Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CONFESSION: Deciding NOT to Follow Jesus!

I want to make a confession. I have not decided to "follow Jesus." I don't mean that I just haven't made the decision yet. I mean I have purposefully decided not to follow Jesus - though for 18 years I have believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my sins. I cannot follow Jesus. Even if I wanted to, it is not practical for my life and it just wouldn't work! I simply cannot follow Him.

Here are my reasons: 

When I read in Matthew-John Jesus saying "follow me" to his disciples, they left what they were doing (career, family, friends) immediately and literally followed him around. 
“And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”  Matt 4:20
“And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." Matt 4:22

Even whole crowds followed Jesus:
“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.” Matt 8:1

I simply cannot follow Jesus because he is not here. You may be thinking 'I am taking the bible too literally. What a silly excuse to not follow Jesus. Obviously Jesus is not here today, it is not him that we are literally following with our feet but it is his teachings that we are to follow.' Right, after all 1 Peter 2:21 "[Christ] leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." I have thought about this, too.

Reason two:
When I look at what Jesus taught in Matthew through John, I find that it simply is not a practical teaching for my life. In Matt 6:25-34 Jesus teaches 
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we  be clothed? ...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." 

You would be lying (which is a sin) if you said you did not think about these things. I take thought of these things a lot, therefore, I find that I cannot follow Jesus in this teaching. Besides, I do not have faith that Jesus will provide my food or clothing that I need for my life. 

Common sense tells me that if I do not work, I will not eat (nor be able to buy my clothing) - actually the bible tells me that in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and I find that it is true still today. THIS teaching is what I have faith in.

In Matthew 19:16-30 a man came to Jesus and asked 
"Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"  
Jesus answered "keep the commandments...and go and sell all that thou hast and give to the poor"

Common sense tells me that if I sell all that I have and give to the poor, I then will become poor myself, thus being a burden or chargeable to those who I may wish to minister to, making them provide for my needs when in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 it is suggested that we labor (Paul being a tent maker - Acts 18:3) for our needs so that we may only be blamed of preaching the gospel to others. 

Besides I do not have faith in Jesus' answer of  getting eternal life by keeping the commandments, or living a good life, or not sinning. But I do have faith in Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace through faith are ye saved and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God not of works least any man should boast." I do have faith in Titus 3 which says "not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us."

Let me make myself clear, perhaps I should say that I have decided not to follow Jesus' earthly ministry given to Israel, under the law, at a time when Jesus was leading them to a kingdom where all of their needs would be provided for. So when I read Jesus telling Israel to sell all that they have and give to the poor (especially when their eternal life depended on how much they gave), to give no thought for the morrow (especially when their eternal life depended on their faith in God's provision) I can have confidence that my faith is not in what Jesus said to Israel in Matthew through John, Acts, and Hebrews through Revelation. 

Rather, my faith is in what was revealed to the Apostle Paul, the mystery given to him (Eph 3, Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 11:1). I have decided NOT to follow Jesus in his earthly ministry in which he came concerning his own people, the nation Israel and the law, who are destined to an earthly kingdom. However, I HAVE decided to follow Jesus' heavenly ministry for the church today which is the Body of Christ which is destined for heavenly places. The two being much and very different.

Here are some resources on the differences between following Jesus' instructions given to Israel (which if I could take a guess you have been fooling yourself that they work for you, or have realized it doesn't really work but what else are you to believe) and following Jesus' instructions for the Church today as they are given to the Apostle Paul.

*I believe the entire bible. I believe it to be God's word. I believe that the entire bible is God inspired and that the entire bible is truth. As I read God's word, it teaches and shows me that there were two plans from the beginning and that it would be wrong to follow instructions that God intended for someone else at a different time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Me, Myself, and I

Going through day to day, sometimes it is difficult to get the support that we hope for, or the motivation that we think we need, or the encouragement, understanding, partnership. We tell ourselves "If only this person would take the lead then I would follow right along with them." or "It would be a lot easier to stay focused if this person would start doing this."

We also blame our laziness or lack of motivation on our circumstances. "If only that would change then I would be more apt to start doing something." or "I'll wait until this happens then it would be easier to get that done or started."

Sure, I  would agree that most things in life are easier when you have someone working at it with you. But the bible says that we give account for ourselves. Romans 14 says that "...for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ." 14:12 "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." And again in 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

Of course we know that this judgement is not for our salvation. Our life is hid in Christ (Col 3) and we have a seal of salvation by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1) making us part of Christ's body (1 Cor 12), of which nothing can separate us (Rom 8).

But the point still stands, we shall be judged. It is destined for man once to die and then to face judgement (Heb 9) Have you ever thought about the reality of standing before God? The truth of the above verses.

