Sunday, April 5, 2015

Discrimination vs Religious Beliefs

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(Amendment I, United States Constitution)

Our Constitution tells us that we shall have no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, but yet Christians are being attacked from all sides with words like bigot, hypocrite, homophobic, and discriminatory for simply trying to stand on their faith and the Word of God. 

Indiana is now making the news of in the battle of Christians vs the LGBT community with their Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  This act would give businesses the ability to refuse to provide services on the basis that these services would go against their religious beliefs.  This would be a step toward our the First Amendment rights; as a Christians who is in support of this, I feel it would give business owners the opportunity to stand up against our current societal trends in favor of our Lord.  

The other side says it is only a ploy to promote discrimination.  I can see situations where it would not apply, for example a business such as a restaurant should not be allowed to turn customers away because of sexual preference since they are not a specialized business.  

Who should it apply to then?  A good example of this is all the publicity surrounding same sex marriage.  I am not going to get into my feelings on this, a previous blog posting sums them up well.  But I will say that a business that caters to weddings or receptions should be able to choose their clientele as much as the clientele chooses them.  The Bible defines marriage and sexual relations as existing only between man and woman numerous times, but it also tells us that those who give approval of unnatural behavior are also committing sin.  

Romans 1:26 -28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

1 Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Mark 10: 6-9 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Romans 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

And yes, one of these verses speaks of death, but that is not the point I am trying to make or even believe.  I feel that our choices and actions are between the individual and God.  We are not to set in judgement, but we also do not have to encourage or assist in these actions.  If we know something is a sin, we are told not to support this behavior.  The Bible instructs us to remain true to God and do what is according to His will. 

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This is not going to be the easy road and will, most likely, end up the harder of the two choices but it is the better for our relationship with God. 

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

We need to come together , as Christians, and pray that God speak to the hearts of our political leaders and bring this type of legislation to pass where we can not only reclaim our lost Constitutional rights, but more importantly we can serve our Lord God in the manner that He deserves.   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Living by faith, not sight.

I always read the little messages that churches put on their signs because they are either entertaining or have good advice. Right now, my family is in a state of unsurity. We are looking at a change that will have serious impact on us and, although I feel it is the right thing and God's will, I still have the "what ifs".  I am praying that this post will help me to get past those "what ifs" and some other concerns I have.

Every day I pass a church sign that has had 2 Corinthians 5:7 up for a while.

For we live by faith, not by sight.

I know that it has been up for so long because God is using it as a message for, at least, myself. This scripture gives me two immediate messages, the first is that worrying about our worldly things such as bills, homes, vehicles, etc is living by sight; I am focusing on the things that keep popping up in my face daily and can be used to come between God and myself. These are the things that we each see every day over and over and we must learn to put them in their place, which is in God's hands. 

The other clear message is that I need to let God show me how to live by faith. Which is to believe that He will provide a way and means to make things happen. If I let Him drive then anything in life He desires to bless us with will happen. All doors will open and all hindrances, will be removed. It is just a matter of not only having, but keeping the faith that He not only can, but wants to bless my family and all I have to do is allow Him. 

It is hard to comprehend, sometimes, to get past the "The only one you can truly count on is yourself" philosophy and get into the "The only one you can truly count on is God" philosophy, but that is the correct mentality. Counting on myself will still cause me to be let down, I am not perfect and cannot see every ramification of each action I take, God can. Letting Him lead and counting on Him, will let all details work themselves out to the best, according to His will.

'But I have no right to expect God to solve all of my problems (financial, residential, emotional, etc)." 
That is true, but what we do have is a God that loves us and wants to do this. All we have to do is believe in Him, follow His ways, and accept His son as our saviour. Matthew 10:29 - 31 lets us know that nothing in our lives is to minor for God. 

