Christianity

Your Baggage

By Steve Countryman

All of your cares, troubles, problems, addictions, worries, character traits, past sins, flaws, faults, failures, grudges, unforgiveness, offenses, health issues and financial woes are all part of your baggage.  Just like baggage you carry it with you everywhere you go.  Most people are known by their baggage.  Though we all try to conceal our baggage the best we can by putting on our best face, our baggage always cones to the surface sooner or later.

Your baggage is your burdens that you bare.  They are always before you and you cannot escape them.  Satan uses them against you to trap you and keep your attention on them.  Always reminding you of your past mistakes and failures.  He loves to wear you down with them. But you don’t have to bare them alone.  You don’t have to allow them to define who you are.  They are only part of your past and now are part of your testimony!  Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Even with all of your baggage it never scares God off.  God doesn’t ask you to take care of your baggage so He can love you.  He loves you with all of your baggage.  In fact God wants to take all of your baggage and help you fix them.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  Romans 6:13 “Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield (surrendering) yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.”

God’s love is so powerful that not only does He love you baggage and all and wants to be involved in your daily lives but wants to take care of your baggage too!  It is a matter of trust.  Do you trust God enough to surrender all of your baggage over to Him?  Do you think that the God of all creation knows something about fixing problems?  Can you submit and commit your baggage all over to Him?  Can you surrender, commit and submit your life over to your creator?  Surrender to God’s will, Word and ways.  Commit your baggage into His hands and trust God enough to leave them there.  Quit going back and picking them up again trying to fix them by yourself.  Leave them with the Master.  It amazes me that God wants my baggage and has plans to bless me besides.  Wow, I’m blown away!  Thank you Lord for loving me so!!

My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Who You Are Not!

Worship

@creationswap/travissilva

By Steve Countryman

That is a statement that you must always keep in mind when Satan attacks your mind.  For he will always try to remind you who you were and what you used to do.  He wants to drag you back into your past and keep you there.  It is one of the many lies that he tells you as he tries to deceive you into believing it.  But God has delivered you and set you free from your past and from your past sins.  YOU ARE NO LONGER THAT PERSON!  It is easy to forget who you are now when you slip up and commit a stupid sin like one from your past.  You have to remember that you are not that person but are now the King’s child, adopted into God’s family, an heir to the thrown and a child of the Most High God.  You have been set apart, made Holy and righteous.  You are deserving, worthy and covered in His glory.  All the power and authority of heaven lives and resides in you daily and His name is Jesus!

Once you were lost living a life without purpose and meaning.  Having the hope of the world trusting in man and man’s wisdom.  But the very best man can do is to let you down.  For the truth and wisdom that man relies on is his own not God’s.  A truth that is always changing and wisdom that is based on situational circumstances.  Not on what is right but what is right for now.  As a child of God you have a hope and a future that the average person lacks.  You get to rely on God’s wisdom and never changing truth.  You are not who you used to be.  Who you used to be is now part of your testimony.

The Bible declares who you are.  You are more than a conquer.  You are more than an over-comer.  You are a believer.  You are above and not beneath.  You are the head and not the tail.  For you can do ALL things through Jesus Christ who strengthens you.  You are a Holy Spirit filled believer who walks by the leading of the Spirit and has all spiritual blessing and gifts made available to you.

You are not who friends say you are.  You are not who your parents say you are.   You are not who family says you are.  You are not who schoolmates say you are.  You are not who co-workers say you are.  You are not who teachers, professors, bosses or clergy say you are.  You are not who Satan says you are.  You are not who your past says you are.  You are not who doctors say you are.  You are not who the authorities say you are.  You are much, much more than all of that.  Though “who you are not” may be a big list it is not near as important or as meaningful as who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you!  That is who God says you are!  Who you used to be is not who you now are and is not why you are here!

______________________

About the Author:
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Names Have Been Changed to Declare the Righteous

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

By Abby Kelly

“I love everything about her life!”

The barista’s comment startled me as I left Starbucks. I knew she was talking about me. We had just been giggling together, discussing our dogs and exchanging first names.

I almost turned around said, “No you don’t! You don’t know anything about my life!” But instead, I just smiled to myself and walked into the sunshine. I think I know what she loves about my life, it’s what she can see. I pray she can see that God has blessed me with joy and a peace beyond understanding.

