Nevertheless

Nevertheless

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3 NIV

There is so much that can be said by way of a commentary to this passage of scripture, but I suggest that anyone reading this and others–let it marinate–steep–settle–into your spirit and then hear what God has to say.

I do not have a problem saying the same thing over and over and over again and will most likely do so until I hear church leaders repent from their lying ways.

When people lie–they are the enemies of god and Paul gives us a perfect picture of what they do–their god is their greed–in money and power; their minds are set on earthly things like–a Supreme Court Justice who will do their bidding.

How do we know the enemies of God? They do not live according to God’s Word. They do not make considerations for the poor and the needy–the vulnerable who either have no voice or do not know how to articulate their needs. In political arenas–they cut funding to assist the poor, making excuses to enrich the wealthy at the expense of all others. They lie against those who think differently than they do and they encourage those who follow them to promote the lies.

God has a response for them and they will know it sooner than later for when all is said and done; God still has the last Word and He will pronounce it publicly for all the world to see.

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ nor am I ashamed to speak on behalf of those who may not have the same venue or platform that I do. And I will speak out–often and loudly. I will also encourage any who love The Lord as I do--to live according to His Word, and not the dictates and false propaganda perpetuated by the pseudo-christians who have not the love of God dwelling within.

I have no fear of losing my mansion in heaven because I know I am doing as I am directed to do by my Heavenly Father and othersI will not hear, for they have not heaven or hell for me.

As long as there are lies spread abroad by those professing to be Christians, yet are not living the life (and we can see by what they do), I will speak out against all church leaders who mislead God’s people. And if I have to call them out by name–I will not hesitate to do so since their actions are public knowledge and I have nothing to lose, yet everything to gain by making people aware of who they are. Some are televangelists–many of who I have stopped paying attention; some are traveling evangelists–whose words don’t line up with God’s Word nor do their actions; some are bloggers and authors–who consistently publish their nonsense on the Internet.  Oh yes, I know who they are and anyone with a discerning spirit also knows who they are. Those in the pulpits in various churches who lie to their congregants–will have to deal with God since I won’t visit them to verify or confirm what they say.  They know who they are.

And if anyone–I do mean anyone–thinks God cares about our political views that don’t align with His Word–they are seriously deluded for Christ did not die for Republicans or Democrats. He died so that anyone–and He meant that–anyone who chose to believe would be saved  (John 3:16) and there was no other criteria established by Him; but man has perverted God’s Word to promote their own agenda as they are prone to do.

Nevertheless, I say once more that we all will stand before God on that great day and give an account what we have done in the earth–did we promote Jesus or political ideology that did not demonstrate God’s love for all?

goats and sheep

The Leadership Charge!

The Leadership Charge!

Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.  Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. I Timothy 5:19-25 NIV

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, instructions are given for those in leadership positions in how to govern and teach others as well as for himself. Any good leader–knows they need to have the wisdom of those who know what they’re doing in order to lead others. Wisdom from above–is immeasurable and when followed–peace and love will reign.

We are living in an age where many people think that whatever they find on the Internet is credible. Those of us who know how to determine credibility of information know–without question–that not everything on the Internet is trustworthy and we certainly should not share the lies and falsehoods promoted by others. For when we participate in the spreading of lies–chaos reigns and reputations are destroyed. And then we are reminded by what Hosea said, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”

We must remember that God sees all and more importantly, He knows our hearts and intent for everything we do. We mere mortals can only see what is exposed–not having the ability to read a person’s mind, but if we are careful to observe a matter and seek Holy Spirit, we can accurately assess information gathered and draw conclusions–predicting what happens next.

There are so many false news outlets infiltrating the Internet, that I cannot begin to name them all, but I have seen how they operate. Many of the URLs–include the name of the party providing the information and we know is skewed to favor them and impugn others. The real travesty is that when people don’t know how to discern the truth from the fiction, the gullible believe the fiction and will not hear the truth. When leaders–anywhere–but especially in the church–promote fiction as truth, they will have to answer to God, not only for what they do, but what they have led others to believe.

How do we discern truth from fiction in a news outlet? Look at the source–how many writers are involved? What is their source of information? What is the level of bias detected? Is this a true journalistic endeavor or is it simply a means for someone to vent? Blogs and most other social media posts are merely there for the purpose of espousing the writer or group’s opinions and many of those expressed opinions are not based upon any legitimate facts. Unless the site is an actual news outlet (NYT, WSJ, WP, or local news chains), chances are–what is said needs to be verified or confirmed through another legitimate source. The other method to determine truth of a situation is by the end tags–.edu, .org or .gov. Some–not all–bearing the .com or .net tags are not credible sources and need confirmation. Research the author of the site and their credentials or expertise.

As Believers–we should be able to discern truth from fiction by seeking the basis for what is said on The Word. Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth and we shall know the truth, if we have a mind to listen.

