Lets Be Clear

Lots of people have all kinds of ideas and opinions lately. Everyone is talking and not too many people are stopping to look, or stopping to listen. Even those who say they’re Christian. Now I don’t expect someone with absolutely no church upbringing, or relationship with Jesus Christ to understand a Christian point of view. However, I do expect Christians to know and understand BIBLICAL views. And I expect them to look to the one and ONLY reliable source for guidance and comfort. So since so many have an opinion (including Christians) what does God say? Lets start with the topic that seems to be on everyone’s mind. Equality. (In every sense of the term.)

Deuteronomy 10:17  “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”

 Malachi 2:10  “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?

 Job 32:21-22    Let me now be partial to no one, Nor flatter any man. For I do not know how to flatter, Else my maker would soon take me away.”

 Galatians 3:26-29  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Now how about authority? What does God say about that?

1Peter 2:13-14  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority; whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to the governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to command those who do right.”

 Romans 13:1-2  Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.

 Ok, but what about social responsibilities? What? In fact, does God have to say about that? This one brothers and sisters, carries a warning (and instruction) for those within our own ranks.

 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15  “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘That one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.”

 This is strong language. And it’s strong language intended for the first Christians so that repentance might occur. (And because the first Christians, much like today’s Christians, didn’t behave like they should.) Keep in mind too, this is after Jesus came to earth for forgiveness of our sins. Yes, Jesus is patient. But these words in Paul’s letters are not just Paul’s words. They’re inspired by the Holy Spirit. In other words, this is Jesus saying these things. It’s easy to get comfortable in God’s great grace and mercy that He freely offers His children. However, be alert. God will not allow arrogant disobedience to reign and poison the flock. There will be a judgement day. For that reason, warnings are necessary. As some will fall away due to false teachings. So,(I’m gonna say it again) what does God have to say about false teachers, and blinded and hard hearts?

2 Thessalonians 2:2-17  “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us-whether by a prophesy or by a word of mouth or by letter-asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be god.

Don’t you remember when I was with you, I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ we have some choices ahead of us. Believe in God, or believe in the lie. How many of us go to church and yet, neglect the word of God in our daily lives? In America where Bibles are plentiful; yet, even Christians don’t read it. And if we do, we only read what makes us feel better. I beg of you, if you want to make sense of the world we live in and keep from incurring judgement; READ your Bible. Systematically, daily . . . and with purpose. I know this was a long blog, but I also know people don’t tend to look up verse references. Therefore, the whole verse is there for the reading. And if anyone does not like the words in this blog; it’s not my words they aren’t liking. It’s God’s words. Which is also why no one should dare to ask (or suggest) that their pastor sugar coat the message. Or take it easy on the wording. That’s just another way of nit-picking God’s word. It’s the job and duty of Pastors everywhere to tell the truth, harsh as it may be. It is not their job to tell us what we want to hear but what we NEED to hear. Love warns those in danger, love does not keep silent while watching victims head into danger. Who among us wouldn’t stop our children from running into a street? This is no different.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I implore you. –Part 1

Part 1

I begin as the Apostle Paul began; first with greetings and what is admirable and good about our collective statement of faith, then with a reminder of what God’s truth is.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I love that we are so patient and tolerant and want nothing more than to show others the love of Jesus Christ. I love that we are the polite Chick Fil A goers and we fill those large churches with joyful singing. We are a patient, forgiving, and kind group of people. Yet, there is a side that also means love but we call it discipline.

Please then fellow Christians, please stop apologizing to the world for what God says is wrong. Of course God forgives and God loves all His children (believers or non), but would you say that God condones sin? Is Our almighty God okay with adulterous behavior, molesters, thieves, or murder? Of course not! Yet when we tolerate certain behaviors in the church we broadcast to the secular world that very message without meaning to. Yes, forgive within the church and outside the church but please don’t pretend it’s ok. Consequences need to still be a thing. In fact God uses consequences for our good.

