Guarding What We Have With Care!

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.” (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 NIV).

Within the context of the instructions given to Timothy regarding how he was to conduct himself within the church, we find those instructions relevant to everyone who is in leadership, now.

Though many may argue that the bible is “simply a book of myths,” those who know Truth, know better. And as such, we can always go back to the bible–for instructions in our daily living, understanding that what God inspired others to write-no matter when it was written–is still good for us, today.

An interesting conversation occurred yesterday when someone said to me, they didn’t finish reading a certain book years ago because of the book’s doctrine. Since I was familiar with the book, I couldn’t understand the reference, but was able to determine that the person meant, “they didn’t want to be indoctrinated” by what was being disclosed in the book. It struck me when it was said and I responded that perhaps, that’s why many people won’t read the bible–fear of indoctrination to a sound belief system.

I know many could argue why the bible is outdated, but they could not argue that with me. I don’t argue over what’s in the bible because of my relationship with God. I know and understand the bible is a summary of historical events, demonstrating God’s love for mankind from the beginning, and is sound–for the day in which we live. If all understood the context of events noted in the bible and what happened and what was said, when–we’d understand that careful study of where we are today, is depicted in the bible–a history that covers about 3500 hundred years of man’s behavior and God’s response.

We learn how God expects us to honor Him and honor parents as well as one another–still relevant today. We learn how we are conduct ourselves with one another–with integrity. We learn what happens to people who do not honor God and those He has chosen. We learn how we are to respond to those who are different and respect them for who they are. We learn about politics and leadership, taxes, and love relationships–culminating in marriage as part of His plan to see mankind continually perpetuated by new births. We learn how much He loves us through His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension with the promise of His return. We learn how to operate in the gifts and power He has given us through Holy Spirit. We learn to love the unlovable and to pray for our enemies. And everything we learn now, is referenced in the bible–that “book of myths” by which so many have used–to gain wealth and assist others.

All of this–and more–Paul was reminding Timothy of as he started leading a church--to stay the course and guard what he had been taught, never allowing the foolishness of demonic teachings to become part of what he taught others.

Unfortunately, since many do not understand how Holy Spirit operates in our lives, they have succumbed to demonic teaching–all those things that are opposed to God’s plans for mankind–and they think they are teaching truth. They are not teaching God’s Truth and since we have no truth to teach, what is being taught is a lie and we know that Satan is the father of all liars. We cannot allow demonic teachings to keep us from our destination–an eternity with God. 

With all of our getting, we must get wisdom–and true wisdom only comes from above–not below. We must guard the wisdom given from God with great care and allow Him to direct us in all things.

Will Your Work Stand The Test?

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-13 NIV)

In a number of places across the country, storms are a challenge to daily living. People end up watching their hard-earned livelihoods, homes, and other property–destroyed by wind and rain. However, even in the midst of the destruction, some buildings remain, untouched, as though it had been moved until the storm finished its destruction.

Companies–who miss laying a solid foundation for functioning and surviving–cease to exist in the midst of economic storms–and people lose their jobs, homes, and families disintegrate as consumer prices rise and many are left standing as though zombies, wondering what just happened.

Families–who try to exist and survive without a firm foundation of love and respect–end up scattered like the wind blowing birdseed–landing where they may, not knowing how to continue for they have no foundation on which to build.

Everything that survives the test of time and trial does so because of having a solid foundation and the church is no different. The foundation in the church is Jesus Christ and if anyone attempts to build on any other foundation–they place themselves in position to be tested and most won’t withstand the test. But this test–is not about wind and rain–it is about judgment from on high. If our foundation is Jesus Christ–then everything we do–should be according to The Word and not our own thoughts and desires.

Some people–have taken the above-referenced passage of scripture to mean that buildings used for worship services should not contain costly stone, gold or silver.  But if that were true, they also should not use hay, straw, or wood. The metaphor used is not about what the building is made of, but what’s being done within the building. If our bodies are temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, what are we doing to them? All Believers are the Body of Christ–but what are we doing to demonstrate that our foundation is Jesus Christ?

I hate to belabor a point made many times, by many people–but when I see people who proclaim to be Christians and yet live in opposition to God’s Word--I question the foundation of their proclamation–it cannot be Jesus Christ.

If we truly belong to Him, then we listen to what He says, understand what He says, and obey what He says. That is–if our foundation is Jesus Christ–we will not allow another to mislead and deceive us by trying to convince us otherwise. God’s Word never changes, while man’s fickleness is constantly changing–which is why the laws of the land are always changing to pacify those who choose not to live according to God’s Word. For if we lived according to God’s Word–there would be no need for laws and all would live in peace.

But the key to establishing a solid foundation about anything is in the ability of the leader to inspire and motivate others to build with care–that on which they profess to stand. Will your work stand the test? If not, perhaps, it’s time to tear down the existing foundation of beliefs and rebuild on solid ground with faith in Jesus Christ–who never fails or disappoints.

With All of Us!

