Search 'YeahImABeliever' for specific subjects, words, and Scriptures.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Says Who?

Here's what GOD doesn't want; HE doesn't now, and has never, wanted a bunch of mindless zombies wandering around falling to their knees at certain time chanting 'Praise GOD Praise GOD Praise GOD' all in unison.  Another thing HE doesn't want is anyone doing anything in HIS name because it's what they believe is expected of them, and that includes going to church.  Now let's make sure we understand something here, we don't want anybody reading this and going rogue or something.  When I just said that HE doesn't want people doing things just because they believe that what they're doing is what Christians do, that's exactly what I meant. GOD don't want people ending up like the folks Paul was talking about there in Rome who had a 'zeal' for GOD, but it wasn't based on knowledge of GOD, or HIS righteousness.

'For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for GOD, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of GOD's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of GOD.'  (Romans 10:2-3    NKJV)

Lots of times we'll have people who only go through the motions, and they've convinced themselves that it really doesn't matter what's in their heart, so long as they are in church every Sunday and try to squeeze in a couple of Wednesday night services a month.  Then we have those who are, as Paul said in this Scripture above, 'seeking to establish their own righteousness.'  With these folks, there really is no telling what we'll see or hear, and that's why I find it so important to test everything by the Scriptures. 

I started out by talking about what GOD doesn't want, now let's make sure we all understand what HE does want.  First of all, let's get rid of that notion that everybody is automatically a Christian. I was in conversation with a lady the other day, and the subject of what we each should do to spread HIS Word came up.  She felt like her work was done, because she was a [basically] good person, and cared about others.  When I brought up the question as to whether everybody she knew was a Christian, because if not then she still had a ministry to fulfill, she told me that everybody was a Christian from their moment of birth.  So where does that leave the confessing and professing?  Do we just throw all that JESUS bled for right out the window?  This is where we end up with 'baptizing' infants.  I probably shouldn't say this, but like my wife says, sometimes I don't play well with others (or maybe that was all the time).  The Bible, HIS Holy Word, says absolutely nothing about baptizing infants.  Scripture does talk about dedicating babies to the LORD, that is what Joseph and Mary were doing with JESUS when Simeon was led by the Spirit into the temple to see the MESSIAH.

'Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought HIM to Jerusalem to present HIM to the LORD.'  Luke 2:22    NKJV)

What we have to keep in mind here, in this particular instance of JESUS as an infant being 'presented to the LORD' is that Joseph and Mary were doing this in accordance with the Mosaic Law, which was still in effect.  I used this example of infant dedication on purpose, just to settle any questions about whether we should dedicate or baptize our babies.  Think about it, JESUS was the fulfilled prophecy for the children of Israel of the MESSIAH.  Until HE began HIS public ministry, which by the way started much earlier than the guestimated age of thirty years old since HE was teaching in the temple at a much younger age, it was crucial that HE was raised up the proper Jewish boy by HIS parents.  It stands to reason that if it was required by the Law that infant boys be baptized, then HE would've been baptized. 

Later, when CHRIST was well into HIS public ministry, HE made it quite clear just how precious children were to not only HIM, but to the kingdom of GOD as well.

'Then they brought little children to HIM, that HE might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when JESUS saw it, HE was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to ME, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of GOD. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of GOD as a little child will by no means enter it.'  And HE took them up in HIS arms, laid HIS hands on then, and blessed them.'  (Mark 10:13-16    NKJV)

While this Scripture is used traditionally to teach us just how important it is to have the proper mindset, in regards to complete trust and obedience, to be received into the kingdom of GOD, let's look at the last part of verse 16. HE picked the children up, and '[HE] blessed them.'  HE didn't take them down to the river and baptize them, HE didn't sprinkle water or oil on them and pronounce them saved, and HE didn't issue any additional instructions that either of these things should be done.  HE 'blessed them' and that was what we should do with our children, bless them by being good parents to them, raising them in a household dedicated to the LORD, teach them HIS Word, and then praise GOD when they each make their decision to seek salvation by the blood of CHRIST and the grace of GOD.  I know that I've really rambled on about this infant baptism thing, but this is important.  If a child is raised up from their earliest awareness and has been taught that they were saved by an infant baptism, and never seek the salvation of CHRIST, where will they be on that Great Judgment Day?  See how just one tiny little 'extra' that somebody decided to add to HIS Word can escalate into someone going to hell? 

