Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bible Questions to Consider

Where are you in your understanding of God's word?
Make sure to get your bible out to look up these verses.
  1. Should we work and save like the ant in Proverbs 6:6 and 2 Thess 3:10 or do we trust God to provide as do the ravens and take no thought for our provision as in Luke 12:22-33? And should we sell all that we have trusting that the Lord knows our needs or do we need to work to provide for our own as 1 Timothy 5:8 teaches?
  2. Is our forgiveness based upon forgiving others as in Matthew 6:14-15 or do we obtain forgiveness by our faith in Christ blood as Colossians 1:14 and Ephesians 1:7 states?
  3. Are we under the law as Matthew 5:19 points out as well as Matt 19:17, Matt 23, or are we free from the law as Romans 6:14 reads? And if we are free from the law should we be following Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as our pattern of operation since Jesus came to fulfill the law in Matthew 5:17?
  4. Should we meditate and study the scriptures to convince the gainsayers as Titus 1:9 and 2 Timothy 2:15 say or should we give no thought on what to say and trust the Holy Spirit to give us utterance as is instructed in Luke 21:14-15?
  5. Will we reign in heaven like Ephesians 2:6 states or on earth like Luke 22:30 teaches?
  6. Do our works play a role in obtaining eternal life as Luke 10:25-29 and James 2:24 teach or do we obtain eternal life without our works like Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:5 teach?
  7. If in Luke 9 Jesus had not died yet, what gospel were the disciples preaching in verse 6? Especially since they did not understand Jesus' death and resurrection in Luke 18:33-34, what gospel were they preaching for 9 chapters if they did not understand the gospel of Jesus' death and resurrection for sins?

To give you a hint with these questions: only rightly dividing the scriptures will give you the correct answer to the confusion that is cause by the apostate church of today's Christianity (which should more appropriately be called Christendom.) 

http://graceambassadors.com/testimonials

Here is a link of just a few testimonials of once confused, frustrated, and sadly lost 'Christians' who came to understand God's word by understanding how to study and read it. God intended his word to be used by his people at all times. This by necessity means that we, as ambassadors of Christ are able to understand it properly in order to see others come to the knowledge of truth. I hope that you will consider the above questions with the motive of letting God be true (instead of your own agenda of what you feel and like best.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

History and Authority

I have been on this history kick lately. A subject in which I thoroughly did not enjoy when I was in high school; probably because it was a list of 50 names that we had to match up with 50 dates and never saw the connection and affects of that list on today's world. However, since going through our verse by verse study in Genesis at church, history has become a favorite subject of mine now.

I am not interested in history for history's sake alone, but rather my interest in the bible has sparked my current interest in history. Correct doctrine affects every area of your life, and obviously even that before your life.

My current observation of the Church today is one of disgust because of the ignorance surrounding the very thing that they say they put their faith in: the bible- the very words of God. Even that statement is only half true because some Christians say that we do not have God's words today. Besides the lack of logical reasoning behind having faith in God yet saying we do not have his words, the Church has a problem of authority. That is obvious when studying history.

We are on a decline of bible literacy. Our so called bible students today who pride themselves in going to seminary would look like a bunch of foolish babes in their knowledge of God's word compared to just the commonly understood basics among bible students one to two hundred years ago. Of course when studying church history this would be evident and what is more evident is the problem: the problem of authority.

Our society lacks integrity and it is sickening to see it called "loving" because there are no confrontations. This was not how church has behaved in the past nor is it how today's Body of Christ is to get any work accomplished. To think that the disagreements in today's Christianity is only a recent thing is proof of one's lack of their understanding of history. There have been corruptors of God's word back in the first and second century, back in the days of the prophets, and back in the Garden. If people only knew what those before us stood for! They stood for truth. Defending God and his word is the only thing worth fighting for. A person defending God's word values and loves truth. Yet, the world looks at them as arrogant and unloving.

Authority issues go back to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden but let's just summarize it from a book that was suggested to me as I venture forth in my current interest in making known the importance of God's word throughout history. The book titled 'The Apostasy of the Christian Church' by R. Dawson Barlow.