With the above premise–how can we then participate in vicious lies told to destroy a person’s reputation without seeking credible witnesses? Specifically, I’m referencing the lies promoted and advocated by Fox News, Breitbart, and Alex Jones. The things they promote are based upon fractions of truth–becoming whole lies–and there is never credible confirmation of anything they promote. Does not Paul warn us about–participating in the sins of others in his letter to Timothy? So, if people publish lies and we promote the lies, are we not just as guilty as the person or entity who started the lie?

If what we see or hear cannot be confirmed by two or more credible witnesses–we should not partake in the character assassinations advocated by false news sources. Do we not have ears to hear, eyes to see, and Holy Spirit within to direct us in all things? If so, we need to rely more upon Him than in the production of fake news, designed to destroy–not only the targets of the lies, but the gullible who believe the lies. Facts are verifiable, while fiction–is just that–made up in the minds of those who promote it.

If what we do does not promote love, peace and harmony, then we might to re-think what we’re doing and get our relationship with God right!

Leading a Regret-Free Life!

Leading a Regret-Free Life!

“Therefore, from among the men who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us —beginning from the baptism of John until the day He was taken up from us — from among these, it is necessary that one become a witness with us of His resurrection.” So they proposed two: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know the hearts of all; show which of these two You have chosen to take the place in this apostolic service that Judas left to go to his own place.” Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was numbered with the 11 apostles. Acts 1:21-26 HCSB

All of us have to make decisions on a regular basis and sometimes, we allow our feelings to interfere in the decision-making process. Whenever we allow feelings to guide us, we’ll end up with regrets. The only wise avenue to pursue in making decisions is to pray first–then listen to Holy Spirit and lead a regret-free life.

Considering the magnitude of what the disciples had to do–spread the Gospel–when they had to replace of their number–they didn’t just allow their thoughts and feelings to guide them–they prayed and waited for Holy Spirit to show them who to choose.

While some have made choices–especially in choosing leadership positions in churches–based upon affiliation or familial connections–and sometimes expectations to serve a personal need–there is usually turmoil and confusion as an end result because no one consulted The Lord. The wise, mature Christians–who understand The Word, know that no decision regarding the functioning of a church should be made without prayer. And while praying, people need to be open to hearing Holy Spirit so there can be no doubt that decisions are made with the guidance of The Lord.

Decision-making without Holy Spirit direction leads to misunderstandings, confusion, and eventual dissension among the masses. Within the church (body of local believers), no one person or clique should ever be allowed to make decisions or influence others in the process, that impact the entire church. This is especially true in those situations where no one is living according to The Word and none are filled with Holy Spirit to even know when He’s speaking. If people do not know The Word, they cannot function according to The Word.

In life–every aspect of living–this premise is also true. We make decisions about marriage, jobs, education, having children, traveling, moving from place to place and whenever we leave God out of the midst of our decision-making–we usually end up regretting the decisions we make.

Now, we are entering a time of decision-making in which every born-again Believer–must seek God’s direction in electing the next president of this country. We cannot allow feelings and emotional baggage to hinder or interfere with our hearing Holy Spirit. We cannot allow the media portrayal of candidates to persuade us, so we must depend on our knowledge of The Word, the evidence we see and hear as to whether or not the individuals actually know God, and we must pray, continually. We are told in The Word that we should pray without ceasing–never making a decision until we hear from God.

If we allow Holy Spirit to guide us in all–not some of our decision-making–we can and will live a regret-free life, but we must start now–to pray and not just ask, but hear from The Lord and act on what we hear from God–not the media, neighbors, family or friends, but only from The Lord.

Pulpit Idiocy!

One of the reasons our society at-large is in the shape that it is in is because of some of  those in leadership in churches. When leadership fails to live up to standards of integrity and virtue, then the whole house (for which it leads) is subject to failure!

This didactic is not about casting judgment upon those who have exercised no wisdom in the things they do, but it is an attempt to bring to the forefront–awareness–so that all of the idiocy that begins in a pulpit–regardless of denomination–is exposed and those who perpetrate it have room to repent and desist.

First of all, if a person has never been taught The Word in a structured, educational environment that provides guidance in extrapolating, dissecting and “rightly dividing the word,” they should never be allowed to present information to others that they do not understand.  Why does this happen? When the leadership is not led by God, but by emotions or familial connection, we end up with idiots in a pulpit.

Does that mean that everyone with a degree in theology or Christian Education belongs in a pulpit? No, it does not.  We have all seen the messes created with some who hold degrees and titles who–because of their lack of relationship with God–have  made a mockery of the church, Christianity and all that it involves.

Who’s left? For those who “hire” the pastor or church leader by any other name, accountability lies with them.  If their relationship is not right with God, they may end up making a decision that will prove detrimental to the whole body. Congregations need to know–if the leadership is not living a godly life–they are under no obligation to support idiocy and should not support idiocy.  Unfortunately, many people in the congregation of a church are cajoled “to forgive” those who commit transgressions and move on, but few have actually forced the guilty leadership to repent and rethink what they’re doing.  As a result, wrong-thinking people continue to lead entire congregations astray and many have bullied the congregation into allowing them to keep their position. If the people–in the congregation–understood The Word–this could never happen. There are far too many wolves in our society, pretending to be something they are not and far, far too many sheep who fall into their clutches.