Since we're already on the subject of  adding man's traditions to GOD's commandments, we may as well continue on.

'Then the Pharisees and scribes asked HIM, "Why do YOUR disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"  HE answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors ME with their lips, but their heart is far from ME.  And in vain they worship ME, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " ' (Mark 7:5-7    NKJV)

This is where we find ourselves if we're not careful about being misled, and it happens more than people know.  GOD doesn't want us to be misled by anybody, that's why HE gave us, each and every one of us, HIS Word.  HE wants us to learn more about HIM and HIS Ways by reading and studying the Scriptures.  HE promises us that every word in our Bibles was inspired by HIM to be written, and it's all for our sakes.  If we would focus half as much time and energy learning more about our LORD GOD as we devote to learning sacraments, or ritualistic prayers to this saint or that saint, we would learn in short order that none of these things are even in the Bible.  Don't take my word for it, do what I've said many times before, READ YOUR BIBLES!    Go to church, hear the sermon, then test everything by the Scriptures.  I get real nervous when a pastor delivers a sermon out of a denominational circular or newsletter, with no reference to Scripture at all. 

Here is the bottom line, it's like I said at the beginning, GOD never wanted a bunch of stooges running around like idiots praising HIM all the day.  HE wants us each to make our own individual choice to seek HIM.  HE doesn't want us to be led and influenced by things that somebody started out doing for whatever reason years before that has no basis in Scripture.  We each have a responsibility to HIM to make sure that everything we believe ourselves and teach others is Scriptural.  If you are told something that is contrary to what you've read in your Bible, question it, say something like, "Hey, show me that in the Bible, because I don't know where that is."  If it isn't in the Bible, it's because GOD didn't want it there, and that was for a reason. 

In the meantime Brothers and Sisters before the LORD, be Blessed, and be vigilant.  The devil can creep in at any time, and he will every chance he gets!


Friday, September 23, 2011

What Are We Waiting For?

When I do my morning routine, which includes a devotional, reading in the Old Testament (I read in the New Testament in the evenings), checking my E-mails, checking my WebSite and Blog stats and comments, then checking out Twitter, I end up by reading new posts by UCN (Urban Christian News).  It's very rare that I don't find in UCN a new post about how the aclu or freedom from religion or naacp or some other group is protesting a gathering of Christians or a prayer meeting or the fact that some kid in the second grade bowed their head and silently saying grace for their lunch.  I've noticed a very disturbing trend here, and that lead to me doing a little research that led to something even more disturbing.  Did you know that in the last ten years or so that quite a few GOD centered public events, annual events for churches that had been going on every year for a long time, have been cancelled?  It's not that they were cancelled that bothers me, it's the reason why the events are no longer held.  Would it bother you to find out that they were taken off of the agenda because the church leaders were worried about offending someone and getting reported to one of these groups that deny GOD?  Would it bother you to hear that trying to stay in compliance with all of the newer laws and statutes prohibiting Christianity is deemed to be too much of a problem by a lot of church administrations?  But, this isn't the heart of the matter for me, the trend I had noticed that bothered me.  The main issue here is that it seems like as soon as someone even begins to think about holding some kind of Christian event, these groupies of satan are all over it.  They are sending letters to everyone except GOD ordering them to cease and desist.  It's okay for schools to teach the things that satan worshippers hold dear, like that homosexuality and sex (use protection and it's okay) outside of marriage are okay, that stuff is covered under the freedom of speech deal.  So then, here's the big question, "Why do we stand around, just waiting for the devils minions to order us to cancel holding church altogether?"  Don't think that the day won't come that it happens.  Hey, don't believe me, READ YOUR BIBLES!  In the meantime, while it's still legal to hold church services, why do we just wait for the next foot to fall?  Is this Scriptural?  Was JESUS spending all of HIS time cowering in fear of the devil?  I don't read my Bible that way.  It seems to me that HE spent all of HIS time on the offensive.  HE met those in league with satan more than halfway, HE took the battle to them.  Now I want to clarify something here, and that is my frequent references to those who I identify as being followers of satan, and in league with satan.  I just want there to be no mistake about who I'm talking about here.  Give me just a minute here, I want to word this as simply as I can so that there is no misunderstandings about who I feel is following satan and doing his work............. Okay, I've got it.  Anybody who is not a follower of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST is a follower of satan.  If a person is not working for CHRIST against satan then you are working for satan against GOD, and that makes you a follower of satan.  I know that some will say something [inspired by the devil] like, "But it's just not that simple."  Sure it is, it is just that simple, JESUS said it, just that simply.

