Saturday, January 30, 2010
I am convinced that Abortion was the most important issue in our recent presidential election. The problem is that I do not believe Abortion was even discussed beyond one question at the Saddleback Forum. Besides dealing with your eternal salvation, have you ever had to make a decision that would decide whether someone lived or died? I haven’t. But the question has come up, “would you be able to kill someone in defense of your family or your country?” My answer has always been “yes.” But, if the situation was in front of me, would I be willing to pull the trigger? I just don’t know. Well, over a million women in America say yes to killing an unborn each year, basically out of convenience. Tim Tebow’s mother faced a similar decision; her doctor advised her that treatment for her illness had caused irreversible damage to her unborn baby. As an American, abortion was legal but Pam Tebow rejected her doctor’s advice and trusted God for the safety of her unborn son. The controversy about the super bowl ad that will run celebrating her courageous decision is obviously ridiculous. But this post is not about that, but rather we need to ask the following:
Is abortion right or wrong?
When does science say human life begins?
What is God’s view on abortion?
What are you going to do about it?
Many would say, “A woman’s right to choose abortion is the law and … that settles it.” But of course that logic carried to its end would validate the actions of Adolf Hitler, as well. Many others believe abortion is murder … pure and simple. Most Christians believe abortion is wrong, but cannot explain why. The Bible does not say “thou shall not abort” but thou shall not murder is quite clear. Although the Supreme Court ruled on it over 40 years ago, the majority of Americans now believe abortion is wrong. How long will America allow for over one million babies to be killed each year before God responds to this evil? The truth is that when humans make laws based upon what they want, or what they think, they will inevitably make laws that are contrary to what is right and true. People are flawed. The truth is that Abortion is killing a defenseless unborn baby and it is wrong. All the laws in the world won’t change this truth. And that is why this problem will never go away. As horrible as the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti is … the reality of Abortion in America is a hundred times worse. We are after all willingly killing these babies, moment by moment ... day after day ... year after year.
What does science say about when a baby’s life begins? Without question, science has proven that “a new human life commences at the precise moment when the membranes of the sperm and egg cells fuse” … life begins at conception. The fact that laws are passed that disregard this truth does not change this scientific and spiritual truth. “It is sometimes said that the abortion debate is about values rather than facts. An honest debate about abortion, however, is about values based on facts. If we don’t get the facts right, we will not get our values right. Establishing by clear scientific evidence the moment at which a human life begins is not the end of the abortion debate. On the contrary, that is the point from which the debate begins.”
So what can we believe is God’s view on Abortion? Once again, the outcome of a majority rules vote on murder is irrelevant as it relates to the question of whether killing innocent babies is right or wrong from God’s perspective. As Christians, the only thing that really matters is: what does God’s word say, and what can we conclude as a result of it? The scripture above is the best that I can find, in my search for Biblical guidance. When we look closely as Christians the answer to this question should be obvious to all.
you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb; I am fearfully and wonderfully made; My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place; I was woven together in the depths of the earth; your eyes saw my unformed body; All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be
I do not know how anyone, Christian or otherwise, can read these verses and come to any conclusion other than: Abortion is evil. I would suggest you read all of Psalm 139 to get the total context. Our God the creator of all is Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent. He wrote the book of your life before you lived a single day. He created your inmost being ... or your heart and your mind. At the point of conception, God was with you as much as he was at any other point in your life. We are his workmanship, who God created in a secret place known only to Him. God could actually see you, every day of your life before your body was even formed. All of our days were ordained or predestined and ordered by the virtue of his absolute authority. Who could dare destroy what God has created? Is this athiestic religious dogma "a woman’s right to choose abortion" right or wrong? Or, is this an evil joke? Our constitution gives us the right to vote and create laws, but it will never give us the authority to determine right from wrong or good from evil.
What should you do?
Pray to God for guidance
Pray that God will move on the heart of the president
Pray for the mothers and fathers faced with this decision
Pray that God will put a burden on the heart of all in your church
Get involved in supporting the right to life movement
Forward this post to everyone you know
God Bless you my Friend, Bob
Teen abortions increase?
When is a baby, a baby?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Paradox Principles often focus on realities of the world that because we have been programmed by the world, we have come to accept as truth but when we consider it from God’s perspective, we now understand he sees things to the contrary.
Here we have two men, one is poor and one is rich. And God says to them that the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position, and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation. That doesn’t make any sense from a logical human perspective. Well … this is exactly what we are looking for: Holy scripture that is exactly the opposite of what we have been conditioned by the world to believe as truth in our minds.
Now the question is: If it is true, how can it be, and what can we learn?
First, for you to understand, you must pray for God’s wisdom, because without it, your human logic will block the wisdom that the Holy Spirit wants you to receive.
PRAY FOR WISDOM!
Now, having prayed for wisdom, let’s try to understand God’s wisdom. Assuming you are a brother of humble circumstances here on earth … First the verse identifies you as a brother, what does that imply? … That you have received Christ’s free gift of eternal life and will spend eternity with him in heaven. That you have been accepted by God and are now a citizen of a Holy nation, where the creator of the universe is the king and you are his son. Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. And this ruler of all things has promised you victory here and now and throughout eternity. God has forgiven you of all of your sins and failings: past, present, and future and he loves YOU totally, completely, and unconditionally. The certainty of your life in heaven is not dependent on your success or accomplishments here in the world, but rather it is based upon his love for you and the fact that Jesus’ shed blood on the cross has made you new and sinless in God’s sight. You are transforming your mind and now have new goals, new priorities, and many different values and principles that are guiding your life.
What is your high position? Well, in addition to already being a citizen of heaven on a spiritual level … as we have previously discussed, you are an "Ambassador for Christ with a "Ministry of Reconciliation". God has left you here on a mission. I do not think worldly riches are a priority in God’s job description, do you? I could write several more pages, but I think you get the point, and obviously continuing to clarify your identification in Christ is a good exercise for you. How are your humble circumstances looking, now? When we look at things from God’s perspective: we are to “consider it all joy". We are beyond our worldly circumstances … we are under the care of the master. Things are not nearly as discouraging when we get a glimpse of God’s wisdom.
