The Value in Traditions!

The Value in Traditions!

Follow my example as I follow Christ. I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. I Corinthians 11:1,2 NIV

There are some traditions that hold intrinsic value to a functioning society in stabilizing order and peace. When we think about which traditions we follow and honor–some without realizing how they came to be or why we still do them–we should also consider the purpose or how they impact society as a whole.

If one continues to read the above-referenced passage of scripture, they would notice a tradition that was established by many churches because they misunderstood what Paul was saying. First of all, in order to understand why Paul said anything, we have to know that he was responding to questions posed to him by members of the churches. He provides us with a specific order that we should recognize and to avoid further debate about the man-superiority/authority-over-woman syndrome, understand this reference was to those who are married.

The head of every man–is Christ and if that is not true, nothing else matters. The head of the woman is the man (in Christ) and the head of Christ is God. While understanding this, we have to know that God is the head of all. This is why Paul implores the church to follow him as he follows Christ.

Okay, getting back to the tradition–women wearing hats in church services–some people missed the point that Paul said, “her hair is her covering.” Anyway, here’s where I catapult to other traditions.

Some traditions we should honor and some we should abandon. We should honor those traditions that were instilled in us by loving parents and a caring society.

We should speak to people in passing since it doesn’t cost us anything to be polite.

We should raise our children to be respectful of self and others; especially the elderly.

We should instill in our children the value of doing what’s right and always telling the truth.

We should always instill in our children the value of earning respect and their way in life, legitimately.

Raising children right these days appears to be a challenge for many and I can only conclude that somewhere along the line–valuable traditions were dropped by the wayside.

When it comes to our contemporary society, we must encourage all to pay attention to truth, push back against the lies, and be willing to stand for justice–for all people.

One of the reasons why we have such chaos in Washington right now is someone dropped the ball. Discipline was not the rule of the day in the household of the trump family and it is evident in what we see in the Oval Office and how out of order things are.

I was thinking back to some of the traditions I was taught as I was doing my mile walk this morning and I appreciated my training in common courtesy. Everyone I saw, I spoke to and they returned the greeting. This happens on a regular basis, but it made an impact on me this morning, realizing that it was because of those traditions instilled in me that I could speak to a person and be pleasant to them whether I knew them or not. In fact, most people I pass by often smile with their greeting and I can only imagine it’s because I smile when I greet them. Such a wonderful tradition!

The other traditional values instilled were about honesty and the consequences of lying. I learned early in life that the consequences were not worth a lie. That still holds true–it is so much easier to tell the truth and not worry about anyone discovering a lie.

What I often repeat to my grandson is this: If you only do the right thing, you never have to worry about doing the wrong thing. It’s a premise that works and leave me in a position not to concern myself with oppositional research.

I can own truth and disregard manufactured lies. I have no control over what people manufacture and I have no reason to address such things. I do know everything I’ve ever done and nothing in that knowledge led me to jail or doing drugs. Therefore–all the haters can do is seek and discover truth; if there are lies presented it’s because they manufactured them. Simple as that.

No matter what happens, I’m on a mission to seek support for my presidential bid in 2020 and I won’t stop until it’s over. I hope readers will have an opportunity to review my stances on some issues, what I think a president should know and hear me speak out about the same. Videos are less than three minutes long and will be updated periodically. I encourage all to stay tuned in to http://www.facebook.com/YesIAm2020.

eda

 

On The  Journey–Pe!

On The Journey–Pe!

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.

Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.

Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.

Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. Psalm 119:129-136 NIV

The 17th letter and stanza–an expression of trust and sorrow.

If we look at this stanza and see the heart of the writer, we detect an appreciation for God’s Word and acknowledgment that continued study and meditation upon His Word opens understanding so that even the simple–unlearned person–can understand.

Have we reached that place yet–where we get it–and appreciate God’s love for us in that He has provided the means for us succeed–in spite of what the enemy does or who he influences?

The steps of a good man (person) are ordered by The Lord and He delights in his way (the way he obeys). Psalm 37:23. In the 37th Psalm, the writer acknowledges that God has already ordered the steps of good person and in this Psalm, the writer acknowledges they fall short and need God to direct their footsteps–according to His Word–so sin will not reign in their lives.

Are we there yet? Do we recognize that our steps are indeed–planned by God when we obey His Word?

Considering the rule of the day (historically) by men who chose to be barbaric in their positions to control and oppress people, we can understand why the writer wants to be redeemed–saved from the oppression men tend to burden people with in their religious tyranny.

