Believers Offended

During the days that I was being more rebellious against God (I say “more” because I still struggle) and was not working on developing any sort of relationship with Him, I still never doubted His existence or denied Christ died for our sins (though I was not holding this very sacred by my lifestyle). However, I did not parade around telling everyone I knew that I was a believer and I was the first one to quickly admit that I was not living the life or example I should have been.
These days when I come across someone who says they are a believer I not only try to encourage them but also test them against their own word on their faith, especially when I witness questionable actions coming from someone claiming to be a believer. There have been many that, although I do believe they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, are headed down the same worldly path I’ve been down many times.
Through simple questions or statements of Truth they can be easily offended. They are unable to recognize that it is through love that I (or others) may try to call them out on what they already claim to hold dear to their hearts. I’ve come across some, while claiming I was one of their only friends, that avoided me for weeks for simply asking how reading their Bible was going. Now to many that may not seem like a hard question, but to someone still incredibly young in their faith and not fully knowing what the Bible teaches (or taking an interest in it) that type of question is viewed as “being judgmental.”
We live in an age where our “churches” (I use that term loosely here) are not working to actually challenge and encourage our youth. I know this not only from personal experience but also being a witness to it from those I have been around.
We are in a time where at a young age children are told stories about God and the Bible, much like a bedtime story, to keep them busy. As they get older they are still being kept busy, mostly through skits and entertainment, with some lessons about why abstinence is important. Other than that the gospel never seems to reach the youth of today, or yesterday… or the day before…
I would say that most youths never fully know what the Bible actually teaches from attending church but because they have grown up hearing entertaining stories they think they know exactly what it says. All the while they can now go out into the world and anything they do will somehow have no effect on them spiritually.
What I have learned is that I was never really taught much about the spiritual life. I was not taught what things in the world can affect my spiritual life which in turn can affect my decisions and my entire life. I was not warned against the ways Satan will work against us or what to stay away from other than the obvious. And to be completely honest, I now see that many adults don’t even have a clue as to what can have a negative affect on their spiritual lives. There have been so many generations that have grown up with such a watered down gospel and lack of experience that they do not know how to teach their children and the cycle continues.
If you never warn others of what is bad they will assume everything they come across is good. By that I mean, if you never share experiences involving a real spiritual life (good and bad, not only showing what is sweet and happy) they will never be able to recognize the ways Satan works and know how to deal with the trials of life.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
(Matthew 13:20-21)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
(James 1:2-4)

Even today those I would have considered youths during my days of my own youth are now the age of adulthood, as am I. Even today they are still infants in their faith as I once was, though I will always be learning because the realm in which God dwells can never fully be learned by us. Even I am still a child in comparison to others but I have grown tired of milk and am fully in want of strong meat. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
So do not become offended by your brothers and sisters in Christ if they are trying to challenge or encourage you in your faith. If you become offended or feel guilty it may not be for their reason but your own. Try to reflect on that the next time you feel someone is “judging you” and ask if they have reason to. If you are unable to hold up to what you say you believe how are you helping the Kingdom?

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)

Another thing to note is that by claiming to be a believer in Christ, that He died for our sins, you are then held to a higher standard than others in that regard. When I was still working I did not hold the non-believers to the same moral or spiritual standards that I did those who claimed to be Christians. Even still the Christians became offended due to a lack of maturity in their faith. We cannot hold those who live by the world to the same standards as those who believe on Christ; even we as believers will be tested in our faith.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:7-9)

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What Side is Your World On?

There have been a lot of topics on my mind recently that I would like to write of though I’m not sure of their timing and will need to pray about them more. One topic that has been on my mind for quite some time is involving around Westcott and Hort and the many different Bible translations we seem to have today. For those who aren’t familiar with Westcott and Hort, they are credited for having found older scrolls than what was used to translate the King James Bible we have today. I disagree with most that think that the older the better in this case, especially considering where their transcripts were found or stored for so many years. There is also the fact that neither men were true believers and it is documented through their own letters to each other during their translations. Many who take their versions as just “easy to read” and in my mind that discredits God’s ability to help us understand His ways.

Another topic I have felt strongly about writing on has to do with the rapture. Though I was raised to believe in it (even read some of the Left Behind series) I do not believe in it anymore. God put a burden on my heart about it and after seeking His guidance, the theology surrounding it feels completely wrong for ways that I will not explain right now. I also believe there are dangers in not only believing in it but also teaching it to others, but I will not get into that now.