Now, what about the rich man? Honestly, would you trade your position in Christ to be the son of Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates? Well that’s a heavy question, isn’t it? Be careful, I have read where they are both directing their inheritances elsewhere, so as not to spoil their children’s lives. In any event, there is no certainty or security, there. 1 Peter 1: 22-25 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” Look at the contrast, one is controlled by the pure love of Christ, and the other “the rich man’s glory is in his wealth and accomplishments and they are like a flower … perishable ... here today, gone tomorrow. If you think that is not true, check your history … what good has come to the descendants of the 19th century’s rich men? Are they the leaders of today’s world? For the vast majority … no way. But God's truth, and his children are imperishable ... eternal.
and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation …
As you can see, the rich man is not called brother in this verse. Do you think there is any specific reason? Certainly, riches often allow us to shift our focus off of God and his mission for us, and onto our own personal worldly possessions, goals and plans. I know a number of rich men who are committed brothers in Christ. And for sure, they have a different set of challenges that are apt to lead them away from Christ. The verse says he “is to glory in his humiliation”. He is to keep his focus on who he is in Christ and not who he is in the world. I have meditated on this and am convinced that God is also saying that basically humiliation is inevitable in the world, for all men ... and potentially much more so, for the rich man. The rich man and his possessions will come to an end. Buffett and Gates and everyone else and all of their accomplishments and riches, will come to an end, and all will be left standing before God. If they have not accepted Christ, at that moment, they are no better off than the worst of men. But, when the Christian rich man is confronted with it, he needs to … like the poor man, focus on God's blessings and his position in Christ, rather than his worldly losses. Also here and now, if the believing rich man can keep his mind focused on Christ and see his worldly possessions as temporal from God’s perspective, God will reveal how to use these worldly riches for God’s glory. RICH MAN ... BE RECONCILED TO CHRIST!
God Bless you my friend, Bob
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Jeremiah 23:16-17 Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’
Big Lie: freedom of religion means all religions lead to god, all religions are good, all religions are equally relevant, all religions teach truth, all religions are equal, and anyone who does not agree with these ideas is a religious bigot.
A number of years ago, I was talking to a business associate and I said, “We have to be careful we don’t fall for the big lies that the world would have us believe.” “What do you mean by big lies?” he asked. “Everything is okay in moderation” I replied. “Well, I believe that everything is okay in moderation” he said. An intense discussion followed and it soon became clear that he could not win. Knowing that carrying his logic to it’s end would stop him quickly … I said, “ okay, how about a little bit of cocaine” To my surprise he replied, “I know people who use cocaine in moderation and it doesn’t seem to hurt them” this led to more serious debate and I soon tired of his foolishness, I asked, “How about a little bit of child molestation?” Clearly defeated ... he finally said, “I see what you mean.”
I’m sorry to say that this same friend recently emailed me and asked me not to send him any posts with spiritual content. This saddens me, because he is one of the people that I was hoping would see the truth in my posts. But, I can assure you that the reason he doesn’t want my posts is not because he doesn’t think that they are true … but rather because he doesn’t want truthful input that contradicts what he wants to be true. He's basically saying don't confuse me with the truth. This may be hard to understand, but I respect my agnostic friend for being honest with me, more than some others who say what they think I want to hear.
Now twenty five years later, this same friend told me that he likes Mitt Romney for the next president and asked me, “Would you vote for Romney?” I said, “I can’t say for sure, but I think he might make a good candidate.” “But, what about the fact that he is a Mormon, wouldn’t that stop you?” Are Mormons, Christians? Some of the best people I know are Mormons, he said.” I explained to him that a person’s religion was not the deciding factor in who I would vote for in an election. I pointed out Carter and Obama as examples of Christians that I did not vote for. Knowing this was a safe discussion for him, my friend pressed on. But Bob, You didn’t answer my question, “Are Mormons Christians? Knowing my friend, I asked, “Do you want the long or the short answer?” The short one.” he said. First, I explained that it is not for me to decide who is or is not a Christian … only God knows that for sure. Next, I pointed out that Mormonism is a polytheistic religion (many gods) and Christianity is monotheistic (one and only one God). Christianity teaches that all gods other than the God of the Bible are false gods. From a Biblical Christian’s viewpoint, some Mormon positions are false beliefs. Many religions falsely claim to be Christian, or lead followers to live Christian principles, but on key Biblical teachings, they are not Christian. The Bible identifies their teachings as heresy. These religions often lead people that are sincerely trying to have a relationship with god in the wrong direction. A person could have been led astray by one of these religions, but still have trusted their life to Christ and rejected these false teachings. While at the same time remained tied to the church by family or for other reasons. For these religions to call themselves Christian is miss-leading and fraudulent. Mormons are Mormons and many are great people but the religion is not Christian any more than Muslims are Christians. Unfortunately, being “some of the best people I know” does not mean we are Christians.
On fox News Sunday,Chris Wallace interviewed Joel Osteen, Pastor of Lakewood Church on the same subject. Here is how the conversation went:
Chris Wallace: “ And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?”
Joel Osteen: “Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would -- anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like”
Do you see the difference between our answers? Osteen may be politically correct. He also makes it clear in the interview that his calling is to encourage people, but isn’t the primary role of a pastor to help Christians understand the truth, and also the difference between the truth and words that just make us feel good about ourselves? A better answer for Osteen would have been, “I am not an expert on Mormonism, so I will let Mormons speak for themselves”. Instead he confused the Mormon religion with the individual followers and Christianity as well. His final words about voting explain his views on choosing a candidate (character and integrity) are fine.
The Big Lie is that freedom of religion means all religions lead to god, all religions are equally relevant, all religions are good, all religions teach truth, all religions are equal, and anyone who does not agree with these ideas is a religious bigot. We can disagree about the validity of various religious views and still have tolerances for each others right to freedom of religion. I am not a bigot for pointing out evil teachings of radical Islam. That doesn't mean: I hate all Muslims. The religion and the individual follower are not one and the same. Christians like Joel Osteen may be great motivational teachers who inspire and encourage millions, but when they take on the title of Christian Pastor, they have a responsibility to teach the truth and to hold their teachings accountable to the Bible. If not, Osteen should just become a motivational speaker. Otherwise, his witness becomes contrary to the role the church has given him. People are likely to follow him rather than Christ.