How do we get rid of the idiocy in the pulpit? Every born-again believer needs to understand The Word for themselves and when they hear and see conduct that is not of God in the leadership, they should act to rid themselves of that person. If more people did this, we would have fewer people in leadership positions, conning the people.

How do we know when there is idiocy in the pulpit? When the leadership (male or female) is abusing/misusing their position with members of the congregation. No one in a church should be subjected to sexual advances from any church leadership for any reason. That is not God speaking to them, but the devil himself.  No one should be subjected to listening to a preacher who has proven themselves to be less than honest, never really teaches The Word, but is always fussing and negative about those in the church. No church should be subjected to those who steal from the church in an effort to make themselves look good. No one should ever have to feel that they have to support idiocy when they see it–when the pastor wants more for a salary than the church can support. That is total idiocy! And then we have the church leaders who want to “build unto themselves a mini-kingdom” and expect the congregation to foot the bill, whether building is needed or not–idiocy!

How do we avoid the pulpit idiocy? The Word tells us that we ought to always pray. We should pray about where we worship, asking God to reveal everything we need to know about a situation before we settle there. We should pray for the leaders–all over the land–in every church–that they will hear and obey the voice of God. We should know The Word for ourselves so when we hear error being taught, we know it and can do something about it. We should pray for ourselves and our families, and church congregations that they would understand the legal ramifications for the role and duties of a church. Every person attending a church as a member and supporting it has a right to know how decisions are made and how money is spent. When leadership is found not living according to the Word, the congregants should make it known and with discussion–provide an avenue for the leadership to get it together or leave. These should be the only two options.  If the leadership won’t listen to the congregants, then the congregants should leave and find a place of worship where the leadership hears God.

One of the biggest problems we have with church leadership today is the practice of nepotism. Every son thinks that if their father is a pastor, they should be next in line. Churches should never be treated like a family business; especially if no training has been afforded to those being put in leadershipFathers and mothers need to stop “calling” their sons into ministry and allow God to be God in the lives of their children. Not every offspring of a preacher was intended by God to preach, but in our society that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. When we do not do things God’s way, we mess up and end up with idiocy in the pulpit.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to be more sensitive to You in hearing and obeying Your voice and not the one of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Remind us to pray about everything we do–where we worship, how we support that place and who we should “hear” as a leader. And when we find idiocy, help us to be bold enough to expose it for the benefit of all. Amen!

Truth Causes Divisions?

“Thus the people were divided because of Jesus” (John 7:43 NIV). PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE CHAPTER FOR CONTEXT!

Whenever there is misunderstanding of history, usually because of the varied lenses by which all view history, there is of necessity a difference of opinion. In this passage of scripture we see several things happening that are worth deep thought (beyond surface level).

First of all, the Pharisees and the chief priests (the church leadership) were not really thrilled with the reaction of the people (they felt their authority was being threatened) when they heard Jesus speaking. They all knew about the promise of the Messiah from “the scriptures” (scrolls about the prophets), but because they were looking for someone to lead them into “battle” in order to obtain freedom, they overlooked “The Truth” and what Truth was saying.

Because they could not agree about who Jesus was (murmuring to themselves), especially after He told them about the Holy Spirit, they became divided factions of “religious” folks; not knowing that The Truth was standing among them. The leaders became so incensed with Jesus teaching truth and not trying to fleece people or to bind them to traditional rules and regulations that they planned to arrest Him (they could not stand the competition). They thought their knowledge of “The Prophets” was so superior to anyone else that they rejected the idea that Jesus could be anything other than a deceiver of the people.

Now, if our relationship with God is right, we can look at this passage of scripture and understand that the enemy had already influenced the leadership into believing a lie. Because they believed the lie (arrogance will lead to being deceived), they lost an opportunity to have a relationship with Truth. Then the people, because of their varied expectations, became divided because they did not recognize Truth speaking when they heard Him.

Jesus is The Truth, and The Light, The Lamb, Bright Morning Star, Our Deliverer, Our Savior, Our Lord, The Way into the presence of The Father. If we understand John’s relationship with Jesus–that they were very close since they were related biologically, we can see how John’s insight should bring us all into relationship with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We cannot have a right relationship with one, without all.

Perhaps, we can grasp this line of thought better when we look at all of the various denominations and factions of Christians who all believe they know the truth. But if they all know The Truth, would there be a need for the divisions of Christianity? If all believers had a relationship with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, wouldn’t we be united by the relationship with them?  If we all had the same type of relationship with Them (Trinity) that we have with close family members, would we need different denominations proclaiming to be Christian in nature?

We are where we are because those in leadership positions, choose to maintain barriers and obstacles that divide rather than unite. Arrogance and superiority (influenced by the enemy) has led to the great divide of those who say they Believe in Jesus. Until we can see Truth for who He is and develop a right relationship with Him, we will remain a divided body of believers who are more concerned with promoting religion than relationship with God. The verse of scripture referenced at the beginning would provide greater clarity if it had continued with--they were divided because of Jesus and their perception of who He was.