trust Him.

* The validity of our confession is directly related to our actions.

* It is so easy to say, “Jesus is Lord,” but it is another thing to live like He is Lord.

* God owes us nothing, but we owe Him everything.

* Why is it so easy to accept the lies of the Devil and so hard to implement God’s Truth?

* Many of the Church doctrines are striving to be religiously, rather than scripturally, correct.

* The reason there is so much diversity in the Church is that man has been too eager to interpret the Scripture through human understanding.

* Weak faith is a result of weak reading.

* Walking with God is being in His presence without any thought of petitioning or desiring anything from Him.

*There should never be a time when feelings determine the degree of our faith.

* One of the biggest problems facing the Church today is Christians who are not following Biblical teachings.

* Split churches are usually the result of Believers who have not grown up.

* Why is it that we take the words of people more seriously than the Word of God?

*Our faces should demonstrate our faith.

* Some of the greatest blessings are experienced through faith that is evidenced by works.

* I believe that God chooses to reveal Himself through His people.  When the world cries out “Where is God?” we must stand forth and show God in us.

* If Fear and Depression have come in our front door, let Faith show them out the back door.

* There are many Believers in a self-imposed exile due to human reasoning.

* The Church must realize that the more we involve ourselves in “mirror theology” the less likely we will be involved in the needs of others.

* It seems that many Believers are talking and petitioning so much that there is little room for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s plan for their lives.

 

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From the Historical to the Living

 

Believers must understand that just inviting people to church does not fulfill their Christian obligation of sharing the Gospel.  What is turning off the world from spiritual awareness is the church itself.  Debt ridden monuments of human ingenuity have turned off countless numbers of potential believers.  What the world needs to see is Jesus, not a buffer zone between the Savior and the people.  The lost will only see Jesus through the Believer.  If we are not living the Word there will be little of no chance for the carnal to visualize Jesus.  The Gospel is a visible, living, example of the written Word.  To simply hear the Word preached from the pulpit, will have little or no effect on the hardened heart.  What opens the heart is when the Believer exhibits the Word through his life!  Let’s take this one more step.  Once a person comes to know Jesus, he then is challenged to see God through Jesus.  This is where the problem of spiritual growth is challenged.  People stop their spiritual questing by resting on the foundational teachings of Jesus.  Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Hebrews that when Believers settle only on the “Doctrine of Christ” (principles), their spiritual maturity will suffer. Those foundational areas are, repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, the resurrection and judgment. (Hebrews 6: 1, 2)  Today many churches center only on these six teachings.   Paul stated that after establishing themselves in these areas, they needed to “go on into perfection.” (Hebrews 6:1)   Failure to press on in their spiritual walk, will keep them from maturing.  The Christians that settle on the “milk” of the Word will remain unskilled in the Word, for they will lack the ability to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:13, 14)

The “milk” Believers will face the danger of falling away from the Faith due to their lack of spiritual growth.  The “deceitfulness of sin,” (Hebrews 3:13) will draw the untrained Believer away from the faith through feelings and emotions.  Paul warned about the consequences of falling away from the faith.  (Hebrews 6: 4-8)  He was not talking about backsliding, but apostasy, a complete forsaking of the Faith; body, soul and spirit.  To the “milk” Christian, they reject the concept that one can forfeit their salvation.  To support their Scriptural ignorance, they gather verses that at first reading, would seem to debunk the interpretation that one can lose their spiritual status with God.  Contextual robbery and the elasticizing of  Biblical verses has given way to a belief that once they Believe, they are in a holding pattern waiting for the Lord to come, or for them to go to Him.  Armed with that resolve, they attend a weekly gathering with other Christians and then return to the secular realm with lukewarm behavior.  With this kind of attitude one can readily surmise why the Church is not more effective in its representation of the Kingdom of God.

When a person has truly experienced God’s grace, there is a desire to dedicate ones life to accomplishing all that God has for them.  Every day is a day of opportunity to increase in the knowledge of His will.  Reading God’s Word should be as normal as breathing.  The more the Believer increases in understanding, the more visible the Kingdom becomes.  The “meat” consumer has moved from the basics of the Faith, to the reality of who they are in Christ.  They realize they are more than conquerors.  They have become what the Word of God proclaimed they could be.  These Believers are sealed by God (II Corinthians 1:21) and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30).  Unlike the “milk” Believers, the maturing saints know that they know and nothing could ever separate them from God.

Problems abound with the weak, while Praises abound with the strong.  Feelings and emotions energize the label wearers, while faith and actions motivates the true Believer.  What are the people of the world seeing in us, Jesus, or a slightly different version of themselves?  It is time for Christians to decide whether to rest on the historical Jesus, or live a life with the resurrected Christ!

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Spiritual Potpourri Part 2

`Spiritual Potpourri  Part 2

* Revelation reveals the Word.  Reason dilutes the Word.  Faith experiences the Word.

* The problem for some saints is not with God’s capacity to forgive, but with man‘s inability to forgive himself.

* Man has evolved from Faith to sight, from worshiping and serving the Creator to honoring and desiring the created.

* Answered prayer is understanding the Word of God and praying its fulfillment.

* Always remember that Faith looks up and accepts God’s Word, while works looks out and displays the Grace of God.

* Praise is what brings us into the presence of the Lord and worship is what we do when we get there.

* Christians must start seeing beyond the problem to the answer.

* Every so often we see reverse evolution in Believers.

* Understanding is being under the tutorage of the Holy Spirit and standing on what He has taught us.

* The next time our knees hit the ground, discover His immediate will and pray the vertical prayer of agreement.

* It is amazing how with our finite minds we try to understand or explain the responses or non responses of God.

* Moses biggest problem was not Pharaoh but the Israelites.  The Pastors challenges are not the unsaved, but the saved that need renewing.

* The reason many Christians terminate their journey is because they only had a “drive through” experience based on a “super size” of emotions.

* A living epistle is exemplifying the reality of the Word.  The unsaved will read us more than they will the written Word.

* Waiting on the Lord is not assuming a position of rest; rather it is serving others.   BE A WAITER.

* When I AM calls, just answer, “Hear I am.”  When I AM chooses you for a task, don’t say, “Who am I.”  Hear Him say, “I AM through you.” (Exodus 3)

* The supernatural comes from naturally believing in Him.

* God limits His ability to our availability.

* Any set backs we experience in our spiritual walk are nothing more than set ups for us to learn more about the ways of God.

* There are differences between knowing about God and knowing God, reading about God and listening to God, acknowledging God and worshiping God.

* Let us turn our pouts into shouts, our scars into stars, our frowns into crowns, our depressions into expressions, our sadness into gladness.

* God’s permissive will is self directed, while God’s directive will is Spirit directed.  It is simply immaturity versus maturity.

* You said, others said, circumstances said, Satan said, God said, now who should we listen to?

* We must move our attention from the empty tomb to the occupied Throne, from Remembering the historical Jesus while worshiping the exalted Lord.

* When the Christian fails to keep horizontal acceptance of one another a strong priority, the revealing of God’s Word will be limited, and the Gospel will be hindered in its presentation.

* Christians need to stop expelling the carbon monoxide of negativity and breathe in the breath of God so they can share the positives of our faith.

 

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