This page is for inspirational thought
If you hate religion - watch this.
What is Faith?
When was the last time you really gave any thought to this word “faith?” Everyone has an idea what it is, what it means. But do we have a true understanding of how faith works in the Christian life? How our very walk with God is (or should be) affected by our faith? C. I. Scofield is considered to be one of the greatest Bible scholars of the modern time. Consider his words below. These are his notes (The Old Scofield Study Bible, Standard Edition, 1917 Notes) on faith pertaining to Hebrews chapter 11.
“The essence of faith consists in receiving what God has revealed, and may be defined as that trust in the God of the Scriptures and in Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, which receives Him as Saviour and Lord, and impels to loving obedience and good works John 1:12 ; James 2:14-26.
The particular uses of faith give rise to its secondary definitions:
(1) For salvation, faith is personal trust, apart from meritorious works, in the Lord Jesus Christ, as delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification Romans 4:5 Romans 4:23-25.
(2) As used in prayer, faith is the "confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us" 1 John 5:14 1 John 5:15.
(3) As used in reference to unseen things of which Scripture speaks, faith "gives substance" to them, so that we act upon the conviction of their reality. Hebrews 11:1-3.
(4) As a working principle in life, the uses of faith are illustrated in Hebrews 11:1-39.”
So we are to live our lives in a personal, loving relationship with our Father. Putting our complete trust in Him since He alone knows what’s best for us. He alone sacrificed His Son for us. He alone created us and has a plan for each of our lives. Because of this we should desire to sacrifice ourselves daily to Him and follow His Son (our Savior Jesus). We are directed to live holy, righteous lives. Through faith we can do what God asks of us. Through faith we can be sanctified and separated from this world while living in it. Through faith we can be examples of the love of Jesus in this fallen world.
Please read Hebrews 11. What an amazing listing of Godly men and women (folks just like you and me with warts and wrinkles and problems in life) who overcame each obstacle by putting their trust and faith in God. Then continue in chapter 12 and read how much more we, who came after the resurrection of Jesus, have in our abilities and strength than they. We have the Holy Spirit who dwells inside each believer! What an amazing, loving, complete gift from our father God.
So please, do not despair or allow Satan to try to control or condemn you. You have the gift of faith and the Father God’s presence inside of you. Be bold! Be strong! Be courageous! Be faithful!
Question: "What does it mean to be a man of God?"
Answer:“Man of God” is the description given to a man that follows God in every way, who obeys His commands with joy, who does not live for the things of this life but for the things of eternity, who willingly serves his God in giving freely of all his resources yet gladly suffers as a consequence of his faith. Perhaps Micah 6:8 sums up the man of God in one neat verse: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
The man of God does not swindle or defraud his employer by turning up late for work or spending an hour on the internet during work hours; he doesn’t gossip or slander; he keeps his mind and heart pure by guarding his eyes and ears from the filth of the world; he is the spiritual leader of his family. He does everything opposite to what the world does or approves of; he goes "against the grain" of society because he knows these things displease God; he considers those who are "disadvantaged" or those rejected by society, those that are lonely or despairing; he is a listener to other people’s problems and does not judge.
Most of all, the man of God understands that when our Lord commanded him to "be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48), he is only able to accomplish that because God enables him to be “holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4) through His power and the indwelling of His Spirit. On our own, we are incapable of holiness and perfection, but through Christ who strengthens us, we can "do all things" (Philippians 4:13). The man of God knows that his new nature is that of the righteousness of Christ which was exchanged for our sinful nature at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:17;Philippians 3:9). The final result is that he walks humbly with his God, knowing that he must rely solely upon Him to be able to live to the full and persevere to the end.
Perhaps the Christian today is lacking in these qualities, but this is what simple religion is all about—the simple religion that is yet sufficient to please God: helping those in distress and keeping oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:23). We can have an awareness of all biblical doctrines, we can know all the theological terms, we may be able to translate the Bible from the original Greek and so on, but the principle ofMicah 6:8is the principle that the man of God must follow: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
We're On Our Way
I was sitting here thinking about how far our country has come along recently. I never thought I would see the day when our government, our President, would abdicate the position as the leading World Superpower to any other country let alone Russia (Who, oh by the way, is being led by a man who was in the KGB and wants the Iron Curtain back. If you’re too young to know what the KGB or Iron Curtain are, please Google them.)
