What are the common behaviors of a man who claims Christ as his savior? What does the power of God's Word do to a man? What does a man look like who has been transformed by God's Holy Spirit?
1. The Christian man is free to be a servant-leader. He no longer depends upon his own strength, but on the guidance, wisdom and strength of the Lord. His identity is not dependent on successful achievement, so he is set free to fail without being devastated by failure. This freedom to fail gives the Christian man courage and faith to step out and take measured risks in the Lord's work. He includes others in the decision-making process because he is no longer afraid to admit that he needs the help of others and of God in order to have success. He can affirm and build up those with whom he works because he feels affirmed and accepted in love by God in Christ.
2. The Christian man is free to be lighthearted. He no longer has to take himself so seriously. God is his refuge. He is set free from having to protect himself, to fear and shield himself from others. He is secure in himself and his faith. He will not list out his accomplishments like a peacock strutting around, fanning his tail. His personality will take on a peaceful playfulness that will draw others to him. He can laugh at himself. He has no need to put others down.
3. The Christian man is free to interact with others. He is relational. He is a thoughtful boss and a congenial host. He is free to share himself openly. He will talk with his wife. He will talk with his children. He will not talk at them but will talk with them, listening to those he loves. He will not have to have all the right answers. He will enjoy entering into the deeper-meaning dimensions of the lives of those around him. He is no longer interested in telling others how important he is. He is now more interested in hearing about their joys, their needs, their hopes, their dreams.
4. The Christian man is able to be open with others about his needs and to ask for help. He knows that it is his willingness to open his life to others that creates possibilities for himself and others to grow, receive healing and move on toward maturity in Christ. The man will give and receive friendship.
5. The Christian man is free to be tender. He no longer has to analyze everything objectively and express himself without feeling. He is now strong enough to be gentle. He will touch and hold and kiss his children & grandchildren as Jesus held the children of his day and loved them. He will affirm others with words of truth and love and be generous with hugs and other physical expressions of encouragement. He will let others affirm and love him. He can laugh and cry with others like Jesus did.
6. The Christian man is free to forgive. He will forgive others quickly and with a generous spirit as he has been forgiven by God. A redeemed sinner, and in process himself, he can sympathize and empathize with the struggles of others.
7. The Christian man is free to stand for righteousness. He will influence the world by courageous speaking the truth and acting on the truth he knows. Once he was too insecure to stand up for what he believed, but now he is secure in Christ's love. He has the courage to expose the fruitless behaviors of darkness and to model the fruitful lifestyle of light, love and truth.
8. The Christian man is free to be concerned for the world around him. No longer driven by a need to build external evidences of his worth, he can give himself and his money away. He can work less to build his personal empire, and more to alleviate suffering, hunger and the conditions that lead to distress, disease and death.
The Christian man is free to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The information from this post is adapted from Temptations Men Face.
BE A MAN.
“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.” Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…” 2 Peter 1:5 (NKJV)
“…exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)
Spiritual health, like physical health, requires both input and output. We must not only take on those things necessary for spiritual health but we must also do those things that exercise ourselves toward godliness. This balance of input and output is meant to produce godliness in us. Godliness is essentially Christ-likeness. We want to be like Jesus. Since we want to be like Jesus, then we need to do those things that will produce godliness in our lives. Christ-likeness will be seen in specific ways.
My mind will be filled with Truth.
My affections for God will be fueled.
I will share Christ’s love as His witness in the world.
I will partner with other believers to advance God’s Kingdom.
I will invest in the lives of others.
I will progress (grow) in holiness.
We see all of these things when we look at the life of Jesus. When we grow in godliness, or Christ-likeness, we will see these things in our lives as well. As I look at these things two truths stand out to me.
Godliness is more than what I know. While knowing is certainly a part of what it means to be godly, there is more to it than just knowledge. The knowledge of what is right must lead us to do what is right. Behavior matters as much as belief.
It takes more than Bible study to grow in godliness. While Bible study is certainly foundational in godliness, more than Bible study is required to grow in godliness. There are a variety of ways we must “exercise” ourselves if we want to grow in godliness.