I’ve had a difficult time knowing where to start on these topics and have mostly just been doing my own research about them. I love to research and find what others believe compared to what the Bible teaches us, to see how most other religions all connect with each other in ways they are not even aware of (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, etc). I also research sects of “Christian” groups, churches, or organizations and see how they compare with the Bible as well. I recently did some research on a Mar Thoma (“Indian-Christian”) church as I know someone who attends periodically. I found a lot of Hindu/Buddhist influences that are still involved in this church and are seen merely as Indian traditions. I found, in my research, that most of their “traditions” are still paying homage to other gods from other religions and I do not believe most are aware of this and the importance of not continuing with such “traditions.”

It’s very important to be aware of what is going on around us in other groups, especially now when false prophets and leaders are pushing to have “oneness with each other.” After that statement you might ask, “Well, what’s the big deal with that? Shouldn’t we get along? Wouldn’t the world be a better place?”

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  (35)  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  (36)  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  (37)  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  (38)  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  (39)  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. – Matthew 10:34-39

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  (16)  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  (17)  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  (18)  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  (19)  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  (20)  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7:15-20

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1

We are here to find God. More and more I am realizing how much our generations and the generations before us have slacked off from a real relationship with God. I’m not claiming that everyone is lacking, but a lot of them are. I’ve lived it myself, I know how it feels to want more. To attend a church and go to Bible studies every week only to find yourself still thirsting, still wanting more, still.. empty. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)
Why are so many people today still thirsting if we are truly being taught what Christ came here to teach us? Why are so many still lost? So many living the church life, having the word of God, and seeing it, and God Himself, as a joke? Because of watered down teachings. Why are so many falling away or buying in the false teachings, just to have acceptance and temporary joy? So many are filled with repetitive songs that have lost their meaning, with repetitive study plans that don’t break open what God is speaking about TODAY. Oh yes, they want to mold us into good little Christians, but the world was not turned upside down by factory made soldiers!

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. – Acts 17:5-7

I want to be one of those. Through the blood of Christ and His true way, I want to be one that turns the world upside down from what it believes today. How many see it happening in their cities? How many see the impact? How many miracles of healing the sick, healing the blind, healing the crippled, and casting out demons do you see in your church that are true and real? How many reach out to the homeless, the fatherless, and the widows? I for one, don’t see it today.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

He gave his only begotten Son for our sakes.. We can never fully repay him for that.. but what are you going to do to try?

How long will you be among them?

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. (Deuteronomy 7:4)

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:17-19)

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

I am fully aware lately to the truth of seeing those around me, whom I love, falling prey to false doctrine. I ask myself quite often questions concerning this mentality that those around us have attained concerning such false doctrines. The “let’s agree to disagree” theology that has made its way into Christian homes everywhere.
Feel that you’re being lead in a different direction? Fine, but let’s test the spirits of those directions and find the truth.
Feel that it’s okay and we should be loving and accepting of our brothers and sisters who live in sin?

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  (12)  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  (13)  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

Sometimes when I think about the church, the supposed body of Christ, I feel sorrowful. I don’t know how much of what I feel or what I “see” in regards to it all is speculation on my own part of a view-point from God. I find it incredibly sad that in this day and age one might be more skeptical of a church actually following God than assuming they are not.
I can’t walk into a “Christian” bookstore without seeing false doctrine spilling off the shelves all the while Christians are lining up with money from their pockets to purchase these “best sellers” and words of those who have no real intention of glorifying God.
You can’t walk around in a store without seeing them push all the holidays that we’re not even supposed to celebrate. We’re constantly told to come OUT from the world yet we accept everything they sell in stores and play it off as not being a big deal. What we’re actually doing is disobeying God and downplaying it because we want to be entertained and have the same enjoyment as the rest of the world. That’s not what our Bible teaches us. That’s not what God has been teaching us.
I’m sure I’ve ranted about this before and I will continue to do so. I am incredibly thankful that God has opened my eyes and I pray that he not only continues to do so but will open the eyes of many others in the world.
My heart breaks at the things that I’m shown and I will be glad to be removed and help those that He has told me we will be helping. I do not know what all my future holds but if it has anything with being able to glorify God and bring others closer to Him, I want it more than ever.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  (15)  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  (16)  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (17)  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

In the past I used to think that verse 14 was talking about marrying non-believers, as that is how it was taught to me growing up. Now I realize more that it means not to belong one to another. Not to allow them to effect your lives and lifestyle in a way that it separates you from the Lord. Does that mean that we cannot even talk to them? No, how would we witness? Just don’t allow the lifestyle of the world to corrupt what God has given you.

