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Archive for January, 2017

Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In our world today it seems everyone has the I am number one attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to make ourselves more comfortable and satisfied in life. It seems we will do anything to get ahead in life and to get all the comforts and ‘things’ to make it easier for us.

The above verses from Philippians state that as followers of Christ we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others, what we can do to help those in need, how can we use the money and things God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

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God says that the fulfillment of the law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the jobs and things we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. We are to consider how we can encourage and build up someone and how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests but the verse states ‘do not merely look out for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask God to help us think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible with God’s leading.

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Many people today think of Jesus as being the founder of Christianity, especially here in the USA. Most people think of Christianity as a religion, one of many different religions in our world. In bible times people started calling those who followed Jesus Christians because they were following the example of Jesus, or acting like Christ. Today it seems Christianity is thought more of as a religion than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus. Jesus did not come to start a religion.

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Jesus does not belong to any particular religion. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe or where they are from. He came to show the love of the Father to the human race, not to start a new religion for people to obey and follow.

If we mean Christian as being a follower of Jesus or living a life following his example, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use Christian as a sense of belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine and set of rules, then I would rather not be called by that term.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. He does not see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. He loves people. He sees people who need the love and acceptance of God. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Christ…not Christianity. Just as Adam sinned and sin entered into the world, Christ came into the world and through his actions grace entered into the world.

It is time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to God, it is only by the work and grace of God. We are to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and let Him love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit.

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true sense of the meaning of Christian, someone who is following the example of Jesus and letting his love touch all people no matter if we agree on things or not.

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When we talk about loving others and accepting others, many times people think that means we agree on everything. If we accept them then we give up all our personal views and convictions and do whatever it takes to get along and live in harmony.

The truth is, that is not what is meant at all. We all know we are not going to get people to agree on everything. We are not going to get people to accept the differences among us, yet we know we can accept people even in the differences.

When we love, accept and respect people the way they are we will not always agree or condone their actions, yet we can treat each other with compassion and kindness.

It seems that many christian people forget that no matter what label we put on others, there is a human being behind that label who was created by God.

Rather than condemning or judging others based on our interpretation of the bible or based on our doctrines or personal morals, we should remember that we are all God’s creation and accept one another for that reason.

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When we say love and accept one another we understand that none of us are going to completely agree and live happily ever after. There will be many times we do not agree with the other person’s opinion or way of doing things. There are times we may not even like what the other person is doing, yet we can love them with a godly love that comes from the Spirit within.

 

Just because we do not agree or see things the same way, we can still accept and respect the other person. We will never live in a world where we all agree and give up our personal convictions just to get along. Yet with the power of the Spirit within us we can accept, respect and be kind to everyone realizing we are all fellow human beings wanting to live a good and happy life.

When we read about the life of Jesus we see him loving all kinds of people, treating them with respect and compassion. If we claim to be his followers, should we not do the same? Christ loved people who most religious people of the day did not want to be around. The only people he actually had problems with were the religious leaders who thought they were so much better than everyone else. Unfortunately we still see this among people today.

Christian people seem to pick out gay people to be the worst sinners around and we make atheists our enemy rather than a fellow human being. Many whites and blacks cannot get along nor can people of different religions. We have women who hate men and men who want to demean and dominate women. We seem to divide ourselves up based on the label we apply rather than seeing another human being who many times wants the same things in life we all do.

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When it comes to pointing out sin, I do not believe it is our job to do so. Sin is sin and God will convict people if there is sin to be dealt with through the Holy Spirit, not us. We are called to love God, which means we will live for Him and let Him work in us. We are also called to love one another, which means we pass on the unconditional love of God to all we meet along the way.

 

Rather than fighting, arguing and trying to prove our way of thinking we should follow the leading of the Spirit within for ourselves and let the other person be responsible for living their own life.

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There seems to be a lot of talk again in some states about the so-called bathroom bills. I have to say, I just do not understand why people are making this to be such a big deal. There have been transgender people for a long, long time and they have used the bathroom of choice without any problem.

bathroomlawsNow the government gets involved and tries to legislate what they feel is right and we have a big mess. Not only does this confuse the situation but makes many transgender people and women afraid to even go into a bathroom. Transgender people do not know if they will get yelled at or beat up, and women do not know if there will be a pervert waiting from them when they go in.

I think the main problem with this situation is that people confuse transgender with perverts. Transgender people are NOT perverts and they are NOT going into bathrooms to molest anyone. They are simply going into the bathroom they identify with to use it, nothing more. Perverts have always been an issue and perverts are going to take advantage of this situation but that does not give anyone a right to discriminate against transgender people.