The goal of this personal spiritual growth plan is for us to commit ourselves to do those things that will produce godliness in our lives.
This post was written by Rev Ross. You can find the original post here:
BE A MAN.
I’m done. I can no longer lie to myself and others and act like everything is okay. I am tired of the faith I have had, and it is time to make a change. A major one. This may be confusing to some, but it is something I have to do. I have made my decision, and I am sticking with it. Christianity just isn’t for me anymore. I know this seems shocking, but let me tell you why…In the form of a true story.
A good friend of mine (Becky) told me a story about her husband Tom that caused me to completely reconsider who I was, and how I viewed my faith. Tom is a devout Christian. He is a guy who has a past that he was not particularly proud of, but found God’s grace and has been growing in Christ for many years. He loves Jesus. Every day, Tom listens to Christian music at work, and the other guys at the car dealership that he is a mechanic at call him “preacher boy” because of his faith in God. No one really minds the music except for Bill. Every time Tom turns on the radio, Bill wants to smash the thing with a hammer. The songs are like nails on a chalk board.
Bill is very verbal about the fact that he hates the way Tom is, and he can’t stand his (insert expletive) music. In his mind, this God that Tom worships is the biggest fraud in the universe, and there should be some sort of law banning such devotion. There have been many occasions in which Bill has threatened physical harm if the music was not turned off. So, on many occassions…Tom has shut off the music because he certainly does not want to burn any bridges. Okay…so the music is off, but there is still something about Tom that is really irritating. No matter how many times Bill yells and complains about Christianity (the biggest scam in history), the nicer Tom becomes. For instance, prayer is a waste of time, in fact because it is a cycle of meaningless behavior. If it wasn’t, and if this God was as good as people says He is, then why did He allow Bill’s mother to suffer and die a painful death at the hands of cancer. Bill has always seemed angry. He was angry.
One day, the rest of the staff went to a fast food place to get a quick bite to eat and spend some time together. When they got back from their meal, they passed Bill (who stayed back to work instead of go out to lunch) sprinting out to his car. He had a look of pure shock and panic on his face. No one knew what was wrong.
Later, the rest of Bill’s coworkers found out what happened. Bill’s adult daughter died earlier that morning. His wife found her, and called her husband at work. She was gone. For Bill, the grief was intense, confusing, and emotional. No one could imagine the pain he was experiencing. No one should have to.
Tom and Becky really struggled with whether they should go to the funeral. I mean…Bill hated Tom and that was no secret. For some reason, despite this, they went. When Tom got to the funeral, he caught Bill’s eye. Bill came over to Tom, looked him right in the eye, and embraced him while melting into a tear-filled puddle. All Bill could do was cry as if Tom was the one Bill was waiting for to become vulnerable in public. For years, Bill hated God. He knew He was there, but there was not even a desire to have a relationship with Him. Tom consistently showed Bill who God really was…through action and unconditional love. Now, Bill was leaning on Him for hope.
So, why am I telling you this story? I am tell you this, because I think it shows us what this faith-life is supposed to be about. As Christians, we can spend hours going to church, reading our Bibles, praying, and living clean lives, but if the point in our own minds is to make us feel better, or even make us better people, then we are completely missing the boat. I have come to the conclusion that the Christian life has little to do with us, and everything to do with Christ and Him using us to be hope distribution centers. We are called to be second. Yes, of course we are supposed to grow in our knowledge and love for Him, but that is only step 1.
So, I am done. I am done living this life for my own “fire insurance” and hoarding spiritual blessings so I can openly say I am going to Heaven. I am done allowing my faith to be steered by what makes me feel good or what I am inspired most by in my life. I am done chasing miracles for my own enjoyment, and laying confortablly in piles of grace.
It is time to make myself available to God like Tom did…and love no matter what. Not because it will make me a better person, but because I am a new person, who has a mission.
Love you all whether you like it or not.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2014/12/31/christianity-just-isnt-for-me-anymore/
The story is true but the names were changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.