Do you remember in school when the teacher gave an assignment. You were very capable of getting it done and doing well. But you wanted to stay up watching something instead, or you wanted to play videos games instead, or you wanted to go out with your friends instead, or you simply just didn't want to put the effort in. Do you remember facing the teacher and you knew that they knew that you didn't really give it your all, that you put something together last minute because you spent most of your time doing something else. Remember that guilty shameful feeling that you could have done better if you wanted to but you just..........didn't?

The bible tells us to be workmen not to be ashamed (2 Tim 2) You cannot change the people around you, and most often you cannot change your circumstances, but you are 100% in control of changing yourself. Changing your mindset to desire things of eternal importance (Col 3). Changing your attitude from laziness to being one zealous of good works (Titus 2:14) (1 Cor 3 - silver, gold, and precious stones). You are the only one that can reckon your old man dead along with all its lust and desires (Gal 5). And when you face God in judgement and he evaluates the type of work that you invested your time in, he is only looking at YOU and YOUR choices. Not how other's affected you.

I suppose I am trying to create some zeal, some encouragement, some motivation (not just for you but for myself as well) that we are responsible for our own decisions. People and circumstances are not to blame, but rather our own wrong mindset,  our own laziness, and our own lack of proper prioritization.

Are you going to hang your head in shame when you stand before God? I hope not. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim 6) Get started doing some work with eternal value!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Acting Upon Truth

I taught our kids class the other week discussing the power of God's word: truth. Truth has the power to change people's lives. People act upon what they believe. For example, if I told you that I would give $100 to anybody wearing the color purple tomorrow, what would you most likely do tomorrow? Wear purple.

Every person acts upon what they believe to be true. Sometimes what they believe to be true and what is actual truth do not line up. For instance, some people believe that God will speak to them outside of his word already given to us in the bible. So they act upon that "truth" by not opening up the bible to find out what God is doing. And as a result they will not experience the peace that God gives through understanding his word. Phil 4:6-7

Others believe that God is making certain things happen in their life and he has a reason for those things. So they act upon this "truth" by looking at their circumstances, events, and surroundings trying to put "God's puzzle" together. And as a result they, too, will not experience the peace that God gives through understanding his word.

Still there are people who believe that God has lined up a school, spouse,  job, and house for them and it is up to them to find it. So they act upon this "truth" by calling their own wants on this earth "God's will." As a result they reject the responsibility that God has given them to make their own choices and are worried and stressed out because they are not acting upon what is truth but rather what they believe to be "truth". Their truth is not what the bible teaches as truth.

Yes, I will point out that there is only one truth and one right way in which that truth is to be understood. It is not just a concept or idea, it is not to be interpreted several different ways to get several meanings, ending up in different truths.

God's word is meant to be and can be understood by mankind. This is very evident simply by reading it and all the references to
"understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" Eph 3:4,
"come to the knowledge of" 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Tim 3:7,
"study to show yourself approved" 2 Tim 2:15
"full assurance of understanding" Col 2:2....
In order to know all the "treasures and wisdom and knowledge that is hid in Christ (Col 2:3)" God gave us a book so that we can KNOW Christ. A book in which we have to study in order to know him and what he has done, will do, and is doing. 2 Tim 2:7

This is the truth that I will act upon. The truth that my days on this earth are short "threescore and ten" Ps 90:10, and everything is vanity except the work that is to one day be rewarded in heaven. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

"Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More"

This is the motto of an atheist assembly that meets together for their Sunday morning services. Sounds like you'd find it out front of a christian church building. I am not addressing the atheist in this post but rather want to point out the shame on Christianity. What a shame the motivation and idea to start their own assembly was by attending a Christian church service:

       "There was so much about it that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's 
       something I don't believe in," Jones said. "If you think about church, there's very little 
       that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving 
       yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful
       relationships. What part of that is not to like?"

This is what he saw at the church service he attended? All that he saw church being was a place where people go to sing 'awesome songs', hear good motivational speeches, and feel better about themselves (in the name of God of course). What a shame! That there is so little difference between the reason an assembly of believers meet together and the reason why faithless people want to meet together. How sad that 'church' has lost its name of bible study, has lost its function and purpose to actually STUDY doctrine. Obviously, there is so little doctrine taught, discussed, brought up that when an atheist sits in on what should be a bible study, he actually wants to be a part of it. Not because he was convicted by hearing the truth of God and has faith in the God's words but because he wants to 'live better, help often, and wonder more.'

So an unbeliever attends what should be a group of believers studying God's word, comparing verses with verses, explaining how we see the world through truth of the bible, discussing what God's will is, but instead sees a group of people getting a feel good high on 'worship' songs, hearing inspirational talks that could or could not be God's word (they couldn't tell), and then at the end donating some money to help the local community. 