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

If He knows and cares about each time a sparrow falls or something as minute as the number of hairs on our head, for some us He doesn't have to count that high. What gives us the right to think our finances, jobs, or anything else should not matter to Him. Through grace our concerns become His concerns and there is nothing too big or too small. 

I just want to thank God for the any changes we are about to undertake because they are His will and pray that He will give me the wisdom and courage to serve Him and do His will both publicly and privately in my life. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Romans 8

We all have struggles and hard times during our lives. We even see this during points when there should be no financial or other reasons. What causes us to have to work so hard when there should be no struggle? We should look spiritually. Most people do not equate spiritual well-being with the other parts of our lives,even Christians will overlook this aspect.  We,as humans, get focused on the earthly things and try to measure our successes and failures on this. 

Romans 8:1 KJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This one verse says quite a bit to me.  Who is our harshest judge? Is it the spouse, the boss, or our friends or family? No it is ourselves.  We have to learn that as long as we are trying to live as we should we need to let go of our personal condemnation of ourselves and accept God's forgiveness on ourselves. Once we can let go of our own judgements on ourselves it will be easier to let go of others judgements and realize there is really only one that is able to make a judgement on us and He has forgiven us our mistakes. 

This will open the door to His blessings that nothing can interfere with. We will see all of our"problems" fade away and be replaced with good. We just have to let go of our way of thought that success and failure are achieved through world.

Romans 8:1-39 KJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Random thoughts

This post is going to be a little different. Instead of having a specific topic I have read four scriptures that I am going to reflect on in word instead of just thought. I just feel like this personal reflection will hopefully speak to someone else, besides me.

1.Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5

God is going to honor his promises to his believers. Having faith and knowing God will get us through any challenges is the key to success. God loves us and will never lie or mislead us, we just have to let Him drive.

2. If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife. Proverbs 30:32-33

Garbage in, garbage out. We can lie to ourselves. Inflating our egos by saying look what I have done, or spiteful, ungrateful thoughts will come back on us. If you churn milk you will get butter, and hitting someone in the nose will make it bleed, feeding our heart with profane and mean thoughts will cause us to become farther from God. If we call ourselves Christian we must do our best in both action and word.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name I will do it. John 14:13-14

God has and will take care of us if we let Him. We have to ask and believe that He is bigger than any of our problems. Odds are the problems we face are something to do with life and the world, fortunately for us God is the creator of both those things which means He can straighten out any problems with them. All we have to do is tell Him what we need and let Him know that we are going to let Him fix it according to HIS will.

I am the vine, ye are the branches:He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:7

Staying faithful and not losing hope when we have a bump in life will let us grow and succeed. If we lose faith or try to solve everything ourself we will wither and fail, but through Him we will not just have the minimum we will have abundance.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What does God want from me?

   I have asked for salvation and been granted a new life in God. Now what does He want?

   God desires to be an active part of our life. Through Jesus we obtain our salvation, but that is just the beginning. The parable of the marriage feast speaks to me as to what role we should give God in our life. It can be found in Matthew 22:1-14.

1.And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

This tells us how to get to eternity with God. Accepting Christ in our life is the way to get the invitation to Heaven, but we must be ready when He calls. The people in the parable that were called were not ready when time had come. They were to busy doing their own thing and were not willing to stop and heed the call. As a result, they missed the feast and were destroyed.

The blessing was passed to others and one of them was not willing to fully take of the blessing. He chose not to wear the offered wedding garb, which to me is like saying I am a a follower of God, but then living a hedonistic life. For not having the appropriate dress when called he was bound and cast away.

God desires to be active in our life. In order for Him to be active in our lives we must make time and allow Him to be so. The first thing we need for this is faith. Faith is more than just saying "I believe God loves me." it is giving up control and letting God provide for us. We have to stop worrying about money, food, clothes, electronics, etc and focus on Him. I know it is easier to tell someone to stop worrying than it is to actually do it. This is where faith comes in, and Romans 10:17 tells us how to get the level of faith needed to accomplish this.