Would that you were either cold or hot—Revelation 3:15
There are three approaches to life with God: All In; All Out; and, in the middle, between those, a third approach. This third approach is actually a range—it encompasses every approach between the two extremes. Many of us take the third approach. I mean, we do believe life is better with God—but, our belief is more theoretical than not. We get busy with careers, families, finances, and rarely think about actually applying the life and truth of our King, Jesus Christ, to our own, complicated lives. And so, they become indistinguishable from the lives of men All Out.
Jesus calls takers of the third approach “lukewarm,” and is particularly frustrated by us: “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). We third-approachers mistakenly presume we’re doing okay faith-wise—not as well as we could maybe, but okay nonetheless. Therefore, Jesus’ words are startling and challenging—and force us to consider All In.
So, what does All In require? The world tells us, too much. But, that’s wrong. It doesn’t require more than we can give. Brother, we’re designed for All In. Jesus isn’t some out-of-touch “high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). He understands our lives. He knows what he’s asking. All In doesn’t require we be perfect; we couldn’t. It requires a soft heart―a willingness to try, genuinely, to use Jesus’ life as a pattern for our own.
Okay, so what do we do?
Pray the All In prayer: Set aside a couple minutes today. Quiet your surroundings. Shut the door. Turn off music. Quiet your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart. Now, speak directly to Jesus, your King, and say three plain, simple words, “I’m All In.” That’s it.
Copyright © 2013 Gather Ministries, All rights reserved.
This post was written by Justin Camp of Gaither Ministries
Are we called to evaluate and judge someone by what he or she did, or by what that person does, by way of consistent habit? Over the last two and a half years, in light of my own faults and failures, I have given this subject a lot of thought. After insisting that people who live wicked and impure lives will not enter heaven, as such demonstrate that they have not been born again by grace through a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul writes: "In the past, some of you were like that, but you were washed clean. You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:11 NCV)
In the past, all of us have done (and said) ugly-natured, despicable acts. If one were to take a snapshot of a particular sin committed, as though that act were to encapsulate a person in his or her entirety, that would be wrong. No one who ever existed is defined by one or even a few negative or sinful acts. I remember Michael Brown's mother saying, in an interview regarding the Ferguson incident, that we saw 18 seconds of her son doing something wrong on a video; but she has 18 years of knowing her son. (link) From his mother's view, Michael should not be defined by some mistakes or wrong decisions he made any more than should you or I.
We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2), and none of us has yet arrived at perfection (Phil. 3:12). If we take one act, or one word, or even one unfruitful season in someone's life, and in a fit of strain force that moment to define a person, we not only falsely and unwarrantedly objectify the individual, but we also incriminate ourselves, because none of us has yet reached sinless perfection.
When I think of Samson, I do not necessarily think of his sin with Delilah and impose his infatuation and sin with her as the totality of his identity -- who he was as a human being. When I think of King David, I do not necessarily think of his sin with Urriah's wife Bathsheba and impose his sin with her as the totality of his identity -- who he was as a human being. I could admit the same with Solomon, whose life ended badly; and the apostle Paul, who murdered Christians prior to his conversion; or any number of people in the Bible who failed at moments in their life. Are we supposed to take snapshots of people's lives and claim, "This is who you are -- this defines you completely"?
I suppose the answer would be predicated upon an individual's repentance of certain failures or sins. For example, in the case of Jesus' betrayer Judas, we are never given glimpses of genuine repentance from his heart. What do we make, then, of Judas as a human being? What kind of man was he? Though called a disciple of Jesus Christ, we find his heart to be one of betrayal, one of never really being loyal to Christ from the beginning. Betrayal as nature seems to belong to Judas' identity.
Judas' heart and life differs significantly from that of the apostle Peter. Though Peter denied he knew Jesus on three separate occasions, he genuinely repented of his sin, and was restored to a right relationship with Christ. Not so with Judas. Judas opened himself up to Satanic possession by his evil plans and motives. Instead of humbly, self-effacingly seeking repentance, he very selfishly committed suicide.
