Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

1.  Has been born again.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

2.  Is developing a relationship with Jesus.

But you have not so learned Christ; If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Ephesians 4:20-21)

3.  Recognizes the old nature and crucifies it.

That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Ephesians 4:22)

4.  Learns to ask the question: “What am I thinking?”

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Ephesians 4:23)

5.  Seeks to change into a righteous and holy person.

And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)

6.  Stops lying and tells the truth.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

7.  Controls his angry emotion.

Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26)

8.  Doesn’t harbor bitterness.

Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26)

9.  Denies the devil opportunities to make a fool of him.

Neither agive place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

10.  Stops stealing and works hard.

Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs. (Ephesians 4:28)

11.  Shares what God has given him.

Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs. (Ephesians 4:28)

12. Uses his tongue to help and heal, not to hurt.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

13. Protects the Holy Spirit from pain.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

14. Protects people from pain and hurt.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (Ephesians 4:31)

15. Forgives because he has been forgiven.

And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

16. Loves his Father for adopting him.

Be, therefore, followers of God, as dear children; (Ephesians 5:1)

17. Has a lifestyle of service motivated in love.

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. (Ephesians 5:2)

18. Guards against sexual sin and is pure.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints; (Ephesians 5:3)

19. Avoids base humor and dirty jokes.

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:4)

20. Takes God’s warnings seriously.

For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes rthe wrath of God upon sthe children of disobedience. Be not  therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

21. Wakes up, smells the coffee and lives in the Light.

For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever does make manifest is light. Wherefore he says, Awake you that sleeps, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:8-17)

22. Doesn’t drink or get drunk, do drugs, or live wild.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)

23. Follows the Holy Spirit and pursues a spiritual life.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:19)

24. Considers others first, especially his wife.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)

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Over the weekend, a small group of guys and a staff member had gone to Guymon, OK to do a couple of storefronts for fund raising purposes. While they were there they met up with a gentleman that had come through the Teen Challenge center that I work at. Jack (not his real name) didn’t graduate as he decided to leave early.

Jack invited them to go out to dinner. While there, he told them some of the things that had happened to him after he left the program. Jack told them that he had to go jail for 30 days for not completing the program. While he was there, he had the opportunity to witness to a gentleman. This gentleman that he was witnessing to had come to the Lord. They both read the Bible everyday.

Jack was also able to go to his mother’s grave and forgive her for what she had done to him. Jack was also for the first time in a long time, able to call her MOM. That is the power of God in Jack’s life.

I don’t often hear stories like this. It is good to hear that while a student leaves early it doesn’t mean that they didn’t get anything. Sometimes, God puts a person only for short time and not for the full time that they agreed with when they enter the program. The successes are less if they don’t go through the whole program. But every once in a while stories like this do happen.

When I was at Cape Girardeau, MO a similar thing happened. During the apple picking season the police showed up to pick up one of the other guys. Before I go on let me relate to you how this came about.

The students that come into Teen Challenge are usually here for one of three things. Bear in mind that it is not a program for just teenagers. Men and Women also need help. Anyway, the students come in for one of three different reasons. They are family ordered, court ordered (which is not our program), or they are wife ordered.

This guy had come in due to court related issues. So to make sure that his PO knew where he was at, he wrote him a letter saying that he was in the Misssouri Teen Challenge. Which, then meant that his PO sent the police for violation of his parole by leaving the state he was supposed to be in.

Anyway, Dave (not real name) was picked up by the police while he was out picking apples. The whole time he had a peace about having to go to jail. While he was there, Dave witnessed to every person that they put in the cell with him.

He had a “revolving door” for the cell that he was in. Every day he had a cell mate. Every day that person was gotten and another person was brought in. The last guy that was brought to that cell, came to the saving knowledge of Christ.  Dave had to go to jail in order to witness to this guy. God had tested him to make sure that he would do so with others that came in before the “main event”.

Dave was brought back after that. He said that the whole time he was feeling peaceful about where he was at. He also knew when he was going to return to the center. He knew that he had to go jail for a week for just that one moment.

