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Archive for December, 2011

Have you ever come across someone who calls themself a Christian, yet the way they act says something different?

I remember an experience my wife had recently. She returned a couple books to what used to be a library. She did not realize the library had closed and a church was now there. A few days later she realized that the library was no longer at this site and went back to the church to get the books.

She said she will never forget the look and condescending attitude of the guy she talked to…who turned out to be the pastor.

My wife assumed that this pastor didn’t agree with women wearing makeup or knee-length dresses. Now I know there are groups that don’t believe in women wearing make-up, and I feel that is up to them how they interpret the Bible and what they feel is right and wrong, but my wife does not in any way over do her make-up, so I did not see any reason why anyone would even think to question the way she looked. Obviously this guy had a different thought on this. He was not nice to her, it was obvious that he didn’t want to talk to her and felt she shouldn’t be in his so-called ‘house of God’. What rubbish.

This whole incident made me think of Jesus when he was with some of the religious leaders of His day and made the statement, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness”.

First off, that building wasn’t the house of God. People tend to forget God doesn’t live in buildings. He lives in people who are saved by grace.

Second, what kind of witness was that to her. This guy did not know if she was a Christian or not. The way he treated her could have been the final straw for her wanting to know God.

We Christians need to stop and think about how we act in the world. We are God’s witnesses to the world. We may be the only witness they see, and if we aren’t living under the guidance of the Spirit of God, we can make a very negative impact of those we come in contact each day.

We need to be careful not to have a religious spirit. Let God’s love for others flow through you. Remember God told us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t be a stumbling block to someone by the way you act and treat others.

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When it comes to Christianity, with all its different denominations, interpretations, different versions of the Bible, it seems there are always times when we run into conflict.

Each of us as brothers or sisters in Christ seem to want it our way. Our ‘church’, our interpretation, our version of the Bible. We each feel that we are right and feel the need to distance ourselves from those who feel differently.

Have you noticed how religion just wants to set the rules so each of us know what it takes to be a ‘good’ Christian? Do this, don’t do that, stay away from this and make sure you participate in that. Be in every service and be active with this group or that group. If you aren’t reading a particular version of the Bible, you are just wasting your time, if you aren’t part of a ‘church’ you must be backslidden, at least that’s the way some fellow Christians make you feel. Rules, rules, rules.

Maybe it’s time to stop arguing over versions, interpretations, church attendance and such and start focusing on Christ, who is to be our first love. If we can focus on Him and loving others, we should be able to agree to disagree on other topics.

When we find common ground in our faith in Christ, when we love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, we should be able to look past the minor differences we have in our various denominations, Bible versions and interpretations.

Let’s stop fighting against each other and begin to love one another as Christ loves us. Don’t let the minor differences come between the love we can have for one another and the things we can share and learn through fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Have you ever felt guilty because you didn’t say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about a particular sin? Do you feel it’s your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation?

Quite frankly, I disagree with all of the above. I agree that some people have the gift of evangelism and should be using that gift to the fullest. I also feel that not all of us need to be forcing the issue with those we come in contact each day.

As Christians, we are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and love others as ourselves. When we live our lives each day under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God, the way we act will be a witness to God’s love.

Anyone can speak words…words of condemnation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, but words themselves have no strength. It is the daily life we live allowing the love of God to show through that makes a difference. When we consistently live what we believe and say, it has more impact than thousands of words.

We need to remember that it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to the Father. It is not our job to be condemning people and trying to prove to them that they are sinning against God.

God’s word says that we should live a quiet life, working with our hands and be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.

1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 – Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need. (New Century Version).

1 Peter 3:15 – Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy (The Message).

Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine, minding your business, living a peaceful life, but be ready at all times to give an answer about salvation and God’s love when someone asks. Only when the Holy Spirit is leading the opportunity and the words, will it make an impact on the person anyway.

By living this lifestyle, and not forcing our views on others, the words we say will have more meaning to those who are wondering what the hope is that we have within us.

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