Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: Jan. 23, 2012                          
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Jeremiah 17:10
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects the instructions does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

 “A person of conviction has become convinced, by either evidence or argument, that his beliefs are true. Today, most men and women would rather live by preference than conviction. They choose to believe something based on certain conditions and circumstances. When the situation changes, so does their loyalty. In other words, a lot of people vacillate on issues that require a firm resolve. If we are grounded in the Word and trust what God has said, we can stand firm in our beliefs. Confidence breeds the courage to remain strong amid conflict.”
 – Dr. Charles Stanley

STOP in the name of love.
I along with many other Bible believing Christians are being referred to as “haters” because we don’t embrace homosexuality, abortion, divorce, etc. We have been singled out as self-righteous in nature, close-minded and judgmental. These character assassinations use to offend and frustrate me, but not any more.  As someone who professes to be a Christ-follower, I must be true to my convictions over embracing what is popular by culture. My attempt today is to simply acknowledge and honor what God has laid out in Scripture, over embracing or excusing sin as “personal choice.”  Once we discover what God says, we have a choice to make. Respect it, or reject it. To merely listen to God’s Word without obeying it is dangerous stuff (James 1:22- 25).

Love the sinner,” I agree wholeheartedly! However, I would be a “fool” to be OK with the sin. Becoming desensitized by that of which is revealed to be a contradiction of God’s Word is also dangerous. At this very moment I have people in my life that want me to tell them that it’s OK to divorce their spouse. They want me to embrace their same-sex partners or be happy for them as they live with a boyfriend/girlfriend outside of the institution of marriage. I am also up against accepting a decision of a friend to terminate a pregnancy because it doesn’t fit into their plan. The argument is “it’s my right; my personal choice to do what is right for me.” May God have mercy on anyone who believes their “personal choice” trumps what the Creator of heaven and earth has instructed in His Word? I can hardly type this section without sobbing for this kind of mentality. I cannot imagine how it grieves the heart of God.

Today, it is my intention to extend love. Some may not see it that way, but that is exactly what is on my heart. I am willing to risk our relationship because I now understand what is at stake. I can not sugarcoat this message and be true to God. I must step out in a spirit of courage and trust that God will take it from here.

“Integrity is telling myself the truth and honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
-Spencer Johnson

The GOD of the Holy Bible has much to say about sexual sin and sin of the flesh. Because I am limited by time I encourage you to read Leviticus chapter 18, verses 1 through 30 on your own. In this chapter sub-titled “Unlawful Sexual Relations” God was instructing Moses to tell the people that they must not engage in incest, adultery and acts of homosexuality. Furthermore, He instructs them they are not to follow the practices of man, but rather they are to obey God’s laws and decrees. So excuse me as I scratch my head and ask “what part of this don’t we understand?”

All throughout the Bible God has provided us with instructions for living in ways that bring honor to Him. There are some pretty specific instructions found in the Apostle Paul’s teachings to the church regarding both sexual and sins of the flesh. Let us remember the church is not a building, the church is you and me friends. If you have some time won’t you consider checking out Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Galatians 5:16-26, and 1 Thessalonians 4? Just a little side note; if you want to learn more about the Apostle Paul, check out his story in the Book of Acts. This man is an example of someone who went through some pretty radical changes as a result of what he discovered and eventually embraced.  

Too often we rather adjust God’s instructions to give ourselves permission to overlook sin. I know, I’ve been there. At other times it’s easier to dispute the accuracy of the Bible over obeying it. Acknowledging truth might cause us to uncover that we have had some “wrong thinking” going on in our heads. Consider this for a moment. Someone who is having an affair may blame their spouse’s imperfections in order to justify a divorce. But what does God say about divorce?  Explore it yourself in Malachi 2:16, Matt. 5:32, Lev. 21:14, Matt. 19:9 and Mark 10:4.  What about the desire to cohabitate (live with one another outside of marriage)? What does God say about the marriage bed?  Explore it for yourself in Hebrews 13:4. How about the dispute over marriage being between a man and a woman?  Look at Genesis 2:22-24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 18:22, and Deuteronomy 24:5. How about Homosexuality? Read Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and Genesis 19. And, do we have the right to chose to abort human life?  Although some people point out that the word "abortion" is not in the Bible, we can’t overlook that the teaching is there. You could note that the word “trinity” is not in the Bible either, but you’ll find the teaching is there. In any case, let’s just keep focused on what the Word of God says. Check out Scripture such as  Psalm 127:3, Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17, Amos 1:13, Matthew 19:18 and Revelation 22:15. 

Sins of the flesh are not to be minimized either. Pride, lying, gossiping, stealing, slander, impatience, idolatry, anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, and yes bitterness are all considered to be sin by God. Ephesians 4:20-32 might be helpful as we look to better understand why we’re also called to turn from these types of sin. As I said last week, willful sin of any type will bring about consequences, you can count on it. Just because we have been blessed with New Testament teachings and the gift of the new covenant by the blood of Jesus Christ; it does not mean that we are to deem the Old Testament obsolete as some argue. Yes, it is true that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary paid the price for sin and freed us from the bondage to the law; however, we would be fools to discard God’s original instructions to the people. And we would also be pretty naïve if we eliminate the act of repentance from this gift. The instructions were given so that people could learn, repent, turn and receive a blessing. They were called to align themselves with God.  

In closing, we need not be condemned by the decisions we have made. Each day is a new day of opportunity. Our past does not need to define our future. Through God’s mercy He provided forgiveness of sin through Jesus. If after searching the Scriptures for yourself, you discover that you are not following the commands/instructions of God in any area of your life, won't you consider altering your choices? 

Are you still with me? If so, I need you to hear this closely. Repentance means we turn away, we stop doing what we discover to be sin in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. A decision will be necessary. We don’t blame the devil, or our genetics, our flesh, or people’s imperfections. No, we take responsibility for succumbing to evil. We call sin, sin. We acknowledge (confess) that our way is wrong, and then we embrace the gift of grace and live. We won’t be perfect, and our choice to change may be extremely difficult; but in the end we’ll be on our way to glorifying God through the victory. And, our name will be written into the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15). Be blessed.

In Christ by grace,

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