Religious tyranny is a practice we see all around us–when men think their traditions and rules are more important than God’s Word. The traditional rules governing many religious people have led to people committing suicide and murder in the name of “religion.” Jesus tells us that because of our “traditions” we have made the Word of God of no effect. We need to conduct ourselves–according to God’s Word–and not man’s dictates which change as often as some of us change our underwear. This is the danger of our society–the fickleness of man–not adhering to God’s Word.

Like the writer, tears have flowed down my face on more than occasion if I dare listen to the news. I cry for the children whose parents have been killed. I cry for the parents whose children have been killed. I cry for the masses of people who have lost hope because of religious tyranny and I cry for all of us when we allow government officials to twist God’s Word to accommodate sin. A “twisted” truth is still a whole lie.

It is past time for all who Believe to open their mouths and spread the Gospel or to use social media networks to promote the Gospel. We will be held accountable for what we do and don’t do when it comes to God determining our level of obedience. We can and should use every avenue created to promote the Gospel--especially when we know so much hatred and bigotry are being promoted with the use of social media networks. What the enemy intended for evil, we can turn into something good and Godly.

Why Jesus said, “God’s Worshippers Must Worship In Spirit And in Truth!”

“God is a spirit and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24 NIV)

It is probably because of this passage and some others that reference God as a “spirit” that many naysayers casually belittle Believers by calling God a ghost. Ghosts are spirits of the dead, therefore God is The Spirit of life since He was neither born nor died, He simply is. For those of us who know God, not just believe “in God” we know Truth.

What was going on when Jesus had to make this distinction? Jesus had sent His disciples to purchase food and He waited for them by a well and had a conversation with a Samaritan woman–a no-no for a Jewish people to interact with the Samaritans (then). At any rate, Jesus told the woman all about herself and a conversation rose about where a person should worship. And the following is Jesus’ response to her:

John 4:19-23

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

What were the Samaritans worshipping? Idols (images) with altars set up in the mountain who served no purpose other than pagan worship. Unfortunately, the debate about where a person should worship is still going on between some factions of Christians and what Jesus said, then, is true now. God, the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in the spirit (allowing His spirit to interact with our own) and in truth (with knowledge of who He is and how He wants us to live). 

There are many people who go to church buildings out of tradition, but for no real purpose or knowledge. They go through the motions of singing songs, praying empty prayers, and listening to sermons with half an ear. I know people who attend a church service on a regular basis, but then they claim they don’t know if they believe the Bible or not. If they don’t know if the Bible is true or not, why are they wasting their time going into a building? These are those who believe “in God” but do not Believe God.

This is the point Jesus was trying to make to the Samaritan woman and those who Believe God, not just believe in Him. We cannot believe God if we don’t know His Word. His Word reveals who He is and for those who understand this, we know we do not have to be in a specific place to worship Him–acknowledging all He has done for us and giving Him praise for who He is.

For this reason, many church services are devoid of the Spirit of God, because His spirit is not welcomed due to the traditions of man, taking precedence over the leadership of Holy Spirit. None who are led by Holy Spirit would encourage anyone to live in opposition to God’s Word. None who are led by Holy Spirit would call God said was wrong, right nor what He said is right, wrong. None who are led by Holy Spirit would deliberately entice anyone to live a life apart from the knowledge of God and His purpose for our lives.

When we become so complacent as leaders in the church that we choose not to stir people with Truth and allow God’s Word to convict of sin, we are merely going through the motions of a bland, flavorless service. We are told to preach the Word–whether it is convenient or not, whether people want to hear it or not and we are to say what God says, not just teaching a “feel-good, sugarcoated messages” because we don’t want to offend sinners. If we are afraid to offend those in sin and choose to offend God instead, we place ourselves in a position to know His wrath.

Satan isn’t concerned about the leaders in some churches; he has already recruited them as commanders in his army. What they have forgotten is this–the payment for sin is death. And this is why there are so many spiritually, dead churches–devoid of life–because Satan’s job is to kill, still, and destroy. Can we not see that is exactly what is happening around us today?

Be filled with the Spirit of God and know Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean temple, but meditate on The Word, knowing there is life in The Word of God, leading us to closer relationship with Him and giving us power–to stay bold and courageous–to say what God says. Worship Him in Spirit and in the Truth of His Word. 

More of what Jesus said and why, next time!

Why Do We Do It?