This type of debate seems to be everywhere in our politically correct world. A pastor of a church of thousands once said to me. I have eight thousands following me Bob, who are you to question my teachings” My response, “here is what the bible says, you are miss-guiding those eight thousand. Fortunately, a few years later, he stepped down.
On a Fox News panel discussing Tiger Woods, Brit Hume said: "The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
The politically correct media went into a feeding frenzy. Hume had "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet." Said one critic. Another invoked the non-existent "separation of church and television" clause, bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity "out-of-the-blue" on "a political talk show." Like Christianity was somehow taboo unless the media makes jokes about it. The list goes on and on. I’m surprised they weren’t calling for Hume’s resignation. more on this one
It appears to me that everything Hume said was correct. According to Buddhist journalist Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien, Hume is correct about Buddhism. That faith does not offer forgiveness and redemption the way Christianity does. That's because Buddhism has no concept of sin. Also, Buddhists don't believe in God, but try to become their own gods.
Three cheers for Britt Hume! He reached out to Tiger Woods with hope and truth which is what we are called to do as Christians. He told the truth and pointed out the false teachings of a major religion. It’s too bad we can’t get more people of influence exposing these teachings that lead millions away from God every day.
God bless you … Bob
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I am going to assume that you said, “Yes” to all eight questions on the Quick Quiz. That would mean you have a Biblical worldview. If this is not true, then please email me your specific questions or concerns and we will respond to them one by one, during the weeks to come. Today we will review the remainder of the promises in the above verse.
But, before you continue on, pray that the Love of Christ will control you in everything you say, do and think. Meditate on the New qualities that he has promised will replace the Old, and transform your life in ways that will draw others to Christ through you.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ
Define Reconcile: to reestablish a close relationship between; to settle or resolve; to bring oneself to accept: he finally reconciled himself to the change in management; to make compatible or consistent: reconcile my way of thinking with yours.
And gave us the ministry of reconciliation: Here is Christ’s purpose for you and I. And you received this ministry when you became a Christian. It is already in effect. How are you doing? Your mission has already started whether you recognize that fact or not. Your family, friends, co-workers and anyone else you might come into contact with … God wants to speak to them through you. There may be only one person God wants to reach through you in your entire life and that person could be the next Billy Graham, or it could be hundreds of people. I have only been writing this blog for a few weeks and there are already over fifty people reading each post. Believe me, it is that one person who has never prayed to receive Christ who I am speaking to more than you will ever know. Also those of you who are Christians, but who are still drifting aimlessly, this blog is for you. Be reconciled to Christ! And you who are Spiritual, hopefully God will give you a new idea ... a way to reach out to someone new. But, the ones who are in my heart and who I write to everyday, might not read these words for ten to twenty years from now or more. They are my grandchildren. More than anything else I want them to be able to look at this when they are adults and better understand who I am and what I believed and how much I love them. I was led to Christ by Zig Ziglar because he lives what he believes, and he was bold enough to tell me what I needed to hear. That is what a minister of reconciliation does. They never stop living the love of Christ, and encouraging those in their circle of influence to “be reconciled to God”. I was drawn to Christ through Zig, because the love of Christ was controlling him.
Does that mean that you or I are perfect? Does it mean that all of a sudden we are trained counselors with all of the answers to everyone’s problems? In our dreams! But we do have the perfect model, and Jesus and his word have the answers and solutions for all of life’s weaknesses and problems, and we can help others grow in Christ. Jesus wants us to be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow the love of Christ to control us. On a personal level, I can think of a number of people close to me whom I have offended and who I have serious conflict with. Nothing can be more devastating than this to Christians. It becomes a barrier between the believer and Christ's love. I have tried to reach out to them, without success. All I can say to them, as they read this is: I love you, and please forgive me. You know who you are. Please forgive me, in the same way Jesus has forgiven you. And I can pray God will speak to their hearts as he has to mine. Does it really matter who is right or wrong? Is a person controlled by the love of Christ unable to forgive? NO! The only option Christians following Christ have … is to forgive. Any other response is to not allow the Love of Christ to control them. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times, when he sins against me? If we cannot master forgiveness in our heart, how can the love of Christ control us? How can we perform our duties as a minister of reconciliation?
Christ’s ambassadors … Now, think about this, God sees you as his ambassador. He has left you here with a specific mission. From God’s perspective you are a citizen of his eternal kingdom and he has kept you here to represent Jesus and his message of peace, love, and forgiveness. How are you doing with your mission? On a personal level, I got off track there for a while, but I re-focused on my purpose and my mission and guess what, Jesus was right there waiting for me with never-ending grace, peace, and love.
Define ambassador: A diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a specific length of time. A diplomatic official heading his or her country's permanent mission to certain international organizations, such as the United Nations; An authorized messenger or representative.
In closing: You are an Ambassador for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation and God is pleading through you to all you come into contact with: I implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Recap: How will this be accomplished?
1. The impression you leave on others as the love of Christ guides you through your day.
2. Witnessing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Do you know how to share what you believe?
3. Discipling others into living their mission on a daily basis.
Are you ready?
God has a plan for you today and all the tomorrows of your life.
God bless you ... my friend! Bob
WE HAVE A MISSION!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Like I said yesterday, there is a lot to learn in this verse. First Paul focused on the Love of Christ and the dramatic impact God has planned for this love to have on our life, and now he moves on to the responsibility Christ has given us as Christians in the world. Is there anyone reading here, that doubts that if we could somehow just get Christians worldwide to allow the love of Christ to guide them all, moment by moment, day by day, that there would not be a dramatic change in the world, and in the way Christians are viewed by the world? Doesn’t it also make sense that as a result, millions would turn to Christ from this impact? I am convinced that most Christians do not have their priorities straight. If the creator of the universe gave you a specific mission, would you take it seriously? He did ... and collectively ... we don't!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Could it be that many of us are “In Christ” but are in fact living as if they don't even know Christ? What about you? Are you a “New Creation”? What is different about you when you compare yourself to the person you were before you accepted Jesus’ free gift of eternal life? What “old has gone”, and what “new has come”? I don’t mean to be confrontational ... but when God says he wants us to meditate on the word, these are the hard questions he wants us to ask ourselves. If the old is still a daily reality in your life, then this is the first day of the rest of your life. I am confident that if you have received Christ as your Savior, that you are a new creation, and that your salvation is secure, based upon what Jesus did for all of us on the cross ... but does anyone want to spend the rest of their life here on earth ... with a witness contrary to the Love of Christ?
