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Do you get tired of seeing such disagreement among fellow christians? We do not see a lot of unity and agreement at all today.

unityamongbrethren

Jesus said his followers were to be known for their love for one another. Yet today it is hard to find brothers and sisters in Christ being loving and kind.

Fortunately this is not the case in every situation, but it seems a lot more common than it should be.

I am not just talking about being accepting and kind toward those who are outside the christian faith, but it is hard to find true love and acceptance among brethren of different denominations within the faith.

If we go to the same church building and accept the same doctrines, you will usually find love and acceptance. I remember when I was in the church system the first thing I would ask someone was where they went to church. If they went to an organization I liked and agreed with, I would pretty much instantly like the person. If they went to a place that was different in their way of worship or interpretation of the bible, then I would immediately be on guard and almost dismiss them as someone to get to know. This seems to be a pretty common occurrence.

It is sad that we put such walls up with people who think differently. It is sad that we have made such importance out of buildings, doctrines, interpretations and bible versions that we forget God loves each of us no matter what we believe. We are to love God and love others just as God does no matter what they believe, especially among those who are also followers of Jesus.

Loving and accepting people does not mean we are always in agreement and that we always get along. Of course there will be disagreements and differences of opinions, probably even arguments and hurt feelings at times, but that is life. We can disagree and even argue at times and still respect and accept the other person.

By the power of the Spirit within us, we can accept, respect and be loving toward others. Not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but those who are not of the christian faith and belief. I think we can disagree and have different opinions and still act in a respectful and accepting way toward our fellow human beings.

loveoneanother

Jesus said that they will know we are his disciples by the love we have for one another. Love draws people, but condemnation, judgment and unloving behavior drives them away. Many times, when I say we are to love and accept others I get a lot of comments about being wrong because as christians we are to point out the sins and mistakes of others. They say our responsibility is to make sure others know what they are doing is wrong….at least by their way of thought.

I personally do not think we are to be the sin police. We are not told to do such things. We are told to love God and love others. As far as I am concerned the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin where conviction is needed. That is between the Spirit and each individual as to what they do and how they respond. We are only to love others.

Love draws, God is love. Rather than judge, condemn, separate and argue, get out there among humanity and let the love of God flow out of you by the power of the Spirit. There is a whole world of hurting people, both christian and non-christian who can use the encouragement of an accepting person who cares and shows the love of God.

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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.

love-god-love-people

 

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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I grew up in the traditional church environment and followed the religious teachings and doctrines over the years. I have seen a lot of things that I now question and wonder why things were done that way.

godonthrone

Over the years many of us have come to see God as a big super human person sitting up in heaven somewhere just waiting to punish us for our mistakes. We see him as being impersonal, judgmental and many times as someone to fear.

Yet when we think about the life of Christ and know he was sent from God to show us what the Father is really like we come to see God in a different way. When we read about how Jesus lived and treated people we see him as loving, compassionate, kind and accepting. Jesus came to show us that the Father is the same way.

After Jesus left this life on earth the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live within us. Think about it, God in Spirit form lives within us and among us right now. He is not a super human person way up there somewhere but He is right here within us.

God is not out to get us and punish us every time we mess up. I think God gets a bad reputation from some of the writings in the bible due to men, although they were inspired by God, threw in some of their personal views. Obviously if you were inspired by someone to write a book you would still write it from your perspective. Anything man has a hand in is going to be flawed, but the bible is certainly inspired by God and when combined with the leading of the Holy Spirit will be purposeful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness and guiding us to the living Word of God who is Jesus.

Rather than running around being afraid of God and waiting for the judgment of God to fall, look to Jesus and see that God is love. Whenever punishment is needed it is only for our good and it is done in love. Just as a loving parent sometimes punishes their child it is done in love and for correction that is for the child’s own good. We are not waiting to be destroyed by a God who loves judgment and condemnation. We are living with a God who is love, who created us and who wants the best for us during our time on earth.

godislove

Stop being afraid of the Father and seek fellowship with him. If you hear a pastor telling you that God is out to get you and that you had better shape up or else, get away from there and find brothers and sisters in Christ who will be encouragers and who will help build you up rather than condemn and scare you. Fear of judgment will not lead you into a loving relationship with the Father. Only true love, godly love, will be what draws us into fellowship with Him.

God is love. For those of us who are followers of Jesus we should also be known for our love. As Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39, And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

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When we speak of Christianity with all its different denominations, interpretations, doctrines and various versions of the Bible it seems there are always times when we run into conflict with other believers.

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 sometimes feel the need to distance ourselves from those who feel differently.

notarguing

Have you noticed how religion seems to set the rules to described 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. Attend every service and be active with this group or that group. If you are not reading a particular version of the Bible you are just wasting your time. If you are not part of a church you must be backslidden, at least that is the way some fellow Christians make you feel. Rules, rules, rules.