It hasn’t always been this way. I used to spot a girl across the room and wish to trade her places. I used to pray each night that God would just kill me because I didn’t want to do my life anymore. In the midst of a 15 year battle with anorexia and a troubled marriage, it seemed as if my life couldn’t get any worse. I even feared that my loved ones had given up on me after pouring thousands of dollars into my treatment, only to still see a starving, depressed woman.

Looking into my heart, I hated what I saw. I perceived my identity as intrinsically linked to my long list of failures.

Maybe Jacob did, too. The Biblical character of Genesis lived up to his given name, “Deceiver”. In fact, when God asked him in chapter 32, “What is your name?” Jacob was forced to reply, “I am Deceiver.”

At that point in Jacob’s life, he believed the end was near. In mere hours, he would be face-to-face with a man who once wanted to kill him. Already, Jacob had a long list of mistakes to feel guilty for. I wonder if Jacob hated who he had become.

But God is in the business of changing identities. Over and over throughout the Bible, when God did a massive work in someone’s life, He also changed their name, giving them a new identity, a new way to refer to themselves, a new way to see themselves and a new way to present themselves to the world.

For Jacob, God told him, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”

Another definition of the name Israel is, “Prince of God”.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, our identity changes too, when we accept Jesus as our salvation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Isaiah 62 tells us that God changes our name to reflect the new identity that we receive when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for us and the gift of His righteousness to us.

“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.”

As I sank into a chair on the patio at Starbucks, the sun’s afternoon rays painted my feet a soft yellow, then shadows encroached and swept me into the early evening hours. I smiled again. I love who I am. I love the one who gave me His identity in Christ, and I dearly love the name, Jesus.

I am a Christian blogger and freelance writer living in Georgia. My husband is an Army officer, so our frequent moves pepper my writing with a wide variety of experiences and observations.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Soft Crosses

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

By louis gander

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

…the Heavens above that are filled so with love
and grace only God can bestow –
from free virgin birth for the people on earth.
I ask, “Have I failed Him so?”

Am I like the leaves that everyone sees,
that wave to and fro in the wind,
drawing attention as if I’m important?
Could that, my dear friends, be a sin?

His sheep, under wool, must be fully faithful –
not warped as the coconut trees.
How is it fitting if I am still sitting –
not helping the poor “least of these”?

How disconcerted am I that Christ suffered?
I hold my small cross close to me.
Genteel, I’m living, but what am I giving?
Are soft crosses not meant to be?

Oh, should I be stunned if my cross isn’t cushioned?
I’m carefree- and comforts I seek!
Is love, au contraire, to this cross that I bear
as others are hungry and weak?

Our God sits above and He fills us with love.
We’re blessed with His soft, gentle breeze –
on tropical islands with soft, idle hands,
enjoying a lifetime of ease.

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

——–

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)
“No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Copyright 2004-2013 louis gander ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
http://www.ganderpoems.org/
Written 9-27-13 by louis gander. FREE to print and use, but only with copyright information included – NOT for resale. Thank You!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com CHRISTIAN WRITER

I am A Child of The Most High God!

The Glory of God

artwork:@creationswap/doug shelton

By Steve Countryman

Hosea 1:10 “they will be called ‘children of the living God.”  Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”   John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

The phrase “I am a child of the Most High God” has to be one of the most difficult phrases for most Christians to wrap their minds around!  Mostly because we constantly listen to that stupid voice in our heads telling us that we don’t deserve to be His child.  The God who gave His One and only Son to suffer and die for all mankind’s sins.  That just to be a servant of the Most High God is such a privilege.  Trying to rationalize how the God of all creation would call us “friend” let alone His child is beyond our ability to comprehend.  And yet God’s love is so far above our understanding that He doesn’t only call us friend, call us His children but also makes us co-heirs to the throne of heaven!

It is a mindset that we need to receive.  It is a mindset that we must have daily.  1 Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ.”  It is our heavenly responsibility to walk in it constantly everywhere we are and everywhere we go.  It is where the power and authority of heaven resides in us!  The reality of being a child of the Most High God carries so much more than we know or understand.  For too long we have been settling for good instead of God’s best for us.  We have compromised away His blessings and spiritual power because of our lack of patience, our lack of faith and trust, our lack of commitment and dedication to God and our lack of wisdom, Biblical knowledge and revelation.  It is understanding that as a child of the Most High God that God not only answers our prayers but more importantly He is the ANSWER to all of our prayers!  Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  You seek first His kingdom, His ways, His will, His commands and show and prove your love for Him by your obedience and follow through then being a child of the Most High God is fulfilled in you!