The question is: when are you going to start living the victorious life that Jesus has planned for you?
What “OLD” is still hindering you in your life? There are no new “Old” ways. They are the same as they were from the beginning of man. In Gen 3:1-5 and Mat 4:1-10, the devil tempted first Adam and Eve, and then Jesus in the same three ways: the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We all know what happened to Adam and Eve. They failed God, and lost their relationship, and many of the special blessings and plans that He had in store for them. If you follow the lead of Adam and Eve, you will continue to fall into the same traps that they fell into. The different way that Jesus responded to the same temptations brought about totally different results with each temptation. Jesus responds with a specific truth that contradicts and counteracts each temptation. The devil retreats and angels come and minister to him. Jesus has given us his word to help us to respond to these three areas of attack. As was pointed out in the “Satan’s Meeting”, there are many subtle ways we can be led in the wrong direction. The challenge is that most of these issues are not wrong in and of themselves, but rather potential ways of transition from the Best possible way to go, to the Worst way to go. As anyone with a computer knows, a few steps in the wrong direction and you can end up in the worst of places. Each of us is different and our enemy knows our weakest areas of attack. Fortunately, so do you and you have God’s word, the sword of the spirit to respond to these attacks when they come upon you. But first, you need to test your current state of mind.
1. Does Moral Truth absolutely exist? Yes or No
2. Is Moral truth defined in the Bible? Yes or No
3. Did Jesus lead a sinless life? Yes or No
4. Is God the all powerful and all knowing creator of the universe? Yes or No
5. Do you believe salvation is a gift of God, and you can’t earn it? Yes or No
6. Do you believe Satan, the devil is real? Yes or No
7. Are Christians responsible to share their faith with others? Yes or No
8. Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings? Yes or No
The answers to these questions will help you identify some issues that may be hindering your spiritual growth. As Christians we do not get to choose: what is truth, and what is not truth. God has defined truth issue by issue for us: in his word. When we decide to maintain control over what truth is, the result is: we become hypocrites. How does this play out in the real world? Earlier today, while I was reading a blog, a man identified himself as a Christian homosexual. He explained he had a wife and children, but had divorced his wife. Now I did not want to judge this man, instead I invited him to my blog. In my mind, the truth on this issue is clear in God's word. But the fact is that the truth is also clear about a hundred other issues and many Christians conveniently ignore those truths also. God is certainly able to speak to each one of us. God wants me to love all as he loves me. I am convinced that God does not want me to be legalistic. I have my own list of ways that I fail to be the man Jesus wants me to be. Without question, I would never qualify if not for the sacrifice Jesus made for me. But, because of that sacrifice I have certainty of eternity with Christ in heaven. We must take the logs out of our eyes so that we can help others take the speck out of their eyes. Only God can judge others. God wants to replace your OLD with NEW. The essence of these New things Jesus has for each of us become clear when we make a list of the qualities of the love of Christ. When satan offers you the Old things, Jesus wants you to respond to him by saying: Be gone, I am a new man, I have replaced that with the love of Christ. And Jesus has a mission for you and me!
Things to do:
List your OLD
Identify God’s Biblical responses to your Old
How has God changed you?
How do you still need to change?
What mission has Jesus given you?
Email me direct with any questions or biblical issues that you might have
God Bless You! Bob
Friday, January 15, 2010
My Favorite Verse? This is such a hard question to answer, but when I am trying to explain Jesus’ simple way to live for him, and the personal ministry He has given you and me, I always end up in 2 Corinthinians 5:14-21. I realize this one is long but ... there’s much to learn here. It will obviously take more than one post.
The love of Christ controls us. Wouldn’t it be great that if each day as you went to work and throughout your daily activities, if the love of Christ was so in control of you, that everyone who you came into contact with was drawn to you, supernaturally. What if you were an encourager to everyone you talked to? If that were true, what would the impact of your life be on everyone you met? Would you have more friends? Would others be saying good things about you? Would your boss see you as a more valuable employee? Would people who hardly even know you now want to be closer to you? Yes ... to all of those questions. Right now, do you think others would say that your personality reflects the love of Christ? What can you do to see Christ’s love controlling you become a reality? First of all, you cannot force it, people are turned off by phonies. So, what steps can you take?
Having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. The first step is to come to this conclusion. When you accept Christ's "free Gift" of eternal life, your life is no longer under the control of lust and pride. The hold your old ways had over you can be dead, but you must declare it to be true and recognize the new that is now guiding your life. You can have the victory here and now, by living for Jesus daily. Remember, we are no longer to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Here Paul says, “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” What old things have passed away? What new things have come? You need to make two lists and first, put off the old ways, and next replace them with new qualities that reflect the love of Christ. Your best bet here would be to do a word study on the love of Christ and literally memorize all of the verses that illustrate the love of Christ.
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. This is the essence of Christ’s love. But it is clearly a Paradox principle. Your whole life since you were a child, your life has been about you. The human mind naturally unconsciously is thinking about ME. Books like “Looking Out For Number One” are best sellers. People in general are constantly striving to elevate themselves, they fret over how they look and how they are viewed by their peers. Becoming the smartest, the most popular, getting the best grades … winning is everything. What would happen if you switched that around. If you made a conscious effort to no longer live for yourself first. Could you even do it? Sure you could, but first you would need to pray that the Holy Spirit would guide you to live the love of Christ. Next, you would need to understand how that plays out as you relate to other people. And then live differently by the moment.
