Christian, Inspirational

Defining Behavior

People define God’s law as they see fit. Instead of stretching definitions to suit our own benefit, what if we strictly defined the law in accordance with God’s original intent.

Exodus 20:13 KJV Thou shalt not kill. Seems clear enough, but man changes it to thou shalt not murder. We search out excuses. It’s okay in war, it’s okay in self defense, it’s okay if someone breaks into your home, it might be okay if adultery was involved, maybe there are extenuating circumstances, maybe it’s only manslaughter.

Exodus 20:9-10 KJV …thou shalt not do any work,… Yet, man says it’s not work if it was necessary. It’s not work if you wanted to do it. Even if it was work, surely God won’t hold it against me.

If you’ve never read Corinthians you may skip this paragraph. For those of you desirous of learning and keeping the law, keep reading. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 seems pretty clear. The only question is what is Church. Is it a building? Is it a time? Is it a combination of the two? Is it whenever and wherever two or more are gathered together in Christ’s name? This like all of God’s law depends on the heart of the listener.

When you read or hear the law seek understanding. When you have understanding seek strength. When you find yourself seeking excuses – you should know you are definitely walking in the wrong direction.

When you realize your walking in the wrong direction, there remains 1 John 1:9. Turn and define (live) the law favorably within God’s original intent. Why? Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14 KJV

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Christian, Inspirational

Even Demons Dare to Dream

Have you ever wondered, can I make it to Heaven? Even fallen angels wonder the same thing.

The truth is only three beings have their final judgment now. They are going to be damned to Hell forever. One is the Devil. The other two may not know their final judgment yet, they may not even be alive. They are two individuals found in the book of Revelation, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet. Revelation 20:10

Because of God’s great mercy even demons might make it back to Heaven. 2 Peter 2:4 tells us that demons haven’t received their final judgment yet.

A continuing hope in Christ is key for both them and us. If they have opportunity then like us they should be baptized (Mark 16:16) and confess their sins (1 John 1:9). It might be easy to lose hope in chains and darkness, but to both demons and men I say remember. Remember only three in the Holy Bible have already been judged, therefore to the rest of us – hope remains.

Mercy triumphs over judgment.

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Christian, Inspirational

At What Cost?

What is the personal cost of sin and how does it relate to the search for forgiveness?

In the Old Testament a sacrifice came at a cost. The sacrifice was to be one of the unblemished or finest animals of the flock.

Today if you sin and are seeking forgiveness, there is available only one remedy after full immersion baptism in water. 1 John 1:9 advises us to confess.

Confession to another can come with a cost. The person to whom you are confessing, even if they are family, may think less of you. Don’t die in your sin because of shame or fear, and don’t let anyone talk you out of confession.

What about the cost? Will you actually lose the respect of a family member or friend? Maybe, but you will live. I believe the cost is there in part to prevent future sin. God doesn’t need to hear your confession. He already knows. He does require confession to another, but does not specify who that person needs to be. Confess to clergy, confess to your spouse, confess to a stranger, confess to a neighbor, confess to a friend or an acquaintance. Confess and he, God, is faithful and just to forgive!

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Christian, Inspirational

Discernment vs. Denomination

Well, I’m back attending the Church of Christ. That is where my mom wants to go and it’s just easier to go there with her.

No changes – they still think singing acapella will get them to Heaven while ignoring the Ten Commandments.

In one breath the preacher says everything is biblically based and in the next he’s proffering false doctrine about sin being either public or private and how you only need to come forward if its public.

I tell you, if you believe this you are likely to die in your unconfessed “private” sin. The bible tells us that if we seek forgiveness after water baptism – we need to confess ours sins. 1 John 1:9. It doesn’t say we need to confess publicly, but God surely already knows. This implies communication to another person. That person may be clergy, a friend, or a spouse. It could be written or spoken, but confession does imply communicating with another.

James 5:16 KJV
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

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Christian, Inspirational

Lover

Suppose your dream girl or dream guy gave you a book and said I would like a relationship with you, what I expect from you is in this book. Wouldn’t you read it. Wouldn’t you follow it?

God did exactly that. He came to Earth and gave his life to be in a relationship with us. He wrote a book all about it. It’s called the Holy Bible. Can a relationship actually be a list of do’s and don’ts? It can be. What does Jesus expect from us? What defines a healthy relationship with God?

  • Baptized into the blood. Mark 16:16
  • Read the Holy Bible. Psalm 1
  • Keep the law. John 14:15
  • Confession. 1 John 1:9
  • Prayer. Matthew 6:9-13
  • Fasting. Matthew 6:16-18
  • Attend Church services. Hebrews 10:25
  • Good deeds. Matthew 3:8

This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list, but it certainly covers the basics. My relationship with Christ over the years hasn’t always looked the same. It is now the strongest it has been in 48 years. Do you know what the Bible has to say about that?

