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Archive for June, 2016

I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I do not want to be someone who is always against something. Seems so many christian people today speak out more about what they are against and who they are against.

Whatever that may be, against this sin or that sin, against particular lifestyles, against a particular denomination or Bible version, all the different subjects we Christians can think of that end up taking away our main focus….loving God and loving others. We will take the bible and twist interpretations and meanings or use verses out of context trying to prove our point.

WhatAreYouAgainst

Jesus told us in the New Covenant that His commands were to love God and love others. We do not have to agree with everyone to love them. We obviously all have our convictions of right and wrong and we are not going to agree on every one of them. We do not have to focus on those convictions or try to push our views on others. We are told to love others no matter what. We are not responsible for converting people, that is God’s job. We are told to love them.

When Jesus walked the earth He did not spend a lot of time with the religious people. He was out with the sick, poor, the neglected, and those the religious people did not want to be around.

I know I did it for a long time. I thought I was better than others because I went to church. I felt I had to stay away from those who did not believe because their sins would rub off on me. I would always hang out with my church friends and stay away from the “worldly” people.

I would spend more time trying to prove my points and my beliefs, telling people what was wrong and what to stay away from, rather than spend time with God and others.

Obviously God calls us to follow Him and that is going to be in different ways for each of us. Yet to spend more time arguing, condemning, trying to prove our views on the Bible, pointing out people’s mistakes and shortcomings does not do anything except turn people away from us.

When we begin to understand the freedom we have in Christ and start living through grace that Christ provided, we can be free to love and accept all those we come in contact with each day even in our differences. We can show the love of Christ to all by allowing the Spirit to live through us.

Do not worry so much about who is right and who is wrong. Do not always be against something. Be for Jesus. Be for love. Be for others. Follow Jesus and let him love through you. Let him be the central focus of your life and allow his love to flow out of you and touch those around you.

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It is sad but I am seeing more and more how a lot of us have an Us versus Them mentality….and that is just among Christians.

For those of us who are followers of Christ we are to love and accept others in the name of Christ. Yet many of us cannot even accept other believers.

We get upset when someone has a different interpretation, a different doctrine, or they go to a different church or no church at all.

UsvsThem

Why is it when we are to be known for our love for one another that we can be so condemning and mean to each other?

I feel being a Christian is being in community with others, not necessarily with others with the same doctrine or interpretation, but someone to communicate with, fellowship with, have discussions and be ourselves without judgment and condemnation.

For those who do not see eye to eye on church attendance, there is no reason why we have to argue with each other. So many people who still attend an organized religious organization are quick to say those of us who have left the organization are wrong or disobeying the bible by not assembling together.

Yet those who are outside the walls of religion can easily argue with those who still attend, saying they are wrong and disobeying God by staying within the man-run organization.

Acceptance

We should be able to understand that we all have different ways of seeing things, different ways of worship and different paths in our walk with Christ. Whether we are in or out of the organization we are seeking to serve and follow the same Father.

Rather than fight and argue amongst ourselves, we should realize we are all seeking the same purpose in living for God and showing others that He loves them. Those in the organized church love God and want to serve Him just as much as those outside the walls of religion and traditional church.

When we realize we are the Church no matter if we attend an organized service or if we never walk into a church building we will do much better at showing the love of God to a hurting world. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and he lives within us. We are all equally functioning parts of the body of Christ, who is the head of the body.

They will know we are Christians (followers of Christ) by the love we have for one another. We need to stop fighting and arguing over our doctrinal differences and various interpretations and love God and one another. Our goal is to be loving and kind and have a servant spirit to all we meet along the way.

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Thinking about the tragedy in Orlando and several of the other terrorist tragedies around the world got me to thinking about all the blaming and finger-pointing going on. My personal opinion is more about extremists, which is a group we really do not hear a lot about. We hear a lot about Muslim extremists but extremists in general are much more than Muslim or any particular group of people.

PrayforOrlando

Extremists are a group made up of many groups. We have religious extremists, political extremists, LGBT extremists, racial extremists,  Christian extremists (another group we hear little about), Muslim extremists and a host of others groups that go to the extreme with trying to force their belief on others.

Extremism according to the dictionary is: going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, or opinion; exceeding the bounds of moderation.

Today this seems to be associated with those who are dangerous and who will go to any lengths to promote their way or life and get others to accept their beliefs, even to torture and killing.

In a world where extremism takes over there is no peace. No one is safe from verbal and physical abuse and harm.

This is not to say that every person should be lumped into the extremist basket. Each and every group have many people who want to have a happy life, accept others and enjoy living in a way that they are happy and comfortable. Each group mentioned above have people who get along with others, love people, go to work, pay their bills, enjoy their family and are satisfied with life as they know it.

Unfortunately it is the extremists who get all the attention. It is the extremists who do all the damage and cause the hatred and un-acceptance of others who are different from them.

To me it is really disturbing to read some of the Christian extremists comments, a group who should be known for love and acceptance but are showing their true colors of hatred and unacceptance. These are not true Christians and it is a tragedy in itself that people will use the guise of Christianity to promote and spread their hatred and un-Christ-like ways.

StopExtremism

Rather than blame as a whole the LGBT community, Christian, Muslim and other religious people, the various races or the gun rights advocates for all the trouble, hatred, condemnation and judgment we should be looking at the extremists of each group. They are the ones who keep things stirred up and causing mistrust, unacceptance and hatred.