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh. Another Paradox ... our natural tendency is to look at other peoples flaws and judge them accordingly. As long as we keep focused on them, we don't see the ways we do not measure up. The NIV says “from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view” Can you imagine, if we began encouraging the people in our lives who are not very likeable, what would that do to change the way people see you? They would be drawn to you, by the love of Christ. You would be loved by one and all, because of the Love of Christ that controls you and reaches out through you and grabs others. The Bible teaches us, Jesus has forgiven us for our sins, so why do we judge others? Because, that is the way our old nature has always done it. Comparing ourselves to the negative qualities of others, regardless of our failings, makes you feel better about yourself, sort of. But it is a negative reinforcement. Rather than changing ourselves for the better, it is easier to think “compared to him, I’m a winner”. But isn't that being a hypocrite and also not being half of the person you could be, if you would just allow the love of Christ to control you.
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Remember, this is the key … Jesus wants to live through you and me and reach out to everyone in our circle of influence. But the rub is that we’re not Jesus and his ways do not come to our mind, naturally. We need help. We need to memorize the words that explain his love, so that when our mind is processing our circumstances, the Holy Spirit will guide us and our mind will replace the old thinking and allow the love of Christ to control us. We are told to work at it consciously, but eventually the Holy Spirit will take over and guide us unconsciously. The old computer program in our mind will be replaced by the word of God and we will wake up one day a Spiritual Man. Other people will look at us and really like us and be drawn to us ... because we care more about them than ourselves ... and then the love of Christ will control them as well. Our hearts will be changed. This is how men with a mission become a reality.
Steps to take are:
1. Put off the old ways,
2. Replace them with new qualities that reflect the love of Christ.
3. Word study the love of Christ
4. Memorize key verses to renew your mind
5. No longer look at others from a worldly point of view
Here's another thought. List people in your circle of influence that you will make an effort to reach out to and encourage in the coming month. Second ... Do you know anyone who reflects Christ's love? Call them up and let them know how much you respect them and how important they are to you. It would be a good idea to spend some time in silence with god, meditating on these verses and listening to the Holy spirit, writing down the ways the Love of Christ can live out in your life. You will be blessed!
Okay, I give up … What’s your favorite verse and why?
God Bless you my friend … Bob
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John17:14-17 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
Chess computers are so frustrating for me. I love to play chess. But even when I think long and hard, with all of my concentration, and I consider all of my potential options, I always seem to make the wrong moves. Against the computer, I ultimately lose. The machine has all of the potential options programmed in … runs them against your board and Checkmate, your dead! Can you imagine playing chess and never making the wrong move? I would love to watch Jesus play against the computer. His truth transcends all of the information men have ever been able to consider. His mind contains all truth. In fact, the bible is only a small portion of what there is to know about Him, John 21;25 says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written”. Can you imagine what his mind must have been like? I’m glad he only revealed what we need to know.
In the earlier post “Jesus Is Truth", Pilate asked Jesus “What is Truth” Although many would not hold to this truth, for Biblical Christians, the truth is not up for debate. Here we will look into one of the most important sections of the Bible. In John Chapters 13-17, Jesus, knowing he is about to be captured and crucified has one “Last Supper” with his disciples. It was here that he gave his final instructions on how to live, for his disciples and for you and me. It’s as if he said, I am going to outline here once again, all of the most important things you need to know and remember. Jesus shares some most important details here. We will come back again and again, but for now, here are three of his most famous references to truth.
Websters defines "truth" and "sanctify" below as follows:
Your word is (truth): fidelity, constancy, sincerity in action, character, the state of being the case, fact, the body of real things, factual events, actuality, a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality, a judgment, a proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true
(Sanctify) them in the truth: to make holy; to set apart as holy; to make free from sin; to purify; to make binding; to make productive of spiritual blessing; to make seem morally right . Okay now, he has prayed here that we be sanctified in his truth. I don’t feel sanctified like it’s defined here ... do you? Well he sanctifies us, but we must do our part, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Jesus died so that He might live through us. Our life is like a game of chess, and He wants to play The Perfect Game of Chess with us, each day of our lives.
I am the truth: When Jesus said I am the truth, it was the same as saying I am God and everything I am, say, or do is the absolute immutable, irreversable unchangeable truth. Jesus has given us the playbook for all of life in the Bible, and he knows all of the perfect moves. If we follow him we might suffer short term loss, but we are assured long term victory! We can stand on God's absolute truth. Stop! Think! Test! Act! ... Victory Secure!
Previously a reader wrote:
"I liked reading your blog. You have a different viewpoint. The question I would have is do you take what you share as truth or your viewpoint? I have enjoyed reading cs lewis but I have never read the one you suggested. I think it depends on what kind of work you are doing and what the end is that you are working towards that makes the big difference ... but that is just my viewpoint". … Tom
My reply was:
"Obviously, what I write is my viewpoint, But I am convinced that God's word is absolute truth and as Christians, we are called to follow those truths rather than logic, political correctness, scientific theories or the winds of popular opinion" ...
If I could have, I would have added everything in this lesson:
Jesus, the truth, and God, are interchangeable. “ John 1:1,14 “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” What you or I say is of minimal value unless it has been tested by the truth of God’s word.
God Bless You My Friends ... Bob
1 Peter 1:22-25 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:5-10
So the questions are:
Why do 91% of Christians decide to do the opposite of what God instructs them to do?
Why do so many of us choose a worldview and lifestyle of hypocrisy?
Why do we make a list of the things we plan to do and do the exact opposite?
Well my friends, as yesterday's post illustrated, each of us has a list and there are many ways this world can lead us in the wrong direction. If you want victory in your life, I would suggest that you make a copy of “Satan's Meeting”, and then take a highlighter and go through and mark all of the areas where you are vulnerable to attack in your life. That is where the "Roaring Lions" are hiding in the shadows waiting to attack you when you least expect it. I was recently watching one of those African Bush programs that showed a lion hunting it’s prey. The lion lay silently in hiding as the Zebra grazed on the prairie unaware of the danger that was only a few yards away. You know the rest. The problem is that the lion we are up against is much smarter than the lion on TV, and we are not as smart as the Zebras, and can’t run like them either. Wait a minute, "what do you mean, we're not as smart as Zebras" you say? Read the next paragraph and maybe you'll understand.