Maybe it is time we stop arguing over versions, interpretations, doctrines, 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 and accept one another even in our differences.

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 differences we have in our various denominations, Bible versions and interpretations.

loveall

Let’s stop fighting against each other and begin to love one another as Christ loves us. Do not let the various 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.

 

Those outside of Christianity should be seeing the love we have for God and for one another. There is enough hate and disagreement in our world today. What makes a difference is seeing brotherly love for one another and sharing God’s love with everyone we meet.

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Have you ever felt guilty because you did not say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about a particular sin? Do you feel it is your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation or to point out where you think they are wrong?

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 under the guidance of the Spirit. 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.

actionswords1

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 daily living in the power of the Spirit and letting the love of God touch others that makes a difference. When we consistently live in the love of God and the guidance of the Spirit it has more impact than thousands of words.

 

We need to remember that it is 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 being 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 are living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy (The Message).

alwaysspeakwhenasked

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, and always in love and without judgment and condemnation. 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 about the hope that is within us.

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Have you ever come across someone who says they are a Christian yet the way they act speaks something completely different?

actionsandwords

I remember an experience my wife had some time ago. 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. Once she realized the library was no longer at this site she 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 did not agree with women wearing makeup or knee-length dresses. Now I know there are groups that do not 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 in this case my wife did 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 view about the matter. He was not nice to her, it was obvious that he did not want to talk to her and felt she should not 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, that building was not the house of God. People tend to forget God does not live in buildings. He lives in people who are saved by grace.

Second, what kind of witness was that to my wife? 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. Sometimes I think we run people off from wanting to know God by the way we act.

We Christians need to stop and think about our actions and how we treat other people. We are God’s witnesses to the world. We may be the only witness of God’s love they see and if we are not living under the guidance of the Spirit of God we can make a very negative impact of those we come in contact each day.

loveandaction

This is not to say our actions and the things we do earn our salvation or earn the love of God. No, that was all taken care of by the grace of God. It was not anything we did or can do.

Yet 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 (all people) as yourself. Do not be a stumbling block to someone by the way you act and treat others.

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What do you think of when you hear the word atheist, gay, transgender, muslim, jew, christian, black, white or a host of other labels we put on people?

Usually we think of something specific and usually something we have been taught or heard over the years. It depends on where you heard it or who taught you but a lot of times what we think is negative in one way or another.

With all the prejudices, fear, hate and misunderstanding among people it is sad that we forget behind each one of these labels there is a human being.

labelsonpeople

I know that not all people believe there is a God or they believe in different gods and I do not want to argue on that point. None of us can actually prove one way or another as to what we believe about God or life after death. It is basically a matter of belief or faith or scientific understanding. Yet as a christian I personally believe there is a God and He created each person in His image. He loves each and every one of us no matter what label humanity has put upon us.

Each of us deserves love, respect, acceptance and the basic human rights we all should enjoy.

Just because we accept one another and respect each other does not mean we always agree or always condone the actions of another, but we should be able to treat each other in kindness and respect even in our disagreements.

Rather than profile people into a particular group based on the label we use, we should remember the individual person behind the label. Even if there are a few bad apples in each particular group it does not mean everyone is the same.

As human beings each of us wants to live a happy, satisfying life. Each of us has worries, bills and every day obligations. Each of us wants to love and be loved, each of us wants to be accepted and happy.

We will not all see things the same way. Each of us has our own personality, belief system, lifestyle, desires and things we enjoy and that make us happy. We cannot expect everyone to be the same or believe the same or interpret things the same. We are each uniquely made and we each have our own path to walk throughout this life.

I know many in the christian world will not agree on this outlook on life. Many feel it is our job to point out the mistakes and sins of others as a way to witness to the love of God. I do not see it that way. In the bible we are told the Spirit will convict the world of sin, so I do not believe it is our job to convict others of sin. Besides, what is sin to one person may not be to another. It is not our job to be judging others. We are called to love one another even in our differences.

donotcondemn

Jesus came as the Son of God to show us what the Father is like and Jesus was not a condemning person. He loved and associated with many people who the religious crowd wanted nothing to do with. Sure Jesus said go and sin no more but he never condemned. He could say the same thing to each of us because we all sin. Jesus was perfect and never sinned so he had the right to condemn people and tell them how bad their mistakes were yet he never did.

The bible says Jesus came to proclaim the good news, yet when we only condemn and point out the mistakes of others that does not seem like very good news. Sure there are times when love needs to be tough and things need to be done that are hard. At the moment these actions may not seem very loving. We all know that we can be tough when needed because we do care for the other person and we are doing what we feel is the best for them, but we still love them even when things are not going so good.

As a christian I believe that God loves each of us and wants each of us to follow him by the Spirit. Even when we do not always make the best choices he still loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. As his followers I feel that is the same we should be doing to everyone we have contact with each day. Love God, love others and seek God’s leading each day. Look past the labels society has placed on people and see the human being that God created and loves.

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