Portraying Judas as a betrayer can be derived not from a single event or a certain string of events but from the overall consistent attitude of his life. Portraying Peter as a betrayer, however, should not be derived from the three separate events of his having denied knowing Christ because his overall attitude was one of love for Christ -- in spite of his inconsistencies.
The reality is, however, that I no more want to be thought of as "that guy who did this or that" than the apostle Peter wanted to always be thought of as "that guy who denied Christ"; or David as "that guy who committed adultery and had her husband killed in battle"; or whatever you did as "that person who sinned that sin." I remember someone's statement to another person who had committed a terrible act: "This is what you did -- this is not who you are; this does not define you."
When someone's sins and failures become public knowledge there is a temptation to take a snapshot and define him or her by that event. But there exists a type of deception within the hearts of those who take snapshots and define others by them. They tend to think that because their struggles and failures and sins are private then they are not or should not be defined by them. They are not willing to be as stringent with themselves as they are with others. But Jesus said that you "will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you." (Matt. 7:2 NCV)
The apostle Paul adds, "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Col. 3:13 NLT) Since "it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it" (James 4:17), and "the person who keeps all the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws" (James 2:10), then I think we need to extend a bit more grace to each other, not defining each other by any failure(s) but by the grace of God in Christ; remembering always that we can possibly be one false step away from any number of various offenses.
We must also keep in mind and live by the words of St Paul, to not "think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment" (Rom. 12:3); "Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God ... So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." (Rom. 14:10, 12, 13) This gracious way of living will not only serve the body of Christ better but will also be beneficial when we need the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus our Lord.
This post was written by William Birch. For the original post, go to: http://jacobarminius.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-measure-you-use-will-be-used-on-you.html
“Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.” Nehemiah 9:1 (NKJV)
There are a couple of things we need to understand about this verse. The first is that their sorrow for sin is in connection with hearing the Law. In Nehemiah 8 the Law was read and explained to them. As the Law was preached they were made aware of their transgressions of God’s Law and this brought a deep conviction upon them. Conviction of sin is almost always connected to hearing God’s Word.
The second thing we have to notice is their response to this conviction. They assembled while fasting and wearing sackcloth and dust on their heads. This was all a sign of great mourning for their sin. When you read the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament you find that the people fasted when they were mourning over sin. I’m not 100% sure of the significance of fasting when accompanying mourning unless it was to show that they were so distraught over their sin that they couldn’t even eat. The significance of the sackcloth and ashes was that of humiliation. They were showing outwardly what was going on inwardly. Inwardly they were so grieved over their sin against God that they were humiliated by it. So they demonstrated their grief and humiliation by wearing a burlap sack and putting dirt on their heads.
Biblical repentance always includes a godly sorrow for the sins committed.
“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NKJV)
One of the things that’s important to take away from this passage is not all sorrow is a godly sorrow. The Bible says that there is a godly sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and salvation. There is also a worldly sorrow for sin that leads to death. We have to know the difference so that we can ensure that the sorrow we feel at our sin is the godly sorrow that leads to repentance and salvation.
Let me take a minute and explain what godly sorrow is not. Godly sorrow is not being sorry you were caught. If the only sorrow produced in your life when you sin is a result of someone finding out about your sins, you are not genuinely sorry for your sins. You are sorry you got caught in your sins.
Godly sorrow is not being afraid God is going to punish you for your sins. If the only sorrow produced in your life when you sin comes because you are afraid that God is going to break your leg, burn down your house, do something to your children or do something else to punish you, you are not genuinely sorry for your sin. You fear God’s punishment. To fear God’s punishment and to be sorry for sin is not the same thing.
To be sorry you were caught or be sorry because you are afraid of God’s punishment are examples of worldly sorrow that leads to death. The reason they lead to death is because they do not really turn us to God and they do not produce a change in our lives. When someone is sorry they were caught they are only sorry and only pretend to change while the shame of being caught remains. Once the shame is over the change goes out the window and they go back to doing what they were doing only this time they are more careful.