'No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve GOD and mammon.'  (Luke 16:13    NKJV)

How much simpler does it have to be said?  Contrary to what some may think, I'm not out to vilify anyone, except those who serve satan.  That is what JESUS did, HE didn't pull any punches.  HE didn't go around trying to dodge situations in which HE knew people would get upset, and that led to anger, and that led to murder.  HE bled HIS blood so that we can stand up and say, "Hey, I'm a Christian, and I have not only the right, but the obligation as well, to stand up anywhere at any time and worship my LORD!"  I know what's coming next, and that is the argument that we should 'obey every ordinance of man.'  No argument on that point.  But let's also keep in mind just who we belong to, who we were bought by and for at a price.

'They said to HIM, "Cesar's."  And HE said to them, "Render therefore to Cesar the things that are Cesar's, and to GOD the things that are GOD's."'

Cesar, and we have to understand that Cesar is figuratively representative of the world, including politicians and leaders, didn't die for my sins.  He didn't shed a single drop of blood in my behalf.  Everything about me belongs to GOD, including my responsibilities to '...go forth and evangelize the world.'

So, what are we waiting for?  Let's get some extreme proactivity going on here. Let's remember that old [secular] saying about there being three kinds of people in this world.  First, you have people who make things happen, then you have people who watch things happen, and finally, you have people who wonder what just happened. CHRIST made things happen, HE didn't sit and watch, and HE never wondered about what had happened.  What kind of CHRISTIAN are you? Do you sit on the sidelines watching?  Do you sit on the back row, wondering what was happening?  Or, are you right out front, in the midst of the action, taking the battle right to satan and his followers?  Are you the 'right in your face satan' kind of Christian?  Don't get me wrong, it's a lot easier, and safer, to just sit quietly in a corner.  Where does that put you with the LORD though?  Are you going to be one of those that HE tells, "I never knew you" on that fateful day? 

What are you afraid of, being killed for serving GOD and going to heaven?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That's The Difference!

It's not hard to sin.  It's easy, anybody can do it without putting a lot of effort into it.  In fact, it easier to sin than it is not to sin.  It takes a whole lot more effort and fortitude to not sin than to just go ahead and get it over with.  I've heard people who were professed Christians make the statement that, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven."  Both ends of that little saying are absolutely true, but their individual value is reduced to nothing whenever they're put together like this.  In fact, when I hear someone use this line, it makes me sick!  When people use terms like this one, it's usually to justify their actions.  I don't know, maybe in their own minds it makes it okay to just keep on doing whatever it is they're doing.  If they weren't feeling some conviction in the first place, I wonder if they would feel the need to justify what they've done.  Here's a word for people like that, JESUS already did all the justifying that any of us will ever need.  HE doesn't need yours, mine, or anybody elses help in the field of Justification.  I don't know about you, but I am more than satisfied with HIS handiwork in regards to Justification, I know that I couldn't do half as good as HE did.  So, where does that put us, those of us who fight sin every step of the way, and then still sin.  Yes, it's true that our bodies betray us, that our minds will lead us astray every chance it gets.  Our own emotions will make a mockery of what we know to be true.  What do we do when we've transgressed, and know that any promise we make that it'll never happen again would be words wasted in futility?  Are we really any different than those who deny CHRIST?  What is it, if anything does, that gives us the right to continue to reach out our LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, time after time, for forgiveness?  Isn't it true that HIS Word tells us that HE desires that all men would come to repentance?  If that's true, then isn't it also true that CHRIST died even for those that deny HIM the most? 

