Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why are there so many fake Christians?


A Christian can be defined as a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior from sin (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). And in the heart of the Christian resides the Spirit of Christ (Ephesians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:11). Now, "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9), and this person, then, is not a Christian. Thus, the term "fake Christian" is a misnomer. You are a Christian or you are not a Christian; one is either with God or against God (Matthew 12:30).

That being said, this question is certainly a legitimate one in the minds of many people. And this is likely due to the behavior of some Christians; however, it is also likely because of the behavior of many who think they are Christians or profess to be Christians, but who are not. The reasons many believe they are true Christians when they are not are many and varied. The false teaching that is so prevalent these days is certainly one reason. When churches eschew teaching sound doctrine, the end result will be congregants who do not know the truth of God's Word. How can they keep in step with the Spirit, when the Truth is not in them?

Also, some believe their recitation of a prayer or responding to an "altar call" alone may have turned them into a Christian. Many believe their religious traditions, such as being baptized as an infant, secured a spot in Heaven for them, or that their plentiful good works alone have put them in good standing with God. And of course some believe church attendance alone guarantees salvation. The point is that many who profess to be Christians are not Christians at all. Yet they complacently remain convinced that all is well with their soul. Sadly, many will live their entire lives believing they were Christians only to one day hear these words from Jesus Christ: "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (
Matthew 7:23).

The clear teaching of the Bible is that when someone is saved his life will most definitely change as he is a "new creation, the old has gone and the new has come" (
2 Corinthians 5:17). A true born again Christian will strive to bring glory and honor to Christ by living a life that is pleasing to God (1 Peter 1:15-16; 4:1-4). True saving faith will indeed produce works or "fruit" in the life of the believer (James 2:17, 26). Thus, if there are no works of love in one's life, a careful self-examination is certainly called for. The apostle Paul instructed those in Corinth to do this very thing: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Indeed, any profession of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false profession and such a person is not a Christian.

Now, even though the lifestyle of true Christians does reflect the presence of Christ in their hearts, we know we are not perfect. Christians do sin and the apostle John makes it clear that we deceive ourselves if we think otherwise (
1 John 1:8). And when Christians do sin, rest assured there are multitudes just lying in wait to use their "slip-up" to further denigrate the true body of believers. That is why Paul admonished the church in Thessalonica to abstain from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and to live in such a way as to "win the respect of outsiders" (1 Thessalonians 4:12.

What Christians will not do, however, is engage in repeated or habitual sin (
1 John 3:6). One who engages in deliberate and habitual sin is simply proving that he does not know Christ and therefore cannot be abiding in Him even though he may live his life under the vast umbrella of religion and is thought, therefore, by many to be a Christian.

As believers mature in their faith, they will exhibit more and more evidence of their true Christian nature, such as their love for God, repentance from sin, separation from the world, spiritual growth, and obedient living. As Paul told the Romans, the genuine child of God has been set free from sin and has become a slave to God, and the result is eternal life (
Romans 6:22).

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Marriage Is HARD! Part 4 of 4 - WE ARE STUBBORN!!!


Apologizing is hard work. You know what else is hard? Forgiving an apologizing spouse.
Why? Why should that be hard? Well, for one, it’s easy to suspect that the apology isn’t sincere (“I’m sorry.” “You are not!”). For another, when this isn’t the first argument on a certain misbehavior, the wounded party sees a trend and fears it will continue indefinitely. Am I enabling more of this bad behavior? For another, staying angry gives you emotional leverage. For another, staying wounded gives you the moral high ground in future negotiations. Your injury is an asset--why would you give away this form of capital?

Holding onto anger, however, poisons your soul. It marinates your spirit in toxins that will affect everything else in your life and especially in this most important of all your human relationships. Holding anger blinds you to your spouse’s gifts and values for your life and keeps you from seeing his or her efforts to make things better.

There’s a better way. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). 