What a shame to those believers and more so those who call themselves pastors who have compromised doctrine for unity, who have compromised truth for acceptance, and have been more interested in pleasing men with itching ears (2 Tim 4:3), collecting wood, hay, and stubble rather than jewels and precious stones (1 Cor 3:10-15), rather than standing for right doctrine being the ground and pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15). No matter what man it offends, God is true and every man a liar.(Rom 3:4)

The article that brought about this post:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One for All

'The Battle'
'Hooked on Phonics'
'The Problem'

All these are titles of drafts waiting to be finished into blog posts for you to read. I'll have an idea so I start writing or perhaps type out a few lines of what motivated me to begin that draft. Then whether it be my priorities jumbled up or simply a unexcused lack of motivation or writer's block these drafts stay drafts until I had this idea: Why not have one post for all!

So these are things that I found important enough to write about at one time or another. Below is a brief explanation for perhaps your own study on the issue or just some things to think about.

'The Battle' - Ephesians 6:10-17 What are we fighting against today? People, corrupt governments, sin itself? No, wicked works are not going to send people to hell but rather their lack of correct doctrine that effects their belief in the gospel that saves them. We have to know the tactics that our enemy uses. This battle that we fight today is knowledge of the truth, it is a doctrinal war against Satan who transforms himself into a light that resembles ministers of righteousness but mixes lies into God's words (2 Cor 11) Do you know how to identify these wrong doctrines? Are you sure? How do you know if what you hear every Sunday morning is true or not? More importantly is the truth being used correctly? Your eternal life could depend on it! Study God's word (with help from a mature believer if needed) to learn about the armor that God has given us to withstand the wiles of the devil.

'Authority' - People have traded in the authority of the scriptures for a 'be your own person' 'be who you are' society, making themselves the authority. When did we start lifting ourselves up on a pedestal? Or perhaps it is a result of thinking 'everyone is a winner.' Sorry but people do lose. We have our opinions on how people should live, what their priorities should be, what we think is right. As long as something aligns with what we think, we accept it. But, what is our thinking based off of? Tradition? Men? Majority? Selfishness? If we do not stand for truth of the bible which has God given authority on right/wrong, by default we make ourselves the authority to fit our agenda of living and say "Well, I think.."  or "We've always...." or "They say..." instead of  "The bible says..."  Let God be true and every man a liar. Romans 3:4

'Hooked on Phonics' - Learn how to read...your bible! I fear that the bible has become a book of favorite quotes and sayings. A book that is only sought after when there are times of suffering in our earthly lives; only used for causes and universities and organizations that need a verse motto in order to gain the christian title. So we stamp that verse on t-shirts, bracelets, and bumper stickers. I also fear that the bible is only read when we think WE need it - a characteristic of the selfish Christianity. Learn how to read your bible as a real book containing God's words written to certain people at certain times about certain things Hebrews 1:1. It contains truth on what happened in times past, what is happening now, and what will happen in the future. By doing this you will learn that God is more than a motivational speaker, more than a good role model, but he actually has HIS OWN plan that he will accomplish with or without you.

'The Problem' - Romans 5 states that death and judgement passed upon all men and that it came by sin. A person may not choose to accept that they have a problem. After all they aren't as bad as the next guy. Or who is anybody to tell them that they are doing wrong. Truth is that every man has a problem with sin simply by being born into the human race. (Again from Romans 5) If we still refuse to believe the truth the bible teaches of our own sin nature, we can certainly see injustices in the world. If salvation from this problem is simply having goodness, peace, and love in your life the world offers several things that can give you that. So why should someone consider what the bible says about this topic? Because the God that created you, the God that created the planet that you live on, everything you see, who gave you your current life on this earth, wrote a book . It would be a good idea to read it to see what he has to say.

Visit this website for study resources on these topics!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Identity Crisis

As a child these questions get asked a lot: Who is one of your biggest role models? When you grow up who do you want to be like?  There are tons of options out there. Singers, actresses, the made-up character in a book or movie itself.

I find it hard to choose only one! I mean some days I feel like I want to be a country girl; laid back type of gal, get my boots and button up flannel I'm spending time doin' outdoor chores and going huntin' doesn't bother me. Then there are times where I think 'I got it! I like dressing up, I can be a girly-girl type of girl. Giggly and lady-like wearing skirts, doing my hair, looking all prissy.' But then I realize that when it comes time for sports being that type of gal doesn't quite cut it. Who in the world am I suppose to be? What type of girl am I? What is my style, my personality, what do I like and not like?

I think that society pushes the 'find out/discover who you are' bit way too much. Society glories in being your own person, to live YOUR life, do what YOU want to do and don't let anyone change you. Then they turn around and get you to mimic celebrity fashions, lifestyles, and personalities.