It's true, the SON died even for those who deny HIM.  It's also very true that the Will of the FATHER is that all would choose to come to HIM in repentance. What gives us, as New Testament, Born Again, Raised in the Spirit Christians, the right to continually seek the LORD, whether it be for forgiveness yet again, or for strength, or for discernment? We know that everything that the FATHER has done for us is based on HIS great unconditional love for us.  Nothing we've done or could ever do has pre-qualified us, or made us worthy, or gave us more of a right than someone else has, for any part of GOD's gift of Grace.  HE places this gift of HIS right in front of each one of us.  Some receive the gift, other's walk away from it.  That is the difference, that when those of us pick up that precious gift of life-giving Grace, we chose HIM!  That's it.  No life-long search through the mysteries surrounding the unknowable things of GOD.  No spending your whole life locked away in self-imposed isolation, striving to earn an eternity in glory by denying yourself any creature comforts at all.  We just chose HIM to love.  We chose HIM to live for.  We chose HIM to praise.  We chose HIM to reach out to.  We chose HIM to have to cling to.  That's the big mystery that makes the difference, that we chose HIM. 

Do you have that difference in your life? Do you have HIM to love, to live for, to praise, to reach out to, to cling to?  Hey, it's easy, just choose HIM!

Lord Father, just as YOU chose each of us since 'before the foundations of the earth', I pray that you would convict the world, that every person would choose YOU and know the difference.   Amen

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Separated by Sin

Most of us know that GOD doesn't like sin, but this simple statement doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.  It isn't just that HE doesn't like sin, HE is repulsed by sin.  Sin is something our Eternal FATHER abhors with every part of HIS being.  Sin isn't something that HE makes a case by case decision on as to whether to tolerate being around.  Now that we understand just where GOD stands on sin, and don't think for a moment that I've even began to scratch the surface with my few inadequate sentences, let's throw another issue into the mix that GOD has a very distinct position on.  Let's talk about love for a bit, and mix it up with HIS intolerance of sin.  If we let it, this can get just a bit confusing, so we just won't let it, okay?  When we talk about the devil and GOD, we easily fall into the cadence that GOD is good and the devil is bad, that GOD is positive and satan is negative, that GOD is heaven and the devil is hell.  This particular area of what we call religion is probably just about the only one in which most people agree, even though some are making noise about there being no hell.  In regards to that, I believe that if we give people enough time, someone will be trying to convince everyone else that there is no sun in the sky, that what appears to be the sun is actually something else.  Anyways, back to the issue at hand.  Getting back to the cadence thing, the point I was after there was that most of us, even those who do not profess CHRIST, see GOD and satan as opposites, and it's only natural that attributes identified with GOD and satan preserve the same status of being opposites.  So, is it a reach to see love and sin as opposites?  Yes, I know that we commonly view love and hate as opposites, but let's take a different tack on things for a moment.  We know that GOD has nothing for sin but hate.  Yes, our LORD GOD does hate sin. Do you suppose that HE could ever feel the opposite emotion [of hate] for sin?  Isn't the question really do you suppose that HE could ever love sin?  I know what my reaction is to that one, my gut tightens up, and I feel that everyone would answer that with a very loud and far reaching, "NO!"  So now where does that leave us, as Christians?  GOD hates sin, and there is no chance that HE'll ever feel any differently about it.  We all know not only from reading HIS Word but also from living in our fleshly natural bodies that sin is as much a part of us as is breathing and our heart beating.  But we also know that because of love, our LORD sent HIS only SON to the cross.  With GOD hating sin so much, how could HE have basically buried HIS SON in sin?  Don't even think that I'm going overboard with this, that is exactly what did happen.  Read your Bible!  Don't take my word, or the word of any other Minister of the Gospel, take the FATHER's Word.

'And about the ninth hour JESUS cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My GOD, My GOD, why have YOU forsaken ME?" '  (Matthew 27:46    NKJV)

