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Having grown up in church all my life, there are many things I used to think and believe that have changed over the years. If there was one thing I could go back twenty years ago and tell myself then, it would have to be something that involved my beliefs and interpretations. Although the one thing would be the matter of understanding my beliefs, it would be broken down into a few different areas.

The first thing I wish I had known sooner is the New Covenant didn’t start at Matthew Chapter One. I never thought about Jesus living his earthly life under the Law. The New Covenant didn’t start until His death and resurrection. When we start reading in Matthew, we are reading about the life of Christ here on earth, living under the Law. He came to fulfill the law because we were unable to do so in our own strength. We are saved and we live by grace, not by any good work we do.

I never truly thought about the fact that the Spirit of God lives within us. I always thought God was way up there in heaven, sitting on a huge throne looking down on us. I now realize God is within us. We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to communicate with our Father. He is within us, just as Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. We are not God, but we are one with Him, just as Jesus prayed in John 17. He is with us each and every second.

I always went along with the church being a building. I was told that we go to the Lord’s house to worship. I never thought about us being the Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Christ is building a church made without hands, a Church made up of His followers. We no longer have to wait until Sunday and go to a building to meet with God. The Spirit lives within us each and every day. We have fellowship with one another anytime two or three gather in His name. That can be in a living room, a restaurant, a pub or café, and it can be on any day, because every day is the day the Lord has made.

I used to look to the Bible as the word of God. I felt it was where we got all our information and all leading from God came through the Bible. Now I know the Bible is the written words that God inspired men to write. The true, perfect, powerful Word of God is Jesus. As John 1:1 says, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus in the one we worship and follow, not the Bible. We learn from the Bible, it is good to see how God provided a way for us to have access to Him. It is good to read how others acted and reacted and how God dealt with them. It is good to see the plan of salvation and the way of grace explained. Unfortunately, too many of us want to make the Bible part of the trinity and worship it. The Bible is not part of God. Jesus is the word. The Spirit of Christ guides us. Study the Bible, learn from it, but do not worship it and look to it as our guide when the Spirit is our guide.

The Christian life is an ongoing, daily learning process. Sometimes we get to thinking we can’t question what we’ve been taught over the years. The Holy Spirit lives within us and He is fresh and current, and is our teacher and guide. Our interpretations will change over time as He leads us into truth. It is not wrong to question. It is not a lack a faith to wonder and seek truth. In all honesty, if we aren’t changing, growing, questioning and learning, I would have to wonder if there wasn’t something wrong. I just wonder what it will be in twenty years that I will wish I knew now.

 

This article is part of the June 2014 Synchroblog – ‘If I could tell myself one thing’. http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/

Following is the list of other contributors this month:

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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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Homeless

Recently my wife, a daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters, in-law, friend and I did something new. The girls all cooked food, then all of us went out to several homeless camps and gave the food out and spent a little time with some of the homeless people.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like doing this, but after the day was over, I have to admit I had a good time. We all felt a sense of accomplishment in doing something that helped someone else out.

The people were all friendly and seemed to enjoy talking with us. I found it interesting talking with them and finding out where they were from, how they came to the camp, what they used to do and what their plans were for the future.

I was glad a couple of my granddaughters went along to see what life was like from a homeless perspective. Our kids today have never known hardship or doing without. I think it really opened their eyes and made them more thankful for what they have.

It is hard to believe the conditions these people live in, but due to those conditions, we found a sincere sense of concern for each other and a willingness to enjoy a time of fellowship with us.

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