A True Christian??

Just reflecting.. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
When I began following Jesus FOR REAL, some 18 years ago, there were a lot of changes I had to make. I had to review much of what I was taught as a child and put it behind me. It was not bad, it was just childish beliefs that were no longer necessary in a maturing relationship. There were also many ideas and ideals that I thought were cut in stone for believers, that I discovered were not, and I had to turn loose of these things as well. Some of the beliefs I held, I believed were foundation stones holding up the Christian faith. I also had to lay these aside as Jesus became more and more real to me!
None of these things were wrong, in and of themselves, they were just stepping stones to allow me to get to where my Lord was leading me today. They were never intended to be burdens I had to carry with me on my journey. Today my burdens are easy and my way is light, not because I am smart or spiritual, but because I was willing to let go of some of the things I thought were so necessary to being a Christian. I have found the One Who is important for being a Christian, actually He found me buried under all the burdens of belief and performance commonly associated with being a true believer.
No one can convince me any longer of what is important or required for being a true follower of Christ. I know Him now and He is the only reason for being a Christian!
Have a Happy New Year!
Love in Him!
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The Highest Calling…is yours

…PURE and SPOTLESS BRIDE…

FORGIVEN

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Jesus came for this very High Calling.. to show a lost, sin focused, ashamed, disgraced, guilt-ridden, fallen Bride (humanity) the Agape Gracious Love of her Creator, Father, Savior, King and Husband.

 Jesus came to show us God so we can show Him to those who do not yet know how much He misses them.!!

His Bride is a Pure and Spotless Bride… Her Husband has taken care of that. He has a Beautiful White Garment waiting for Her when She is prepared to meet Him!

How are you loving HIS Lost ones today??

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One of THOSE days!?

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
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delete    ….Many of us today have our own plans and ideas of Life and the way we believe things are supposed to go…
We believe we are doing our duty as believer’s by rising early in the morning and asking God to bless us and protect us as we go about our day. We believe God exist as our savior, protector and friend to help us accomplish our purpose and destiny in Life…
Oh, how wrong we are..??
Today is an example of One of THOSE days… when I learn how wrong I am about Life at times… I left the picture above a little small and a bit fuzzy for a reason… Why did I do that? …Glad you asked… because I believe we see God’s promises and plans for us as a small, blurred picture at times… We can still tell what is going on… but everything seems to be somewhat out of focus.. Know what I mean?
Let me give you a for instance…
This morning I got up early as usual, got coffee and settled down to think, ponder and meditate on God’s word.. so I could receive some inspiration on what to post today… After all, posting about “Good God things” is good right??   I think He wants me to do this blog or I wouldn’t be doing it..  I have kind of a routine I follow and I don’t think anything is wrong with routines in general.. but sometimes I get frustrated, aggravated and agitated when other stuff begins to ruin my routine…. Does that ever happen to you? ……
Today as I was routinely going about my good God things that I know He had planned for me to do today because I am doing what I know He wants me to do…. things started happening.. The phone rang and I answered it. …It was my daughter and she asked what I was doing…
Me: …Same thing I am doing every morning… writing. What’s up?
Her: Oh not much, just, and, but… (15mins.) and now this …and that, (30mins.)  not really sure what to do… maybe I should… or maybe if we.., (45mins.) …What do you think daddy?
Ok. There you have it… routine shot, time I like to post by past, subject of the post forgotten!!!  All the inspiration gone, ….Frustration, anxiety, agitation rising and now….. “What do you think daddy?”
God had changed MY PLANS… God had interrupted MY ROUTINE… God had messed up all MY TIME I was planning to spend doing GOD’s WILL for Him today…
And that is where I mess up all the time… How about you??
Now, please don’t misunderstand me… I love my daughter, she is a mature, beautiful mother of three of the Grandest kids…and step-mother (don’t tell her I called her a stepmother) to two more of the Grandest kid’s…   She is a strong and courageous follower of Jesus and deeply spiritual.. For her to ask my opinion on something is a compliment and a position I cherish… understand?
MY BLOG is not is not even working right today.. not double spacing for paragraphs and such… Acting crazy …. SO, I am going to stop and see what GOD’s PLANS are for me today! 
Before I go, can I just say… Things are always going according to GOD’s plans for my Life and for your Life, but things don’t always go as we believe God has planned for our lives to go. …I know that is hard to understand.. especially when we are in the middle of a change in direction that has caught us off-guard…because we were/are doing good things for God… and God does not mind us doing good things for Him until He has GOD things to do for US… Get it?
Let me say it another way…. I tell people all the time: Even if you are going the wrong way and doing the wrong things… God planned for it to happen that way. God allows us to do things OUR way, God even allows us to do things the wrong way ..and He has planned for all of that to happen to us as part of His plans for us. ..We are always in God’s plans or His will so to speak. …He has planned for it all… Life with all of its certainties and uncertainties IS GOD’s plan for us…
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God planned for MY DAY not to go MY WAY today… HE had plans for me to do something different, He had planned for me to see something new and in a different way.. He planned for MY BLOG to be on another subject than I planned… and I GUESS He even planned for it to look different… from the way I LIKE IT TO LOOK.!!! …I had to stop today, and see it GOD’s way… and with that I WILL END… but God will not..! He has other plans for me today…that I know nothing of yet? …And of that, I am CERTAIN…
SO, the Next time things are not working out for you… God may be showing you something different too….