There is power and life is in the tongue, in spoken words and especially in speaking out loud God’s Word and promises!  The following is best when read out loud.  I need reminding and I know it will help you realize who you are in Christ Jesus and who Christ Jesus is in you!  Anytime you are faced with problems, attacks or you just need to hear from God, this is a good thing to pull out and declare out loud.

I am a child of the Most High God and God makes me more than a “get-me-by” person, more than a survivor, more than a victor and more than a conquer.   I am a child of the Most High God and I am blessed beyond measure, beyond imagination, beyond my widest dreams and I overflow with His goodness everywhere I go.  I am a child of the Most High God and my boast is in you Lord for every good and perfect thing in my life is from you.  I am a child of the Most High God and I “put on” your amour, the mind of Christ, your love and mercy, your patience and contentment.  I am a child of the Most High God and you “clothe me” in your righteousness, your peace and joy, your power and authority.  I am a child of the Most High God and I represent the Holy family of God everywhere I go ALL the time!  I am a child of the Most High God and I will not compromise away my beliefs or your Word.  I am a child of the Most High God and I will not give up, give in, quit, lay down, hesitate, let myself be deceived or be distracted away from fulfilling the destiny that you my God has for me.

I am a child of the Most High God and my body is the Temple of the Lord and is His dwelling place.  I am a child of the Most High God and sickness and disease is not allowed in His Temple my body!  I am a child of the Most High God and I walk in your prosperity, goodness, all spiritual giftings, your overflow, abundance, surplus and extravagant blessings.  I am a child of the Most High God and I am a Holy Spirit filled believer who walks in ALL power and authority of heaven everywhere I go.  I am a child of the Most High God and my daily walk is one of intimacy, closeness, openness, honesty and transparency.  I am a child of the Most High God and I am above and not beneath, I am the head and not the tail.  I am a child of the Most High God and NO weapon formed against me shall prosper!  I am a child of the Most High God and I walk in reverential fear, in your spirit of wisdom and revelation.  I am a child of the Most High God and I will not allow the evil one, who has been defeated, to lie or deceive me!  I am a child of the Most High God and I will not allow sin, addictions, wickedness, any vile thing or situation/circumstance to rule and reign over me!  For ALL power and authority of heaven lives and dwells in me, His Temple through God’s One and only Son Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  I lay hands on the sick and they recover, I cast out demons and raise the dead.  For I am a child of the Most High God and it is time for All of God’s children to start acting like it!

About the Author:
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

 

Christian Wannabe or Christian Ought To Be?

Reality is not a Show

artwork:@creationswap/DerickWatson

By Steve Countryman

I have to be honest here, as I write this it is painfully clear to me that I have a LONG way to go to be the Christian that my God wants me to be.  I could use that right there for an excuse to quit trying.  But all I have to do is take one look back and see how far my God has brought me from the guy I used to be to His servant today and I am totally in awe!

A Christian wannabe is someone who wants to be a Christian but on their terms not God’s.  Going to church, being active in church, having a Christian bumper sticker, wearing a cross, having some religious tattoos or just keeping your Bible on the coffee table at home doesn’t make you a Christian.  Most of today’s Christians don’t read the Bible even if they own one.  If your Bible sits in your car from Sunday to Sunday doesn’t mean that you are armed with the Word of God.  Watching television evangelist or listening to a preacher quote the Bible doesn’t qualify as you reading the Bible.  There are so many churches out there where the Bible isn’t quoted at all for fear that it will offend someone or it is considered to be anti-seeker friendly church material.  The Bible is too exclusive to a church who is ALL inclusive!

There is now a gay-friendly Bible called the “Queen James” version that has removed ALL scripture references to homosexuality.  Another new Bible just released by Thomas Nelson Publishing called “The Voice Bible”.  This version has removed the name of Jesus Christ, angels and prefers to use emissary instead of apostle.  Changing the Bible to accommodate sinful lifestyles, groups of people, false doctrines or eliminate the Trinity is to make a mockery of church and God’s Word.  Church is no longer church but a social club of political correctness.