Keeps coming back up

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

I wrote a post awhile back speaking about the way that we minister and witness to others. It has been coming up in my mind on and off over the last couple of days and I’m really not sure why. I kept thinking that I had written about it in a way that I need to go back and correct myself but upon reading it just now I realize that I wasn’t really saying what I thought I was (in the last couple of days).
I thought I had written something along the lines of the way a lot of churches teach in the “you witness to others by living by example” which I do agree with, but that is not actually how you witness to others.
Let’s actually look at the definition of the word

wit•ness (wĭtˈnĭs)
n.    One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced: a witness to the accident.
n.    One who furnishes evidence.
n.    Something that serves as evidence; a sign.

Now after reading that, can you say that keeping quiet about your personal relationship with the Lord and just “living by example” we are being a true witness? Are we giving out testimony and speaking about the wonders God is doing in everyone’s lives? In our own lives? Speaking about His Son and the miracles that are still going on even unto this day?
Although it’s good to be able to live by example I’d say that most of us are not actually witnessing.
Since that is being taught in a lot of churches (I heard it a lot in the youth group I went to growing up) I want to point out the way that Christians (who are living their lives “by example”) look like to a secular world; they look snotty and prude. They do not look like people who see the world, understand it, live in it, know how to even react to it. They look like they’re living in their own little bubble and anything that comes their way from “the world” they turn their nose up to and back up slowly. It’s almost as if they’re germaphobes and the world is the grime.
Now, granted, the world is pretty bad. It’s grimy and gritty; fully of sin. BUT we are called to live in the world to help those who are stuck in it NOT to live in a bubble; in the safety of our church. I’m not saying that all churches just expect everyone to always stay within and never help anyone else but from first-hand experience I can tell you that some of the ones I’ve been in (and grown up in) seem keep from encouraging others to do what we’re told to be doing in the Bible. I see a lot of people that wouldn’t know what to do without a pastor/preacher telling them what to do. People are lazy and they don’t want to have to think for themselves. If they have someone that will tell them what to do, think, say, or feel then they’re gong to get overly protective of that person and really who is there to tell us those things other than God? I’m not saying that all pastors or preachers are corrupt either, my uncle is a pastor, I’m saying that people need to wake up and learn to think for themselves. To ask what God would want THEM to do, as an individual. Pastors are very busy people, do you really think they they have you specifically in mind when they speak about what to do in life? Could it not be that they have to speak their messages to fit a mass amount of people? If we’re not seeking it for ourselves then we will never find it. No one is going to do our work for us.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:15-21)

Christ asked for us to not be taken out of the world but kept away from evil. To not be removed but to be left as a witness for His Glory and Love. Are we doing that by spending our time in church and never working towards His ministry? Are we able to share the love of Christ with others by avoiding the non-believers because they are “of the world?”
People say the world can be a scary place. I say that it’s never venturing into it that’s the scary part.
I’m not saying we should all go to parks and try to talk to everyone about Christ, because it doesn’t always work that way. I’m saying we need to be more in tune with being open to doing things and going places that are in the world. We can’t hide ourselves up in little holes hoping that we’re doing it right just by reading and praying everyday; that’s not what we’re called for.
We’re called to be a witness

wit•ness (wĭtˈnĭs)
n.    One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced: a witness to the accident.
n.    One who furnishes evidence.
n.    Something that serves as evidence; a sign.

How do you minister to others?

For those of us who do not feel God’s calling in a specific ministry life or understand what witnessing or ministering to others might entail, I thought I would write my feelings on the matter based on my personal life, what I have witnessed from others, and through reading the Bible.

How does one minister to others?