Love in Him! 

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Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the
Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
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I do not even know where the “tags” for this post came from… or why?
DO YOU???

Faith, the problem or the Answer?

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. — 1 Corinthians 13:2

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How often have you seen this sight while driving through the country on a Sunday afternoon? Not very often, if ever, I would dare to guess…! So, wonder why not? ..Does the Bible not say this is possible? This idea is stated very literally in the verse above; and if I have a faith that can move mountains…” is that not what it says? …Herein lies the problem of  “biblical literalism” and also of “modern etymology” , both big words, describing big problems in the Church today…

Now please don’t misunderstand me! I believe in bible literalism to a point, but sometimes things can just become highly exaggerated. …Don’t you agree?… Etymology is a study/history of words and how the meanings can change over time and use in different cultures. When you put the two together you get, exaggerated misunderstanding, mistranslations, and misrepresentations of biblical truth… Ask yourself this; …Is exaggerated truth, the truth at all??…

Back to the title: Faith, the problem or the answer?” … my answer to this is Yes, it is both the problem and the answer… What do you think? ..It is not that faith in and of itself is the problem, it is our modern understanding of the word that’s the problem.

~ Let’s Explore ~ 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

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For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

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“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:38-39

The Scriptures above all speak of Faith… believing faith,  faith we live by and faith we are saved by… agree?

Now, are all of the three examples referring to the same type of faith? …Do you know?…

Most believers today do not know, therefore is word “faith” is often used interchangeably where other words like trust, hope, believe, security etc. would be better choices.

I am not going into all the technical and theological jargon on this because it would take too much of my time today and most of your day and evening to read… So, please select the link above on faith and explore on your own if you choose…

I would like to give a personal example of a misuse or misunderstanding of this word and how it can wreck and damage.. or change a person’s life and faith forever.

In 1996 I sensed, Our Father may have been calling me into the ministry so to speak… All Christians are called to minister, but I believed this to be a “calling into full-time gospel ministry” ..based on how I was raised and the denomination of Christianity I grew up in. I was a Design Technical Specialist at the time with 25 years of service and the money was great. Also I really loved the type of work I did… but my company had begun to require much more travel than I was comfortable with and into areas that I was very uncomfortable with… I had just experienced a major shift in my outlook and philosophy on life commonly called (mid-life crisis or sobriety) and I believed I had the “faith to move mountains”… I discussed this with my wife who was not nearly as excited about the prospect as I was! … I quit my job… and began to pursue God’s will for my life! …

Was this a mistake? …I will let you decide.