To be a Christian means to be Christ-like!  You can’t be a Christian if you support abortions.   You can’t be a Christian if you  believe in evolution.  You can’t be a Christian if you support or condone any sinful lifestyle ie couples living together, sex outside of marriage, homosexuals and gay marriage.  To support any sin as acceptable is contrary to God and His Word and that is sin and not Christ-like!  If it is not Christ-like it is not being a Christian.  To believe in God and Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian.  Even demons believe in God and Jesus and they are not Christians.  But there are people out there that spend their lives doing “good deeds” and going to church but they are not born again believers.  They are trying to earn their way into heaven by works of the flesh.  To be a born again believer the Bible says in Romans 10:9-10 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

The seeker friendly churches and the wannabe Christians have one thing in common.  They both have sacrificed their beliefs and the Word of God for worldly thinking.  They have compromised away their righteousness for political correctness, social acceptability and “feel good” Christianity which is not being a Christian at all but having the appearance of being a “Christian”.  These people are self-righteous, arrogant, prideful and “know-it-alls”.  “Super Christians” who do more, act more, give more, judge more and criticize more than regular Christians.  They think that they know the Bible better than any average Christian and will make up stuff so as not to be embarrassed when confronted.  They want to be noticed and the center of attention in church and are jealous and critical of truly gifted Christians and the work they do.  Some are false prophets who think that God ONLY speaks to them and no one else!

Compromising worldly beliefs with Bible facts is very common in these churches.  Some time ago I met a man who told me that him and his wife were retired school teachers.  He also is currently on the board of a local church.  He told me that he and his wife both believe in evolution.  When I started to quiz him about it he told me something that I have just recently heard about.  Today over 60% of those who call themselves Christian believe that evolution was helped along by God and not ALL things were created directly by God.  No matter how hard I search I can’t find anything in scripture where evolution is ever mentioned.  But they call themselves Christian.  That is God on man’s terms not God on God’s terms!  Evolution either fully or partially believed is a LIE and an insult to the God of creation!  Genesis 1:26 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  It doesn’t say that man is descended or related to the ape or that God helped creation along when He created man in His image!

Because the Bible is in direct opposition to such worldly beliefs, the “modern church” has decided not to quote those scriptures or in some cases discarding the use of the Bible all together.  Any church that removes God’s Word cannot expect God to show up there.  To attend a church where the Spirit of the Lord is not present is a waste of time!

“Christian ought to be” is a born-again believer who loves the Lord and seeks His face daily!  I know that this statement sounds simplistic but Father God has designed it that way.  Not to be as complicated as religion has tried to make it.  Jesus created the church while man created religion.  Most all religions have added to God’s salvation plan by making salvation something that you have to earn instead of the free gift that God created it to be!

When you earnestly seek God daily in His Word and in prayer you allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, with you , to you , for you and through you.  When you seek God daily you seek His perfect will for you and you seek His perfect love to you.  2 Corinthians 3:18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. (AMP)  Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he, (God), who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  One thing is for sure that as a “Christian ought to be” you will never be the same person again for God loves you too much to let you stay as you are!  A “Christian ought to be” isn’t content with being just a “pew sitter”.  They are the ones who are led by the Holy Spirit, believe the entire Word of God, has the manifested presence of God active in their daily lives and is lovingly obedient to God’s will.  There is no limit to what God will do through a man or woman of God s who is sold out to God and always gives God all the glory!  Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] 21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). (AMP)

My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

 

The Prosperous Attitude – By Beatrice Ofwona

Joy And Generosity

artwork©creationswap/ScottJohns

Our God does so much for us yet our thankfulness does not portray this favor that He bestows on us. In Deuteronomy 28:47-48 we see how important it is to serve the Lord joyously and gladly in the time of prosperity so that we may not serve our enemies in time of need and hunger. If our attitude is not that of gratefulness, thankfulness or joyousness when He blesses us, then we fail to honor Him and our attitude is therefore wrong. As Christians, we must know how to initiate and access God’s power; this begins when we live accurately and in tandem with His commandments. There are many people around us who have great blessings in their lives and which then raise their performance levels. The secret lies in the attitude that they have; they know how to thank God for His blessings. They know that the passion, with which they ask, must also be adopted when thanking the Almighty for His blessings.