That question has been circling my head this evening. How am I, being in the place that I currently live and working where I currently work, supposed to minister to those around me?
Most of us are not fortunate enough to have the spiritual gifts of teaching or preaching, so how are we to minister to others? No, we don’t have to memorize all the Bible verses and know everything there is to know of what the Bible says. The answers are right in front of your face when you start to think about it.
We minister through our lives and how we live daily. If we are living with God, speaking to Him and seeking Him daily, we are then able to discern which actions or decisions would be more godly. If we then start to live up to these godly expectations, with righteousness given through Him as we grow, then we are ministering through our lives and how we live. You have to remember that it’s not always about having a sit down with someone to speak about Christ. And even if you do talk to someone about Him you shouldn’t worry about having the right things to say or right questions to ask. God will give you the things to say when He has called you specifically for that purpose or to help a specific person, but you also need to ask. That is not to say that you have to wait around until you feel compelled for a certain person. You can ask Him for guidance in speaking about Him on a regular basis throughout your life, to whomever you come across.
But otherwise in the world, we show it with how we live, what we surround ourselves with, how we talk, and how we act or treat others. If we’re living just as worldly as everyone else, do you think that they’ll start to listen to you when you suddenly speak of the Father? Do you think they’ll see what sets you apart and how only true peace can come from Him? I’ve thought about this concerning with my work place quite often. I’ve even realized that with how I was living in the past most people I am around find it odd or don’t really have anything to say if I bring up anything dealing with God or the Bible. They think it seems “out of character” of me to even speak of what I believe. Which is my own fault because of how I used to live. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be turned around for His purposes and that others wont start to see changes in my life that can only be explained by my relationship through Christ.
I’ve found that as I read the Bible every day now it’s about all I want to talk about most of the time. I don’t care about what TV shows are playing, which movies are out, about the newest pop sensation, and any views I have in regards to what’s going on in the world usually get strange looks from everyone else (because of the insight we are given through Him in regards to the world). Continue reading

When Weeks Feel Like Months

I have had quite the week this week and would like to write more on some other topics concerning our Christian faith and some areas I believe people tend to get stuck on. As for right now I do not have the mental copacity to do so and it will have to wait.

It has been a very interesting week though. What I thought was a “wilderness” season in regards to discernment of spirits was.. not. Maybe I’ll get into the experiences we had at a later time. I will say they were probably the most interesting I have had in regards to having someone along side me, witnessing and confirming the things I was witnessing myself in regards to the spiritual realm.

Seeing things can, for the most part, be a scary thing that can cause you to be overcome with fear. One of the many verses I have found encouraging when encountering things from the spiritual realm is Exodus 19:5, where God clearly says, “ for all the earth is mine

Another that comes to mind is Exodus 14:14 stating that the Lord will fight for us.
Seek Him and He shall protect you. He shall give unto His children of their needs, for He hears our cries.

Until a another time. While you’re here, enjoy this picture of some bears and feel free to make up your own commentary of what they’re saying in your head.

4-brown-bear-enjoy

Church and Ministry: I believe

(Backdate: 6/6/14 2:09 AM)

I believe that when a person, or people, are genuinely saved by Christ, they are a function of the Body (the church). That when we work together, even through slight differences, to bring others to get to know Christ and spread God’s Word then we are functioning in the Body. I believe the “body of Christ” is meant in regards to a much larger scale than just one church alone.

God created us all to be unique, with our own minds, a free will, emotions, dreams, desires, etc. In a way we are created this way to be unique. When we come together we cannot say each of us learns the same as the other, or receives as another, otherwise we would all be the same, not individuals, that can also learn from each other. We are individuals to play parts on a much larger scale.

I don’t believe that it is up to just one church or ministry alone to be correct, for we all have humanly judgments, as is our human nature, but Christ living in us is what brings us together as one Body. I feel that if God wanted it to be just one way He would have made us to understand His Word in one singular way, but it is because we are different (individuals) that we have variations in our interpretations and churches. Most of which are a function of a part of the Body, to better help serve to the lost individuals who are also unique, that might have a better understanding of His Word through that ministry, group, church, etc.

If we are seeking Him and His will for us, spreading His good word, then we are functioning parts of a much larger body than just one church, group, or ministry.

It is not up to one church or ministry to save the world, but up to all of us to minister together, as all who are genuinely saved, who serve the same true God.

I also believe that a church is congregation, and congregation is a group of people (large or small) that comes together to fellowship and serve the Lord.

I feel too many people put too much emphasis on the word “church.”

Do they not consider those ministering in other countries where there might only be a hand full of believers? When they come together to fellowship and praise and serve the Lord, they are a form of “church”, and it is through Christ that they are a function in the body while serving the Lord.

As believers we are all connected in Christ. No one is inferior to another as long as we are seeking the Lord.

Could you say all Catholics are not Christians but all Methodists are? Are those in non-denominational churches better off than the denominational churches? It is not about what “church” you belong to, but if you belong to the Lord.

I am not Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, Catholic, or Protestant; I am Christan.

It is not about the body in the sense of one physical church, the church of man, but about the overall body in Christ, the church of God. One is not better than the others for interpreting one way, while another interprets another way, it is about or union together as believers in Christ that makes up the whole body.

We are showed to disagree with others, but the real point is to acknowledge that although we feel one way whole others might feel another way, we are all believers in Christ and therefore are collectively the body of Christ.