How about we tell people the truth about who they are. If you have put your trust in Christ's blood alone for your eternal salvation, then your identity crisis is over! The bible tells you who you are, who you are identified with, what we're suppose to be like, what our goals and ambitions are.

Galatians 3 and Romans 13 tell me 'to put on Christ' as my fashion- if you will. Romans 12:9 tells me to abhor evil and cleave to that which is good. I read in other verses not to take pleasure in sin nor in those who do those acts but rather take joy in seeing souls saved and saints edified; and to be zealous of good works. My goals and ambitions are to proof what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God, Romans 12:1. I am a person who is to see all men saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). A person who is to study to show themselves approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15). I am a person who has reckoned the old man dead with all its lusts and desires (Gal 5:24). I am a person who is saved from wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10) who is destined for heavenly places (Eph 2:6). I am part of his body, the church (Rom12:5, Col 1:18) A person who gives thanks to God in all things (1 Thess 5:18). I am not of this world, nor is the life on this earth mine for I am a person who has been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God; everything I do, I do for the glory of God (1 Cor10:31)- the one that all things were created by and for.

After that motivational paragraph we all shout 'Amen!' Soooo what does that look like exactly? Well, when you get up in the morning do you ask what do you want to do? or do you ask what can you do today to help accomplish God's will? When you decide to listen to something or watch a movie is your decision edifying or beneficial in the end? What is your focus? Are you redeeming the time? Instead of continuing to watch YouTube videos for an already insane amount of time, I think I'll write a hopefully edifying blog-post. Instead of trying to figure out what craft to do next, I think I'll study out that bible issue I know my friend has and shoot her an email.

We all have our short lasting spurts of motivation where we are determined to finally start that bible study, or complete that lesson that we know would help out a less mature believer. We are so focused! At least for a little bit, then we give in and let our focus get taken away by what seems like more appealing pleasures, to our flesh anyway.

You know by now that my biggest tip is mindset, mindset, mindset.The mind is a very powerful thing and what goes in it the most is the same that will naturally come out the most. Things of this life (such as finding the type of person you are) will grow dim when a good understanding of who we are in Christ becomes our "earthly" focus.

Colossians and Romans 4-8 is a good place to study this topic.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Movie Versions

As a child I remember watching the movie "The Prince of Egypt." Fun! They made a movie of the story of Moses. I remember how sad it was that Moses' mother could not raise him. I remember how close Moses and Ramses grew up together, bonding, and this closeness causes Ramses to spare Moses' life when he accidentally kills an Egyptian. How funny it was when he meets his wife in Egypt as his slave girl, she escapes, and he meets her again when he runs away at the well.....

Have you noticed anything wrong with my account of Moses? This movie was portrayed as wanting to give the most accurate account of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, but according to what? (You may want to research ALL of the different sources they went to in order to get their information. What was the producers truth founded on? If you study this story in Exodus and compare it to the bible you will find that my memories from a child of watching this film do not line up at all with the biblical account. This is only known, however, from bible study.

Yet, so many people raved about the movie, how moving it was, the music and the scenes. 'It was powerful!' With this thinking they get their knowledge and 'stronger' faith from the movie. They think that Moses didn't mean to kill the Egyptian when in the bible he plotted to kill him! He made sure no one was looking and then hid the body. How Moses was actually nursed by his own mother in the bible. And his brother Aaron had a much bigger role than what was portrayed in the movie.

My husband and I recently watched 'One Night with the King' the story of Esther. Not even 10 minutes into the movie and we asked the question "was that in the bible?" So we paused the movie and took 15 minutes to read the 10 chapters of Esther to see how accurate this movie account would be. Came out that it wasn't so accurate: non-biblical scenarios and the obvious mix-n-matching of the characters roles. Switching who said and did what not according to the bible but rather to make a 'more appealing' movie. Not to mention that in the movie, Esther had a magical necklace that glowed when in the light and shined the 'star of David' on the wall, but only those who believed could see the stars. This is what made the king believe Esther (non biblical).

We finished it to the end, still hoping that the movie could redeem itself by portraying the actual facts of the bible. Afterwards I wondered how many people were innocently yet ignorantly deceived about the facts of the story of Esther. How many people put their trust in things that are not in the bible? It seems that people have more faith in what they feel instead of what they know. As if our flesh has more understanding than our minds, as if our heart has more discerning ability than our brain, as if knowledge, truth, and faith come from what we feel rather than information that we can study and know.

As I have mentioned before, the God that created you wrote a book, that book is known as the bible and it is truth no matter if you believe it or not. Put your faith in that book alone, not men, not yourself, not in circumstances. Study it and believe it to be your authority. This is how your faith will grow!