Time to Grow Up

I hate shallow Christianity.
 
I’m not referring to baby Christians. I don’t hate someone who is just learning their way in Christ, or people who are finding their way back into fellowship with God.
 
I’m referring to people who have never progressed in their walk with the Lord. And when I say “I hate”, I am referring to their lack of righteous fruit, not the individual. I am angered by those whose faith is weak and untested. Not untested because the Holy Spirit has not led them into times of testing, but because they did not recognize their current circumstance was a test. And so they fail…repeatedly…to the determent of God’s kingdom, and to those who occupy the same space with them.
 
Life is always a test, or better yet, a choice. These are people who do not seek God for wisdom. If they do seek Him, they don’t stop long enough to listen. These are Christians who do not seek His truth in the scriptures. If they do look to the word, it’s only for a positive word of scripture…something fluffy that bolsters their emotions. If they happen to run across a word of conviction (translation: are LED to a scripture), one that steps on their toes, they quickly turn the page…or close the book. There is no acknowledgement of ignorance or personal sin. The thought of humbling themselves to ask for mercy and grace is foreign. To respond as Jesus would respond is a fleeting, if never-present, idea.
 
For these believers, it is always someone else’s fault. They have just drawn a bad hand of cards. Life is stacked against them. Excuse after excuse after excuse. And so, in their ignorance, arrogance and unbelief, they war with human wisdom, in a field of flesh and blood, playing right into the enemy’s hand.
 
God’s kingdom operates differently than man’s kingdom.
 
To confront hate, we are to extend love. To counteract slander and persecution, we are to pray and ask our Father to bless the person slandering us. We don’t pay back an evil deed with another evil deed. If God did that with any one of us, we would cease to exist. 
 
It’s time to grow up.
 
It’s time to face the hard truth about yourself. 
 
If the body of Christ is ever to become the beautiful Bride, the Church that Jesus chose for His very own, then we must face our mirror and truly see what we look like in HIS eyes. Just know that He sees us through His eyes of love. You weren’t chosen because you were the most beautiful, the most handsome, the most AWESOME human who has ever walked this earth. You were picked out and adopted simply because of His great love for you. 
 
Let others see how much God loves them through you. 
 
“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25b-27
 
 
Blind MA

The Beauty of Salvation

I receive weekly posts from Church Growth, a Christian organization that provides resources to encourage believers in their walk with Christ, and to discover the gifts God has given to them.

I want to share the following email that was sent out this week, just in case someone is wondering about salvation. Blessings

What We Believe about Salvation
Dr. Elmer Towns

The single most significant experience in life is receiving the salvation provided by Christ on the Cross.

The salvation experience is difficult to describe fully if a person has not personally experienced salvation.

The Bible uses the word salvation in three different ways…

First, salvation is described in a past tense. In this sense we have been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin.
Second, salvation is described in a present tense. This means we are being saved from the habit and dominion of sin.
Third, salvation is described in a future tense. Someday, we will be saved from all the physical infirmities which are the consequence of sin and the curse of God upon sin.
The Bible uses many different expressions to describe the change that takes place in a person’s life in salvation. Each expression describes the same thing from a slightly different perspective, emphasizing a particular aspect of this experience.

As we examine what we believe about salvation, we will focus our study on four of these words: conversion, regeneration, justification, and sanctification.

Conversion: Bible teachers often use the word conversion when describing the salvation experience from a human perspective. Conversion refers to the personality change that takes place when a person becomes a Christian. This change embraces the total person, intellect, emotions, and will. The apostle Paul described the conversion experience when he wrote, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.” (Romans 6:17).