What is the moral of both of these incidents. It doesn’t matter what happens. If you are in God’s will, He will cause good things to happen when it seems that things are going south.

Both of these men followed this command of Jesus:

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

He is regarded as the most famous atheist in the world but last night Professor Richard Dawkins admitted he could not be sure that God does not exist.

To read the story click here.

Could he be getting closer to becoming a Christian?

One of the hardest things I have ever encountered is when someone turns their back on God. Hard because I have done what I could to make sure that they are learning about having a relationship with Christ. Hard because I know that it has nothing to do with me. They are turning their back on God.

I then have to believe that what I have been able to teach them is going to bear fruit. Isaiah 55:11 says:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
It shall not return unto me void,
But it shall accomplish that which I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

This means that what I have taught them or they have gotten from church or chapel will remain with them. And the word that they have received will eventually bear fruit.

I can only hope and pray that it will be sooner than later. Unfortunately some need to learn things the hard way. It is still tough to see someone walk away from God. Especially when we want to take it as they are pushing us away. It can be hard to remember that their problem is not with us, but with God.

It is amazing how some things work, especially in the ministry that I work for. So many times we try to do things because we know that no one will find out. We tend to put one of these up in our minds and believe that this will be enough to keep what we do private.

Sorry, this is for me and me alone

 But God has some things to say about things done in secret. He says that He will blast out the news of the hidden things when we do them in secret. He will bring them to light. (Mark 4:22 “For everthing that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.”

All too often we think that we can do things in secret when we are alone and it is okay.  At least to a degree. I say to a degree because technically, we are never alone. We have someone looking over our shoulder all the time. It doesn’t matter if we feel like we are doing anything wrong. But, if we are in ministry, that ministry after a time will suffer. If we help out in church, eventually we won’t want to do that. Why? When we do something that we know that God does not want us to do, He will step in if we continue on with it.

I have seen this before. I have said that I work for a ministry called Teen Challenge. I saw the effects of what one staff member was doing when he was by himself. Though no one knew what he was doing, it was still affecting the shifts that we worked. Things were becoming chaotic. When he admitted to what he was doing and was released from his part in the ministry, things seemed to calm down almost immediately.

Strange as this might sound, what is done in the physical world affects the spiritual and vice versa. When you work in ministry it can be felt and seen in a way that is hard to ignore. What we do will affect us in all areas of our lives no matter how good we hide what we are doing. Be careful what you do when you think you are alone. The Holy Spirit is looking over your shoulder. God will not let things go for too long before he steps in to deal with it.

We all have those areas that we want to hold on to and God will let us. But He will also bring these things to light if we don’t deal with them. Trust me when I say, it is easier to deal with them ourselves. It is much harder when God has to step in and deal with it Himself. It may be difficult either way, but why would we want to carry around baggage when we don’t have to.

         In my last post To Love or Not To Love I talked about how we can push away people by how we act towards them. Or how they see us treat others. We do need to be careful what we do. If only for the reason that a picture is worth a thousand words. It seems all too often what we do does not match up with what we say. People will only see our actions and not listen to our words in many cases. The reason? We can lie with our mouths but not with our actions. At least for very long. Therefore we need to make sure that our walk matches our talk, at all times.

         But this also means that we need to remember where we ourselves come from. We can’t come across as being better than others. We need to remember that we are no better than anyone else. We need to remember where we have come from. That is, we are sinners, saved by grace through the mercy of someone else.

        But let me define what I mean by the terms grace and mercy. GRACE = unmerited favor. MERCY = not getting what we deserve. From a biblical standpoint or Christian viewpoint I am saying  that I am a sinner, saved by the unmerited favor by not getting what we deserve. We who have been a Christian for quite awhile tend to forget that. We forget that God showed us grace and mercy when we first came to him. What we need to do is extend that same grace and mercy to those around us.

          I am not saying that we need to turn a blind eye at everything a person does. There are times when love says that we will need to confront others. But we need to remember that we have come from similar backgrounds. Doesn’t mean that we can’t come against what they are doing wrong. I am saying that patience is needed and sometimes grace and mercy is needed instead of the firmer hand..