Attitude is the position of the mind as well as emotions and it determines our disposition. When we wake up for instance on a Monday morning with a bad mood, then we will most probably have bad outcomes throughout the day. But we can allow God’s Word to determine our disposition. By setting our mood right, we change our life and if we are then wired to God’s Word then we bring forth fruitfulness. In John15:16 Christ says that he chose us to bear fruit that will last so that whatever we ask God in his name, we shall be given.

Failure is brought about by the bad attitude that we have and which dishonors God. Severally we are told that our attitude determines our altitude or that if we think we will fail, we already have but if we think we can than we will. Failure comes about because we do not set ourselves right in alignment with God. If we are operating in deficiency, it is because of our attitude. We should have affection for what we do and especially take great joy in what we are doing for God. There is certainly no life of fruitfulness if we see prayer as a burden, a call of God in our life as a burden or what we do as a burden. God calls us to win souls and this is not a burden either; it is a privilege. Doing things for God out of obligation does not make Him happy; we should instead seek to do whatever it is with the right attitude because that pleases Him. When giving to God becomes a burden then life remains a burden. Our not being thankful and grateful is a dishonor to God. The unsuccessful lives that we lead can be traced to our dishonor of God. If we do not know how to be grateful, we can ask Christ to show us how by asking him to ‘help us want to want to give thanks to the Almighty’.

In 2Corinthians 9:6-14 we see that God loves a cheerful giver. If we give grudgingly and sparingly, we shall also reap in that manner. Verses 10-14 bespeak of the great blessings bestowed on those that serve Him in righteousness. However, we seem to have allowed the world’s lack of reverence for giving to set our attitudes and this brings us to a place of lack. Let us give cheerfully or else what we give fails to be fruitful. Isaiah 1:19 says that if we are willing and obedient, then we shall eat the best from the land. But having obedience with the wrong attitude produces nothing. In the book of  2Corinthians 8:12 Paul says that in the presence of willingness, the gift is accepted according to what one has, no what one does not have.

Therefore our attitude towards giving must be that of gratefulness, joy, honor, delightfulness and commitment. If we give our tithes and offerings yet complain all the way to the offering baskets, that is a real waste of giving. But if we give the Lord in gratitude and joy then we will call on Him and He will hear us in our times of need. Serving the Lord is a privilege and not a burden. In Malachi 2:2 the Lord sets forth a curse on those priests who do not seek to honor His name. Honoring God is by honoring His word and this is done by making His Word to be the weight in our lives; that it may be an important thing in our lives.

Sometimes we may wonder what is happening to our lives and why all of a sudden the blessings that we were enjoying have stopped flowing; it may be that we have been dishonoring God. If we therefore correct this dishonor, God will turn around and once again bless and honor us because in Jeremiah 29:11 He says that He has great plans for us, plans to prosper and not to harm us.

Every success in life can be traced to honor just as every failure in life can be traced to dishonor. The Word must work in our lives. It is not just the tithe that we give that is important, it is also the attitude with which we give it; this determines our fruitfulness. Let us do things because we love God; He looks at the heart and observes our thoughts and motives. And He always works except where there is dishonor in the heart.

May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.

contact:-bofwona@yahoo.com
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

In Chains for Christ – By Pastor Gary Earls

 

@creationswap/MarianTrinidad

@creationswap/MarianTrinidad

Chains, are we talking about some kind of spiritual analogy? Does this mean that at one time we were in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and now have become the bondservant of Christ Jesus with all that might entail? Sure, but what if we were called to endure physical chains because of our faith?

“What?” you might say, “that doesn’t happen anymore, we live in an enlightened and tolerant age where people respect each other’s beliefs even if they don’t agree with them.” Tolerant, I love that word. This is one of the great new buzz words that are bandied about in our culture like a beleaguered ball in a tennis match. So many well meaning people use the words tolerant, or intolerant for that matter, to set apart or distinguish those who’s attitude or modes of thought don’t seem to fit with the general approach of the current society having to do with what people believe. The Wikipedia Free Online Encyclopedia defines intolerance in a social or political sense as,

…the absence of tolerance for differing viewpoints or the people who express those viewpoints.