What we have here is the reaction of JESUS CHRIST when HE experienced something for the first time in HIS life.  Just as our kids draw strength from us when they know we're watching their first ballgame, or their first band concert, CHRIST had always felt the presence of HIS FATHER's eyes on HIM, and had drawn strength from that.  But then, at the precise moment of HIS [physical] death, two things happened.  First, all of mankind's sins were [figuratively] piled onto HIS body.  And second, because GOD hates sin so much that HE cannot and will not, even for the sake of HIS SON, gaze on it, HE turned HIS eyes from it.  HE wasn't turning HIS eyes from HIS SON, HE was taking HIS gaze off of the sin HIS SON was buried in.  I've taken us into the death of CHRIST in order to illustrate just how much GOD hates sin.  Now don't go trying to get your minister to explain away this scene of death and momentary abandonment as being something other than exactly what it was.  Let's bring a question we looked at earlier back into play, "Where does this leave Christians?"  It leaves us in just about the same position JESUS was in there on the cross, but with a distinct advantage HE didn't have.  When CHRIST died, and 'yielded up HIS spirit'  (Matthew 27:50  NKJV), HE spent three days 'amongst the dead' before arising.  What we have to remember here is that HE arose.  That's what is important, not how many days HE spent 'amongst the dead.'  I believe that HE arose on the day HE did, the first day of the week, so that we would use that day as a day of celebration.  Isn't that what our worship should be, a celebration of life?  The day HE arose as victorious over death, which is the opposite of life, shouldn't that day be celebrated by our worship as the day our lives began?  This is where we as Christians stand in regards to GOD'sHE'll always love us.  That is, and will always be the reason HE 'forsook'  HIS only begotten SON.  And just like we'll sometimes separate ourselves from HIM by sin as CHRIST separated HIMSELF from HIS FATHER by sin, when we have victory over sin, which represents death, as CHRIST did, HE'll be waiting with outstretched arms.  A point to be made here, and that is that CHRIST did make the decision to separate HIMSELF from GOD by sin.  When HE made the decision to accept the will of the FATHER, HE knew what was in store for HIM.  This is what gives such value to HIS obedience in contrast to the disobedience of Adam. 

'For as by one  man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one MAN's obedience many will be made righteous.'  (Romans 5:19  NKJV)

This is also the position the 'one MAN's obedience' puts us in before GOD, as righteous, not on our own accord, but by the obedience of the ONE who made the conscious decision to separate, by sin, HIMSELF from GOD.

So, has your decision been made? To 'unseparate' yourself from GOD?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Not Your Choice!

If you take the time to look around you at the 'religious' world, and weed out all of the non-Christian denominations and sects, you may be surprised at what you find.  I've read through my Bible several times, at least, and the last time I did it for a specific reason.  I was looking for something in particular, and I didn't find it.  Now that's not saying it isn't there, maybe I missed it.  After all, there are those who contend that if a person hasn't had years of specialized education in theology followed by years of being mentored by someone qualified that the average person has no business even opening a Bible. (I rambled on about that subject in my August 22, 2011 posting.)

Oh yeah, about what I couldn't find, the 'it' I was searching for.  Okay, here goes.  I couldn't find any reference to 'conservative Christians' or 'liberal Christians' or 'moderate Christians' or any other kind of Christians other than in the Acts of the Apostles.

'Then when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.'  (Acts 11:26    NKJV)

The only other two times I could find that the word 'Christian' was used, not just in the New Testament but throughout the whole Bible, was in Acts when the apostle Paul was supposed to be defending himself but was actually witnessing the Agrippa, and then in I Peter in that apostle's letter to those who'd been scattered by the Dispersion.

'Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian."'  (Acts 26:28    NKJV)


'Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify GOD in this matter.'  (I Peter 4:16    NKJV)

This first Scripture is very revealing in that Agrippa, who was sitting in judgment of Paul over charges levied against him by those in the Jewish religious community, was so convinced by the apostles humble yet firm convictions that he conceded that he himself was moved in the directions of Paul's beliefs.  Then we have Peter, writing to those Believers scattered about by the Romans attempts to quash any kind of organization among the new Christian groups, whose purpose was to provide instruction and just as important to bolster the people spirits.  The point I'm after here is that even though I've searched through eight different versions of the Bible, I can't find any reference to being a 'liberal' or a 'conservative' Christian. 

Let's take this a bit farther.  I read just the other day on UCN that a longtime teacher of Theology had made the public statement that there was no way that the garden there in the east of Eden or Adam or Eve ever existed.  It's in the Bible, but according to this 'expert' it never existed.  What does that do, make GOD a liar?  I've also read recently that a very popular TV minister was asked during an interview about the virgin birth.  His response was that he personally didn't believe in it, but it was his policy to stay away from what he termed as 'controversial' issues.  Even more disturbing than two individuals, both prominent in the circles of Theology and what I call 'commercial religion', both making statements that challenges the honesty of GOD, is that these aren't isolated incidents.  More and more people, who label themselves as 'conservative' or 'liberal' or some other crazy kind of Christian, are picking and choosing what to believe and not believe out of the Bible.  What do people think the Bible is, some kind of Scriptural buffet that they can assemble their own belief manual from? 