"This then, is the root of the unbelief and rebellion of the Jewish nation and of the professed Body of Christ in this age. But just to make sure we are not deceived by the niceties of some people and human "sweetness," it is at this point we must be very clear about the nature of apostasy. Apostasy does not usually deny the existence of God. it does not behave itself unseemly and cry out that it hates God. In fact, apostates are pretty nice people whose life philosophy is to get along with everybody, offend no one and attempt to make the world a better place. Apostasy pursues to serve a "god of his/her own imagination" and serve "he, she, or even it" through a form of religion whose foundation of authority is the subjective feelings they have on a certain matter.

It matters not what the revelation of God says, the final, ultimate authority is "how I feel about any issue in my heart!" It rejects the objective authority of the Word of God as the final court of appeal, and, in the process of this rejection, embraces the deceitful, subjective message of human heart and misinterprets it as God's authoritative message. The buzz word of this growing number of people is, "Well, you have to do whatever is right for you." The conclusion is that nothing is really right or wrong, but what is right and wrong for me! This is nothing but a denial of any absolute truths."

Though studying history will provide you with much helpful information, the personal study of your bible, believing it as God's authoritative word, will provide a far greater benefit.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The "AFTER" Picture

Our end goal in this body and life transformation is to live a life of godliness with contentment. Not because we get something out of it but because we understand who we are, now.

People choose an "AFTER" picture as a motivator to become someone else, to live a life that will get them those results. They are tired of making the choices and decisions they are use to making and have now set a goal of a new identity.

They want people to look at them a certain way, and to be known for promoting a certain lifestyle which chooses to go for a run instead of watching a movie. This new identity, this "AFTER" picture becomes their motivator.

Similarly, our motivation for living a godly life with contentment comes from understanding who we are in Christ, and forgetting who we were without Christ.

This understanding and knowledge does not come overnight, just like your "AFTER" picture body doesn't appear over night. Wouldn't that be nice! But alas it does not. That is why we are to study, to come unto the knowledge of the truth, to give ourselves wholly unto the doctrine; else how are we to know who we have become in Christ? And therefore, how are we to expect a transformation without knowledge?

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

We are created in Christ Jesus you see. We are not created in our flesh, we are not created to do as we please, we are not created to find ourselves and our personality, nor to live out the American Dream. (This is where the motivational tough guy comes in for 10 minutes to fuel you up before the big Tough Mudder.) Except God's words have a lot more power. Just imagine a muscle guy on stage shouting these reminders at you.....

We are bought with a price, our body and our spirit are God's - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We are crucified with Christ, never the less we live, yet not us, but Christ liveth in us. - Galatians 2:20
We are Christ's and Christ is God's - 1 Corinthians 3:23
We are ambassadors for Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:20
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works - Ephesians 2:10
We are dead, our life is hid with Christ in God - Colossians 3:3
We are servants to God (and righteousness being made free from sin), we have our fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life - Romans 6:22
Servant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart - Ephesians 6:6

Just like getting in shape, it takes endurance, patience, faithfulness to the doctrine, longsuffering, praying without ceasing. There is no end profit of living after the flesh; so much so that Christ took it upon himself to die on the cross, killing our flesh for us so that we can live a life in Him and for Him. Before getting in shape we thought that donuts, ice cream, and fair food was the best thing ever; then we learn the lack of nutrients and that no profit comes from those things. God knows what is great gain: godliness with contentment.

But how do we do that, you may ask. The extent to which we find it hard to live godly and do good works as we are called to do is the extent that we have reckoned our old man dead. How much do you yearn to know what God has to say? Does that lead to you studying what He has said? How much do you want to see men saved and come to the knowledge of the truth? Does that lead you do something to get the truth to people?

We think that this world is life, and how mistaken we are when truth opens our eyes to see the reality of real life in Christ, the reality of real benefit, the reality of real joy that come from being godly and being content. But it is only in Christ that life can be experienced. O, how much life is in Christ! You can only know by studying His Word.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The "BEFORE" Picture

Have you ever been in between needing to get in-shape and looking like you're in shape? For example, my experience is I'm told that I don't need to worry about being in-shape because I already look it. However, secretly I know that I haven't worked out in 2 months and my eating habits consist of Culver's burgers with a free scoop of custard and my favorite Sour Cream N' Onion potato chips. Yikes, I mean my legs can feel it too, just screaming "WORK ME!"