What breaks you out of these anger ruts is the sweet remembrance of the massive debt of ours that our Lord Jesus forgave. If we show a bitter and unforgiving spirit to our spouse, we are daring God to do the same to us.

Let it go. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Marriage Is Hard: Part 3 of 4 - WE'RE DIFFERENT!


One of you is a neat freak, and the other doesn’t worry much about a few socks on the floor here and there. One of you is a saver; one is a spender. One is always on time; the other is much more relaxed about the clock. One of you loves noise and energy and parties, and the other loves quiet time at home. One of you is creative and passionate, which is nice, but also prone to leave a trail of debris behind, which drives the other crazy.

Just as Felix and Oscar argued and battled all the time in "The Odd Couple," husbands and wives are vulnerable to Satan’s plotting to drive the tip of a crowbar into their differences and use them as a fulcrum to pry them apart. God made us different not to drive each other crazy but to enrich our lives and give us a bigger and wider and more interesting perspective on life. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6).

Manage your differences! Celebrate your differences! Do not allow Satan to manipulate you into arguing over them. How boring your marriage would be if you and your spouse had identical views and habits. Any fool can complain about what you don’t like about another person. It takes a Christian to celebrate the treasure you have in your spouse.
Funny . . . the more you do that, the more your spouse will appreciate you (and your quirks).

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Marriage Is Hard: Part 2 of 4 - WE'RE SELFISH!



Ever hear one of your friends’ say, “I have to take care of me for a change.” “It’s my time now.” “I need to be looking out for number one.” Unfortunately the people who say these things don’t mean Jesus Christ. They mean themselves.

Sinners like you and me do not need to go to grad school or subscribe to webinars on how to be selfish. We are born with software already installed and functioning. Our parents (hopefully!) slowly trained us to overcome that selfish streak and learn to share our toys, wait in line, take turns, and listen to the views and stories of others. It is embarrassing how fast those old behaviors come back under stress, and it hurts marriages.

Husbands and wives can drive each other crazy because they don’t notice things that are really important to each other. Both what they do and what they neglect can really hurt. Being self-absorbed comes naturally. Focusing energy and thought on other people’s well-being is learned behavior. It is Christ-behavior: “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24). 
It is a major triumph of the cross when you think first, “What does he or she need?” instead of, “Here’s what I want.” It is part of the magic of the Christian way of life that when you put others first, your needs always get taken care of too. Always.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Marriage Is Hard - Part 1 of 4

Marriage Is Hard


Have you ever seen the sappy Ryan O’Neal/Ali MacGraw movie romance entitled “Love Story”? 

MacGraw played a character who was dying, and at her bedside, O’Neal, choking and tearful, said he was sorry.  MacGraw then unloaded a line that has done a lot of damage to relationships and marriages everywhere: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry!”

Apologizing is hard work. Apologizing and changing your behaviors is even harder and what makes it so hard is PRIDE. Dating and marriage always to some degree, involve each person’s struggling for control.  When your behaviors are driven by pride, you want to win every argument, always be right, see difficulties as your partner’s fault, bring up your partners’ admitted failures of the past, and explain away or deny your own sins and weaknesses.

You need other peoples’ input and critique to know how you sound, how you look, how your actions affect other people. In humility, realize that you are not quite as brilliant and as infallible as you think you are: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3).

When your spouse has an issue with something you’ve said or done, listen twice and think three times before you say anything. It may just be, that the best thing you can say is, “I’M SORRY.”

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Does GENTLE describe your tone when disagreeing ONLINE?


I’m no longer surprised by verbal savagery on social media.  What does unsettle me is the tone of the commentary by Christians about Christians.

Imagine you and your spouse suddenly becoming the most hated couple in the nation.
In June, 2015, a Christian couple from Canberra, Australia discovered just what this is like when they were subjected to a firestorm of criticism following their appearance in a local magazine.

This is the headline from CityNews that catapulted them into both the national and international cauldron:

        “Gay marriage may force us to divorce”
        A Canberra couple has announced their intention to divorce if gay people are allowed to get married too.