I will tell you this. Things did not go as I had planned… as I had been brought up to believe they should go.. if you just had the faith like Abraham.. to pack up and leave, not even knowing where you were going… I believed and I stress the word believed that God would provide for us just as He had for “Abraham” and for “the children of Israel in the wilderness” and Elijah when God sent the crows to feed him by the creek, and, and … you know all those faith filled miraculous stories we hear about all the time don’t you? … Well let me tell you something; “they are all true, so very true… but not necessarily like we have been told.. or have understood them…

You see, when we hear a sermon or message, most of the time the messenger is giving you their rendition of the facts in the Bible, their take on the situation… they may or may not have ever actually been in that situation themselves. They could be telling you about someone they know who went through something similar and such… but that is not normally what you or I are hearing.   I cannot go into all the data available on how people listen and which points we pick up on and how you or I interpret, retain and file away information. …Let’s just say; “we all hear and understand things differently.” If you don’t agree, try talking with someone from another culture or the opposite sex for that matter.. you know what I mean?  😉

I cannot say God did not work in my decision, I cannot say my “leap of faith” was a mistake, I cannot say that we were not taken care of and feed by the “birds” and the “angels” at times. We were, most assuredly we were! ..But.. it was not.. like I had expected.   I will not go into all the details of this excursion, however I wish I could.!!!   They are amazing and “my/her/our faith” grew greater than it had ever been before, but now as “true faith” not “imagined faith”…   

I Hope by now you are beginning to see the problem and the answer! Like I said before, I believe “faith” as it is commonly understood today can cause many problems and on the other hand, “true faith” which has been lived, tried and tested by fire (life) can be the answer to many of the problems.

If we have faith only in what we believe, we will have and cause many problems. If we believe by “true faith”… which has been proven true and correct by our own personal experiences with God in Christ Jesus, then and only then do we possess the “faith to move mountains” ..because by this time we also have realized, that it is NOT our Faith that moves the Mountains it is the FAITH of Jesus Christ in US that has the power to cause the Earth to Shake… It is not so much our faith in Christ as it is CHRIST’s faith in us that brings us through… Amen!

Love in Him

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…and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2b


Is God an Experience!? You decided..

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. — Romans 12:2 (NIV)

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I personally believe too many of us today have just stopped thinking about God!…. Have you???

I often wonder about the reason for this, it may be because we have not been taught it is ok…? Not sure about you, but growing up in the religious community… I was not allowed to “think out of the box” too far… Oh, don’t get me wrong.. I was allowed to ask questions and come up with different ways of expressing “truth” as long as it didn’t upset anyone or go against one of the 1,000 commandments of church doctrine… and denominational creeds…

Most often, questions were responded to with “pad” answers and if the “pad” was not accepted, then I was told, “well God is way beyond our understanding and comprehension and some things, we just cannot question.” ??? …Did you ever get stuff like that thrown at you? Have you ever wondered what God is like … and just been afraid to ask? Or have you just given up, because like I, just got tired of asking the same people the same questions and getting the same answers?…. And, were they telling me and you the “truth”…? 

“”Let’s Explore””

First let me explain… I do not believe I was ever misguided purposely or intentionally by most of those I went to for answers… Yes…There are folks out there using the Bible and it’s treasures and mysteries for their own glory and agendas, but most are not. They just ‘plain and simple,’ don’t know. They have asked the same questions, gotten the same “non-answers” and are just passing them on to us… me and you. So the answer I found is, to discover, explore own my own.

We are allowed to do this you know? God gave us all a brain. (see picture) Some of us apparently have said “no thanks” …but we will not get into that… today at least. (LOL)

I titled this blog “Is God and Experience?.. You decide” because “Life” is an experience… from birth to death, life is one experience after another. One memory alongside other memories. The Bible calls this “from faith to faith” and that is an excellent description of the life of a believer… any believer!  So, to answer my own question, yes, God is an experience. Sorry if you don’t agree!

Yes, I do believe God is real, as real as you, and as real as me!  Reality would not, could not exist, without a real Creator creating a real world with real people, real animals and such… but just as we learn life through lessons (experiences) and these experiences shape us and mold us into a real person, “Life” is experience. “Life” is real flesh and blood experiences.

But…

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Sometimes it can be very challenging trying to separate what is real life… from what is not! Do you agree?