When someone is sorry because they are afraid of God’s punishment they are only sorry and only pretend to change while the fear of punishment remains. Once the fear of punishment is gone the change goes out the window and they go back to doing what they were doing before.
Godly sorrow is very different from this. With godly sorrow we feel grief or sorrow for the sin committed whether anyone finds out or not. With godly sorrow we feel grief or sorrow for the sin committed whether God chastises us for that sin or not. Basically it means that you are sorry you committed the sin regardless of any other circumstances. It is to be sorry you have sinned against God.
In the world we live in one of the greatest crimes you can commit against humanity is to make someone feel bad about themselves. We live in a world where people feel they are entitled to always feel good. On the other hand the Bible teaches that if we sin against God, we won’t always feel good about ourselves because Biblical repentance always involves a godly sorrow for the sins we’ve committed against God.
This post was written by Rev Ross. You can find the original post at: http://stacyjross.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/sorrow-for-sin/
BE A MAN.
“The widest thing in the universe is not space, it is the potential capacity of the human heart.” A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
Google “Heart Health” and over 556,000,000 sites pop up. That’s 556 million. Read just a few of those articles and the evidence is overwhelming — there is a direct correlation to what we put into our bodies (diet, exercise, rest, supplements etc.), and the health of our heart.
While God is certainly concerned with the well-being of our physical heart, it is the state of the spiritual heart that matters most. Our “kardia” (Grk) is the center and fountain of all spiritual life. This word heart is found in scripture over 800 times. More than money — or even heaven.
Of all of those heart verses, one of my favorites is 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (KJV)
The Lord is diligently seeking men and women whose hearts are perfect. What does a perfect heart look like? Consider these qualities from God’s Word.
A “perfect” heart is a:
Broken and Contrite heart. “…a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 ESV)
Clean heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)
Rejoicing heart. “…my heart shall rejoice in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5 ESV)
Serving heart. “…serve the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV)
Pure heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8 ESV)
It is interesting that Jesus taught the essence of a man’s heart is revealed by his spoken words — “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 ESV)
What do your words say about the kind of treasure you have stored in your heart? When you speak, is it evident that your heart is perfect in the eyes of the Lord? What are you "hiding" in your heart? When life is not the way it is supposed to be, what does your speech say about the condition of your heart?
How’s your heart? Are your "arteries" clogged from the pain and pressure of everyday life? From un-confessed sin? Envy? Bitterness? No spiritual exercise? Are you feeding on spiritual "fast food"? Maybe change your spiritual diet. Hide the word of God in your heart. Saturate your heart with prayer.
…”A heart that is perfect toward Him”… It will turn your life around.
This post was taken from the American Association of Christian Counselors: www.aacc.net
Christian subcultures are an entertaining phenomenon. Multiple brands of Christianity claim the same Lord and read the same Bible, and yet they promote a set of values sometimes as different as apples and orangutans.
I once heard a story about a Christian woman from the East Coast who confronted a West Coast youth-pastor, who allowed “mixed bathing” at youth events. “I can’t believe any so-called Christian leader would allow boys and girls to swim together!” She expressed her concern, all the while puffing on a cigarette. The youth pastor couldn’t help but smile, speechless at the irony.
I attended a conservative Brethren church when I lived in Scotland. Some of the women wore head coverings and none of them spoke in church. When I had our Irish pastor and his wife over for dinner, I asked them what he would like to drink. “Beer please,” the preacher said. “And for you, madam?” “I’ll take a glass of Chardonnay, thank you.” Were they liberal or conservative? I guess it depends on which subculture you come from.
When you try to cut out Christians with a religious cookie cutter, you not only tarnish diversity, but you trample on grace. It’s one thing for Christian subcultures to cultivate unique values. But it becomes destructive when those values are chiseled on Sinaitic tablets for all to obey.
It’s even worse when Christians expect instant holiness from recent converts—holiness, that is, in areas where we think we’ve nailed it.