However, it occurred to me I should not be surprised, baffled or afraid. I know many of you are thinking I say this because of the Man who is sitting in the Oval Office right now. And I hate to tell you, you could not be further from the truth. You see, it just doesn’t matter who is in that office making decisions for the United States. Now before everyone starts saying “Oh Jim has been listening to all the conspiracy theories” hear me out.
All 3 branches of our government have been slowly placing our sovereignty and our freedoms on the doorstep of the United Nations and allowing that body (and other universal governing bodies) to assume control of our laws and dictate our freedoms. This is just another step (allowing Russia to take the lead and dictate our response to the chemical weapons use in Syria) in aligning our entire country with those governing bodies.
For decades our leaders (and other world leaders) have been unified in a common goal: control of the masses (you and me). If they can control our freedoms, our laws, our money, and our beliefs (religion) they can control the human race. Slowly this is the direction our nation and the world are heading in. This is a link of just some of the quotes from various former and current world leaders on the coming “New World Order.” http://www.arewelivinginthelastdays.com/com/quotes.html
Now, the reason I am not afraid or surprised is I have been forewarned this was going to happen. And I know how it is going to end. The Bible describes in specific details how our world will eventually be led by a one-world government, with a one-world currency, and a one-world religion. All of these are lining up. Here are two good articles that go into a good bit of detail on how this is going to occur: http://beginningandend.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-the-new-world-order-2/ and http://www.gotquestions.org/one-world-government.html
You see I’m not worried because I know as a Child of God, whose Savior is Jesus Christ, I will spend eternity with Him and He will ultimately sit on His throne and rule and reign. Revelation 19:11-16 says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.”
So, it does not matter what happens on this earth, in this life, it only matters where I will spend eternity: With God, or without God. And that goes back to the age-old question: Did I accept Jesus as my Savior and repent of my sins and turn away from them? I have. Have you?
Why are we here?
Well, we were formed by God in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13). God made us to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15 & 2 Timothy 2:23-25) and each of us have a ministry - a job - to do for Jesus (Matthew 28:18-19 & 2 Corinthians 4:1-3).
So, what are you waiting for? :-) The first way we can serve the Lord Jesus, and do His work, is by being like Him. Allow His love to show through us. Walk in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (The Fruits of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23). If we treat others as Jesus treats us we will be on our way to really living out the reason we are here.
How Should We React?
If you do an internet search for Christian Persecution you will find that around the world men, women, and children are being persecuted for their belief in Jesus and their adherence to Christianity. Christians are being killed, tortured, and persecuted in the most painful and heinous ways imaginable simply because they do not renounce their belief in Jesus, and won’t subscribe to a false religion (usually Islam).
Here in the US Christians are being increasingly targeted and persecuted. Our rights are being stripped from us by the courts and in the public square. If a person speaks out against homosexuality, abortion, or even suggests that there are moral absolutes set down by God, he or she (and the whole) are ostracized, detested, ridiculed, and dismissed as intolerant, haters, archaic, narrow-minded, unloving, etc… It is becoming socially acceptable to openly show contempt, hatred, bully, and discriminate against a person simply because of their Christian beliefs.
Jesus said in John 15:19-21, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” We know what happened to Jesus. His Apostles and Christians since then, experienced similar fates filled with torture and cruel, painful deaths.
Most people’s natural inclination when confronted with open hostility, bullying, and hatred is to relent, give in, dial it back, give up, hide, quit fighting, live in fear, etc… Is that what we should do? Should we just be quiet and go along to get along? Should we conform to the watered down Christianity being forced upon us today: the doctrine that there is more than one way to heaven and that we are all gods? (Jude 1:3-4, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”) Or should we run headlong into the breach with guns blazing ready to “sacrifice” ourselves with religious vigor and be a martyr for God?
What does God’s Word say about how we should react to persecution?