When people around you are saying 'Oh no, you look great! Don't worry so much about it" its harder to act upon what I know is the truth, which is - I've been slacking. I try to push to the side what I know I should be doing because I seem to be doing alright, I mean no one around can tell any different. But I feel sluggish, my muscles ache (and not the sore ache but the sitting around not being used ache), and the worst part is not exercising, it's not beneficial and it's not helpful in getting towards my end goal.

But maybe this isn't you, perhaps you wish you were in between stages but have to do a lot of work just to get there. Part of me is jealous of these people because they have a better appreciation for and motivation to get to their end goal. Sadly, sometimes those who don't lack as much don't know what they have.

Being godly and living a life of contentment is similar to what I've described above. Some of us are not what Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6 describe as our fleshy members: fornication, wickedness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, haters of God, proud, boasters, disobedient, adulterers, thieves, drunkards,wrath, strife, uncleanness...and on and on. Don't be so quick to forget sin is sin no matter how great or how small; if we have broken the least of these (pride, envy, deceit- lying, disobedient) then we are guilty of all.

When we read this list we are quick to exclude ourselves. When we read the list of the works of the flesh we picture some rough looking, mean, scary guy. After all they need saved MORE than us. "I'm not a murderer, adulterer, or fornicator." These are BAD sins right? We don't need as much work as some of those real sinners. We aren't like them. Of course I am being facetious.

It is so easy to 'have a form of godliness.' (2 Timothy 3:5) If you can quote a couple verses, and people know that you read your bible 5 minutes every morning, man, you are looked at as some type of spiritual giant! You are really hardcore about your faith. Are you really? This is the part when people around you are saying "Oh, no, you look great! Don't worry so much about it." But you know the truth. You know your affections are not set on things above (Col 3), you know that you are not reckoning your old man dead (Rom 6) with its deceitful lusts and desires. You and God know if you're a workman that'll be ashamed (2 Tim 3:15)

I heard my brother put it this way: The old man's affections aren't always those bad works of the flesh, but rather seeking our own and minding earthly things. Have you ever heard the phrase 'Follow your heart, whatever your heart desires, go after that.' Normally its directed towards younger people and given as a motivator to those who 'need some time for themselves.'

Jeremiah 17:9 is an excellent cross reference and pretty much tears down the follow your dream concept "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" Romans 6 does a pretty good job at crucifying that old man. Our old man might be a good person in the eyes of the world. Our old man might desire a good thing, a noble thing in the eyes of the world. But what is that thing's end goal, purpose, eternal weight? On what are our affections set?

Are we here to persuade men or God? Are we here to please men? (Galatians 1) We should strive for those things of which we are apprehended. We should act according to truth which is according to our position, who we are in Christ. Not being content with our old man, even if everyone around us is saying we are doing "OK" - according to their standards. Our calling is a higher calling, our standards come from the word of God, and our judge is God himself.

Don't be content with this "BEFORE" picture which is having a form of godliness but denying the power of God's word and its ability to change you and your life. (2 Tim 3:5, 1 Thess 2:13). Set your affections on things above, let grace teach you how to live godly in this present evil world, redeem the time (Col 4, Eph 5), give yourself wholly, take head unto thyself and the doctrine (1 Thess 4). Be a workman, no really, do something!







Thursday, July 10, 2014

Body and Life Transformations

We have all been there. The point of "I'm going to do it! No, I'm serious! This time I'm going to stick to this workout and go all out even on the food plan that goes with it."

We Google 'Best, fastest, muscle, fat burning workout.' Tons of results come back and we compare the before and after pictures, the body transformation section, right? Have you seen some of those people? Those defined muscles, super-toned midsection, nice legs. But do you know how extreme their workout regiment is and their diet to get that transformation?

They had to totally transform their mind from how it use to think, they had to go against the norm of other people's lifestyles, ranging from eating habits, to lazy habits, to time priority habits. They surrounded themselves with other people with like-minds of eating healthy, people who are not lazy, They research new exercises and techniques, they obtain more knowledge of how the body works and then they acted accordingly. 