Regeneration: This is the work of God through the Holy Spirit within a person who has “saving faith,” in which a new nature is given that makes the person capable of doing the will of God. Whereas conversion looks at the salvation experience from a human perspective, regeneration describes the same experience from a divine perspective. The term regeneration occurs in only one verse to describe this experience, “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is also described by Jesus as being “born again” in John 3:3…“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Justification: While there are many things which happen in the experience of the Christian at the moment of salvation, there are also a number of things which happen outside the realm of our experience which are nevertheless just as real. The conversion and regeneration experience coincides with a legal declaration of our righteous standing before God. This aspect of salvation is called “justification.” This exciting aspect of the doctrine of salvation gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. Justification is the act whereby God declares a person righteous when he or she trusts Christ. It is the means by which God establishes a legal relationship between God and people. It doesn’t make people perfect but rather declares them perfect in God’s sight. Someone has put it this way: “Justification means God sees me ‘just-as-if’ I’d never sinned!” Justification is non-experiential. It gives us a new standing before God and is the means by which we enter into a new position in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). It is a judicial act on the part of God that results in our having peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Sanctification: While we are justified at our conversion, it often takes time to experience the change which has taken place in our life. The process by which we apply our salvation to a lifestyle which becomes more Christlike is called “sanctification.” The key to sanctification is letting Christ live His life fully through our life (Galatians 2:20). The apostle Paul describes this process throughout his epistles, but perhaps never so clearly as in Romans 6, where he describes the practical steps in working out our personal salvation into a consistent Christian lifestyle.
This salvation experience is so significant that the Bible uses over a hundred different expressions to describe it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

See what’s really happening

That person who is causing you trouble or grief is not your enemy. The enemy is the enemy.

Stand strong in love. But not in your own strength…in God’s. Ask the Lord to love that person (or persons) through you. Pray for the other person’s health, welfare and spiritual walk. Satan lives to stir up strife and division among people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ. The only way he succeeds is if we give into the anger.

Let love rule. It is the only way to overcome the enemy of your soul.

Blessings today & everyday.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

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.

8 Love never fails.

Your Witness for Jesus

Is your life proclaiming Christ, or profaning Christ.

Think about that a moment. We are the only Jesus most people see. Like it or not, the behavior we display to the world is what gives people of the world their impression of God.

Are we ambassadors for Christ, or are we bringing shame upon the Gospel with our words & deeds?

To proclaim is to announce, declare, profess:

pro·claim
prəˈklām,prōˈklām/
verb
 announce officially or publicly.
  1. “the joint manifesto proclaimed that imperialism would be the coalition’s chief objective”
    • declare something one considers important with due emphasis.
      “she proclaimed that what I had said was untrue”
    • declare officially or publicly to be.
      “he proclaimed James II as King of England”

     

To profane something is to treat it with disrespect; to treat something holy as common:

pro·fane
prəˈfān/
verb
1. treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect.
“it was a serious matter to profane a tomb”
synonyms: desecrateviolatedefile, treat sacrilegiously “invaders profaned our sacred temples”

Before Jesus went to the cross, He spent time with His disciples. On His last night, Jesus informed them of things that were about to take place, and to let them know that He was going to His Father’s (God) house, to prepare a place for them (and us). Jesus then said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” ~ John 14: 4

Thomas quickly spoke up and said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”. Jesus responded, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” To which Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

When we study the Gospels and the epistles, everything we read in relation to Christ is exactly how God would respond, because Jesus only did what His Father showed Him, and in the same way His Father would do it. Paul went on to write:

Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God...” Colossians 1:15 – 17

All of us who declare ourselves as “Christian” should be concerned about our witness for Christ. And the thing is, we can’t do or be a godly representative without the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. Our part is to yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. To be teachable and willing to repent and change course when we find out our way of doing things is not God’s way. To not run from God’s loving conviction and correction, but to humbly say, “You are right Father. The way I acted is not how Jesus would act (or speak, think, believe…etc). Please forgive me.”

The more we go on in this way the more clearly we will reflect the glory of God’s presence in our lives, so that the people around us will say, “I believe there is a God in heaven because I see Him in you.”

Blessings and have a wonderful day!

Live In Such A way