The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. Job 17:9 KJV

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Christian, Inspirational

Led

Some might say that my writing highlights the negative more than the positive. So following are positive comments on the state of Christ’s Church. They are worthy to be dwelled upon, shared with others, and emulated:

The Church of Christ denomination understands baptism. Both they and I believe baptism is by complete immersion in water in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We further believe baptism should be at an age of understanding – where the youth can differentiate between good and evil, repent of sin, and understand the significance of being baptized into the family of God.

The Catholic Church accepts confession.

The Amish and Mennonite women cover their heads when they pray.

Russians greet one another with a Holy Kiss.

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Christian, Inspirational

A Better Way

I have heard it said by various preachers and teachers that if you were the only person to ever live, Jesus would have died just for you.

Personally, I think this is either an exaggeration of God’s love or an attack on his intelligence, but I could be wrong.

Look at it this way. He didn’t die just for you. Read John 3:16. He died for all those in the world that would believe. Instead of saying he would die millions or billions of times for every single believer, he did it once for all. His love was made manifest in that he died once.

Rather than ask if Jesus would die for just me, I think a better perspective is to ask yourself, if I were the only person on Earth, what could I do so that Jesus wouldn’t need to die?

The answer is to not sin. Don’t get me wrong we need Jesus’ blood. Mark 16:16, 1 John 1:9. If it was just you, though, would you ask your Savior to die for you alone or would you try to live your life so that he didn’t need to die?

. . . go, and sin no more. John 8:11

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Bones

I have two more bones to pick with the Catholic Church.

Those are:

Calling men Father. Matthew 23:9 KJV
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Penance. No where in the Bible does it tell us to do penance for sin or that penance is even accepted by the Lord. It does however tell us to confess. 1 John 1:9 KJV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Christian, Inspirational

Tell and Turn

1 John 1:9 KJV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is a promise.

Proper baptism covers past sins, but what do we do if we sin after baptism? First and foremost we should fear God and strive not to sin. We have to value Jesus’ sacrifice. 

There are those that preach a difference between public sin and private sin and intentional and unintentional sin. These preachers do great damage to the Kingdom of God. One preaches 1 John 1:9 doesn’t apply to private sin another says 1 John 1:9 is not for intentional sin. I know from past experience how hard it is to confess. These preachers make it harder. There is darkness and death in silence.

I once typed a page with my sins, printed about 30 copies, and handed it out at church because I could not find the courage to speak it publicly. I also called the police once and confessed to them for a past deed that troubled me greatly. It is both scary and difficult to confess, especially if you are denied a forum.

What are the requirements of confession? 

What is the purpose?

I believe confession is made to another, not just praying silently to God for forgiveness. James 5:16. He already knows them, so where is the act of confession, if this is all we do?

The purpose of confession is to tell and turn, to bring darkness to light, death to life. Repentance walks hand in hand with confession. We are sorry for our sin and we will quit the sinful activity. 

Don’t die in your sins. Tell and Turn.

Proverbs 28:13 KJV He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

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Christian, Inspirational

A Matter of Degrees

I worry for the future of the Church. I had a recent conversation with someone attending a Church of Christ preaching school in which he said everyone who was not of the Church of Christ denomination was unrighteous.  I have heard before of certain denominations or individual churches believing they were the only ones saved, but was somewhat shocked that this was the spirit of a church I attend.

Is this the future spirit of the Church? The Bible tells us the righteous are scarcely saved. 1 Peter 4:18. And yet I have not found a congregation that worships perfectly. Where is that church, one that keeps the Ten Commandments and understands the gospel?

There are keys of Salvation that cross denominational barriers? 

  1. John 3:16 Belief in Jesus
  2. Mark 16:16 Correct Water Baptism
  3. 1 John 1:9 Forgiveness After Baptism


Does the use of musical instruments in worship make one unrighteous? Does receiving sprinkling as an infant make a person unrighteous? Does not keeping the Sabbath make one unrighteous? 

It’s a matter of degrees from the straight and narrow. Being unable to discern God is accepting of both a cappella and musical worship may not make one worthy of damnation. However, believing you are holier because you only worship a cappella may be a stumbling block. Being sprinkled with water as an infant doesn’t make one unrighteous. However choosing not to read the Holy Bible to learn baptism requires knowledge of Jesus, knowledge of sin for repentance, and being immersed by another in the name of Jesus or in the name if the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may jeapordize one’s salvation. Keeping the Sabbath is a commandment, yet we are told not to judge one another in regard to the keeping of holy days. Colossians 2:16.

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