The thing I find interesting about the above abbreviated definition is that intolerance is considered a personal affront simply because it is not only the rejection of a person’s views, but it is also a rejection of the person as well. Now I most certainly believe that we are to respect differing opinions, yet what if the opinions are in absolute antithetical relationship to the very values that are the foundation of the Christian faith. Do these opinions then invalidate what we believe? The words tolerance and intolerance seem to me to have some sort of unspoken agenda driving them, albeit many times unbeknownst to the one speaking the words. Could it be that when someone claims that we are intolerant because our faith causes us to hold certain principles which set us apart from the societal norm, that the person that casts the word does not tolerate what we believe? How circular is that? We are deemed intolerant because we don’t believe what someone else believes yet they in turn refuse to believe what we believe. How does this make us intolerant? The logic escapes me.

Now let’s take this a step further. The danger in getting what we believe from the society we live in rather than an eternal truth is that you blink and people are going to think differently yet again. Will they now contend just as vehemently that what they believe is correct even though it may be in positional opposition to what they believed previously?

What if the whole of a society claims a truth to be a truth? Does that then make it truth? What if in ten years the whole of a society believes the opposite? Is the original truth no longer truth and the truth now maintained valid? If this were the case certainly humankind would have destroyed itself by now. The history books are filled with purges and persecutions based on a self-imposed mandate of a society aiming to cleanse itself of those that don’t fit the norm of that social order at the present. We look back on those accounts and say “thank God we’re not like that now” but who says we aren’t. That certainly is a naive view of the nature of humankind.

The point of this whole thing is what if the general societal trend becomes anti-Christian? Would that then make our faith unsubstantiated? What if our faith is seen as a danger to society in general? What steps would society take to deal with our intolerance to purge us from its midst?

You see, we are no danger to them if we don’t preach Christ, we are no danger to them if we don’t evangelize, but what if we do, and the very fact of our practicing our faith becomes an offence. What if our Pastors are accused of hate crimes simply by the fact that they are quoting Bible verses? This is not fantasy, it has happened. Prejudice and persecution against the Christian faith is rampant in many parts of the world. It is the very real experience of those throughout the earth that are now in chains for their faith, in chains for Christ Jesus.

Listen to the Apostle Paul.

Php 1:12-14 12
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
NKJV

Those that live in the United States have been insulated from what has become the norm in many other countries. We go to our churches, and we hold our seminars. We follow after one wind of doctrine or another, one teacher or another, one trend or another and yet have no depth. Will the strength to stand be there when we need it if indeed the times come? Will the prosperity gospel, which is not a gospel at all, truly give substance to our faith if a time of persecution comes? How long have we been told that the Lord will retrieve us before the Great Tribulation? Tell that to our brothers and sisters that labor under persecution, torture, and death in North Korean prison camps where the tactics employed equal that of the death camps of World War Two, in severity if not in numbers. But I suppose you could say that if what so many claim is true, that the Nazi death camps didn’t really exist, certainly it must not be happening in North Korea either.

For a substantial time the Christian church of World War Two Germany, either supported Hitler, or simply turned its head. Will we continue to do the same? Thank God for men such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer who chose to take the stand that cost him his life.

The following verse has been contextualized to mean empowerment to fulfill our own desires.

Php 4:13
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
NKJV

Yet the Apostle wrote the letter to the Philippians while in chains for Christ not really knowing if the outcome of the trial would result in execution or release.

We have an obligation to stand with those in chains or under threat of death, those that are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers in Christ. What of those in North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Bhutan, or Viet Nam? How about Afghanistan, China, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, or Sudan? The list can go on. How about the USA?

“Oh” you say, “that could never happen here”. Well neither could 911. Additionally why should we be forced to be tolerant of those that don’t tolerate us? Forgiveness, which the Bible teaches, is not the acceptance of a wrong done but simply the refusal to hold the person that has done the wrong as guilty in our eyes. Why? It is clearly because we have been forgiven of so much more and did not deserve the blood of Christ, which obtained for us the forgiveness of our Father God.

What are we to do when subjugation comes in the subtle guise of tolerance? What if we refuse to bend, will then the pressure become more overt? Must we be forced to accept all that our faith declares is wrong to find a place in the current social scheme? There is an overwhelming undercurrent of prejudice in that mode of thinking.