The verse above outlines God’s plan for defeating the Roaring Lions. The first step sounds kind of paradoxical. Be humble to others and God and His Word! Our natural man would tell us: Be tough! Be Brave! we need to get a gun and shoot the Lion ... but our problem is that the enemy is no ordinary lion. Eph. 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. Our problem is we have no fear or respect for the power of our real enemy. Most Christians probably don’t even believe that there is a literal evil demonic Satan or devil whose goal is to destroy them. So you see, in that way, many of us are more ignorant than a half-witted Zebra, who clearly understands the danger of the lion he faces. So, it seems to me that after you work through yesterdays post with that magic marker; it would be a good idea to walk through the eight foundational truths that are outlined in the “Jesus is the Truth” post, and decide what you believe and what you do not believe about Jesus and His word. For your benefit I will list them again here.
As you can see #6 says: “Satan is Real”
1. Moral truth absolutely exists.
2. This truth is defined by the Bible.
3. Jesus led a sinless life.
4. God is the all powerful and all knowing creator of the universe.
5. Salvation is a gift of God …. You can’t earn it.
6. Satan is real.
7. Followers are responsible to share their faith with others.
8. The Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Think about it for a minute. The Creator of the universe says: follow me and I will give you eternal life, grace, victory, peace, joy, happiness and bless your life beyond your imagination. And you respond, "I love you Lord, thank you for eternal life, but while I am still here I already have this mindset that has been in place for quite a while … I think I’ll just leave it on auto-pilot and meet up with you later". God says, “Humble yourself to my word and I will give you victory over all of those lions in your life". But you respond like a proud ignorant Zebra that stands his ground defiantly, and says “come and get me lion, lets get it on”. We are told to “Cast all your anxiety on Him” and “to be self-controlled and alert … “Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith”
How in the world can we do that … if we don’t believe in the devil? I know, I know … people will think we’re nuts if we go around finding demons under every rock. So would you suppose we would be wise to believe and follow God, or worry about what foolish people think? Especially people who have rejected your God and everything he stands for. Who is leading your life; God, Yourself, or somebody else’s beliefs and philosophies? How can "following yourself or somebody else" be "standing firm in your faith"?
Well, that is a lot to work on. We have two assignments.
1. Mark all of the areas where you are vulnerable to attack in your life as listed on "Satan's Meeting" post.
2. Review the eight foundational truths outlined above and decide: what you believe, and what you do not believe.
The good news is: that once you have your mind on the right track, God assures you that you will have an absolutely victorious life.
Here is God’s promise for Biblical lion hunters:
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast"
I have focused for the most part on "Satan" and "Our need to Believe God's Word" here. We will make a case for each point above in future posts.
All God’s Best … Bob
Friday, January 8, 2010
Watch this clip ... it is very good.
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church."
"We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth."
"We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior."
"Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken."
"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.."
"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:
"Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"
"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.
"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.
"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."
"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."
"Keep them from spending time with their children."
"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"
"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."
"Entice them to play the radio or CD player whenever they drive." To keep the TV, VCR, CDs, PDAs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly.."
"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."
"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."
"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."
"Invade their driving moments with billboards and cell phones."
"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.."
"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. "
"Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night."
"Give them headaches too! "
"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere."
"That will fragment their families quickly!"
"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas."
"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about His resurrection and power over sin and death."
"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."
"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."
"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."
"Keep them busy, busy, busy!"
"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences."
"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus."
"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."
"It will work!"
"It will work!"
It was quite a plan!
The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.
Having little time for their God or their families.
Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives…
I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?
You be the judge!!!!!
Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?
Similar suggested reading: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
God bless ...Bob
Rick and Mary led the worship at their church. They were a well respected married couple with two beautiful children. A friend called and asked if I could meet with them. They were having marital problems. We sat and talked, and after introductions, I asked them to explain their problem. As it turned out, Mary had taken a job at an exclusive country club as a waitress and for the first time in her marriage, she was out of the house, and enjoying her freedom. Rick wanted her to quit the job and for the most part manage their family while he worked in his executive position and provided for the family financially. They got into a heated argument about it while they explained the situation to me. When I pointed that out to them, I was told, “that’s all we do anymore is argue”
I explained to them that biblical counseling was very effective with Christian couples but that for it to work, there needed to be some ground rules. First they both needed to agree to be willing to put Christ in the center of their marriage. They needed to make a list of their areas of dispute and then search the scriptures for a clear understanding of what God was leading them to do and then make the needed changes. Then, memorize the biblical solutions and in the event of a dispute, they needed to recite the verses to each other continually until the problem was defeated.
Next I took them through the explanation of “Three Types of People” I explained here previously. I then asked each of them to tell me which of the three men best describes you?. Both without hesitation said I am the “Worldly Man”. They both admitted that they were not following Christ in their daily walk. They were basically the god of their daily lives. I then asked them “Which of the three would you like to be? The husband quickly said, “I want to be the Spiritual Man, as he began to sob. The wife looked at me with a straight face and said “I am not willing to change … I am having too much fun” At that point, she made it clear that she was involved with another man. I looked at them both and first told Rick that I would look forward to meeting with him to help guide him on his spiritual transformation. For Mary, I explained to her that Biblical counseling won’t work if your are not will to follow God’s word and do what Jesus leads you to do. She was free to sit silently and listen, but the counsel I offered would be of little use to her, in her current mindset. I then took her to a specific passage(future blog), and asked her to read it, meditate on it, pray about it and call me in a few days. The next morning Mary called me and said she couldn’t sleep through the night. God had convicted her in her heart and she wanted to rededicate her life and be the Spiritual Woman. To make a long story short, we met a number of times in the weeks that followed and their marriage and family were saved because they were both willing to put Christ first in their lives and follow him. I have been fortunate to watch this story repeat itself, over and over, through the years. Each case has different problems, but I am hard pressed to remember a meeting where the Biblical instruction was followed without success. On the other hand, I never had any success whatsoever where the people envolved were not willing to put God first and follow his guidance.
God's advice to Joshua is a great verse for you to memorize. Let’s do a quick review of what God said to Joshua:
Be strong and very courageous: God was telling Joshua that he was about to give them every place where the Israelites set their feet. But did he want Joshua to be strong in "fighting battles"? No, this instruction was all about following his words. There was no worldly battle plan here. It is harder to fight lust, pride, and evil than armies of men.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged: Think about it, how would you like to live a life where you never had need to be discouraged or afraid of anything? Who would not want to live a life like that?