I had to take a break for just a minute there.  I can get really stirred up when people try to destroy the truths that my LORD JESUS CHRIST sealed with HIS Blood.  And have no doubt, when anyone tries to take away even one little comma or period from the Holy Bible, then they've taken a huge step in the wrong direction.

'For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, GOD will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, GOD shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.'  (Revelation 22:18-19    NKJV)

Now let's get right down to the nitty-gritty about this.  If we dig right down to the bare bones of what our LORD GOD has offered us, through Grace by Faith, we only have one choice offered us by HIM.  That single choice has nothing to do with what part of HIS Word we'll believe, or how we'll change the parts of HIS Holy Scriptures to be more convenient for us.  The choice also doesn't allow us to be more 'conservative' or more 'liberal' as Christians.  That single choice gives us the final say in whether we accept the Blood of HIS SON as atonement for our sins, or not.  That's it.  Like the Scripture says, we're not to add to or take away from anything HE offers us, including HIS Word.  It's an all-things  or no-things thing with the FATHER, either accept through belief all-things of HIS Grace and all of HIS Word or HE'll have no-things to do with you.  Don't take my word for it, I don't want you to.  My prayer for you is that you'll do what I always tell people; READ YOUR BIBLE! 

'Not everyone who says to ME, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of MY FATHER in heaven.  Many will say to ME in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we  not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'  (Matthew 7:21-23    NKJV)

Now don't read this and put a 'conservative' or 'liberal' interpretation on it.  Just read it exactly like it's written, even if it's not convenient for you or if it isn't what you want to hear.  The fact is that most often what we don't want to hear is exactly what we need to hear.  Besides the Scriptures not being convenient for a lot of people, and so they try to change things to fit their plans, another factor in play here is motivation.  The reason why we do something most of the time is often more important to GOD than what it is we did.  Our motivation can negate something we've done that's a good thing into a negative thing.  It's as much why we do something as what we've done that determines the value of the act itself.  The end of story here is that there is never, and will never be, a proper motivation to try to change a single bit of Scripture.  GOD didn't make any mistakes, HE didn't need any proof readings or editors or spell check, I can guarantee HE got it right the first time.  So what makes any person thinks they have the right to correct HIM?  That's exactly what people are doing when they try to 'modify' HIS meaning about something Scriptural.  Like I said earlier, that is a huge step in the wrong direction, and good luck trying to 'modify' the Scriptures that says that!

My prayer for people are that we all accept JESUS as our personal Savior, and that we all allow ourselves to be nurtured by HIS Holy Spirit and taught by HIS Word, exactly as it's written and exactly as it's read.  GOD doesn't need our help in this area, HE's got it under control.  We each only have one choice before the LORD, so make it count.


Terry & Faith Keiner
Being Blessed in Absarokee MT!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Believes?

Why can't we see ourselves as GOD does?  Boy did I hear the gasps with that one! I know from my own experience that if I even think about suggesting doing something like HE does or doing something that HE does some people get in a real tizzy.  I made the statement one time to a group of people that we need to learn to see ourselves through HIS eyes, and I thought that a couple of those present were either going to fall over dead or burn me at the stake.  Why do people get all stirred up over something as Scriptural as that?  Let's take it to the next level and bring up what JESUS HIMSELF said to HIS followers while preparing them for the time that HE wouldn't be there among them any longer.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in ME, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to MY FATHER.'  (John 14:12    NKJV)

There you have it, how much plainer does CHRIST have to be?  JESUS isn't saying that we, as Believers, have more power or authority than HE did, and does.  The point HE was making was that HIS time on earth was limited, you might say that GOD's Will for the SON was operating on a timeline.  Another thing to keep in mind is that JESUS wasn't talking to or about any certain person.  The only indication of who was being talked about was in the words 'he who believes in ME....' spoken by JESUS.  It's pretty obvious that JESUS was telling HIS followers that since HIS time was about to run out, HE could only do so much of the work of the FATHER.  Those who believed though, would have much more time to do HIS works, and that would be because HE was talking about the accumulated time from not just a certain Christian, but from all Believers.