We live in an increasingly pluralist society where all beliefs are seen to been equally valid but no one belief is ever to be seen as exclusive? Yet if we dare to investigate further we will find that all beliefs claim exclusivity. Certainly Islamic belief claims exclusivity. If the fundamental tenets of a faith are mutually exclusive to other faiths, certainly that faith is exclusive in its essential nature. Why is it then that Christianity is the only faith that is presently maligned in the USA for being intolerant? Why is it then that it is acceptable to shred the Christian faith on a sitcom under the pretense of humor but the writers would never dare to do the same using another belief? Why is it OK to remove a Nativity scene from a Middle School during the Christmas season when the Koran was not deemed offensive? How have we become so skewed in our thinking? It’s not my purpose to denigrate the belief of another but to hold to mine in the midst of a society that condemns me simply because I do.

We must be willing to stand for Christ, we must be willing to be placed in chains for Christ, and ultimately we must be willing to die for Christ. We must also be willing to stand with those that are suffering for Him on a daily basis or our faith is useless. Why? Because a faith that is fundamentally weak and found lacking in commitment is no faith at all.

Believe, stand, and resist, or the ground swell of cultural change will swallow you and the faith that you hold dear. Believe and stand for your children or their legacy will slip from between their fingers and they’ll be consumed.
Stand because Christ is worthy!

Pastor G

Pastor G has been a missionary in the Philippines where he taught in a Bible School training Filipinos for ministry as pastors. He hosts a small church fellowship, and an active internet ministry.
Please copy article in its entirety with author credit & link to the site RisenScepter.org

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

 

Smile! God Loves You!


artist:@creationswap/michalhickman

artist:@creationswap/michalhickman

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

“Smile! God Loves You!” I said it as a child and submitted these words to go on a shirt our teacher was having made for our class . Yes, this was before God was taken out of school! I created big, puffy happy words and colored them and handed to my teacher. Guess what? My submission won along with another student who had drawn the “perfect” smiley face! I remember seeing the finished shirt for the first time and smiling. Too bad I never kept it, at the time it was still just a shirt to me – even if it was a little special.
Those were simple words with a powerful meaning that would somehow get me through the toughest times in my life. No matter where life took me – or where I allowed it to take me – my core belief was that God loves me – I have value, even when I devalued myself. I ultimately would not destroy that love that God bestowed upon me, no matter what I did to destroy myself. As I grow older and realize that all those tough times were the times when I leaned on Him, when I looked to Him, when He pulled me from the danger and set my feet back on solid ground. He’s truly shown more love to me than I could ever deserve. The good news is: He loves us all this way!
There is nothing in your life that God’s love will not see you through. You can go to Him with any problem and ask Him for guidance with a sincere heart – and He will guide you. He will make the rocky road smooth and give you strength to carry on. He alone knows the plan He has for your life, the direction it will go. He will reveal that plan as you seek Him out in prayer and meditation. Our problems are meant to make us turn to Him in prayer and understanding. He wants to get our attention and sometimes we don’t listen too well, so before you know it we have problems. This is why it is so important to keep Him close every day – not just in days of troubles. If you do, your troubles will be few because He already knows you are dependent upon Him.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Love is powerful, it is important, it is true faith. He loves you no matter how you feel about yourself or how your neighbor, spouse, friends, co-workers, or anyone else feels about you. You can accept that love and start radiating it outward onto those people who may not have those same feeling for you – and watch the miracle unfold! It is that love that He instills in you that you give out to others that will make you complete. You will reap the love you sow and He is the seed you need – so ask Him to fill you with His love – and you will get more than His love back, you will get your life back. A good, loving life that He wants you to enjoy.
So remember to “Smile! God Loves YOU!”

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Dare To Be a Real Christian

Take the Dare!

Jeremiah 7:23 (NCV)

23 I also gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Do all that I command so that good things will happen to you.