‘Hate’ isn’t a word I use lightly. But after reading the comments made online following this article, even this description seems inadequate.
Facebook groups popped up to “celebrate” their proposed divorce. These were accompanied by memes which displayed their photo and said things like:

“CONGRATS”
AUSTRALIAN &%&#-WITS OF THE YEAR AWARD 2015”
{edited for profanity}

Many of the comments about Nick and Sarah were so vile and degrading they are difficult to read, let alone repeat.

In fact, even the seasoned editor of CityNews was so affected by the avalanche of responses that “he could only read a dozen “comments” at a time without becoming morose. Many had to be moderated, such was the disturbing content.”

Sadly, this tone of commentary is becoming commonplace, and particularly and particularly against anyone who fails to speak in support of same-sex marriage. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing same-sex marriage, Matt Walsh wrote in The Blaze and pointed out the irony of the #lovewins meme that saw him receive feedback that included:

“Hi, kill yourself.
Thanks”
“Oh Matt, you are a perfect assh?le… Take your worthless version of the bible, and set yourself on fire. That would make my Sunday

“The world would be so much better off without you.”

No, I’m no longer surprised by the verbal savagery that is now commonplace on social media.  What did unsettle me however, was the tone of the commentary by fellow Christians about their brothers and sisters. Here’s just a few:

“People like this make Christians look like hypocrites.”

“This makes me embarrassed to be a wife, a woman, A Canberran, and a person.”

“I for one am thankful that Australia takes your marriage (and also my marriage) more seriously than you do.”

“Honestly, congratulations on inspiring and projecting more intolerance, selfishness, division, and fear into society. I can just imagine Jesus being super proud of your representation of everything he stood for (“I’m so glad they’re not wasting their time by letting people know they are loved”)

You may well have seen similar comments in your Facebook feed. Clearly (and thankfully), these comments don’t come close to matching the tone or language adopted by many an unbeliever. But sadly, neither do they express the graciousness and gentleness that is surely appropriate for Christians communications – especially about and/or towards one another.

There is no doubt that the proposal by Nick and Sarah to divorce in the event of a change in the Marriage Acts is highly controversial. I can understand that Christians might disagree with what they said or the manner in which they said it.

What concerns me, is that Christian disagreement online too often resembles nothing more than a profanity-free version of what is said by unbelievers.

Earlier this year, Former Deputy Prime Minister (Australia) John Anderson spoke at a men’s event about our changing world, and one comment he made particularly stood out. He said:

            “We’ve forgotten how to speak with one another.”

The more I read online, the more I tend to agree. As Christians, how should we speak with one another, and about one another? Ephesians 4:1-6 are counter-cultural instructions:

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Humble,
Gentle,
Forbearing,
Patient,
Promoting Unity.

These words aren’t simply to describe our interactions at church or in Bible study. They are just as relevant to the way we express ourselves online.

Imagine running through this Ephesians 4 checklist before typing a single word online:

·        Am I being completely humble? (or are my words proud and arrogant?)

·        Am I being completely gentle? (or am I being harsh and unkind?)

·        Am I being patient? (or am I speaking too soon?)

·        Am I bearing with my brothers and sisters? (or am I intolerant and ungracious?)

·        Will this promote unity? (or am I stirring up division and disharmony?

The internet will always introduce us to fellow believers we disagree with. One day you might even find yourself to be the subject of vigorous disagreement. When these situations arise, Christians have the opportunity to engage in a way that not only commends the Gospel, but also promotes a better way to disagree online.


Blessings of the Lord to you!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament law?



The key to understanding the relationship between the Christian and the Law is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on Christians today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15).

In place of the Old Testament law, Christians are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:40). Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of "loving God" and "loving your neighbor." The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. If Christ fulfilled some of it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it.