Be careful to obey all of the law Moses gave you … so that you may be careful to do everything written in it: The victory was certain, as long as the Jews were willing to do what God was telling them to do … the Jewish people could not lose. Have you ever considered that God has continued to protect Israel against its enemies all of these years and against enormous odds. The survival and re-establishment of the nation of Israel is one of the greatest miracles in human history.
Do not turn from it to the right or to the left: God knew what was ahead and that on their long journey that they would have many opportunities to take wrong turns in the road and follow their pride, lust and false gods. A number of times they followed the wrong path and suffered the consequences.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night: This is what God means when he says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. To memorize the truth, speak it, meditate on it to better understand God’s will for your circumstances of the day. Then do it
That’s basically it ... God’s instruction to conquer the known world. A band of untrained nomads with basically no weapons, water, or food. All they had was the scrolls to follow and God leading them. The next thing you know, they are defeating trained armies by walking in circles.
The Promises: “That you may be successful wherever you go” … “then you will be successful wherever you go” … “for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” "The success plan that never fails" and since we have been adopted into his Royal Priesthood, these promises are for you and me as well. Can you imagine, God the Creator of the universe walking with you wherever you go?
This is not just a story. This is history. I’ve been there.
So the question is: why do 91% of Christians decide to do the opposite of what God says to do here?
We will answer that question tomorrow.
God Bless you! Bob
Monday, January 4, 2010
After meeting with Zig Ziglar, one of my first goals was to read. During the year that followed, I accomplished my goal of reading 52 books in a single year. In a subsequent meeting, I told Zig that I had learned more in a single year than all of the rest of the years of my life combined. Ziglar replied, “How are you doing on your spiritual goals”? When I told him I didn’t have any, he challenged me to “build a balanced success”. The next year, I read the entire Bible, and I found hundreds of truths that confirmed some of the things that I was doing right in my life. But also, I found many other Biblical teachings that were the opposite of my established beliefs and clearly exposed the foolishness of those actions and beliefs.
I named these other ideas “Paradox Principles” because they are the paradox of what I had previously thought was the right and correct way to live. I came to understand that many of my failings were a direct result of unknowingly following wrong thinking. These Paradox Principles are only half of the truth. But they are a vital key to helping us not make the same mistakes over and over again. I found that my brain had formed a mindset that worked as a filtering system that often unconsciously rejected the good ideas that were contrary to my preconceived opinions. These opinions had become my worldview and were guiding my decisions, moment by moment, day by day. My worldview had been formed over the period of my life as a result of what I thought was critical thinking. But actually the good was combined with ideas that I received unconsciously, many of which were contrary to that which was best for me. Our brain uses a process to form our mindset that is beyond my limited human understanding. The computer analogy is a good example: garbage in … garbage out.
For the past year, I have had a computer problem. I would be going along and then all of a sudden my computer would disconnect. We had moved to a new home, so I tried a number of solutions. First, I assumed it was the internet service in Palm Desert. I called and paid for increased power. Then I thought I had a virus, so I bought new software and got rid of a bunch of bugs. Next, I thought maybe I needed new cable wiring in my home. Still discouraged and ready to buy a new computer, I got one of those guys from India on the phone; he told me that I needed a new operating system. I thought, yeah right, my computer is less than two years old, these guys never quit selling. Well stuck with only a few options, I bought Windows 7 and guess what … it was a total hassle … but the problem instantly disappeared. Everything works way better. I don’t know why. Maybe I had a virus??? …
But now, I am in computer heaven.
The verse above is instructing us to reprogram the computer (our mind) that God has given us. But the problem is that our mind is unconsciously answering “but wait I am free to think, to build my own opinions, and to do what I want to do”. 91% of Christians end up listening to the old “Politically Correct” previously programmed data which is just silently guiding them along. At the same time, the creator of the universe is saying: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world is another way of saying “Don’t be Politically Correct ... Be Biblically Correct”.
When the world tells us, “we need to be tolerant” for example, the world is trying to program our mind. And there is a big difference between agreeing with the right to freedom of religion and the idea that all religions are equal and have equal value. The latter is not true and to allow our mind to accept it is foolish. Our public schools are being used as a tool to promote this and other false teachings and hypocrisy to our children. And the result is kids and then adults who end up with amoral beliefs … “there is no right or wrong”. The next thing you know ... we read about kids who beat one another to death for fun, and others who light their friend on fire over a $40 bet. My friend who replied to me, “How about smut only” shows his views reflect a different mindset than mine. I would defend his right to those views; but at the same time, I am convinced they are ignorant and self destructive. He apparently thinks religious ideas are wrong information for him to read or hear and in some instances, he would be correct. For me, rejecting hedonism is a no-brainer, but many issues are much more subtle than that one. Political correctness would tell both of us not to offend the other. But wait, that means we would either have to change our views, or be hypocrites.
God wants us to reprogram our belief system. We can’t just put in a new disk and wait for it to load like I did with my computer. You have to replace the wrong thinking with his word, one principle at time. The good news is ... that if we are Christians, the Holy Spirit will guide us and the Bible speaks to almost any issue that you can imagine. For example, I bet you never would have guessed the Bible gave counsel on programming your computer.
So what do you need to do?
Well … First Things First. Where are you?
Natural Man? Pray to God and ask for his forgiveness and for Him to make things right in your life. If you need help with this one, email or call me and I’ll guide you through it … 949-632-5679
Worldly Man? Quit playing games with God. People think you are a hypocrite. If you are a Christian who wants to follow Christ now rather than wait until you get to heaven ... Meditate on the -isms- I listed yesterday and pray and ask Jesus to make it clear to you where and how he wants you to change. Make a list. Pray the list back to God. He will give you victory over your failings. Life is not going to get any easier, but it can get a lot better.