Some verses to help you remember who you are in Jesus and where you stand in God’s holy kingdom:
"THE ONLY HOPE
Unspeakable evil slammed America in the beautiful little town of Newtown, Connecticut, just days ago. No words can express the collective shock and sorrow shared by Americans who know the murder of innocent children is the most horrendous crime imaginable. The Connecticut state motto, “Qui transtulit sustinet,” promises that only God can sustain us. Though still insufficient and unfulfilling for the grieving families of these beautiful babies in the Lord's arms now, perhaps those words are all the inconsolable loved ones can hold on to at this time. May God show His sustaining love to them right now. Please Lord.
It may seem, especially after Friday, the world is spinning fast and furious and out of control. Many political, economic, and societal problems attempt to weigh down our spirit so heavily that some despondently give up after being deceptively led to believe there is no real hope for anything getting better. And despite 24-hour news cycles with constant information flooding our eyes and ears with much white noise, TV's talking heads really have nothing meaningful to offer.
So the world spins furiously, but there is a reason its literal and figurative centrifugal force tightly holds us here together for such a time as this. Until God loosens the tie that binds us to this temporal earth, we are in it together, and we are expected to do our part to make it better. So, now is the time to speak truth, however politically incorrect some may deem it, and focus on what really matters so our nation's spirit can be lifted as we unite in the cause for a better world built on real hope. First, all truly is hopeless if your faith and hope are put in any politician or media elite. That is because the average person is more truthful and responsible than the average politician or media elite.
Those who let themselves be terribly disappointed in political leaders as they ignore real problems, aided along with a complicit media bombarding us with irrelevant distractions in order to avoid facing the reality of a fallen culture, should know those distractions are to hide from a finger pointing to the main contributors to much of our problem. To stop distracting would result in acknowledging the political and media machine's starring roles in our failing society. So, as they too often tear down those who try to do good, while elevating and celebrating corrupt selfishness, they dumbly assume we don't know it is they who significantly contribute to our upside down world today. We've learned our lesson. Don't put your hope in Hollywood or Washington. Instead, build resolve and seek truth more aggressively than ever at such a time as this.
I only know one source of truth and real hope. I call out to this hope with only childlike faith because I am so overwhelmed by the miraculous answers to my prayers that the comforting, secure hope I cling to is too inexplicable for a simpleminded person like me. Plus, because I am not a perfect Christian – and have never met one – I dare not judge others’ “Christian quotient,” and inarticulately explaining my faith is too often interpreted wrongly, hence, my thankfulness in being allowed via the Good Book to have a childlike faith that's good enough for God. Further, I do not wish to force my beliefs down anyone's throat – and simple faith does not do that. Though I'll share my faith unapologetically, I beg fellow faith-filled fallible human beings to quit pretending anyone's effective in forcing others to see the light; please also quit pretending you are holier than thou. You are not. I am not. We're merely fortunate enough to have been knocked to our knees at some point in life and grabbed hold of the opportunity to accept undeserved grace and forgiveness that allows a rebirth and its accompanying peace that passeth all understanding. I cling to it not because I am bitter, but because there is nothing better.
May this Christmas season give you a glimpse of the faith to which millions cling to, and are willing to live and die to self for. As you watch this video, even if you've never prayed before, you can ask God for revelation to what occurred 2000 years ago, what it means for today, and why we celebrate the babe born in that Bethlehem manger over 2000 years ago. And I offer this not because I have all the answers, but because many ask me from where does my hope come? How do I hang on? What do I cling to? Here is a glimpse of the foundation of my faith. May you be shown through this short clip and song that the unanswered questions, the horrible suffering, and the sacrifice of One birthed opportunity for new life and real HOPE for all of us today.
Friends, please watch this, and please don't lose hope. We mustn't lose hope! Look up! And put your time and effort in working so hard for your family and loved ones around you. Don't wait for a fallen world's politicians and pundits to do it for you. You can have within yourself the ability and opportunity to help make America strong again, and her people joyful again."