Image that! people can learn and study and make a change. Somehow after reading what all that processed food is doing to your health, after finding out what lack of exercise is doing to your body and the more you hear it and hear it and read it the less appealing and satisfying it becomes to stay in the condition that you are in.

I figure a lot of people can relate to the principles of trying to get fit but we all know the bible states, 'bodily exercise profiteth little...' (1 Timothy)  I would imagine that we can also relate to the second part of that verse '....but godliness with contentment is great gain.'  We try to achieve this as well, godliness with contentment. Both parts are hard, godliness and then contentment with godliness. Its like godliness is the workout and contentment is the extreme food plan that goes with it. So even if we think the workouts aren't too hard we ALSO have to be temperate with our food decisions?...c'mon that's too much. 

Being godly is not very popular, it's not the top 50 searches in Google. In fact, if we studied godliness with contentment as much as we spend studying how to get fit, if we had the same zeal for godliness with contentment as we do about working out and eating healthy, if we were as obsessed with godliness with contentment as we are obsessed with our bodies we will probably be criticized for it, teased about it, people will think we have completely lost it.

You will know that you are close to the end result of godliness with contentment when things that you think are fun become different than things society thinks are fun; things that you enjoy your time doing end up being different than what society enjoys doing. The topics we choose to talk about change, what we watch on television changes, what we choose to listen to changes, perhaps our clothing style changes, and even our jokes might change.

Just like the person in that perfect "After" picture changed their lifestyle, their habits, and probably got teased about being obsessive to get the result they wanted, we also will be looked at as obsessive when our life starts reflecting the zeal for godliness with contentment.

They will think that we are obsessed with something that to them holds little value. If it is turning heads that we wanted by working out, we will probably get a lot more by deciding to live a life that is godly and being content with it.

The truth is, if we are not disciplined in our efforts into getting that result....we will probably not have the transformation that we want. Just like if we are not disciplined (the bible uses the word temperate) in gaining godliness with  contentment, we will probably not get the result that we are called to have.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Titus 2:14, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Tim 2:21, 1 Th 4:4

(Clarification: We know that there is nothing in meat or drink, or the clothes we wear, or the the jokes we tell Roman 14:17 and we our salvation does not depend on works of righteousness which we do Titus 3:5 but the word of God effectually works in those that believe 1Th 2:13 and we are to live not as though we had already attained, either were already perfect: but we follow after, if that we may apprehend that for which also we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians chapter 3 discusses our efforts in transformation in this life.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Whole Duty of Man

I've been warned by those with more wisdom and experience in life that when standing for truth you won't have very many people go with you. And now I have also seen that when you stand for higher standards among those who know the truth that you will have even fewer people.

Standing for right division will probably put you in a position between doctrinal truths of the bible and your family/friends. When you stand for higher standards in how your life is lived now that you know the truth will most likely put in you a position between what the bible says is edifying, beneficial, valuable and what you want to do, your desires.

What a big step when you understood right division: that Paul was given the  gospel of the grace of God and that this dispensation is different than what we read in Jesus' earthly ministry and even Peter's ministry after Christ's resurrection. Are you now going to just sit on that step or go to the next one?

Are you able to take that step even further and give yourself wholly to the doctrine as Paul charges Timothy to do? 'Wholly' you know what that means?

Are you willing to do the work of an ambassador, to be laborers together with God as it states in Corinthians? 'Laboring together with God' have you thought about that? Have you ever been in a group project or had to accomplish something with someone who just wouldn't focus, or who wasn't really giving it all they had, or was just plain lazy? Yeah, that's not how I would want God to look at my work for him.

This might be off topic, but I've found that if I do not have any questions to ask or can't think of anything to say about the bible when talking to someone, 99% of the time it comes down to me not studying my bible. For a person to say "I have no questions" simply means that "I haven't been studying my bible."

Who can study their bible and not have any questions or thoughts about what they are learning? There is so much information in that supernaturally inspired, preserved word of God that a life time would not be long enough to know the information. I say that not to intimidate you about studying your bible but to hopefully show you, that like most of us, you are not where you need to be in your personal study. You are not where you need to be in doing the work of the ministry. You are not where you need to be in setting your affections on things above and what time is wasted on pursuing earthly things.