1 Corinthians:5

3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Yes, the Bible said hand him over to Satan. Doesn’t sound very kind, but look what it says after that. “So that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” The spirit is more important. We have to start thinking eternally. Again Paul goes on further still saying this:

1 Corinthians:5

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

In other words, as professed Christians, we are told explicitly to judge those who also claim to be followers of Christ Jesus. We are to set the good example and not conform to the worldly ways. Not speaking of daily mess ups that we all have, or even of the renewed in Christ who know of the past condemning life they led; but specifically I (Paul also) speak of the current proclaimed, professing Christian who goes on deliberately condoning (or doing) what the Bible speaks against. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6, we read:

Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

I address this first because I want to remind my brothers and sisters in Christ, that our title comes with responsibility. That having taken on the name of Christ, we now assume representation of Him. Whether on purpose or through our everyday customs that just don’t look very becoming. (Example: cursing) In our lives, appearances do matter. Just like when a teacher tells children to act as best they can, so that the school they attend might be represented in the best light. Why wouldn’t (or couldn’t) adults be able to control their behavior in the same way? Of course mistakes will be made, however, can we say we’ve tried if we’ve already formed an excuse in our minds? If children can be taught self-control, can we not do the same? Shouldn’t we in fact try even harder for the sake of our children and even more so the sake of our Savior who paid such a high price? Our Savior who bought us with His blood? Yes, of course.

Because it is better to be disciplined by those who love you and save your soul, than to go on in polite tolerance thereby risking eternal death. Christians please, remember our beginnings. Remember who we are. Remember that it is an ETERNAL existence we fight for. This life, our church, is but a shadow of things to come. Of things in heaven that our buildings and society pale in comparison to.

Hebrews 8:5

“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Aim Higher — Think Smaller

I am posting this for one of our church members, Becky, who does not use the computer.

Temperance means to be self-disciplined — eating healthy foods, including the avoidance of eating more than our bodies require, as well as the wrong types of food.  Reduced calorie intake is best achieved with a low fat, whole foods diet.  We need to think about what we put into our mouths, eat the food God made and stay away from foods that are man made (processed foods high in sugar and fat).  Body, mind, and spirit interact with each other, so we all have a responsibility to keep the all healthy.  Thanks be to God who gives us our daily bread.

See the source image

Molded by The Father

As parents, we all try to mold our children in different ways.  We provide them with learning experiences such as music or swimming lessons. We teach them to socialize by making play dates with others, or taking them to nursery school.  We may send them to camp or take them to different places on vacation. We expose them to libraries and restaurants and museums and concerts.  We set rules for living well and let them suffer the consequences when they break those rules.  Our ultimate goal is to help them live a productive and contented life.

Well, God is our Father, and He is interested in molding us as well.  Listen to these verses from Jeremiah 18:1-5:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  ‘Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’  So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at the wheel.  And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me:  ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as the potter has done?'”

Everything that happens in our lives is sent by our Father to change us into the vessel he wants us to be.  Some of the things that change us are really good;  others are challenging; and yet others seem to break us open completely.  The Bible tells us that:

“For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11

God, our Father, wants the best for us.  The good things we receive from His hand are cause for gratitude;  the painful things are too, for they are all part of the individual learning experience God has tailored for every one of us.

What will you learn from what God sends you today?


Running Faster

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

In my previous post, I talked about what we Christians are to pursue or run after.  That made me think about how in a number of places, the Bible describes the Christian life as a race.  In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul gives some advice on how to run that race.  First he mentions the need for discipline:

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.” 1 Corinthians 9:25

We can all testify to this.  It takes self-control to follow  God’s rules when sin is our default position.

Paul goes on to say that as Christians we have a goal, better than any worldly prize.  We do not run aimlessly, but with purpose.

“They (athletes) do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Even with an eternal reward in mind we can get tired, lose focus, or feel like giving up.  Here are some words of wisdom from the author of Hebrews:

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith …”Hebrews 12:1-2

On our own, we can never win the prize, but

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own.  But one thing I do:  forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14

Run with discipline.

Run with a goal.

Run with perseverance..

Run toward Jesus.


A Model of Obedience

“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:3-8

Often we know what God asks of us, we just don’t want to do it.  It may be difficult.  It may cost us something.  We may have to give up something we like, even if it isn’t good for us. It may hurt our ego to admit God’s plans are better than ours.

 When I feel this way, I need to look at Jesus, who in Hebrews is called “the author and perfecter”  of our faith. Jesus was willing to obey God, even when it meant giving up for a time the splendor of His godhead.  He was willing to obey even when it cost Him his human life.  He was willing to obey even when it meant dying the humiliating death of a criminal.  The author of the book of Hebrews tells us:

“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”  Hebrews 12:4

No matter what obedience to God costs us, it cost Jesus more.  He obeyed out of love for us.  Surely we can obey out of love for God and others.  In the end, obedience to God is for our own good.