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hearing God, and to hear God's plan we have to know the word. The word of God is the Bible and if we give God time and study the Bible we will build a solid foundation. Regular study will strengthen that foundation and our faith will build from it and grow. Once the faith is there we find it easier and easier to give our burdens to Him.

Another thing we need is love. Love for God, love for others, and love for ourselves.
Matthew 22.37 tells us how we should love God.

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.

This means God wants our total devotion. He wants ALL of our mind , soul, and heart. That means being a good Christian by words alone or a few actions here and there will not work. We must be completely for God and live according to His guidelines all the time.

The Godly love must also be freely given to those around us. Look at Matthew 19:19, Romans 13:10, and Matthew 5:44

Matthew 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Romans 13:10  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

These scriptures tell us to love our neighbors and our enemies. We are not to wish them ill will or hostility, but should love them as we love ourselves. We should pray happiness and joy instead of misfortune and sadness for them or anyone.

A brief reflection on what love is. I Corinthians tells us exactly what love is and how we should embody it.
I Corinthians 13:4-7

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love is embracing the good things of life and letting go of the bad. It is not about you or I but about doing what is right and treating others right. Love is realizing what you have and giving God the bad where He can turn it into the good. Verse 7 is my favorite because it, to me, sums up our duty for any person that God has blessed us with in our lives. To always protect and keep that relationship special, always trust that God's blessings will be there, always hope for the good and persevere through the not so good because God can and will help us overcome all.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Christians are pious, judgemental hypocrites

This post is only referencing II Timothy 3:15-16. When I read the Bible for my daily personal message I ask God to show me what I need to see and give me the understanding to interpret His message for me. I opened my Bible and my eyes landed on the page at verse 15.

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

I did go back and read the rest of the chapter but those 2 verses are what my heart pondered on. 

Too many times when Christians stand up and say what you or the world is doing is sin. We get words like pious, judgmental, and hypocritical thrown back at us. We are told we should not say this to people because if we are true Christians we would love them, invite them in, and not tell them everything they are doing wrong. 

What most people refuse to accept is that we are saying these things out of love and we want them to come to our churches and fellowship with us. You can tell someone they are wrong out of a loving concerning heart but they have to be willing to accept the lesson. These scriptures tell us that we should know the Scripture as God's Word and we should use it as a tool to guide others to Him. As verse says, the Word is not only for instruction and a guideline for our lives, but it should also be CORRECTLY applied as reproof and correction. 

I think that correct application is where so many people with the best intentions get tripped up. We also have to accept that we are not perfect and we have to accept when God uses the Word to correct us. I know most of my readings like this I find a message that I can share with others, but that does not happen until I absorb what God is saying to me personally.  We have to be able to to accept responsibility for our own sin and shortcomings. Yes I said sin. Every person that has ever lived, with the exception of Christ our Savior, has and will sin. It is called making mistakes and being human. If we are not afraid of admitting our mistakes to God and using our lives as an example others will be more receptive to what we have to say and it will not appear as hypocritical. As Christians, we must continue to learn the scripture and use it correctly as a tool of reproof.   We cannot let words such as pious or judgmental deter us from using the Word in the ways God intended. We are not the judge and jury and should never act that way, but we are the instructors and educators to others. 

How many times was Christ questioned, challenged, and treated as judgmental? If they would do that to the Son of God why should we expect any less for spreading the message. He died for us and for the message. There are missionaries all over the world who are face death or imprisonment for the message they deliver, so I do not think some harsh words that we face here should deter us in the least. 

When I blog I set here and type, none of my words are preplanned so I am reading this for the first time as I write. I see this message applying to me and telling me I need to become more proactive for God. We all need to become more proactive, He was proactive for us. 

Just remember condemn the sin, love the sinner.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thought for the day July 1, 2013

 We are not promised a new day so we should give each day over to God and let him manage our day.
Luke 22:42 -- "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."