Transgender people are going to do what they have been doing for all these past years…. going into the bathroom they identify with for natural reasons. I think it is time to stop all the arguing, condemning, judging and discrimination and accept people for who they are. We do not even have to agree on the choices others make, but we should be able to respect and treat each other with kindness.

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Many times in the christian world we find people who are acting and responding in ways that are very judgmental and condemning.

Especially when it comes to the gay community, atheists and those of various religious groups and denominations that differ in doctrine from what we think is right. Many of us christians have a hard time accepting people who think differently.

We would rather fight and defend our interpretation and doctrine and prove our christian moral way of living rather than show the love of Christ and accept people the way they were made.

I do not understand why we feel the need to try to prove our point and why we feel it is required to make sure everyone knows that the way we follow God is the only right way.

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A lot of us cannot even accept and associate with other believers from a different denomination. So many people say their version of the bible is the only true version or their type of church is the only true church.

I get so fed up with the pride and arrogance of some (not all) groups of christians who think they have it all figured out and their way is right and you had better believe like they do or they want nothing to do with you.

Even some christians in the same church, those who have been good friends for years will turn on you if you leave their church. How many times have you been involved in a church and think it is great and the people are loving and kind only to find once you leave the group you never hear from any of them again?

Though no longer within the institutional church, I had been in the system for well over 50 years so I know what I am talking about. I am not out to bash the church but it does aggravate me to see people who are supposed to show the love of God to all people, yet act so unloving and judgmental to people who think differently. Fortunately not every church or christian group is like this but certainly it is the norm for a lot of them.

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Why is it that so many christian people are so mean and condemning to gay people? Why is it we see atheist as our mortal enemy? Why do we reject the interpretations and beliefs of other christians who attend a different denomination, or worse yet who do not go to church at all? Jesus, who is our example, was not like that yet many people did not grow up in church and did not read the bible. Because of this they do not know what Jesus was like. They only know that we who claim to follow Christ act in such a mean and unloving way.

We need to remember that behind every label we put on people there is a human being. No matter who we are, what we believe, no matter what our lifestyle or our feelings about God, we all are deserving of love and acceptance. Just like each of us who are now christians were loved and accepted by God even before we knew anything about Him, we should be loving and accepting to everyone we meet because we may be the only Jesus they see.

 

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Wow, it has been a year since first posting this article. So hard to believe we are into another new year already. I wanted to take the time to again thank those of you that follow this site and read the postings. I certainly appreciate each of you for taking the time to do so. If  you agree with what I write or not I am glad you are here. I feel we are each entitled to make our own choices without someone condemning us or trying to force a particular view on us.

At this time of year a lot of people take time to reflect and make new year’s resolutions, wanting to make changes and do things better. The new year is like a fresh start, a new beginning

2017-goalsFor me, I stopped making resolutions. First and mainly because I never keep them. Like most of us making a resolution to do better makes sense. We want to better ourselves and do better in our life, yet like most people a few days into the new year and the resolutions have been forgotten.

Usually that makes people feel a little guilty. We want to do better yet we so quickly fall flat on our face with our resolutions.

As I thought about this I realized that trying to better ourselves in one sense is not a bad thing. When we want to spend more time with family, be better parents, be a better friend and treat people better, that is not a bad thing at all.

Spiritually speaking from a christian viewpoint new year’s resolutions are not needed. Christ made all things new when he fulfilled the law at his death. When he arose a New Covenant went into effect, a covenant of grace.

We no longer need to try to do better, to do more for him, to be better christians. He did everything that was needed to make us new creatures in Him. Because of his work we are holy and righteous, we are kings and priests, our old sin nature was crucified with him and we no longer need to make resolutions to do better.

In one sense each day is a new beginning for us, and his mercies are new every morning. Yet as far as our life in Him goes, each day is a day living in the Kingdom of God. Each day is a continuation of the previous day living as one with God. We as God’s house are now one with Him just as Christ prayed, that we might be one as he and the Father are one.

So spiritually speaking, let’s not get caught up in the guilty feelings we have with new year’s resolutions and trying to do better for him. Nothing wrong with doing good works out of love for God and by the power of the Spirit, yet remember to rest in him knowing he has done all the work and all that is necessary for us to live pleasing to him. Let’s enjoy each new day as a day the Lord has made and rejoice and be glad in it. Live each day in the power of the Holy Spirit, showing God’s love and acceptance to all we meet during the day.

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