Jesus said, “I Am the way, the truth and the life“… Wow.. what a statement!! ..Wonder what that means? … I cannot answer that for you… I have enough trouble answering that for me… I will say however, I am willing to experience that “The Life” Jesus is speaking of… are you?… really? 

Really, .. Jesus was/is God in the flesh. “and the Word was made flesh and lived among us”  I believe Jesus is God experiencing “life”… in a flesh and blood body. Now… I shall not go into great philosophical debate or deductive reasoning on this idea or… on this blog, as that would defeat the purpose…

I will close by saying this: “The Bible is full of humankind’s experiences with God and also God’s experiences with humankind”… You can believe what you choose about Jesus as I have suggested Him above… I do believe Jesus is “much more” real than we think and have allowed ourselves to experience… I HOPE you will become interested in getting “The Book” and maybe exploring a little bit on your own… you never know, That Book just may open up another world… even More Real than this one…?

Happy Hunting and Love in Jesus!

And no I am not selling books, the Book is your Bible, you probably have one already 😉

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“AVOID OPEN MINDEDNESS at all cost… it may led you to the EXTREME…”

 


Hell? .. What is it?.. Where is it? “Explore”

 

Just a Note: “I try my best not to tell folks what they should believe… my intent as a teacher is to help people who are struggling with what they already have been taught they must believe.”

Thanks! Just felt I needed to say this…

 

What the hell is Hell anyway?

Much talk going on today about Hell… If it exist, is it eternal, who, if any will be there and for how long? etc. To be truthful, I must say, I don’t really know… do you? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know what the Bible says; I have studied the subject many times… I know what the popular accepted belief of today is, or at least it seems to be accepted. As I talk to folks about the subject, I find many who do not agree or accept the commonly held views on Hell, but most are just reluctant to come-out and say-so!

I am not going into great detail or debate on this, but I am going to share a few of my own thoughts and hopefully maybe answer some questions many of us are just too uncomfortable to ask in a formal setting…  Again these are ‘just my thoughts’, my ‘pondering’ and may not be as theologically sound as you might like them to be. That is ok, we as Christians are allowed to think freely and critically about things that don’t set right with us in our spirit. In fact we are even told to do so many more times in the Bible than we have been led to believe… So here goes!!!

First of all, I think much of what we hear preached on Hell today has just been handed down to us from generations past without much study or investigation on the history or the validity of this teaching or doctrine, if you prefer… We just assume that since the doctrine has been around so long it must have been there all-along, but this is simply not true! … A quick study of the doctrine of Hell and eternal damnation will reveal SURPRISING results. “Wikipedia” is a great and inexpensive way to begin to investigate on your own… Here is a link to get you started, if you dare to go there…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_Hell , this is only a small part of a large document, so please read it all when you are ready… Now just a small suggestion. Try to do your research outside of already established schools of thought, these only use the Bible to prove their own views. Most of these sites cherry-pick verses to uphold their preconceived notions of what Hell is. Regardless of what you have been told… you will not go to Hell if you use history and resources outside of the scriptures themselves.

Like I stated above: “I try not to tell you what to believe.” I do not try to make you believe what I believe, my goal is to help you investigate what you believe and why you believe what you believe… One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this:

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.Revelation 1:18
Many times today, we think of keys as something to unlock doors and start cars with and such… but in Bible times keys were more thought of as a sign of ownership or even more often, as clues or hints so to speak.
 
So when you read verses like Revelation 1:18 and similar verses, try to remember to put it into the context of maybe something hidden, for you to find or discover and not as, something locked away so it can never be known… When Jesus says “He holds the keys” or “He is giving the keys” and such statements… ask Him to explain, He will.
I am going to wrap this up now, before I go on too long and start giving away the clues and hints that I SO much enjoy discovering on my own… with the aid of His Spirit or course…
I hope I have maybe ‘sparked’ your interest to dive into the “Mysteries” of the Scriptures.
They are not mysteries to be left and unsolved…. NO, they are mysteries to be Explored and understood…
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Happy Treasure Hunting…. in Jesus name, and have a blast from the past!!!