- Sarah Palin
CeeLo Green - Mary Did You Know (Official Audio)
HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT YOU
...You are precious to me... Isaiah 43:4
If you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness, praying longer, working harder and vowing to do better won't necessarily change how you feel. Like remodelling an old house with a cracked foundation, you can redecorate every room but the floors and ceilings will just keep sagging until eventually it collapses. You've got to address the foundation! To do that, you must begin seeing yourself as God sees you; only then will you experience the stability and security you seek. Have you any idea how God feels about you? He sees you as: 1) Loveable. '...You are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you...' (vv.4-5). What assurance! The Bible says, '...The one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders' (Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV). What a secure position to be in! 2) Valuable. If you grew up feeling unwanted, you got the wrong message. God established your worth at the cross. '...The Son of God, who loved [you], and gave himself for [you]' (Galatians 2:20 NIV). The slogan on Hallmark cards says, 'When you care enough to send the very best.' That's what God did for you at the cross. 3) Capable. Without a supportive environment to grow up in, you can end up with a diminished sense of ability. It's why we compensate by overachieving. But God knows that you are capable because He's '...given...you...special abilities...' (1 Peter 4:10 TLB). Furthermore, He has '...set [you] down in...company with Jesus...' (Ephesians 2:6 TM). So stay in your seat and don't let anybody tell you that your life doesn't matter. It does, because God says so! Posted on "The Grain of Mustard Seed" FB page.
God commanded His children in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” This scripture is what Jesus quoted in Matthew 22:37 when someone asked Him which is the great commandment in the law, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
If we love our Father with all our heart, soul, might (mind) we will make the right decisions for our lives because we are walking in His will. We will seek His direction for our lives and live for Him regardless of our outside (worldly) circumstances. Posted on "Jesus Loves You Too" FB page.
Warning: Sugar-Coated ‘Ear Candy’ Gospel is Weakening Saints
STEVE HILL AND JENNIFER LECLAIRE
Look around and you’ll see the undeniable signs of the times. The Supreme Court that opened the door to murdering more than 55 million babies has failed to defend traditional marriage. The prince of the power of the air is propagating all manner of immorality over mass media. And all sorts of heresy is circulating in the body of Christ.
Despite the darkness of the hour, we are still believing for a revival—a great awakening. In fact, we believe we’re living in the greatest hour in church history. The true bride will arise in prayer to combat the forces of darkness and open the door to the salvation of many. Yet we must prepare for this outpouring.
What’s more, amid this stark contrast of light and dark lies a dangerous time for believers, as many are ill-equipped to face the challenges coming in the days ahead. Despite decades of teaching on the fivefold ministry, which aims to equip the saints for works of service and to stand firm despite various winds of doctrine (Eph. 4:11), the church is falling down on its job.
Indeed, the word coming from the pulpits is too often weakening, rather than empowering, God's people. Have you ever heard the phrase “eye candy”? It's a popular term that describes what is attractive and pleasant to the sight. Lots of lights. Lots of spectacle. Lots of fun. Appealing to the eyes. Well, we call the message coming from many pulpits in the West “ear candy.”
Just as Tootsie Rolls taste sweet to the lips, these gospel messages are sweet to the ears. They cause the hearers to feel good and want more but never challenge them or cause them to grow. Too often, ear candy messages have become the main course of our spiritual diets rather than strong meat that strengthens our souls.
False Doctrine: A Sour Trend
In New Testament times, the apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, warning him to do the things that will avoid the trend we are now seeing in the church:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
The original Greek word translated fables here means “fiction” or “nonsense.” Paul issued the same type of warning to a group of believers in Corinth. False doctrine was slipping into this first-century church, threatening to weaken its spiritual foundation. Can you hear the cry of the apostle as he cautions the new believers against this subtle satanic spirit?
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor. 11:2-4.)
The deception Paul warned about is rampant today in America and all over the world, and we are concerned for the family of God. People who need desperately to hear about the shed blood of Jesus and how God loves them and has a plan for their lives must first wade through piles of garbage and mucky polluted rivers before hearing just a morsel of truth. We are reminded of the prophet Amos when he bellowed out these words: “'They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it'” (Amos 8:12).
Lovers of the Truth
We've all heard the adage that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. That may be true. But today, in the spiritual sense, there is no medicine coming behind the ear candy. The doctors of the Word, the clergy, are afraid to prescribe the medicine that was made available from heaven's pharmacy 2,000 years ago. They see the disease but are afraid to properly treat it for fear of offending. They have become tolerant.
From God's perspective, the diagnosis and treatment have always been clear: Sin is the disease. The blood of Christ is the cure. Repentance is God's method for putting the two together.
That's not a sweet message. For Jesus, it was a bitter cup. It wasn't sweet when the crown of thorns was pressed upon His head and blood spilled into His eyes. It wasn't sweet when they took a whip of leather holding pieces of glass or stone and shredded His back like a farmer would plow a field. It wasn't sweet when they blindfolded Him, slapped His face and mocked His deity.
No, it wasn't sweet when they placed a beam on His raw, exposed shoulders and forced Him to carry His own cross. It wasn't sweet when He fell under the load.
It wasn't sweet when they laid His body on the beams and pierced His hands and feet. It wasn't sweet when the cross dropped in the hole and ripped even further the flesh that had just been pierced. It wasn't sweet when He lifted His voice and said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” It wasn't sweet when He pierced the heavens with these words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
We’re speaking of the gospel story—the penetrating truth of what Jesus Christ had to endure so that we could be adopted into His family. Now, 2,000 years after His brutal death, we find pastors glossing over and sugarcoating this message in order to avoid offending society's delicate palates with the bitter truth. They have become tolerant.
Jesus was never motivated by how His message would be received. In fact, He reduced His congregation to just a faithful few after preaching a full-course meal on sacrifice. His command of “Eat My flesh and drink My blood” transformed His cheerleaders into cowards. They walked away.
He didn't chase after them. He didn't change His message to cheer them up. When they sought sweet words, He didn't give them tasty, sugary morsels. They needed truth.
The Danger of Eating Spiritual Junk Food
We all know the dangers of a physical diet containing too many sweets: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression. We should equally recognize the debilitating dangers of having our spiritual stomachs filled with junk-food jargon. Nevertheless, the enemy of our souls has entered into the pulpits of America in our day and is serving up a diet void of any nutritional value—and we are consuming it.
The devastating results of slipping away from proclaiming fundamental, doctrinal truths are already evident in our society. It is essential that we teach the whole counsel of God.
We must all feel the responsibility. We must carry the burden. We must share in the load if we are to successfully carry out our part of the Great Commission.
“But what about the good stuff,” you may be asking, “like the fact that God wants us to prosper and be in health?” Of course these spiritual benefits are in the Word. But those are the rewards of being saved. First, people must get saved! And after conversion, they must experience change. This life-altering gospel is summed up in the staunch words of Jesus: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).
We believe one of the many reasons ministers in churches have become popular is simply because they've lost the sting of the story. It's as if everyone is lured to this gigantic, honey-laden beehive with no fear of being stung. Why? There are no warrior bees watching the hive. It's all sugar. Just scoop some in your hand and slop it down.
The “sound” doctrine Paul referred to is healthful, wholesome doctrine. He was not talking about sugar. He was talking about what encourages and contributes to the health of the soul. Paul said the time would come when some would not endure, or put up with, it. That time is now! Churches today are filled with people who seek instruction that is more in line with their lifestyles, their wishes and their desires than with the good of their own souls.
Even now, we are watching Pentecostal churches all over America slip into this abyss. Pastors who were at one time filled with the Holy Ghost—who spoke in tongues and prayed for the sick—now won't permit the Spirit of God to move. No more manifestations of the Spirit. No more encouraging prophecy. No more crying after God. Instead, they serve up silly sermonettes to Christianettes in bassinettes.
Why? Because they don't want their people to leave. They water down the message to keep them coming back. They defend their feel-good messages by claiming, “Oh, the money won't come in if you offend the givers,” “The coffers won't fill up unless you speak words they want to hear,” “The tithers will leave if you confront their sin. They want to be stroked, not stricken. They want to be pacified. They won't put up with the whole counsel of God.”
What ridiculous rhetoric! What rubbish! Since when are pastors supposed to allow the people in the pews to dictate what they preach in the pulpit?
No Repentance Required
If we want to be relevant, if we want to be effective, we must preach the cross, the blood, repentance and sacrifice. We must preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
What ever happened to these words of Paul that echo through the corridors of time? “Woe is me if I don't preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16). And how about, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2)?
When Paul spoke of lusts, he was referring to anything people set their hearts on outside of Christ. Such people seek teaching that will gratify their carnal desires. They want leaders to deal gently with their evil ways. They want tolerance. They cry, “It's not really sin. All I did was make a mistake. I just slipped up a little bit. Don't tell me to repent. Don't make me come to an altar. Just gimme some sugar, Pastor. Gimme some sugar.”
Today's junk-filled jargon, all in the name of Jesus, reminds us of the trouble in Isaiah's day when the people said, “Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Is. 30:10-11).
Paul said, “Because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers” (2 Tim. 4:3). The people are going after these teachers and bringing them together. They're gathering all the prophets, the teachers and the lukewarm pastors together. They're reading the same materials and agreeing with one another. Why? Because they want a message that's not offensive.
What is happening? We're allowing the people to decide what to eat for their spiritual dinner. Rather than toiling to prepare some fresh bread from heaven and offering them a clean, cool cup of water from God's fountain, we are letting their desires determine the meals we serve. What parent would allow their children to decide the evening's menu? Their plates would be full of cookies, cake and candy!
We believe the devil's favorite time of the week here in America is Sunday morning. We don't think he minds seeing people go to church. In fact, we think he wants to get as many people to church as possible because he knows they'll hear a sugar-coated, lukewarm, “relevant” message.
They'll go to a 50-minute service in which the sermon is barely 20 minutes long. They have a “religious itch,” and the pastor will scratch it by saying, “You're fine. Everything's wonderful. Everything's OK.” Then they'll walk out feeling good about themselves. All the while, they're living in sin and thinking nothing of it.
The people are never confronted—never challenged with a heart-to-heart, riveting message spoken in love that can change their lives. Rather, they receive some hollow message on how to cope, when 90 percent of their problems come from their sinful lifestyles.
Happily Ever After?
As Christians, we have “turned aside to fables.” We believe God wants us to live lives of popularity rather than suffer any kind of persecution. We believe God wants us to live lives of luxury rather than lives of sacrifice. We shouldn't worry about being holy, holy, holy. God wants us to be happy, happy, happy.
What nonsense! The central message of the cross has been traded for a soothing massage by the clergy!
John Wesley, George Whitefield and Charles Finney never preached soupy, self-centered, society-pleasing sermons. Their words challenged people to live a life of no compromise that included acknowledging and repenting of sin and receiving God's forgiveness.
We need to get back to offering this type of fare. There are hungry souls both inside and outside the church who need a fresh, cutting word from the heart of God. Let's stop giving them a soft, sweet substitute. No more sugar. It's time to start a detox program!
Steve Hill and his wife, Jeri, are evangelists and church planters. They are motivated in life by personal holiness and a passionate desire for lost souls to be saved.
Have you ever asked God what your ministry is? Do you wonder what God has planned for you? Are you waiting on God to show you the plans He has for your life? We know God formed us and has plans for us. We all do have an earthly ministry. However, that does not mean everyone will be a preacher, teacher, prophet, worship leader, etc... One thing we all want to understand is God can, and will, use you exactly where you are. A huge part (for some maybe the only part) of our ministry is our daily lives. We are light in a dark, decaying world. WE represent Jesus to everyone we come in contact with. How we live our lives, and our daily interaction with everyone we meet, really is what we should concentrate on the most. How do you react when you are wronged or mistreated? What do you say or do in hard circumstances? Do you lose hope, cuss, react with impatience, unholiness? How do you treat those who are less fortunate, who may be having a bad day, or who are lost and forsaken? Do you try to live according to the gospel with love, meekness, tenderness, humility, peace, joy, patience, grace, and forgiving?
Our lives are our ministry. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:18
Today we share words of radical Christianity from Bob Moorehead in Words Aptly Spoken:
Radical Christianity is a life-style, not just a mindset; radical Christianity is concerned with conquering, not cowering; with sacrifice, not superficiality; with victory, not verbiage; with scoring, not slumming; with penetration, not pandering. Radical Christianity is in first gear, neutral is nonexistent; radical Christianity is courageous but never constrictive constraining or cautious! Radical Christianity moves mountains; crosses Red Seas; pulls down walls; builds walls; walks on water; raises the dead; calms storms; feeds 5000 and walks through closed doors.
It suffers regularly; soars often; sweats daily; saturates everything and spreads everywhere. Radical Christianity calls sin black, hell hot, hypocrisy evil, Satan a liar and judgment sure. It doesn’t back down, sit down or stay down. Radical Christianity doesn't depend on the strokes of others to keep it going. It doesn’t acquiesce in the face of loud opposition, fold under pressure, wince under criticism, tarnish under time, die under duress, fade under technology nor rot under moisture. It doesn’t rust, retreat, renounce, reconsider, return or renege.
Radical Christianity always lifts up Christ; knocks down barriers; marches over objections; overwhelms pessimism; gobbles up cynicism; evaporates criticism; overcomes humanism; conquers defeatism and tramples down skepticism.
Radical Christianity gives lavishly; prays relentlessly; claims abundantly; works feverishly; preaches powerfully; serves lovingly; perseveres patiently and believes expectantly! Radical Christianity dares to challenge the prevailing standard to make it God’s. It never plays to the grandstands; nor waters down its position; nor adjusts its principles, but rather is a thermostat that controls its surroundings, never a thermometer that merely adjusts to them. It is never big, popular, stylish, convenient, in vogue or in-step with the world. Its adherents are few; its sound clear; its philosophy unpopular and its rewards great. Its disciples aren’t rewarded by this world but are those to whom Christ will say, “Well done!”
A congregation of believers was worshipping in a Sunday service in Peru and a squad of heavily armed Shining Path rebels came rushing in. “We’ve heard that this group is committed to God. How many of you are willing to die for your faith? Raise your hands,” he commanded.
Fearing they would be slaughtered, most of the congregation remained still. But a small number of believers tentatively raised their hands. The others were released and the commander said, “Those of you who raised your hands, stop worrying. We’re not going to kill you. We just wanted to see who in the congregation believed enough in their faith that they were willing to die for it. That’s the kind of commitment we’re looking for.”
RESPONSE: Today I commit to being a radical Christian and give everything I am and have to Jesus.
PRAYER: Pray for Christians in conflict areas who must regularly put their lives on the line.
James 4:14, "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
Makes you stop and think "Exactly what is going to happen when the vapor of my life vanishes away?" Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Then we look @ Revelation 20:11-13, Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." Which brings us to John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." And finally to John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Do you know where you will be when the vapor of your life vanishes away?
Could it be any clearer?
Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did. (Romans 6:6-11 MSG) Posted on "The Grain of Mustard Seed" FB page.
OPERATING BY THE PEACE RULE
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts... Colossians 3:15
If you don't have peace about it, don't proceed! Often peace is all God will give you to let you know whether you're in or out of His will. So how can you operate by the peace rule? 'Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand...His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest...' (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB). Pay close attention to the words, 'Don't worry...instead, pray.' Prayer transfers the problem from you to Jesus. 'Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. Be careful-watch out for attacks from satan...Stand firm when he attacks...' (1Peter 5:7-9 TLB). Don't give the devil a few days to work you over. The longer you wait to resist him, the stronger his hold over you becomes. The moment you find yourself worrying, stop and ask, 'What's the enemy trying to do here? If I give in to these thoughts and emotions, what will the result be?' 'Do not give the devil a foothold' (Ephesians 4:27 NIV). Know your enemy, and each time he attacks put him to flight by saying what Jesus said to him in the wilderness: '...It is written...' (Matthew 4:4 NIV). When Jesus said for the third time, 'It is written,' we read, 'The devil left him, and angels came and attended him' (v.11 NIV). So here's the question: How well do you know God's Word? Posted on "The Grain of Mustard Seed" FB page.