Spiritual Man? If this is who you are, you are already being transformed by the renewing of your mind, day by day. Most likely you are too humble to place yourself here. The love of Christ flows out of you, smoothly and naturally and others would point to you as the most loving person they know. You are reaching out to others daily and trying to help them grow in their knowledge of the one true God who loves them and about His plan for their eternal life. Do you know this person? Make sure you tell them before you go to sleep. And please introduce them to me, I need to be encouraged. Bob
Proverbs 23:7 For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
God Bless You!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Not long ago, I was talking with a friend and my pastor. The pastor asked the man, “what is your belief regarding redemption”? My friend replied, “I have tried to lead a good life, and if there is a god, when I am standing before him, he will look at my deeds and my hope is that he will decide that I am acceptable on the basis of the totality of my life”. This man is a good husband and father and as far as I know he is a good person in the eyes of his family, friends, and society. He has followed the rules of the world, for the most part. But he has also rejected God and the bible. Years ago, his reply would have been my reply. But I learned that men do not get to set the rules for entrance into eternal life. God does that. If Jesus is the Truth as the bible claims and his gift of grace is the only way into heaven, this friend of mine will likely be no better off than a man who has lived his whole life deliberately breaking all of the rules. I know that does not sound fair but it is true. Don't get angry with me and shoot the messenger. God's truth is true whether we agree with it, or not. My goal is only to help others come to understand God's plan. If you chose to reject it, that's your choice.
In the above verses, the apostle Paul points out that when looking at ourselves from a Biblical Christian Worldview perspective, there are basically three types of people in the world.
The Natural Man does not accept the things of God. This group would include millions of people worldwide. This group would include anyone who for any reason has not accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift of eternal Salvation. I will explain this in detail in future posts but unfortunately my friend above who rejects Christ would most likely fit into this category. Also many would be included who are following sincere but miss-guided religions that do not lead their followers to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Is this politically incorrect, and do I expect a number of angry comments? Absolutely, yes! Am I being judgmental? No! No! No! God's word on this is very clear, and I would be compromising my beliefs to pretend otherwise. Also, it must be noted, that there is a big difference between explaining foundational teachings of the bible and personally attacking another person or their religion.
The Spiritual Man has accepted Christ’s free gift of eternal life. He is guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit. He is following God's Word, the truth, and the love of Christ is directing him in his daily walk. This person is living his or her life for God, and would be following a Bibical worldview as previously defined in yesterday's post.
The Worldly Man has also accepted Christ’s free gift of eternal life. Paul refers to these Christians as “infants in Christ” The good news is that they will have eternal life in heaven as a result of accepting Jesus as their Savior. Unfortunately, this person would fall somewhere within the 91% group we talked about in yesterday's post. They are Christians whose beliefs are mixed up with worldly beliefs and philosophies. I will go into more detail later, but these beliefs would include: individualism, materialism, pragmatism, humanism, hedonism, and naturalism, as well as a number of other philosophies and false religions.
I am convinced that there are many from each of these three groups reading this post. Yesterday, I received an email from a friend of mine for over 40 years where the message was clear: don’t send this stuff to me … “how about smut only” instead. As crass as that sounds, I appreciate the honesty. Hopefully, I can maintain our friendship, and in the future he will have new priorities.
Conclusion: If we want to have positive change in our life, the first step we have to take is to be honest with ourselves. Next, there are a few simple steps you need to take.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Which person above best describes me?
Which person do I want to be?
What steps do I need to take to get from where I am to where I want to be?
Please note: Don’t feel pressured by this blog. That is definitely not my intent. Your decisions are between you and God. Keep following and make positive steps day by day. Sign up to "follow" along, and forward this site to others that you think might enjoy it or benefit from it. If it is not for you, like my old friend ... I understand, let me know and I will remove you immediately. And lastly, don't be confused, I still consider myself to be in the worldly man group. I must work at it daily to be transformed into the man that God wants me to be. Thanks for your interest and email me direct if you have any questions that I can help you with.
Have a great day. Bob
Saturday, January 2, 2010
“What is truth” is not a new debate. Jesus clearly says; “I came into the world, to testify to the truth". "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” The Jews rejected his claims and brought him to Pilate who plainly asks “What is truth” Today, over 90% of Christians are not standing with the truth that Jesus came to proclaim. This is blatant hypocrisy.
Yesterday, I quoted a research study that found that only 9% of Born Again Christians have a Biblical worldview. Jesus says, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me". How can 91% of Born Again Christians call on Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but at the same time not have a Biblical worldview? Barna defined a Biblical worldview as one that held to the following beliefs?
1. Moral truth absolutely exists.
2. This truth is defined by the Bible.
3. Jesus led a sinless life.
4. God is the all powerful and all knowing creator of the universe.
5. Salvation is a gift of God …. You can’t earn it.
6. Satan is real.
7. Followers are responsible to share their faith with others.
8. The Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
How would we define a worldview? The beliefs that guide the daily decisions of our life. These beliefs have been formed over the course of our lifetime through our parents, school, society, laws, relationships, church, our jobs, TV, books, and mentors. Some other major worldviews are:
1. Materialism: He who has the most things wins
2. Individualism: Me first.
3. Humanism: You are your own god.
4. Pragmatism: Whatever works for you.
5. Hedonism: If it feels good, do it
6. Naturalism: God does not exist
Is the problem becoming clearer to you?
1 Cor 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.
Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.
As learners we unconsciously develop opinions which guide our every action and decision. Along the way many decide to become a Christian but their minds are already set. The new Christian values are mixed with beliefs already established resulting in a potentially hypocritical belief system. A number of years ago, I was talking to a friend and she said, “that’s your truth, Bob. I have my truth and you have your truth”. That’s okay in a free world, but when two people have diametrically opposing views on a value or character issue and one is holding to a biblical position and the other to a materialistic or hedonistic position, both are not representing the truth from a Christian perspective.
The point we must agree on here for the sake of finding the truth is that we must agree on a biblical foundation to determine truth. Each person following their own opinions leads to chaos. All religions are not equal and all beliefs are not correct no matter how firmly or sincerely we believe.
The following verses are only a few that explain the truth as it has come to us through Christ. We will use the Bible here as a filter to determine if the beliefs and issues we discuss here are truth or just more good sounding ideas.
John 17:17-19 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
John: 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In order to find biblical truth that we can have confidence in, we must stand with Jesus.
“You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
This message opens the discussion to a number of topics for future discussion. and also establishes the foundation for Biblically guided discussion.
Have a great day. Bob