It’s a shame that some believers have scoffed at some of Shia Labeouf's recent comments about converting to Christianity, pointing fingers at the fact that he still uses bad language weeks after becoming a Christian. It's worth noting that some are speculating that Labeouf's conversion may have actually been more of a rather dramatic example of method acting than a true conversion but, regardless, many Christians chose to focus on his language instead of his heart. God only knows the true believers from the false. But to judge a man’s faith because there’s a residue of potty mouth?
Bad language may take years to weed out. Even more difficult to extract is the pride that drives judgmental Christians to mock the Spirit’s work in a man seeking his Creator. That sin could take decades to discover. Grace means that we are all works in progress, and God shaves off our rough edges in His timing. Just look at the thugs God works with in the Bible.
I know we’re programmed to see the 12 apostles as saints with halos and contemplative faces. But actually, they were criminals. These guys were more like prisoners than pastors, and few of them would have been let inside our churches today.
Take Peter, for instance. Peter walked with Jesus for three years, witnessing miracle after miracle, sermon after sermon. Still, on the night before Jesus’s death, a servant girl asked Peter if he knew Jesus. “I do not know the man!” Peter responded. And he even evoked a curse on himself to prove he wasn’t lying (Matthew 26:74).
Can you imagine if your pastor did that? “Good morning, church. I just want to say that I don’t even know who Jesus is!” We have a hard time forgiving pastors who commit adultery. I don’t think we’d know how to handle a pastor who had a public bout with doubt.
Then there’s James and John, whom Jesus nicknames “sons of thunder.” Apparently, they never made it through an anger management seminar. On one occasion, these two hotheads wanted to nuke an entire village because they wouldn’t let them spend the night (Luke 9:51-56). The whole village—women and children. Luckily, Jesus stepped in to prevent the destruction. These two holy apostles would have been better fit as bouncers outside an expensive casino in Vegas owned by a mobster, than preachers of the gospel of love.
My favorite pair is Simon the “Zealot” and Matthew the tax-collector. How did those two thugs get along?
Matthew’s vocation was nothing less than political and religious treason. Tax-collector’s were Jewish agents of Rome, who mediated pagan oppression through taking money from innocent people. Imagine if you found out that your childhood friend was making a living off funneling money to ISIS. Would you use him to plant a church? Apparently, Jesus did.
Tax-collectors were more than extortionists. They were known for living excessively immoral lives and hanging out with all the wrong people. Religious Jews, in fact, believed that tax-collectors were passed the point repentance. Matthew didn’t have a moral bone in his body. But of course, after becoming a Christian, he immediately stopped sinning and never used bad language ever again.
Simon, as a “Zealot,” probably grew up on the other side of the tracks. The “Zealots” were named such not because they were prayer warriors. They were just warriors—Jewish jihadists. The “Zealots” were known for killing their Roman oppressors or other Jews who were sell-outs. They were aggressive, violent, and they did anything but love their enemies. Had Simon met Matthew on the streets, there’s a good chance one of them would have been found lying in chalk.
To build His Kingdom, Jesus handpicks what could be compared to the leader of the Black Panther party and the grand wizard of the KKK. I doubt anyone closed their eyes at that first prayer meeting.
You cannot sanitize grace. You can’t stuff it into a blue blazer and make it wear khakis. Grace is messy, offensive, and it sometimes misses church. To expect God to pump prefabricated plastic moral people out of a religious factory is to neuter grace and chain it inside a gated community. If God’s scandalous relationship with the 12 thugs means anything, then we should expect a variegated spectrum of righteousness and be patient—or repentant—when such sanctification doesn’t meet out expectations. God meets us in our mess and pushes holiness out the other side.
Not anti-mixed-bathing holiness. But the real stuff. The holiness that serves the poor, prays without ceasing, redeems the arts, loves enemies, elevates community above corporate success, and preaches the life-giving Gospel of a crucified and risen Lamb in season and out.
This post is taken from Relevant Magazine. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/being-christian-doesnt-always-look-you-think-it-should#ZWjRGEm91I08kKTX.99
Have you ever tried to talk to a preschool age child (or husband) during their favorite show on TV? The lack of attention can get on your nerves. Okay…I guess you caught it. I am one of those parents who allow my child to watch TV in the morning. Hey, sometimes I am tired and I need my son just to do his own thing for a few minutes while my brain wakes up. I am horrible…I won’t even talk about the fact I don’t buy organic…OH THE AGONY!!! Call the police!