It is said that Jesus was an extremists in his time. I tend to agree with that statement. Yet Jesus was an extremists of the opposite kind. He was extreme in his love for others and those the religious crowd did not want to be around. He was extreme in bucking the religious system of rules and working your way to favor with God. The extremists today use hate, fear and murder to promote their way of life. Jesus used love, acceptance and doing good to others. We need more extremists like Jesus in our world today.

If we could change or control the extremists of today and get past all the labels we put on one another, maybe we could begin to see each other as human beings who want a good, happy and satisfying life. It will be then that we could learn to accept one another and live in a more peaceful atmosphere.

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A lot of people like to get flowers. Fresh cut flowers are so fresh and colorful and can be enjoyed for several days.

The only problem with cut flowers is that they do not last. Cut flowers are outwardly colorful and beautiful but they are actually dead.

The flowers die because they have been separated from the vine. The part that goes into the ground and gives water, nutrients and supplies life to the flower can no longer supply what is necessary for the colorful part to continue living.

Just as cut flowers wither and die because they have been cut off from their life source, so we as followers of Christ can wither and die spiritually if we are cut off from our source of life who is Jesus.

Flowers2

He is the vine, we are the branches. Apart from the vine just as the flowers are in the process of dying, so we too are in the process of dying spiritually.

John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Apart from Christ we can do nothing that brings spiritual life to ourselves and spiritual joy to others. Apart from the vine we cannot bear good fruit. This is why it is so important to be connected to Christ who is our life source.

It is in Him that we live, move and have our being. He supplies all our need. He provides us daily with what we need to truly live for him. We cannot do anything that is of any spiritual worth or that makes a real difference in the life of another apart from Him.

Our main focus should be on Christ. He is our life. We need to give Christ the preeminence in all things. He is the Vine, we are the branches, apart from Him we can do nothing.

To continue showing the love and acceptance of God to others, to bring the good news of the gospel of Christ to those we meet we need to be attached to the vine, our life source who is Jesus, God within us.

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When speaking about all that is going on today in the USA about gay rights and transgender rights, I have found that most of the time both groups are majorly discriminated against.

christiansagainstmore

A lot of christians seem to think it is best to come against these two groups as a way of showing that we are in favor of christian values and we take a stand for God.

Personally, as a christian I think this is completely wrong and so against what Jesus taught and showed us in regard to how to treat other people.

He accepted and spent time with all kinds of people, mostly people who the religious crowd would not even talk to let alone spend time.

Why is it we think taking a stand against someone or something is the way to show true christian love and acceptance? Why is it in a world with so many diverse people and beliefs we feel the need to openly defend our way as if it is the only way?

As a christian I do believe in living for God and showing His love to everyone. That does not mean everything I do and believe is right. That does not mean other people and beliefs are wrong. No matter what we choose to believe or how we choose to live, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and accepted as is.

A good friend of mine is a firefighter and he shared a paragraph from an ethics class he recently attended. It reads: Equal Services for All. Always ensure that the services you and your crew are providing are equal for everyone on the scene. Never discriminate because of race, color, religion, age, sex, or disability. If you become aware of another firefighter discriminating against someone, rectify the situation immediately, and report it to your chief. Discrimination should never be tolerated.

equality

To me this sounds more like it came from Jesus telling his followers how to treat others.

I believe that standing up for our christian values should be positive not negative. It is not showing what we are against, being mean, condemning, unaccepting and discriminating. It is showing what we are for in Christ, being caring, kind and showing love and acceptance to everyone.

We certainly are not all going to agree on everything. We are all going to make our choices on what to believe and how to live based on what we feel is right or best for us. Yet in those differences there is no reason we cannot respect, accept and love each other knowing that God loves each and every one of us. As Mike Warnke said many years ago “if you’re good enough for God, then you’re good enough for me”. That might not be the best way of saying it but if God loves us all, we should be loving and accepting of others also.

It is time to set aside our differences, set aside discrimination, set aside prejudices and doctrinal beliefs and show the love of God to everyone we meet.

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Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

A Grace Vagabond

Roamer, wanderer, nomad, vagabond; call me what you will

hugely loved

"And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” - Matthew 14:31

The Wild Frontier

The Truth will set you free.

Music In Every Sound

Ponderings on Christian spirituality, church, the messiness of life and the reality of hope

Melissa Pereira

Spoken truths, Unfiltered and Unplugged

chicagojan

My Journey

Chris Kratzer

Grace // Jesus // Life

Writer Dylan Morrison

Fascinated by the Nazarene but unimpressed by religion!

Social Anemia

An Introverts Perspective on Faith, Relationships, & Life

rainbowfaithblog

Exploring the dynamic between religion, spirituality, and the LGBTQ+ community.

A New & Living Way

With the Father. In Christ. By the Spirit.

Faith, Philosophy, and Science

and the refutation of absurdities

Social Anemia

An Introvert's Perspective on Faith, Marriage, Parenting, & Life

Unicorns and Rainbows

Being different is normal!

Finally Megan

Just a girl facing the world!

"Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God..." -Jesus

Following the path of Truth, establishing the Kingdom, debasing religion.

hope and truthiness

perspective from sara hope paris

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