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11

Caring for the Body

For no one every hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cares for it, just as Christ does the church because we are members of his body.”  Ephesians 5:29

In a number of places in the Bible, the church is called the Body of Christ.  Think about the verse above and how you care for your own physical body.

Do you nourish it? (most of us do that only too well).  What about Christ’s body?  Do you nourish it by participating regularly in worship and Holy Communion?

Do you exercise your body so it will stay healthy? Maybe you walk or spend time at a gym. How about Christ’s body?  Do you keep it healthy with disciplines such as studying the word of God?  Do you practice good deeds in an effort to grow stronger and more mature in Christ?

What do you do to keep your body looking good?  Do you buy nice clothing, use “lotions and potions”, go tanning, have your hair styled? What about God’s house?  Do you contribute to its’ maintenance with your money, time and talents?  Or do you just take for granted that it will always be there for you?

When your physical body develops an illness or weakness, you probably go to the doctor for advice.  How about the church?  If there is a problem there, do you take it to the Great Physician in prayer?  Do you give it some extra tlc and attention so that the difficulty can be resolved?  Or do you walk away and avoid the issue?

What about bad habits? Many of us have given up smoking, eating certain foods or drinks, etc.  when we discover it is having a bad effect on our body.  What about the body of Christ?  Are we willing to give up “all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and all slander.”?(1 Peter 2:1)

The Church is Christ’s body and He loved it(and all its’ members, including you) enough to die for it.  Do you love it at least as well as your own body?  I hope I remember to do this.

What’s Your Favorite?

What’s your favorite book of the Bible?  Mine is Hebrews.  I’m excited about Michele’s interactive study posts on this book.  The verse I consider my “life verse” is there:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews has many other verses I find inspiring and edifying:

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves.”  Hebrews 10:1

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews:11:1

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good works.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are doing, but let us encourage each other–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11

These are just some of the verses I love.  I also like the fact that we don’t know who wrote Hebrews.  Just think about it–an anonymous writer, but his words were chosen and still being used by God 2000 years later.

This book teaches me.  It lifts me up every time I read through it.  If I could choose one book of the Bible to take with me to a desert island, this would be it.  What about you?  What’s your favorite?  I hope some of our other bloggers and followers will do posts and send comments.  I also hope you will comment on Michele’s posts on Hebrews.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian Freedom

While imprisoned by the Nazis at Tegel military prison, and shortly after learning of the last failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned a short poem for his friend, Eberhard Bethge.

Though we must be careful to appreciate the time and place from which it sprung, it brings with it plenty of implications for the ways in which we order our lives and allegiances. Indeed, in his prodding toward obedience, discipline, and submission to God — features many would find contradictory or in opposition to freedom — Bonhoeffer’s embrace of this profound paradox dovetails quite nicely with Lord Acton’s statement defining liberty not as the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”


Stations on the Road to Freedom by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all things to govern your soul and your senses, for fear that your passions and longings may lead you away from the path you should follow. Chaste be your mind and your body, and both in subjection, obediently, steadfastly seeking the aim set before them; only through discipline may a man learn to be free.


Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.


A change has come indeed. Your hands, so strong and active, are bound; in helplessness now you see your action is ended; you sigh in relief, your cause committing to stronger hands; so now you may rest contented. Only for one blissful moment could you draw near to touch freedom; then, that it might be perfected in glory, you gave it to God.


Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal; death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish the walls of our temporal body, the walls of our souls that are blinded, so that at last we may see that which here remains hidden. Freedom, how long we have sought thee in discipline, action, and suffering; dying, we now may behold thee revealed in the Lord.

My Type Of Prayer

“Prayer is a communicative response to our knowledge of God” I learned this during a class held by Pastor Culler at St. Paul’s. I learned a lot about prayer and the different ways we pray. One of the best things I learned was that there is not a wrong way to pray. I found out that I do not need to be on my knees for God to hear me, I just need to speak to him. This has helped me realize that when we pray, it is alright to do like I do and have a conversation with God about the things that have blessed or concerned me. But as with any conversation, I also had to learn to listen for an answer. So I pray through out the day in more of a conversation type prayer instead of on my knees and all at once.

I wonder how many people out there think you have to pray on your knees or that there is a correct way to pray and if we do not do it the correct way, God doesn’t listen?

Tell me this, how do you pray? Do you have a specific time set aside, or do you pray throughout the day? Do you have to be on your knees, or can you be at the sink doing dishes?

This blog is about learning how all of us use Christianity in our lives, so post a comment and let me know


Remember God Loves You And So Do I