I digress….ANYWAY, have you ever been in a situation in which you have tried to have a serious conversation with someone only to find out more than halfway through that they didn’t hear or understand anything you have said t them. Frustrating huh? Or, like I mentioned above, have you ever been listening to someone talk and their tangents got in the way of the message? This can also be infuriating. Sometimes you just either want to clearly convey your message or you want to be heard.
I think God feels the same way much of the time. There are times when I am certain that He is trying to teach me something, and because of my own pride or reluctance, He can’t get through. Not because He is powerless, but because I am distracted or I have my proverbial “fingers in my ears” and I would rather follow my own way. Well, there are many things the creator of the universe tries to say to us, and we could spend all day discussing them. Today, I want to touch on a few.
Here are 6 Things God May Be Trying to Tell You today…I think all are applicable to anyone who believes.
1. No hurt goes unheard- It is so easy to begin to believe that all our suffering is falling on deaf ears. Sometimes we can pray with such passion and for such a long time that, when we don’t see the answer or relief coming, it seems like God is ignoring our plea. When we are going through these trials, God is right there with us, suffering as well. He definitely has insight into the His own perfect plan, but I can only imagine that the reason He also suffers is because He wants to bring the solution to you right now…He just knows what is perfect. He wants the best for you, and sometimes this means we have to wait. No one likes to see their child in pain…even if we know that the pain will not last forever.
2. Sometimes the answer is not as difficult as you think- When we pray, it is easy to ask that God brings a miracle that will completely change the whole situation. We often wonder how God will resolve the conflict we are facing, and trust that He will, but also concoct complicated answers that we think will solve the problem. Then, we tell God these are the steps that need to be taken to implement the miracle. The answer is often easier than that…and it involves becoming uncomfortable and barreling through to victory.
3. Doing the right thing is always the best thing- This is hard to hear. It is also hard to understand sometimes. Many times, we truly do know what is right, but often it conflicts with what is easy. What is right may hurt feelings, or change lives…but the right thing will always lead to abundance. The wrong thing may feel better in the moment…it may even relieve some pain temporarily. It will never, however, lead you into the fullness of God’s plan. The right thing also will always be in line with God’s word.
4. You will never stray too far- There are people who do not follow God because of their anger, guilt, and shame. These feelings often come from a time of reflection on the person they have become and memories of a sin-filled past. Many think that they have sinned way too much for God to accept them…this is simply not true. God wants to meet you where you are at, and give you His abundant life now. Not after you clean up your act. He is waiting.
5. You will never get too close- If you have ever had a relationship in life that has truly let you down you know exactly what I am talking about. You know, you have loved someone and trusted them deeply and they turned around and used that power against you. Guess what. Your relationship with God is nothing like that, and it will never be that way. You can cultivate a close intimate relationship with Him and expose all of your flaws. He will accept you and use it to grow, stretch, and mold your life. It is about time you let go of the fear of getting close.
6. Wearing a T-shirt doesn’t count- If you really want to know what it means to be a follower of Christ…it has nothing to do with the cool new Christian T-shirt you just bought online. You may think you are telling satan to “shove it” when you wear it around town, but what you are really doing (sometimes) is trying to find a way to display the message without living it. This will not work. God wants you…not your clothing. Inanimate objects can not be spiritually redeemed. They have no soul. Now, when you wear that inspirational t-shirt…remember this…how can you truly be a walking billboard for the creator? Add things like compassion and forgiveness to the mix as well. These will go far. Your t-shirt will doesn’t count when talking about your Christian witness.
God wants to say so much more to us. Don’t let a blog have to be the one to tell you.Open your ears, eyes, and heart. It is time to listen.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. You can find his original post here: http://other-words.net/2014/10/29/6-things-god-may-be-trying-to-tell-you/
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