Now, let's get back to the point I feel led to make today.  Our goal every day needs to be to present not just our bodies, not just any resources we have, or have control over, to the LORD for HIS work, but to present our very lives as living breathing testimonies to the Grace and Mercy of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST!  I've often said that CHRIST taught by example, and if you'll just read in the Scriptures about HIS ministry here on earth, you'll find that only after healing someone did HE tell HIS disciples to go and heal.  Only after raising someone from death, or sleeping as HE put it several times, did HE command those following HIM to do likewise.  Only after walking on water did JESUS instruct Peter to do the same thing.  That incident had an extra built-in bonus lesson.  Peter was doing just fine until he took his eyes, literally, off of CHRIST.  Now does that sound familiar or what?  We don't know of all of what we call miracles JESUS performed during the short years of HIS public ministry, Scripture tells us that.

'And truly JESUS did many other signs in the presence of HIS disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the SON of GOD, and that believing you may have life in HIS name.'  (John 20:30-31    NKJV)

The point isn't for us to be able to document every single time HE healed someone or raised someone from the dead.  Would it be any easier to believe if instead of one blind man healed there were one hundred or one thousand who were given sight?  Would you find it easier to believe that JESUS brought one hundred thousand young girls back to life than just the one we can read about?  Here is the sad part of the whole thing, GOD believes in every single one of us more that most of us believe in HIM.  Ouch! Maybe some are shaking their heads right about now and saying to themselves that this just isn't true, that GOD doesn't have to believe in us at all.  That is correct, HE doesn't have to believe in us, and what's more is that HE has every reason not to believe in anything about us.  That's  the point though, isn't it?  HE believes in us enough to believe that there is at least one amongst all of mankind who will accept the sacrifice of HIS SON as atonement for their sins.  Do I believe that just one person being Born Again is all that HE wants?  No, but I do believe that if only one person ever accepted CHRIST as their personal Savior that the death of HIS SON would have served it's purpose.  Think about this little nugget of information, we have history to look back at, all of it lending credibility to why we should believe in HIM.  What did HE have to make HIM think that any human would ever seek HIM out?  What we can read of man's track record with GOD doesn't make us look good at all.  But, HE still believed in us.  Along with that belief comes love, and remember that it's not any kind of feelings of affection coming from us that has anything to do with how HE feels about us. 

So, how about it?  Do you believe in GOD?  Do you love HIM?  How do you think your belief and love stacks up against HIS?  I guess it's a real good thing for us that HE doesn't keep score like that, isn't it?  Aren't you glad HE believes in you much more that any of us could ever believe in HIM?  I'm not talking about believing in HIS existance, I'm talking about believing in HIS love and mercy and grace for us.  I guess it's a really good thing for us that HE believes, isn't it?

God Bless all you Believers out there!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who Said It Would Be Easy?

