Dec 24, 2005

We Are Not Alone

Christians living in a tumultuous world are constantly bombarded with evil in a concerted effort to conform us to this world. Satan knows exactly how, and when, to tempt us at our most vulnerable moments. God is always with us, and even when we are tempted His right hand of protection is extended.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you will be able to endure it. ~ 1 Cor. 10:13 (ESV)
The Forty-first chapter of Isaiah is a great story of how God shows His love and mercy towards His people. Christians today have the same help and love the Israelites were offered, and He is always available for His people in times of need.
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

for I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'fear not, I am the one who helps you'. ~ Isaiah 41:13 (ESV)
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God Of Israel will not forsake them. ~ Isaiah 41:17 (ESV)
We are blessed beyond measure that God is willing, and able to move mountains to protect and care for us. Isaiah chapter forty-one displays His grace and mercy to those who are His people; we need to read this promise often, and understand that He lovingly watches over us and will never forsake us.

Dec 16, 2005

God Upholds The Weak

Making snap judgments about people who didn't agree with MY particular Bible interpretation was once deeply embedded into my Christian thought. I mean ..... how could I be wrong! I honestly believed that I was a member of the Lord's only recognized body on earth; the Church of Christ, and it was only logical that since there was only one true church, and you were not a member of that body, you was not a Christian....after all, how could some one in the Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic church be saved, they didn't follow the New Testament pattern, and on top of that wore the wrong "church" name.
"Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;" ---Romans 14:10 (ESV)
It never fails to baffle me how I could read Romans 14:10 without seeing how judgmental I had become. Of course I didn't think I was being judgmental at the time, because my judgment wasn't geared to a brother, or at least I didn't think so.
"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." ---Romans 14:4 (ESV)
The Lord knows who is a member of His body, and certainly doesn't need any help from me, or anyone else to enlighten Him. What's truly amazing is the fact that He can uphold us and make us stand before Him.

We should not be worried how others judge us; the Lord knows us, loves us, and promises to uphold us. In our weakest moments, He is there ready to pick us up, dust us off, and return us to an upright position. This promise is for all His children, not just a few who believe they have attained perfection, and would dare pass judgment on their brothers and sisters.

Dec 11, 2005

Dark Places And Bright Lights

Hitting the local cafe for an early morning cup of coffee is my preferred method of kick-starting another day. Coffee shops are a great way to make new friends and solve the world's problems (the government should check with us before making major decisions.) Five months ago I moved to this little mountain community and didn't know anyone; my coffee breaks have now produced a few friends, and also a few problems.

From the beginning I have made it plain to each of them that I believe in God, and while not perfect, I strive daily to follow where Jesus leads. Rather than irritate them with my attempts to be "preachy" (is this a word! if not, it should be) I just use every opportunity available to let them know God loves them. Alone with them they talk about God, but as a group the subject is usually ignored.
"...Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ---Matt. 5:16 (ESV)
These coffee jockeys while playfully aggravating one another will use rather coarse language at times, and have no qualms about using God's name improperly; not seeming to care if they offend anyone in hearing distance. While I enjoy their company and consider them friends, it bothers me to no end when they spout their foul language, especially when everyone in the coffee shop can hear them.....and here I am right in the middle of them, and on the surface not a very shinning example of being a Christian. Certainly some in the room cubby-hole all of us into the same rowdy category because of the actions of one or two who turned the air blue for a second.

While bad company corrupts good morals, how can we teach the unsaved without being in their company? People who categorize us as being sinners because we associate with the lost without knowing the situation, are usually the same people who could care less about the lost. Jesus constantly received flak for associating with those unacceptable to the mainstream religion of the day, yet He continued to seek those who were lost and hurting, and didn't let a little criticism change His direction. Our light indeed should burn brightly before a lost world, but those judging us for something they don't understand have no effect on our light, and while our light may be doused in their minds, I believe it will shine brightly before God.

We seldom reach the lost without engaging them in their own territory. If they decided to attend the church services they could catch a glimple of what it means to worship God, but most people who are not Christians don't hang around Christians; so unless you go to them on their grounds, how can you make an impact in their lives?

I'm not advocating that we associate with the lost by following them in sin, but we can by loving them, and being near them, show them a better way to live. Being seen in a crowd associating with sinners (and who of us are not sinners) may seem on the surface as being the wrong place for a Christian, but where else can a Christian be of more service than with those who need Him the most?

Dec 3, 2005

Your Church Might Be A Country Club, If:

More than once I have visited a church where the leaders were successful in creating a county club (anything goes) atmosphere, where the emphasis on Jesus appears to have been lost in the shuffle. Too often these country club churches seek to please the membership rather than fulfill their mission of reaching the lost. They have developed multiple programs for everything under the sun, except reaching the lost.

Country club churches dot the landscape all over our fair country, and bear little resemblance to the church depicted in the Bible. If the church is the earthly body of Christ (and it is) then we need to follow after Jesus rather than attending a church where the emphasis is placed on our entertainment instead of preparing us to live Godly lives and harvest lost souls.

Your church might be a country club, if:

Your entire weeks contribution is used to buy ice cream for the weekly Sasquatch Admiration Society meeting in room #304.

The elders proudly announce the new Martha Stewart, Spitfire Self-igniting, radically engineered, atom fueled cook stove has been installed right next to the matching refrigerator in the "church" kitchen.

You always have Sunday lunch with the IN group, and never have occasion to invite visitors-- especially the poor, ill dressed, and un-churched --to share your table. You do have a Christian image to uphold, you just can't be seen with the un-churched!

You are asked to reach deep into your pocket to embellish the fellowship hall by adding an NBA (National Basketball Association) type wood floor, and increase the size of the playing field to a full court so a few of the members can have some fun. Of course it can also be used for sock hops.

You are a member of six clubs in the church; the Boy Scouts Boosters, Camp XIII Bonfire Extinguishers, Boar Hunters of America, Yellow Primrose Association, Chicago Bear Tailgaters, and the Blue Boys '73 Corvette Club, but can't locate the verse in the bible where "Jesus Wept."

Everyone during the worship service is wearing their favorite NFL T-shirt while munching on popcorn, eating hot dogs, and sipping cokes.

The church leaders turn their heads when you are sinful, and go out of their way to remove any possible guilt that just might harm your psyche.


I prefer a small church with a big heart, using the Lord's money wisely to feed the poor, care for the sick, and save the lost; not pampering the in-house membership.