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Philippians 4:23)

In contemporary times, if anyone is still writing a letter, we generally close it by saying, “Sincerely yours,” or “Yours in Christ,” or if it’s an informal letter, “Love” and our names. Generally, our letters are intended for one person, but Paul wrote to churches, with the intent that all should hear what he said.

We know this because of how he ends his letter to the church at Philippi–decreeing the unmerited favor of Christ be with us all.

Now, the beauty of Paul’s letters is that even though they were written with specific instructions and encouragements to each church, they all shared the letters and understood, for the most part, that the intent was meant for every established church who proclaimed the name of Jesus. This is one of the reasons why he did not have to repeat things and this is also why none of us should ever be foolish enough to say, “What was said in one letter (or segment of scripture) has nothing to do with the rest of us.”

What he wrote, guided by Holy Spirit, to the church in Rome applies to every church–then and now.

What he wrote to the church in Ephesus, applies to every church–then and now.

What he wrote to the church in Colosse, applies to every church–then and now.

What he wrote to the church in Corinth, applies to every church, then and now.

What he wrote to the church in Galatia, applies to every church, then and now.

What he wrote to the church in Thessalonica, applies to every church, then and now.

What he wrote, as instructions to Timothy, applies to everyone in ministry, then and now.

What he wrote, to Titus, applies to everyone in ministry, then and now.

What he wrote, to Philemon, applies to every Born-Again Believer, then and now.

What John wrote in all of his letters, including the Revelation given to him, applies to everyone, now–just as it did then.

So, how can we say, “What God said in one passage of the Bible” does not apply to all of us, now?

Is it because we choose not to understand the “history” of how God worked in the lives of those who believed Him and how He is still working?

The Old Testament–those writings before Jesus ascended to heaven–were written that we might know He is the same God, yesterday, today and forever.

When we understand His intent–for both then and now–we can truly receive His grace and know that it is for all who Believe and receive His love. His grace–favor we could not earn–is for all who dare to have a relationship with Him through Holy Spirit, but we cannot have a right-relationship with Him until we are willing to understand His Word. “Study to show yourself approved unto to God, knowing how to rightly explain and instruct others in The Word” and how it applies to all of us, right now!

Stand Firm (Part Three)

(Still in Ephesians 6)

Now think about this—membership into any entity means when you join—you agree to abide by the rules and policies. What makes you think a church should operate any differently? If you’re not a member—don’t expect to sing in the choir, serve on the usher board or to hold any other office or position in a church. If you’re not financially supporting the church “as a member” don’t expect to have any say-so in what the church does with the resources they have. When I read some of the asinine comments people make about “what a church or pastor should do” I know they are not supporting members anywhere. In fact, for those who claim to be Believers—I wonder if they even know what it means to be in relationship with God—not just the church or a religion.

And speaking of “religion” and how every negative comment regards it—get over it. Religious people seldom have a relationship with God. They are religious out of tradition, not knowledge—they don’t have a clue. I can tell from some of the comments being made that there are a number of people who say they have been turned off religion because of the actions of the pastor who cancelled the funeral. Good for them—they didn’t need religion to start with—they need Jesus. If all they’re seeking is religious involvement, they might as well not attend any church and they certainly need not condemn others who do not support their beliefs.

Another point of contention—for me. Why is it that every time a Believer says something is sin—everyone wants to jump down their throats? If you don’t want to believe a certain behavior or lifestyle is sin—whoopee! You don’t have to believe, but stop trying to tell us what we believe is wrong and expecting us to change our beliefs for you. You don’t have a heaven or hell for us, so why should we care what you believe? If you have a right to believe what you want to believe—so do we do—and I’m not suing anyone to make that point. The court systems should be ashamed of themselves for getting caught up in Satan’s web and deliberating promoting ungodliness. You can think what you want of this statement—in the end—God will judge its merits and everything else we do or say.

Finally, I must end this rant. I applaud every pastor and believing Christian who stands firm on the foundational beliefs of the Bible. The bible—regardless of version or translation—as long as the “intent of the Word is not compromised” is our foundation for what we believe. If people want to believe a stone has power—so be it. If people want to believe that a snake has power—so be it. If people want to believe that “any mortal being” has power—so be it. Believe whatever you want, but get off the backs of those who stand firm in their belief that God is right and every man a liar. So pastors—stand your ground and preach The Word—living The Word so all may see The Word come to life and be a standard by which God will judge us all. After all—these people did not call you to lead people to Christ—you owe them nothing, but your allegiance is to God and Him alone.

This message has been brought to you by one who not only understands the Written Word of God, but also has a relationship with Him and is not about to play doormat to those who want to step all over Believing Christians. God and God alone shall judge us all! Hallelujah to our Risen Savior! I approve this message!

Stand Firm! (Part Two)

(Still in Ephesians 6)

In spite of what most believe—where there is documentation that supports the foundational belief of a church (statements of faith) those foundational principles trump the opinions of those who know nothing about the bible.