“they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ (Matthew 15:6-9 NIV)

Vanity Teaching seems to be the rule rather than a demonstration of a right relationship with God. What do I mean? Fasten your spiritual seat belts and get ready for a ride designed to shake up the traditions that have nothing to do with relationship with God.

Vanity Teaching–which appears to be prevalent in certain bible colleges (and I don’t know why they call themselves a “bible” college) do more instruction to refute the bible than to teach its intent. American Baptist College comes to mind who promotes homosexuality with its choice of leadership, who affirm their stance in public forums–having the audience participate. How anyone in their right mind–not clouded or deceived by the enemy–could say that same-sex unions are not an affront to God is beyond me. But when we have titled leadership who are in those unions, is it any wonder there is confusion in the Body of Christ?

Today–traditionally known to many as Palm Sunday–does not really represent what happened in the Bible. The Word says, the people greeted Jesus as He entered the city waving palm branches–a symbol of victory in some cultures. If the people greeted the arrival of Jesus waving palm branches, why do most churches distribute the fronds as either part of the service or as they leave the service? Are we not supposed to have the Spirit of Christ living within us? If so, why aren’t the palm fronds given as people “enter” the service? Is it because we really don’t know why we do the things we do?

Next Sunday–Resurrection Sunday–is celebrated by many as Easter Sunday. The term “easter” was really an indicator of spring (with its goddess) and had no significance to the resurrection of Jesus Christ–until man made it so. What we get with “easter” celebrations are: colored eggs, bunny rabbits, and new clothes, and the parade of people who attend worship services to show off the new clothes. Really? What I’ve seen is people who are so engaged in straightening out clothes during the service they cannot focus on The Word–if indeed there is a Word from The Lord being expressed.

Resurrection Sunday is a time of celebration, but not with colored eggs, baskets of candy, or new clothes. In spite of the debate over when He was crucified and when He rose, we know that He did rise from the grave and now sits at the right hand of the Father. We know this–if we believe what The Bible says and have a relationship with God.

Many churches today have become clubhouses rather than places of worship. People gather to socialize, entertain, and eat in the church, disrupting attempts to teach The Word for the sake of honoring others for various reasons (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Is God pleased with our using the places we say are houses of worship for everything but worship? I doubt it.

Here’s a thought. Why don’t we spend time studying The Word and allowing Holy Spirit to teach us how we should conduct ourselves in the houses of worship. Why don’t we change the traditions that negate the truth of God’s Word. Why don’t we seek God before we do anything that would deter the rest of the world from seeing Him in us. Why don’t we have Bible Colleges that teach the Bible rather than man’s philosophies. Why don’t we? We need to understand why we do what we do and if we discover that what we do has nothing to do with The Word or honoring God, why do we continue to do it?

If we understand the purpose of His appearance in the person of Jesus, His crucifixion, and resurrection, and have accepted Him as Truth, repented of our sins and live to please God, we have the victory!

Cursed Children!

For the LORD loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.(Psalm 37:28 NLT)

We know what happens to us when we do wrong things, but have we ever considered the position in which we place our children–those we say we love?

Most children emulate their parents–good or bad–and when they see and hear what we say and do and do the same things, we set them up for disaster. How many times do we need to see parents on television bemoaning the loss of a child who was killed in the midst of a home invasion? How many times do we need to raise money to bury those children who have died at the hands of those who had no respect for life? How many times have we heard about wayward teens assaulting senior citizens and women–robbing them because their parents would not give into their demands for “things?” When are we going to get tired enough to stop the madness–by paying more attention to what we do and what our children see?

I’ve known about parents who taught their children to steal and lie and then wonder why their children ended up in jail or a morgue before they reached the age of 21.

I’ve known about parents who abused and misused their children and then see surprised when they discover that their children are child-molesters or sexual predators.

I’ve known about parents who had no conscience at all about how they treat other people–committing assaults and murder for no reason other than the person they assaulted or murdered was there. Some entire families are so twisted they feel they have right to batter others–just because. Now, what do they think their children are going to do?

While it is true that some children–manage to escape their curse–the legacy of their parents–far too many fall prey to the dictates of habit and family traditions that are totally lawless.

From The Word–we understand that we “the wrong doers” actually curse our children and their children–sometimes until the fourth generation–the time it takes for some to start thinking about how to break the curse and have better lives.

For those who are committing atrocities–whatever they are–especially those who are killing the innocent–simply because they can–those have started the clock that measures the time of the curse on the their children. To take this a step further, those who are violating life right now are part of the curse of their parents and are too foolish to realize it. At some point in time–someone has to wake up and see–how generations have been doomed because of traditions that have no bearing on reality. These traditional beliefs and habits lead to the devastation of families and entire nations because “some” refuse to think beyond what they think they know.