Do you remember the day you were saved? How did you feel? What motivated you? Why did you decide that this was the path for you? Remember the lost feelings and how you finally found salvation. Remember your relief in knowing your sins was forgiven and you would never have to face life’s challenges alone. Remember the love you felt from those around you, the acceptance, and the power of the moment. Re-capture those feelings and those reasons again. If you haven’t been serving God – only going through the motions – then you need to realize God has a purpose for you and he’s waiting for you to call on Him to get started

Somewhere along the way, you may have gradually, unintentionally lost your focus. You became passive and uninterested, putting your energy into worldly interest and daily problems. Yes, you called on Him during times of real trouble, but not daily. And you occasionally go to church, to make an appearance. Your enthusiasm has become excuses. You devotion has become practically non-existent, but yet you call yourself a “Christian” when asked. You think you are bound for Heaven, so why do anything more.

Today dare to be the Christian you ask God to make you that day you were saved. Ask Him to renew in you your passion and to reveal to you your purpose. Look for ways to help the needy, the lost, and the poor in your community or in the world – think big even if you do small things at first, dream big knowing there is no limit what God can do through you, focus on God at all times. Remember to be a Christian is to be “Christ-like” not “Man-Like” or” Woman-Like”, it is to be so much more than what you thought you could ever be! You cannot be too busy for God, get busy helping God and He will get busy helping you!

He will take those problems that take up your time and solve them every one, meanwhile you must put your focus on doing his work and not those problems – release them to Him so you might be released. Why would you want to be the prisoner of the world around you when you have the opportunity to be so much more? You have talents, love, skills, knowledge that is needed by your church and your community. The more you give of yourself the more your receive from Him – more blessings, more time, more love, more money, more everything – you are provided for and taken care of when you stop holding back what He has given you to give to others.

If you are afraid you will not have time for fun or just cannot have fun while being a Christian – well, I’m here to tell you how wrong you are in that way of thinking. Some of the most precious, fun, memorable moments are those when I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do – not what I  wanted to do. If you think you have nothing to offer, you do – you have love, mercy and knowledge. Be creative and use whatever you have, even if it’s just a smile or a helping hand.

Here is your challenge:

Dare to give of yourself before you give to yourself.

Dare to look for the needy, poor, and lost around you. Pray you will be led to them, so you can help them.

Dare to let go of your problems and let God handle them, so you will be free to handle what He has planned for you.

Dare to spread His word, so all the people you encounter know the wonders he has bestowed upon you.

Dare to praise Him for all you have, for all you are able to do, for all you can do for Him.

Dare to stop complaining, making excuses and blaming – instead stand up and accept responsibility for what God has in store for you to do – ask Him for guidance and support, and go forward with confidence.

Dare to learn your bible by reading a chapter per day and studying its meaning. Don’t just read it – apply it and share with others.

Dare to pray for all those who need his healing, salvation and guidance. Watch in awe as those prayers are answered. It’s truly incredible!

Dare to put the “Christ” back into being a “Christian” and then the next time someone ask if you are a Christian you can say “yes” with confidence – you really are “Christ-Like”, because you are walking the walk and talking the talk.

It’s not always easy letting go and letting God take the lead, we want to be in control and we want our will to be done, but if God is telling you to do His work, it’s time for you to listen; and if you don’t know what His work is, then it’s time for you to pray about it – and I guarantee you will get the answer. Telling God you don’t have time, you don’t know how, you are afraid to do it wrong or worrying about what people will say will lead you away from everything you wanted so much for yourself the day you were saved – and once again you may find yourself lost.

Just pray and He will direct you. As I write this I know it’s His directive and His will that moves my hand. How can I be so sure you ask? it’s my lunch break, I went three places trying pick up a Wi-Fi connection on my iPad, but the connections didn’t show up on my iPad at all – yet they showed up on my phone – which was odd – no, there’s nothing wrong with the iPad. I wasn’t able to use my phone as a connection, since I’m low on data usage for the month – which rarely happens. So, a little frustrated – I sat in my van and ask “What do you want me to do Lord?” and the answer came immediately “Write!”…I had no idea what to write, so I jotted a few bible verses on paper, but suddenly I just turned to a new, blank page and wrote what you are reading here, no prior plan or topic, nothing related to the verses I jotted down – He took me in His direction to do His will. So if you have been directed to read what is written here, perhaps that too is His will and His direction for you. So move into action – you have received the message –  and dare to save yourself from yourself!

God Bless!

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Author: Arlene Price (indirectly J)copyright©2013