Unfortunately, no one, including GOD HIMSELF, ever said that living life as a Believer would be easy.  In fact, we pretty much have a promise that just the opposite is true.  Since our belief in GOD and all that HE is, starting with truth itself, is contrary to everything about the world it shouldn't be a big surprise to any Christian when they find that they're not comfortable or at ease in the world.  Now I'm not just talking about situations when a co-worker invites you to have a drink after work.  Or when maybe someone asks you out to go dancing at some club.  Or when you're present when a vulgar joke is told.  I'm talking about all of these types of incidents along with being revulsed by all the mess on television.  I'm talking about not being able to pick up a newspaper without seeing anything except updates on body counts at some school and how another [supposedly] Christian church has ordained another homosexual minister.  These are just examples of what I think of as normal occurances in the daily life of a world headed straight to hell, literally.  Now let's get more personal, and here is where a lot of people who profess CHRIST don't like to go, and it's sad to say that more and more churches are staying away from what they are terming 'contraversial issues.'  By the way, some of these 'contraversial issues' that churches are staying away from today are things like having altar calls, talking about hell, even admitting to there being a hell, the virgin birth of CHRIST, just to mention a few.  Back to the personal thing we started a moment ago.  I read quite a bit, everything from my Bible to works by Bible scholars and theologians from eras past, to books and studies on just about anything to do with GOD, JESUS CHRIST, the Bible, theology... Do you get my drift?  I have one test that I use to determine whether I'll read a certain person's book or article or study, and the fact that I use what I think of as a 'test of the Scriptures' will bring us to the first of the personal issues I alluded to earlier.  I'll give an example of just how important it is to me that everything stand up to a 'test of the Scriptures.'  A certain author that I've read quite a bit of, whose works have always stood up to the scrutiny of the Scriptures, wrote in a fairly new book that the average Christian has no chance of understanding what GOD is telling us in HIS Word.  This author went on to say that without years of theological education and many more years of being mentored by someone 'qualified' that most of us had no business picking up a Bible.  I actually went back and read this passage several times, I was that shocked by what I'd read.  This reminded me of an incident that resulted in the early Catholic church actually ordering a priest in a rural parish to cease and desist from teach his parishoners to read the Bible.  When he didn't cease and desist, after trying him for crimes against the church, they burned him at the stake.  So after praying about the situation with this writer, who is also a pastor of a large West Coast church, I decided to not purchase or read any more of his books.  If you're like me, after making this kind of decision, you might second guess yourself, which I began to do.  But, as we all know, GOD is ever Faithful to HIS Truths.  Just as my doubting of my decision was approaching it's zenith, I was looking through a catalogue put out by [who I highly recommend for anybody for everything from Bibles to Christian gifts at very reasonable prices] and came across an exerpt from a new book this fellow has out.  After I read this exerpt, all of my previous doubts over my decision were gone.  Without going into too much detail, the purpose of this new book appeared to be to convince Christians that GOD will always view us as HIS slaves, and that was as good as it would ever get, so we should also see ourselves as HIS slaves, period.  Right about now you're probably wondering how this little wandering of mine could have anything to do with your personal issues, in regards to being and living a Christian.  Here's how.  A lot of changes we're seeing in not only the world we live in, but also in the churches we attend, are happening for one simple reason.  That reason is that most people are afraid of speaking out.  Are you afraid of being labeled as being too conservative, or too liberal?  Maybe you don't want to be identified as someone who isn't a 'team player' or as a rebel.  Have you ever sat through a service and had a quiet but persistant little voice inside of you saying something like, "That just doesn't sound right?"  Did you act on it, and ask questions later, or maybe during a Sunday school class, for clarity?  Or did you just 'go with the flow?'  I'll admit, yes it is a whole lot easier to just set back and not make waves.  Look around, all of the things we talked about at the beginning of my rambling today started with someone someplace having a thought, then it became a spoken thought, and either no one or not enough people spoke out against it or questioned it.  Then it became an action, without doubt something small and easy to miss, but no one spoke up.  Then another action, followed by more actions, each on a larger scale than the one before.  Now we have what started as a thought in someones mind being accepted as fact.  You want to know what I can see in all of this?  Probably not, but I do have a habit of saying what I think, just ask my wife Faith.  I see the devil starting with a toehold, then ever so slowly creeping and crawling his way into not just our civil and criminal justice systems, not just our political system, but into our churches, and from there into our homes.  Do you think I'm being over zealous?  Okay, I'm fine with that, but I challenge you to find in Scripture where GOD says it's okay for anyone living in outright declared sin, who's avowed through their everyday life that they have no intention of changing, to have any position of Biblical authority whatsoever in any church recognized as a Christian church.  Let's start with that one, since it seems to have became almost a fad in our lives today.  Do you know how this, and a long list of other things that have become acceptable, came to happen?  Because it was easier to not make waves when this was just a thought. 

A final thought, and then I'll let you be, for now anyway.  Just how easy do you think it was for JESUS?  Not only the day HE took a very solid stand, but HIS whole life?  I'm sure that there wasn't a single day HE didn't think of HIS purpose in the FATHER's Will, the Will HE had made the decision to accept.  I'm also sure that as HIS final hours drew near that it didn't become any easier, if you think it did then you need to read of HIS final moments, when HE cried out to HIS FATHER because for the first time in HIS life HE didn't feel HIS FATHER's eyes firmly on HIM. 

No one ever said it would be easy, but it still has to be done.  Some will ask just what it is that has to be done, and for anyone who is a professed Christian that is a sad thing, to not know what they're called to do.  Here, I'll make it easy, this thing that has to be done.  Live for HIM!  Why? Because HE died for you, and I promise you that living for HIM isn't easy, but neither was HIM dying for you.  Step up!  Be a Christian!  Live as a Christian!

Be Blessed!