Let’s deal with some facts about “church foundations.” Within the church’s constitution, a plan of action or procedures should be established. Within that plan—the role of the pastor, deacons, trustees, and whoever else is listed should be outlined. If a church “chooses” to make an exception—they are within their rights. And speaking of rights—every church has a right—a spiritual and moral obligation—to exercise biblical principles (unless they are a cult) without being influenced by those who think “being politically correct” is a mandate from God.

The same people who protest church beliefs about “just about anything” and claim justification for their beliefs because “certain words don’t appear” in the bible should be just as prone to censure about “political correctness” since it is a recent phrase used to justify sin and living ungodly by those who want to live ungodly lives.

As much as I’d like to see everyone saved and have the hope of eternal life—I cannot force anyone to believe Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to the world. People can and do believe what they want, but please, please, please—stop trying to get those who do believe to swallow the lies—which we know are influenced by Satan.

Getting back to churches—with membership—like anywhere else—there are privileges. Most churches have established protocols to handle weddings, funerals, baptisms, child dedications, counselling, and just about everything else. For people who are not members of a church—why are they expecting any privileges from the church? Attending a church is not the same as being an active, participating member of the church.

 

Part Three posted tomorrow!

Read, Expect, Pray!

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19 NLT).

Cancelled Funeral

For the next three days, I have scheduled a commentary on a recent event in which a pastor has been “demonized” because of a decision to cancel a funeral in Florida. The deceased–it was discovered–was a gay man, married to another man–which is opposition to the church’s beliefs and policies and that information was withheld from the pastor when they originally agreed to allow the funeral to be held in the church. Don’t judge a matter so quickly that you forget to get all the information! An opinion–without facts to support or document–is just that, an opinion and we all have one. However, in order to not promote ignorance of the role of the church and its leadership, I encourage everyone who usually reads my blog posts to read them in their entirety, expect to have feelings ignited, but pray before you determine anything about me or what I’ve said.  Meditate on The Word, Seek God, and know Truth from Him–not me.

If you feel as though I’m ranting, you’re probably right–but ranting with the intent to inform and negate all the negativity about pastors who actually attempt to do the right thing according to The Word of God, not political correctness or the influence of those who choose to live ungodly lives.

Just as I am encouraging pastors to stand firm in their belief in The Word and to live according to it, I am standing firm in the belief in The Word and in how God wants me to live. If anyone wants to live contrary to The Word–that’s their business and they will have to deal with the consequences–as will I. However, I will not compromise my beliefs simply to make others “feel” better about themselves. I am not a doormat and I will not act like one when it comes to standing on The Word.

Here’s a newsflash–God is not interested in our “feelings;” He’s interested in whether or not we’re living according to His Word and no one, absolutely no one can convince me to live contrary to God’s Word. Living for Him–is a choice–like everything else we do and I choose Jesus over all the “warm fuzzies” from being politically correct by people who don’t know God.

If there are some who think I’m wrong–they’re entitled to think whatever they wish–I’ll await God’s judgment for being on His side rather than theirs!

Love to love you–but I’ll stand firm on The Word!

What Are We Judging?

“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?” (I Corinthians 6:2 NIV)

In reading Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, we see him addressing the difference between the “worldly judges” and “God’s people as judges” within the body of Christ. Of course there is a vast difference between the protocols of court systems then and now, but the gist of the matter is that Christians should not become embroiled in disputes so serious that they cannot be resolved within the body.  This is based upon the presumption that Christians will do no wrong and thereby have no need to be brought into court.

The presumption that Christians will do no wrong is certainly not true today and many infractions that occur in the church can only be handled as a legal matter with a worldly judge–in some instances, judges whose behavior demonstrate they do not know God.

Why are Christians involved in legal matters and being sent to jail? Worldliness–secularism–abject rejection of wanting to please God–has led to the down fall of many who proclaimed to be Christians.  Well-known leaders have fallen because of their notoriety; especially those who humiliated and condemned in public forums those who were caught up before them. Not soon after their public condemnation, they found themselves in the middle of similar types of trouble.  When we point fingers at people–knowing we’re doing the same things–we can only look forward to the finger pointing that is bound to come our way.  “Don’t judge a matter that will judge you in the same manner for the same thing” (paraphrased) Paul reminded the church in Rome.

So what matters are we to judge? If we continue in the same chapter with Paul, he tells us that we are to judge our angels, so we should certainly be able to judge trivial matters that arise in the church.  In another passage of scripture, we are told not to associate with a brother or sister-in-Christ who sins.” In other words, we have a duty to bring acts that are in opposition to God to the forefront, but we are not to judge the person–that is God’s role. We have neither heaven or hell to which to send people. When people oppose God, they will endure God’s judgment, not man’s (unless it is a legal matter concerning violation of man’s laws).

What does this mean? We identify and call what is sin, “sin” and leave the worldly matters and the people to their own destruction.  “For the wages (payment due for sin) of sin, is death.”

Lord, help us to understand You better and to serve You with gladness, with nothing but love in our hearts for You and others. Thank You for providing us with an advocate Who intercedes on our behalf when we fall short and come before You seeking forgiveness, after we have repented of anything that opposes You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!