          Patience was extended to us by God. Which we should be very happy for. God could have taken us any time He wanted to. Instead, He chooses to extend His patience to us. Why? He has a plan for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” If he was to get angry with over every little thing we do, eventually he would just get of us. Instead he shows patience and has his hand out to us. He wants to give us grace and mercy and not His wrath.

          But he also expects His children to do the same thing. Extending a hand in patience in order to bring them to same grace and mercy that we have from God. He to show His love to the world through us. All we have to do is change the way we see things. Take a look at others through His eyes and not our own.

            I will approach the subjects of grace and mercy at a later date. Just remember that we are not perfect. Which also means that those we are supposed to go to are the same way. Remember  where you have come from and allow the things learned from then to now help you draw others to Christ as you had been.

Really. Does the title even have to be said or asked? Unfortunately, I think it does. All too often we see images in movies, videos, or those who think that they are saying what they are supposed to be saying. At least in their eyes. For instance look at this picture. The message is quite obvious. There is no way to misconstrue what is being said.

Now my question is this, if God hates fags, then what did He come here for? Why did He live like us and die? If God hates certain groups or certain people, then would that not make what He did useless? Now I don’t know what Bible the church who pickets with signs like these are using, but I think that there are a few verses that have been taken out of them.

For instance the Bible I use says this:

1 John 4:16 And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.

Is this missing in some Bibles? If so this needs to pointed out so the publishers can get it fixed. Because if God is love and a God of love then where is the hate coming from? Is it any wonder that people want nothing to do with the church, God or Jesus Christ? Is it any wonder that we are looked down upon or seen as a joke?

God is a God of love. He proved it. “But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) I don’t recall John 3:16 saying “For God so loved certain people, that He gave His only begotten Son. That only these people who believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Did or would God really only talk about certain people? I don’t think so. I recall the verse saying something completely different. Something along the lines of: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The word “world” means just that, world. It means the whole of planet earth. Everyone. No one is excluded. Everyone has the same chance as the person next to them. But they have to choose. God doesn’t. Does He want people go to hell? No! Does He force people to go to hell? No! That is our choice and no one else’s.

But for some reason there are those that think He does. There are those that think there is no reason for an army. (Soldiers are going to hell as well. At least to some people.) We can’t draw people to Christ if we are pushing them away. If we push them away or treat them with contempt or even worst, hate, how are we drawing them to Christ. We can’t claim to hate certain and then claim to love God. It doesn’t work out that way. God says that the person who does this is a liar.

I work for Teen Challenge. I deal with people that have gone to church. I deal with people who probably wouldn’t set foot in church any other way. Most of the time it is just plain bad choices that ultimately cause them to cross paths with me. Other times I believe it is because of a bad incident with someone at church that ultimately brings into my “orbit”. I believe that the reason many people don’t go to church is because of the hatred felt towards them.

After Thursday night Bible Study at the church I go to, some of the people went out to fellowship and get something to eat. Towards the end of their time there, the waitress said that she did not know they were Christians. Why? Most of the Christians that she had as customers were hateful. This was one of the few times I am sure that she had met some truly great Christians.

Ghandi could have been truly great as a Christian. But why wasn’t he? He read the Bible, quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. It was because a church elder would not let him in church the one time that he wanted to go in. The church elder was hateful to Ghandi and he never tried to go to church again. It is also telling when he says “you Christians are so unlike your Christ”. You can read this story at John Mark Ministries.

We need to quit hating people or groups and start loving them. We need to have the mind of the one who let an adulteress go. We need to have the mind of the one who loved the sinner while hating the sin. Jesus Christ played no favorites, so why do we? Our job is to bring people to Christ. Not push them away. I do not want to be called a liar because I have said, shown or claimed that someone is not worthy of God’s love. Thereby, His grace and mercy follows. I have known many people with lifestyles that God hates, but I never hated the person. You will never find me being like that. I have chosen to love in action as well as word. Where do you stand?