If a “practiced tradition” ignores the rights of others and violates human life–it is a tradition that has led to cursed children for generations and needs to cease from existence. It is time to teach love–not hate; acceptance–not rejection, and respect–not disrespect of people or authority.

When, O Lord, are we going to seek You in all that we do and understand that because You are Love–there is no hatred in You and You are not the promoter of hate in any manner? Help us, O Lord, to hear You when You speak and then learn to obey what You say, knowing that taking a life is not of You. Have mercy on us O Lord, who have to bear the burden of those who have sinned before we appeared and teach us how to live and not curse our children because of our behavior.

Letting Old Ways Go!

“But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5)

There are times when God has moved upon the heart of people–whoever is willing to hear and receive the Good News–and everyone is rejoicing over God’s goodness and someone comes along–thinking they are superior to all and try to take them backwards.

Let me put this into the proper context. There was much discussion about what policies and what should be done in the early church regarding the non-Jewish (Gentiles) believers. Those who were content with preaching the Gospel were overjoyed at the reception by the Gentiles and wanted nothing more for them other than to live by the dictates of the Holy Spirit, whom they had received with gladness. But because there were divisions regarding the teachings, primarily because those who had lived “according to The Law” felt they were superior to those just coming into the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and they wanted to regulate the new converts–according to the old ways and were demanding circumcision.

Peter steps up to the plate and reminds them all that God had used him specifically to share the Good News with the Gentiles and since they had received the message and the Holy Spirit, they should have not be bound by traditions that the Jews had not been able to keep.

How like some church leaders today? They were once bound by the dictates of tradition and even though they have seen the works of God moving upon the people without “strict regulations” they make policies that make no sense and have nothing to do with living a holy life. What many have forgotten is that God is not a respecter of people. What He has for one, He has for all who are willing to receive.

Therefore, God is not concerned about a dress code in a place of worship; He is concerned about the heart of the people. God is not concerned about who carries the message; He is concerned about the message that is carried and that it is a message from Him, not them. When people feel the need to bind others by laws and policies, they arbitrarily restrict (or grieve) the Holy Spirit who Himself becomes limited by those who cannot let go of the “old ways.”

Let us assume for a moment–that every person having heard the Gospel message has received it, repented and received Holy Spirit as the guiding force in their lives. Is there any need for rules? Not if we truly believe that Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. The rules come into play because people–usually men–feel the need to be superior and they want to establish rules by which they are not willing to follow. This sounds like the parenting method of many–you know–“do as I say, not as I do” mentality. They are hypocrites and make a mockery out of parenting like some make a mockery of church leadership.

If we want to see the “new thing” that God has promised He will do in our lives, we must be willing to let go of the old ways that would inhibit Him from acting on our behalves. When the rules or policies have nothing to do with salvation or living a holy life–leave them where they belong–behind us, not in front of us.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to realize that we need to let go of the old in order to make room for the new that You have prepared for us. Thank You for the direction and guidance we receive from Holy Spirit and remind us to always to ready to hear from You through Him.

Lip Service!

“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV).

How insightful is the Word of God that what was spoken hundreds of years ago, is still relevant today! Isaiah was speaking to the children of Israel in an attempt to get them to understand obeying God and hearing what God has to say was more important than what the men of tradition had been teaching them.

Are we “these people” who will hear, cannot understand, and only worship with our mouths?

We must be careful that we are not guilty of making the Word of God of no effect because we love our traditions more than we love living The Word.

It’s check-up time–for all to examine self. Are we fair-weather Christians–those who only talk about being a Christian, but have no idea how we’re supposed to be living, but we go to church on Sundays? Are we convenient Christians--we do only what Christians are supposed to do when others are paying attention. Are we bench-warmer Christians–those who go to church to keep a seat warm, but do nothing else?  Are we “look-at-me” Christians--those who do everything they can in church to draw attention to themselves? Are we still like the Israelites–saying all the right things–singing, shouting, and praying empty prayers, and yet have no room for God in our hearts since we do not know His Word? David said, “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You!” Do we have God’s Word hidden in our innermost parts so we won’t sin against Him?

If our hearts are right with God, our lips need not say much because our actions will speak for us!

Lord, search us and see if we are everything You need us to be. If we are not, give us a clean heart, a heart with room enough to receive all You have for us and to live a life that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen!