Which are you: a Christian or a Sinner?

It really bothers me when people who profess Christ as their savior identify themselves as sinners. You are either a sinner or a Christian you cannot be both.

First, when people in the Bible started serving God, He changed their name. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, etc. In the New Testament, Saul became Paul when he became a follower of Christ. Likewise, when we become followers of Christ, God changes our name from Sinner to Christian.

Being a Christian does not mean you are perfect but it does mean that you are a follower of Christ. Christians still sin but a sinner is not who they want to identify with. When Christians call themselves a sinner they are choosing to follow the ‘old nature’, In other words, they are choosing to continue sinning rather than following Christ.

In the rapture discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4&5 it talks about Christ meeting the believers in the air. At that point, the soul and spirit of the Christian are united with their glorified body. Since the sinners will not be getting glorified body, they will remain on earth until after the Great Tribulation.

Jesus also referred to people as the ‘light of the world’ or ‘darkness. Christians are to be like Christ. We are to be the light of the world.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-17(NIV)

Please note what Jesus said. We are to let our light shine so people could ‘see our good deeds’ He did not say that our light was to shine so people could see our ‘bad deeds’. Why do we want to be called sinners and brag about our sin?

Second, people tend to move in the direction in which they are looking.

For instance, when a person is driving down the road and they see something off to the side of the road that distracts them, they will tend to turn toward where they are looking. If believers call themselves sinners, they are prone to turn toward sin.

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19(NIV)

The example that God gave us in the Old Testament regarding the salvation of the Children of Israel is found in Ezekiel 20:6-8

On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands. And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

“‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt.

If we define ourselves as ‘sinners’ we have set our eyes on sin and not on God. You must be either a Christian – looking toward Christ, or a sinner – looking back at your past. Or you can look at it this way: You are either light or darkness but you cannot be both.

When Joshua was leading the Children of Israel in the Promised Land, there was a point at which Joshua asked them if they were going to serve the Lord.

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15(NIV)

My question to you is this, “who do you choose to follow?” Are you going to follow Christ and be called a Christian or are you going to choose your old nature and be called a sinner?

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from biblegateway.com

Right or Wrong Behavior

In society today, many meaningful Christians say things like: “That person will never go to heaven because…” or “That person must not be a Christian because…” First of all, our behavior does not determine where we will spend eternity. Our behavior is determined by who is in control of our lives.

In the Old Testament, people were to obey the Law. Their salvation was by faith based on keeping the Law. People were always sinning. And because they were always sinning they were also offering sin offerings to get things right with God again. I believe God did this so we would understand that it is impossible to achieve salvation through our own efforts.

When Jesus came to live on the earth, his primary purpose was to become a perfect sacrifice for our sin. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Through his resurrection, Jesus overcame death. He was able to become victorious over the death of sin brought on by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Because of Jesus death and resurrection, every person will have eternal life! The ones who accept this gift of salvation will live eternally with God in the New Heaven. Those who do not accept the gift of salvation will live in eternally in the “Lake of Fire”.

When we accept the gift of salvation, we also receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit communicates with God on our behalf. He is the intercessor between God and man.

What do most people mean when they say ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? What they really mean is that if it is ‘right’ it will bring glory to God the Father through the Holy Spirit. Likewise, if it is ‘wrong’ it will bring dishonor to God and not glory. In fact, it will usually bring glory to the flesh or in other words the ‘natural man’.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

In Galatians 5:19-21, we have a list of behaviors or actions one will take if they are following the flesh. These are the actions that will dishonor God. These are the actions that will ‘make us happy’ for a short period of time. Frequently these are the actions that also make us feel ashamed after we have committed the action.

In Galatians 5:22-26, we have a list of behavior that take place when we are following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These are the actions that glorifying God. These are also the actions that people like to see in others.

Here are four questions that you can use to test to see if an action will be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. For example let us look at the action of homosexuality. This is a problem that has been in the church before Paul set out to establish the churches. Homosexuality is not a new problem.

Here are four questions that you can use to help you determine what is right or wrong. I will use the act of homosexuality to illustrate how it works,

Question #1: Does homosexuality appear in the list of fruit of the Spirit?

If the answer is ‘no’, then it does not bring God glory. If ‘yes’ then it brings God glory.

Question #2: Does homosexuality appear in the acts of the flesh?

If the answer is ‘yes’, then it does not bring God glory. If the answer is ‘no’, then it may or may not glorify God. It needs to be tested further.

Question #3: Does the Bible mention homosexual behavior anywhere else?

Leviticus 20:13 speaks about homosexuality.

“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Leviticus 20:13(NIV)

Question #4: If you find a place in the Bible where it mentions homosexual activity, “What was the outcome”? Did it bring God glory or did it bring about judgement?

In this case of homosexuality referenced in Leviticus 20:13, did it bring God glory or did it bring judgement to man?

If one reference is not sufficient, than look for another reference in the Bible that mentions homosexual behavior. The church in Rome had problems with all kinds of sexual behaviors within the church, perhaps Romans 1 would be a good place to look.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27(NIV)

Here again the actions of homosexuality mentioned in this passage brought judgement to the person who exercised those actions. Based on the Biblical information, there is evidence that shows homosexual behavior is wrong.

Perhaps you try justifying the actions by saying ‘you could not control yourself’. If that is the case begin back with question #1. Does the behavior of ‘self-control’ appear as a fruit of the Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit indicates that self-control is one of the spiritual fruit. If you are unable to control your sexual desire, then you are not controlled by the Spirit.

You can test self-control with question #2. Is the ‘lack of self-control’ mentioned in the acts of the flesh? If you are following your selfish ambition’, then you are obviously following the flesh and not the Holy Spirit. If you are still not satisfied, go to questions 3 and 4.

The primary purpose of Christians is to glorify God. Throughout the life of Jesus, there was evidence that Jesus was seeking to be glorify the Father and not himself. So if we are going to follow Christ’s example, we should glorify God in all that you do and say.

 

NOTE: scripture in this article was downloaded from http://biblegateway.com

Judas

I was the treasurer of this little band of men

I need to find a way to fill the kitty up again.

 

I had been with Jesus for many weeks and days

I was in charge of the money that we spent in many ways.

 

I had observed Jesus action when the Pharisees attack.

He would ask a question, but the answers they would lack.

 

He said he would build a kingdom down here on this earth.

And if you know the scriptures, He was born of virgin birth.

 

The money’s running low now; we gave so much to the poor.

He is to build a kingdom but we couldn’t even buy a door!

 

The high priests wanted Jesus and I knew where he would be.

If I showed them where to go, thirty shekels they’d give me

 

With this money in the kitty we could really help the poor.

But if we’re to build a kingdom we will still need to have some more.

 

Before, when men attack him He would always get away.

So I assumed that’s what would happen on that fateful day.

 

They gave to me the money, so the plan would work that day.

But when I kissed the Savior, He didn’t get away.

 

Peter tried to protect him and cut off the servant ear.

But Jesus then rebuked him: “The scripture’s fulfilled here.”

 

What on earth has happened to my carefully, thought out plan?

Those servants just arrested Him like any common man.

 

Those servants took the master as off to court they go.

Were they really going to kill Him? I really didn’t know.

 

It was then that I realized that my plans had really failed.

They took away the Master and to a tree they nailed.

 

What can I do with this money? Can I deal with all this strife?

I will return the money and then I’ll take my life.

 

So many times we have a plan and then to prayer we go.

We ask that He will bless it, no faith in Him we show.

 

Are you like this man named Judas, as your future you will plan?

Do you trust the Savior? Or do you trust in man?

 

Bare Footed Christians

Many times as children

We want to go and play

Sometimes in the backyard,

Or in a mow of hay.

 

Often in our excitement

We go without our shoes.

The ground may be soft mushy

And between our toes does ooze.

 

The ground may contain hidden objects

Like screws or nails or glass.

But from our eyes are hidden

Or covered up with grass.

 

Mother often tells us

As we run out to play,

“Better put your shoes on

Or you’ll get hurt today.”

 

We do not heed the warning

As out the door we go.

What we are going to step on

We really do not know.

 

Then sure enough it happens

Our foot sustains a cut.

 We really didn’t see it,

That glass thrown in a rut.

 

We don’t want Mom to know it

So we stay outside and play.

Our foot begins to swell,

But what did mother say?

 

Our foot is filled with infection

And is turning very red.

Because of our condition

We need to stay in bed.

 

I can’t go out and play now

As I lie here in my bed.

I am feeling rather guilty

Wish I’d done what mother said.

 

I am wondering dear Christian,

As you travel down life’s road,

“Are you going about it your way

Not doing what you’re told?”

 

Are you walking daily

According to God’s plan?

Do you have your feet shod,

Or do you follow ways of man?

 

Are you listening to the Father

And in His word well rooted?

Or are you doing it your way

By going around bare footed?

Ephesians 6:13-15(NIV)  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

NOTE: Scripture in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

 

Memory and Anger

Why did Paul say in Ephesians 4:26: In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,…”

Studies of memory indicate that memory changes over time. Memory does not include all of the details of a given situation. The emotional state of the body helps determine what is remembered. If the person experiences anger or a negative attitude, then the details they remembered will tend to be negative. On the other hand if the person experiences positive feelings, the memory will tend to recall the positive details of the experience.

In just a short period of time, the details that are in memory begin to change. If people hear of similar situation or are exposed to other accounts of the same incident, part of their details will be added to your memory, embellishing your idea of what happened.

The mood that you are in when you recall the memory will also determine what details you pull from your memory later. If you are in a negative mood, you tend to recall negative details. Once the details are stored in the memory, it is difficult to correct the memory because the owner of the details is determined that the details are still accurate.

When we become angry about an event, we tend to seek out people who have experience the same event or a similar event. It seems this is especially true if the event happened in a church and you hear other church people talk. In other words, we want to talk to people who are on ‘our side’. As we listen to their situation, we have a tendency to adopt parts of the other persons experience and it becomes part of our memory and our anger about the situation becomes even stronger.

In addition, the mood of the person asking about the situation, will also determine how the memory responds. If a questions is asked of you about the situation indicate the person is on “your side” or if the person is on “their side”. In other words you can recall the memory asked on what you think the other person wants and how it will best serve you.

Memory over time becomes inaccurate!

In my recent study about memory, I was reminded of the following experiment regarding memory. The article is titled “How Flawed Memories Can Sabotage Your Marriage” by Jason Whiting, downloaded January 28, 2017 from http://family-studies.org/how-flawed-memories-can-sabotage-your-marriage/
 
Professor Ulrick Neisser did an impromptu experiment after the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. The day after the disaster, he asked his class of 106 students to write down where they were when they heard about it. Three years later he asked these students the same thing. Over 90 percent of the accounts changed, and about half of them were inaccurate in at least two-thirds of the details. The revised memories had supplanted the earlier, more accurate ones, but the new ones still felt true. One student was shown her first description, written three years earlier, and said, “I know that’s my handwriting, but I couldn’t possibly have written that.”

The longer you harbor anger, the more inaccurate the memories become and the intensity of our anger also increases. This is why you have to take care of anger before sunset. You need to take care of it while your memories are still accurate and while we can still control your anger.

Revenge affects our memories

In addition to our memories becoming inaccurate, we also have the revenge factor to deal with. As we think through the event that has caused us to get angry, we think about things we can do to get even. We want revenge! “If I have to suffer for this then I will give you something to suffer for.”

Just the act of vengeance is sinful. Romans 12:9 reads: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. The speaker in this passage was quoting from Deuteronomy 32, verses 34-35 where God says:

“Have I not kept this in reserve  and sealed it in my vaults? It is mine to avenge; I will repay.  In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” Deuteronomy 32:34-25(NIV)

Not only will God take vengeance, but he can do a better job than we can. At the right time, God will cause ‘their foot to slip’ and their day of disaster happens.

Why does the anger start in the first place?

Anger usually begins when we think we need to know why something that affects your life has happened. We have difficulty finding out the details about the incident because of a policy or a legal liability. However, I have found that even if we knew the cause, we may still get angry. The real cause of the anger is usually selfishness. We want things to happen our way. We do not want to wait for God to show us His ways.

Here are some steps for overcoming anger:

  1. Humbly search your own heart and seek God’s wisdom.
  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Is this happening because of something I have done?
  • What is God trying to teach me through this experience?
  1. Seek forgiveness from God for any wrong that you have done to cause the experience.

“AND WHENEVER YOU STAND PRAYING, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25(NIV)

  1. Seek forgiveness from the person(s) who have caused the experience that makes you become angry.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

NOTE: Forgiveness does not mean you forget. Forgiveness means that you refuse to bring up the offense again. In other words, “The case is closed”. We surrender our right to use that offense against that person again.

  1. Love the person who offended you.

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

 

All Scripture has been downloaded from http://Biblegateway.com

The Fear of Becoming One

Since facing marital difficulty in my marriage over twenty years ago, I have read numerous studies of divorce and marital difficulties. Although I have not done a mathematical analysis of the cause of divorce, it appears that the root cause of around 90% of them is the result of not wanting to become one with each other. One or both spouses do not want to give up their dreams of life for the sake of joint dreams with their spouse.

When God created woman, he purposely took part of the man to create the woman. Adam said:

 “This is now bone of my bones     and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’     for she was taken out of man.” Genesis 2:23(NIV)

To Adam’s comment, God replied:

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24(NIV)

Throughout time, man has made things stronger by combining two different elements into one. Take iron for example. When man began to cast iron, it was heated and poured into a mold. When it became hard, it maintained the shape of the mold. The only way a person could change the shape of the object was to remove some of the unwanted iron. If you flexed the iron, it would break.

However, man discovered that if you did two things to the iron, it would become very useful. First, the iron was heated to the point that all of the impurities would come to the top and be scraped off the iron. This made a product called steel. Second, they learned they could mix other alloys with the steel, it could be used in many more applications other than the ones previously made from cast iron.

In plant life, man learned that he could take the good traits of two plants, cross-pollinate the two plants and come up with a new plant having the good traits of both plants. This process is called ‘hybridization’.

In the animal world, man learned that he could take the good traits of different breeds of animals, interbreed the animals so they would have the good traits of both breeds. This process is what creates a purebred.

Another example is the zipper on a coat. In a zipper we have two separate pieces of material that have protruding teeth. The zipper glide draws the two pieces of material together so the protruding teeth of one side of the zipper interlocks with the teeth in the other side of the zipper. When those teeth are interlocked, the garment will not separate. The zipper becomes one. When the zipper becomes one, the coat will be warmer and the person inside will feel more secure than before it was zipped.

In a marriage, the protruding teeth are the dreams and expectations of the two spouses. As couples allow their dreams to mesh, their marriage becomes stronger. Rather than losing their dreams, they a meshed together to become an even better dreams.

In a zipper when one side of the zipper attempts to mesh two teeth with one on the other side of the zipper, you will have a weak spot in the zipper that frequently causes the zipper to separate at that point. Until this problem is corrected, the zipper becomes useless. This same thing happens when one spouse attempts to place their dreams above the dreams of their spouse the marriage will develop a weak spot that will tend to unravel the marriage. To correct this problem in a marriage, there needs to be forgiveness. Sometimes we need to back up, forgive each other, and try again.

For a marriage to work properly, it is important for each spouse to listen to the other spouse and understand fully what their spouse is saying. Too many times, in an effort to protect one’s dream, people will shut out the dreams of their spouse. They will not listen to their spouse explain their position. When spouses do not understand each other’s dreams, one spouse will soon feel they have no value in the marriage and will seek a way out.

It is also important to understand that there is more than one right way to do somethings. Look at the proverbial toilet paper roll. Regardless if whether the paper comes off the top of the roll or the bottom of the roll, it can still accomplish it’s intended purpose.

If you look on the internet, you will find that there are at least two ways to boil eggs. One way is to place the eggs in cold water, heat the water until it comes to a boiling point, turn off the heat, then let the eggs stay in the water for a given length of time. A second way to boil eggs is to bring the water to a boiling point, place the eggs in the water, then let them boil for a period of time, turn off the heat and remove the eggs. Regardless of which method you use, you will get a boiled egg.

In a marriage we can become so concerned about the ‘right’ process that we fail to see the desired outcome. You can be so concerned about losing your dreams and expectations that you fail to realize the consequences of a failed marriage will have on your dream.

 

NOTE: scripture used in this blog was downloaded from http://biblegateway.com

Christmas Thoughts

As a person gets up in years, Christmas seems to take on a different meaning as I set back to reminisce my dreams and aspirations of my youth. Some of my dreams are fading because of my physical ability to do them. I tend to look back at my past dreams and how they have been affected by various trials and difficulties that have happened along the way. The dreams of a large family with lots of children and grandchildren gives way to the fact that the  children have grown and become parts of other families with their own dreams.

As I ponder the dreams of my past and my family’s present, I wonder if I have given them the right instructions for reaching their dreams. Have I laid the foundation that they build on? Will they trust God as their Savior? Do they know that God as given them the gift of Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ? Do they know there is a place in Heaven for all of God’s children? Will they teach these values to their children and grandchildren?

In the Book of Genesis, God lays out the foundation of His dreams and aspirations. In six days, God created all the essential parts of His dream. He even made mankind in God’s own image, and it was good. He also made a special place where mankind could enjoy the beauty of his creation. God was able to go to Adam and Eve and have a great evening of fellowship. God wanted that relationship and he still wants a relationship with all his children, not just at Christmas, but every day of the year.

God had given Adam and Eve one important instruction: Do not eat of the tree in the middle of the garden, or you will die. It was not long before that was changed. Eve was tempted and ate of the forbidden tree. In the cool of the day God was looking for Adam and eve, but they were hiding. God had to banish them from the Garden because they disobeyed Him.

It wasn’t long until Cain killed his brother Abel and people continue to disobey God. God sent a flood to wipe out the sinfulness of mankind; He confused their language; He made them walk in the wilderness for years, He made them become slaves to foreigners, He gave them a Kings because they wanted one. And so it goes throughout the Bible. But God still wanted that relationship with man.

In fact, God wanted that relationship so badly that He sent his only Son to die for the sins of man, God wanted to restore eternal life to those who love him. It is a Christmas time that we celebrate the beginning of this dream; the birth of His Son, Jesus. God’s primary reason for sending his only son was to forgive sins and restore eternal life to mankind.

However, the religious leaders were so upset with God that they did everything they could do to get Jesus out of the picture. Finally on Good Friday they made good on their threats. They nail Jesus to a cross. What they did not understand was that Jesus had become the perfect sacrifice. It was the only sacrifice that would take the past, present, and future sins of man to their eternal destination. Man could now be perfect in God’s eyes.

The second purpose for Jesus death took place Easter morning. God reached down and raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus became victorious over death.

Things are different this time around. This time God is letting man choose who he will follow. God wants everyone to accept the gift of salvation, but he is not going to force it on mankind. In fact, for those people who accept the gift of salvation and are willing to follow Christ will be given a home in heaven. Revelation 21 tells about this heaven:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5(NIV)

The new heaven and the new earth are better than the current heaven and earth. There is no separation between the new heaven and the new earth. God dwelling place will be with the people. We will be able to have eternal, uninterrupted fellowship with God. God’ ultimate dream will become reality. Sin and sinful behavior will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, never to be released on earth again. There will be unity at last. We will be restored to the perfect condition in which God made us originally and sin will never separate use from God again.

 

NOTE: All scripture in this blog have been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Why does the world hate you?

Over the past several months we have seen negative comments being voice on social media relative to the presidential election. Now the election is past and we are seeing objections to the results of the election.

It is my opinion that this election was about evil versus good. One candidate seemed to representing the very thing that, according to Christians the Bible would indicate as being evil or sin. While the other candidate, the people wanted a perfect man but the candidate they chose did not fully meet their idea of ‘perfect’.

Many people spoke out about how they felt about each candidate. In most cases it was against one of the candidate. There was a great deal of information that was published in the social media that had been altered, or simply was not true.

During the election season there appeared to be many conflicts between the Christian and the non-Christian. When I refer to the ‘Christian’ I am writing about a person who has accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior and are living for Christ. In other words, they are a ‘disciple of Christ’.

When Paul was writing to the Romans, he said:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1(NIV)

 In other words, God will determine who is placed in the positions of authority and He will not let someone have authority unless he allows it.

Both Christians and non-Christians became very anxious about who was going to win the election. They were trying to beat God to the punch line. They were concerned about having to change their lifestyle and following a leader that they did not believe was capable of leading this country. The candidates forgot to consult them regarding the platform that the candidate should have, according to them.

Have you ever wondered why there seemed to be so much hate between the two parties or the potential candidates within the parties?

In John chapter 15, the Apostle John recorded the instructions that Jesus was giving his disciples prior to his crucifixion. This is what Jesus told the disciples:

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.  If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’  “John 15:17-25(NIV)

Were voters angry with each other because of guilt? When Christians live the way God intended them to live, their very presence can make the sinner feel guilty. If we are not living the way Christ wants us to live, we become tolerant of sin; and we lose our effectiveness for showing others their sinful condition.

What is their sinful condition? Here is what the bible says is a sinful condition in Romans 1:18-32(NIV)

 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:18-32(NIV)

A godly life is just the opposite of what an ungodly life. A godly life is filled with:

 “… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-28(NIV)

My question to you: “How did you behave during this election season?” Did you demonstrate an ungodly condition or a godly condition? Christians are not perfect. We sometimes are prone to wonder away from God’s leading. The good news is that God will forgive us when we ask him. He will restore our godly condition.

 

NOTE: All scriptures used in this blog were downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com

How Can I Get Salvation?

You may be driving around the car dealerships one day when you notice a brand new Rolls-Royce at the dealership. It is your favorite color; has all the features you would ever want in a car; and if you owned it, people would really think you were somebody. However there is one problem, the price tag is more than you would earn in a few years.

Since you cannot afford the car, there are two options you could consider: You could steal the car or you could convince someone to buy it for you as a gift. If you stole the car people would think that you owned it. They would really think you were important. For a short time you would be able to drive it around and enjoy all of the features the car had to offer. However, the enjoyment of having the car will be only temporary. It would only last until the cops catch you with the stolen car. If you accidently damaged the car, it would not really matter since it really is not your car.

On the other hand, suppose someone would agree to buy the car for you. You would first of all have to accept the offer then you would have to acknowledge who paid for the car. You would also make sure that your name on the car title. If the person buying the car for you was a very special person, he may even offer to pay for the maintenance of the car and for any damage that may happen to it in the event you had an accident.

The gift of salvation is like the car. God has a custom plan just for your life. It will include every feature that you would ever need.  

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV).

In addition to your gift of salvation, you would be able to experience love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Salvation, just like the Rolls Royce, cannot be bought with your own resources.

Since you cannot buy God’s gift of salvation, you would have two options. First, you could try to steal your salvation. You could make people think that you were a Christian. You may tell everyone that you are going to heaven when you die. You could give large sums of money to charity. You may enjoy some of the benefits but they will be only temporary. There will come a day when you must answer to God about your stolen salvation. Matthew 22:11-13 describes the person that tries to steal his salvation.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:11-13(NIV)

If you stole your salvation or tried to buy it with your own resources, you would not experience true love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The most you enjoy would be fake love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. However if you ever found yourself wanting to do something that was not Christ-like behavior, you could tell those people involved that you really weren’t a Christian. You could enjoy your sin for a short period of time until you needed to answer to God.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:25-26(NIV)

Worst of all, a stolen salvation leads to eternity in the Lake of Fire with the Devil.

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10(NIV))

The good news is that Jesus paid the price for you salvation. But just like the Rolls Royce, you need to accept the gift and acknowledge that Jesus paid the price.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:35-36(NIV)

When you accept God’s gift of salvation, God records your name in the book of life. This assures you that Jesus paid the price for your salvation and that God’s grace was sufficient for your salvation. You will also be spared from going to the lake of fire.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15.(NIV)

Because your name was written in the book of life, you will spend eternity in heaven with God.

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:22-27(NIV)

Many people believe they can earn their own way to heaven. They believe they can do whatever they please and God will still accept them in heaven. It is true that Jesus died for everyone but only those who accept the gift of salvation will be accepted.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10(NIV)

Are you going to steal your salvation or are you going to accept the gift of salvation that has been made available to you through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? The choice is yours. If you accept God’s gift of salvation, you will bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Biblical Guidelines for ‘Hate Talk’

Does it bother you when people accuse you of ‘hate talk’?

In the news we hear a lot about ‘hate talk’. This usually happens to Christians when they talk about what God has told us to talk about. It usually comes from a person who refuses to believe what the Bible teaches.

What is ‘hate talk’? We usually consider hate talk as any talk that opposes the ideals of the person to whom we are talking. God was the first one to talk about ‘hate talk’. This is what the writer of Proverbs says in the Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19(NIV)

Did you get that? God hates six actions:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked schemes,
  5. feet that are quick to rush into evil,
  6. a false witness who pours out lies

In addition, God also detests the person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Two important aspects of God’s ‘hate talk’:

  1. The six things that God hates are ‘actions’, not people.
  2. People can be detestable to God, but God still loves them.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16(NIV)

We are to love people just as Jesus loved them.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 7-12(NIV)

Being accused of ‘hate talk’ should be an encouragement to Christians if we are following God example. However, if we are talking about outsiders (non-believers), we need to repent because we are not showing them God’s love.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6(NIV)

 

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog was downloaded from Biblegateway.com

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