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments were essentially a summary of the entire Old Testament law. Nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly repeated in the New Testament (all except the command to observe the Sabbath day). Obviously, if we are loving God, we will not be worshipping false gods or bowing down before idols. If we are loving our neighbors, we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, or coveting what belongs to them. The purpose of the Old Testament law is to convict people of our inability to keep the law and point us to our need for Jesus Christ as Savior (Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:24). The Old Testament law was never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all of time. We are to love God and love our neighbors. If we obey those two commands faithfully, we will be upholding all that God requires of us.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

IN OBEDIENCE TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER


IN OBEDIENCE TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER, THIS IS WHAT I WAS TOLD TO SHARE....
PAYING HOMAGE TO SOME MIGHTY WOMEN OF GOD, WHO WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MY YOUNG ADULT CHRISTIAN LIFE....THE WOMEN WAS NOT ONLY INSPIRATIONAL TO ME, BUT A CIRCLE OF WISDOM ENCLAMP AROUND ME.
THE FIRST OF THESE WOMEN IS MY MOTHER SISTER CARRIE WEBB, HER HUMBLE SPIRIT AND GREAT FAITH IN GOD SHOWED ME HOW TO TRUST, DEPEND AND WAIT ON GOD FOR EVERYTHING....ALL HER ADVICE TO ME WAS SCRIPTURE INSPIRED. I WATCHED HER EVERY MORNING GET UP AT THE BREAK OF DAWN, PUT ON HER GOSPEL MUSIC, SIT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE DO HER DEVOTION BEFORE STUDYING HER BIBLE. MY MOTHER'S LEGACY WHAT SUCH AN INSPIRATION TO ME, I THANK GOD THAT SHE LIVE HER CHRISTIAN LIFE BEFORE US, A GREAT ROAD MAP TO FOLLOW.
MOTHER KATHERINE KNIGHT, MOTHER JOHNNIE WILSON, MOTHER WATERS, MOTHER KATIE ROBINSON, MOTHER ANNA MOSS, MOTHER ISABELLE GREEN WAS THE OTHER MIGHTY WOMEN OF GOD WHO TOOK ME UNDER THEIR WINGS AND TAUGHT ME, I WAS IN THEIR MISSIONARY CIRCLE "NAOMI CIRCLE" I LEARNED TO BE A MISSIONARY AT AND EARLY AGE, THEY TAUGHT ME HOW TO HELP AND SERVE OTHERS, HOW TO MINISTER TO THE SICK IN THE HOSPITAL AND THE SICK AND SHUT IN.
I WAS TAUGHT HOW TO MINISTER TO THE HOMELESS, THEY TAUGHT ME HOW A WOMEN OF GOD CARRIES HERSELF AND BEHAVE IN AND OUT OF CHURCH. I WAS TAUGHT SO MUCH FROM THESE WOMEN WHOM I LOVE, EACH ONE OF THEM HAVE A VERY SPECIAL PIECE OF MY HEART, I THANK GOD THAT THEY KNEW HOW MUCH I LOVED AND APPRECIATE THEM, THEY WERE SHOWN BECAUSE TRANSITIONING TO HEAVEN.
THESE WOMEN WAS MY FRONT LINE SOLDIERS IN CHRIST, THERE WAS MANY OTHERS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO HONOR AS WELL....
FIRST LADY ADDIE HALL (RIP)
FIRST LADY RUBY JOYNER
FIRST LADY JUDY REEDUS
FIRST LADY PATRICIA PORTER
MOTHER RUTH JOHNSON (RIP)
SISTER MARY SHAW
SISTER LULA SANDERS (AUNT)
MOTHER LILLIE MAE MERCHANT (GRANDMOTHER)
COUSIN IDA POOLE
SISTER ERMA HARRIS (AUNT)
I'M VERY THANKFUL TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER FOR ALL THESE MIGHTY WOMEN OF GOD BEING PART OF MY LIFE AND LEAVING ME WITH SOMETHING WONDERFUL TO GROW WITH AND PASS ON....
IT REALLY DOES TAKE A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD.
BE BLESSED FOR THIS IS WHAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD TOLD ME TO SHARE...