What Does a Christian Believe?

I’ve been watching the intense controversy surrounding this current political season in the United States. People are taking sides in loud and sometimes obnoxious ways. Some people are even losing friends over this election.

There was an oh-so-true cartoon published on FaceBook today that solidified my desire to write this article. The caption read: “Let’s argue about politics until we resort to name calling. Then we can move on to religion and finally kill each other.”

A couple of weeks ago, the following comment was received by a friend of mine:

 

Read more…

Rain

NOTE: the following poem is part of Gracie’s Storm Story.

This rain is falling so perfectly. It comes in gentle showers so it permits the ground to soak rather than just run off.

Rain softly falls
Earth opens her mouth to drink
Green returns to cover the brown
Leaves turn upward
Giving thanks
Blue skies
turn grey
brown grass
turns green
Wash the dust
from my feet
Fill the air
with fragrance sweet
As flowers lift
pretty faces fair
Insect, birds, return
their song
They fill the air
with praises strong
Glory to our God
who formed us from this sod
who gave us breath
and life sublime
a wondrous gift
to last all time

Hot sun:
leaves turn down
grass turns brown

Cool rain:
leaves lift up
grass greens up

Moving swiftly through the air
lifting faces fair
scurrying cross the wire
hiding from the sun’s fire
The birds, flowers, squirrels
and insects respond to sun and rain.

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My Dagon cell phone…

Something I received that I believe is worth putting “out there.”

It just brought home the fact that we do need to be Christ Centered, and God will remind us of that very fact in subtle ways. 

“I’m persnickety.  I might as well admit it; many of you already know it.  I like things a certain way.  I have definite ideas of how I want things done.  I’m also particular about certain of my possessions.  I have my favorite pens, and you’d better not ask to borrow them.  A number of years ago, I had a pair of dress boots and my kids knew not to step on the toes.  Recently I switched cell phone providers because the company I’d had for 16 years no longer carried the brand of phone I “prefer”.  The only problem is that for almost a month now, I’ve had to carry two phones while they try to switch my number to the new service provider.  This means that I make calls on my new phone and receive them on my old one.  Very inconvenient, but I can tolerate it.  The agonizing moment came last week while carrying both phones in my pocket, when the old phone scuffed the screen of the new phone.  It’s not even a month old!  I must have loved it too much.  The Lord has a way of humbling us and getting our affections back on Him.
 
A while back I was reading the account of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines (I Samuel 5).  Pleased with their battle trophy, the Philistines put the Ark in the temple of their god, Dagon.  The next morning they found Dagon on its nose before the Ark.  They set the idol upright, but the next morning Dagon had again fallen before the Ark, only this time its head and palms were broken off.  What a vivid reminder that God wants our heart’s devotion.  We tend to use God and love things, rather than to love God and use things.  I have risked being transparent with you because I am fairly certain that you also have your own little idols.  And while you may not be as fastidious as I am, the Lord nonetheless probably has His competitors in your life.  Let’s resolve to be sincerely and purely devoted to Christ.
 
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.  But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  II Corinthians 11:2-3″

 

From Rick Hattan.  He and his wife are AWANA Missionaries in Nebraska and eastern Wyoming.

The Spirit-led life vs. natural man continued

Col 3:1-15

3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (author’s emphasis added)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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      Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, and actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit, His Spirit leading our spirit, ever in tune with Him.

Setting our minds above, not below, raises us “above the land of earthly disputes and focus(es) us on our Father,” knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him.

Not filled with”anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language,” all these tear down.   But clothed in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,”–these build up.

When the logs of discord, be they from memory or present, come by you in the sream of life, let them pass.  Recognize them, the feelings, the events, the words, the actions, but let them pass on by. Don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption with them, then live in it.  It becomes a prison of your own making.  Christ set the captive free.  Let the logs go by and reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Therefore, you can express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for he raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.

Led by the Spirit or the natural?

 

Gal 5:16-18 

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved. 

Living by the spirit, led by the Spirit as opposed to being led by the natural man, the physical man. 