There is no formula for what high standards look like. There is no set way of saying this is what your life should look like specifically. But you do have the Holy Spirit within you who is able to stir up guilt and is able to help examine your life, your affections, your pursuits, your heart, and your mind. When you decide to not do bible study and lower it down on your priority list, I hope the Spirit works within you and makes you feel uncomfortable (and on the other hand strengthens your inner man.)

Prayer helps you know. When you pray scripture, unless you are just disingenuous when you pray, it will work effectually within you as God says it will do in Thessalonians. Remember Solomon, the wisest man "all is vanity" and....Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

Taken from Israel's program under the law but what a righteous and strong spiritual truth of man's purpose compared to earthly pursuits.

Study what it means to be blameless, to prove yourself, to give yourself wholly, to be found faithful, to be sanctified.....all this to know what is expected of us as part of the Body of Christ, laborers together with God, God's husbandry.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Goals

At the beginning of each year new goals are set, new achievements are striven for. At the beginning of every year we go through a "Pressing On" lesson at bible study to discuss our progress of accomplishing what the bible outlines a proper ministry should be accomplishing. It is also a good lesson to evaluate our own priorities as well as motivate us to do something about our ambassadorship.

It is past the first quarter already! Some of my personal goals:

  • finish the right-division videos I started last year; 
  • become better at identifying what the real issue is behind other's bible questions (specifically so  I can have a bigger impact on those 3 minutes chats at the fair); 
  • help complete some needed secretarial editing work for the ministry that I am involved with; and
  • visit a local college campus to educate the students about right division. 

A new goal came to mind as I was having a discussion with my family the other day, as I often do, and not surprisingly we wound up talking about the bible. We were discussing ministry and how many different ways a believer can minister and how many different "kinds" of ministry there are. Its amazing how the doctrine of 'being part of the same body but different members' plays into this topic. (1 Cor 12:12-27)

The reasoning behind the different ministry is mainly circumstantial and a preference. Some people hate the idea of going to a college campus and starting up discussion by asking a simple question as "What do you believe the gospel is?" Others might not have time to make videos on right division topics to post on YouTube because they have kids. Which is a "full-time" ministry in itself! I understand that having kids leaves little if no time to check off what use to be on your to-do-list. That list has changed and so has your ministry focus. But some great wisdom from my father and his experience. The hard work, time, and what seems like vanity effort being put towards ministering to your kids will hopefully turn out to have a bigger impact for the Body of Christ than what you could have possibly done yourself.

But the part of the discussion that made me add a new goal was

  • ministering to ourselves. 
It was like all the clutter and mess and fog in my head cleared away when I was reminded of this simple beginner doctrine. It was also a relief. Let me explain. We get caught up in knowing the answers, knowing the cross references, knowing how to respond. Or perhaps you are not quite there yet and so your issue is getting caught up in finding out the answers, the cross references, the responses. A lot of times we focus on studying, I mean we drill that verse -2 Tim 2:15 and what an excellent verse. But I think we are a little guilty of being like the Pharisees and just going through the motions. We put on a show (not deceitfully) but because we forget where ministry begins! And ministry begins with ourselves. It is difficult to minister to other people without continually ministering to ourselves. How is our attitude? How is our heart? Our genuineness? Our self-control? Our submission? Our humbleness? Our charity?

There use to be a song that I would request at church when I was a little girl "Fill My Cup Let it Over Flow." My brother made a good relation to that song once saying God's words are so much in you that it overflows to a point that people cannot get you to shut-up about it. And the only way to get that overflow is ministering to yourself. We focus so much on doctrine that we forget application. We don't work on our daily selves because honestly there is not much personal application in drawing out a timeline and showing the difference between Peter and Paul. Application is what makes the doctrine 'real' instead of just the same knowledge that theologians study.

Sometimes us right-dividers study for study sake obtaining knowledge and use it as an excuse for our poor daily attitudes. A genuine heart, mind, and soul will go a long way in making that cup of yours spill over. So next time you see me, ask how my ministry to myself is going and I'll ask the same of you. :)

1 Timothy 4:15 -16 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.