  • The law exposes sin, the physical or natural nature of mankind, it does not create it, it showcases it.  And  there are consequences for actions and thoughts that come from natural man.
  • The spirit leads one in opposition to nature. 
  • Follow the Spirit’s lead and you will demonstrate the fruit of the spirit rather than the fruit of the natural man.
  • Stand in line at the checkout, you’re in a hurry, running late, the people ahead of you know the cashier and are slowing her down with personal conversation.  How do you react?
  • Irritation gives way to anger which is demonstrated in hurtful behavior.  This is natural man.
  • Spirit has patience, sees beyond the circumstances, rises above them and therefore demonstrates behavior that gives evidence of patience.
  • Spirit sees beyond the physical.  Faith in God guides us to being Spirit-led.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”  We trust in God, we have faith in God and His Spirit leads us to actions and thoughts that are outside the realm of the natural man.

Reflections for September 16 of ’08

 From Proverbs 16:

3 Commit your actions to the Lord,

and your plans will succeed.

9 We can make our plans,

But the Lord determines our steps.

 

As I read Proverbs 16 these stood out for me.  My response was to pray :

As I begin the day this is my prayer.  And I can rest in knowing that my day will follow the will of the Lord.

 

Then reading from John:

 

John 7:28-30

 

28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

What stood out for me was: 

The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”

 

My response:

I know the Father and so I recognize the Son.  Now I need to get to know Him better than ever.

 

Finally, listening to “Days of Refreshing” I gleaned the following:

 

First, the greatest manifestation of love is giving. Therefore, we should enjoy each other. This is demonstrating love.

Second, be on the watch, to bless; what can I do?

Finally, when offenses occur, speak good about those who offended. Both to them and about them.  Make it easy for them to come back.  Don’t say anything you might have to apologize for later.

Remember, love covers a multitude of sins (offenses)  as a blanket covers what shouldn’t be seen.

 

Make your day the best it can be by being open to the leading of the Spirit, exercising your faith and using the annointing given to you.

What do we know about faith? Conversations on the Word

“So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  Romans 10:17

“But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Can it be said that God is not going to place upon us a burden impossible?  If he states that without faith we cannot please him then is it right to believe that it is possible for us to have faith?  Can it be said then, in that place, it is our responsibility to have faith, develop faith, own faith for it is possible and necessary?

So, how do we get faith?  We need it for salvation to begin.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

So then, can we receive faith as a gift?  We receive salvation as a gift. We do so by exercising faith.  How is that?  We state it; use our mouth to confess our faith.  Our words bring it into existence.  “the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart:  that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ” Romans 10:8-9

We state it and believe it.  Belief is needed in conjunction with the stating of faith.  Faith comes by hearing, hearing is followed by belief,  and this is followed by a statement. The words delivering faith must be spoken to the one who hasn’t heard.  They are heard and received.  They are restated as a personal confession and faith is built.

God’s Word has the power.  We exercise it, access it by hearing it, then speak it.  The gospel is the message we receive from God’s Word.  It should be the words we speak.

Now that we have received salvation and claim him as Lord, what does that mean?  It means we can rejoice in our salvation, for healing both physical and spiritual, for deliverance, for a personal relationship with him.  We have been given the status of children of God, joint heirs with Christ.

It also means we have responsibility.  No child of any king goes without responsibility; in fact they carry more than the average citizen.  The same is true for us.  In James we are told if we know to do something and do it not it is sin.  In Luke, Christ states the servant who knows (God’s) the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what he (God) wants will be beaten with many blows.”

Ouch!

Now try to say “that doesn’t apply to me” when you read something in God’s Word spoken to his people.  Don’t know about you, but if I study God’s Word to learn about my God and then find I’m supposed to be doing something, I better do it.  For one, if any of us asks someone for something, or to do something, that person having told us they love us, and they do not follow through with our request or take offense, we doubt their love or at least the sincerity of it.  Can we expect less of God?  Yet, he continues to love us.  We just don’t always get what we ask for.  Wonder why?

What are your thoughts on this?

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