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Posts Tagged ‘christian living’

A friend and Christian brother of mine recently passed away unexpectedly. It was quite a shock and something that is just now starting to sink in.

This got me to thinking even more about all the arguing we Christians do with each other.

We are so quick to defend our personal views and interpretations, we will argue, judge and even condemn one another because we see things differently.

Yet in moments like this I cannot understand why we have such a problem accepting one another in a spirit of Christian love. This life passes all to quickly to spend so much time arguing and defending our views.

Jesus said we are to love God and we are to love one another. He did not say we are to fight, argue and condemn one another. We are not to force our way of thinking on others. We are to share the good news that God loves them, but we need not argue over personal views and interpretations.

If only we could get that down inside us and start treating people with the love of God, knowing that we all see things differently. We all have our views, interpretations and beliefs and they are going to vary from person to person. We will not always agree and accept one another’s views.

Obviously, we cannot prove very much when it comes to spiritual matters. Most is a matter of faith and how we personally interpret scripture or how we view what makes sense to us. Rather than continually defending our way of thinking and trying to get others to see things our way, it would be much better if we could love others and accept them for who they are and how God made them.

We will have differences of opinion and there is nothing wrong with that. The Spirit is our guide and teacher and we need to allow each person to hear from the Spirit and follow the way they feel they are being guided.

We also need to accept that not everyone will believe like us, not everyone will believe there is a God and not everyone will interpret the bible like everyone else. I do not believe it is our job to force anything on anyone. God is able to work in the life of each individual the way he sees best. The Spirit will work and draw people to the Father. Even God leaves the decision up to each person as to how they will respond. Even those who do not believe and want nothing to do with him are stilled loved. God wants us to do the same.

Life is to short for all the arguing, judging and condemning. Love God, love your neighbor, love your brothers and sisters in Christ and let the Spirit work in the life of each person. Enjoy one another, enjoy fellowship, have a laugh, be concerned for one another and do what you can to show the love of God to everyone you meet.

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(This article originally appeared on christianpost.com on February 16, 2018
( https://www.christianpost.com/voice/progressives-and-evangelicals-is-it-really-us-versus-them.html )

There are hundreds of various denominations within the christian faith and thousands of various interpretations and doctrines based on the bible. To me it seems we hear much about two of these groups, evangelicals and progressives that appear to be on the opposite ends of the christian belief spectrum. Should we really make the differences out to be an us versus them way of life? My reply to this comes in James 3:10 of the NIV, my brothers and sisters, this should not be.

 

I grew up as an evangelical and spent nearly fifty years living with that belief. After many years of questioning my beliefs and what I was taught over the years, I have become less evangelical and more of a progressive in my thinking. That certainly does not mean I have all of a sudden become anti evangelical nor am I an enemy to my brothers and sisters who follow the traditional evangelical way.

AmericanChristianity

Unfortunately, many times we get an us verses them attitude and fight and argue amongst ourselves over doctrine and interpretation of scriptures. Again I say, brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. We are not enemies. We are not against each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ with two different views of belief. As Romans 12:4-5 of the NLT puts is, ‘just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other’.

We are to be a people that make up the one true Church which has many members, each with an equally important part to play with Jesus as the head over us all. Just because we interpret scripture differently, just because we have a little different view on what the bible says does not mean we are enemies.

Rather than fight and argue over who is right or who is wrong, remember we are in this together as a family with God as our Father. We are one community of believers who want to serve our Father by showing his love to a hurting world. There are many ways of following the example of Jesus and living for him.

There are many people out there who are hurting, questioning and lost who do not know that God loves them. All they see is people who claim to know God that are fighting amongst themselves. Because of this they figure what is the use, there is no reason to become a part of this group of people. They are no different than anyone else.

Yet we who are followers of Christ are to show the world that God loves them. We are to do this by loving one another, encouraging one another and lifting one another up. We are to show the love of God to those who are hurting and who do not know that God loves them. We are to let the love of the Spirit of Christ flow from within us to touch those who need to know they are loved and accepted.

Rather than fight and argue amongst ourselves over doctrine, denominations and interpretations, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us and love all people with the love of God. We can agree to disagree on things and live a life loving others even in our differences.

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Why do we christian people feel the need to point out what we think are sinful behaviors of others? Why do we seem to think certain things are more sinful than others, if sinful at all.

Often times what we consider to be sinful boils down to wrong interpretation of scripture. Many times we do not dig into scripture to find out for ourselves what it is actually saying. We have heard certain things preached all our lives and figure that is just the way it is.

TheNakedJesus

I am sure we are all the same when it comes to having someone tell us they think we are sinning. Most of the time it is not even done in love. You can feel the judgment and condemnation coming from the other person. Whether it is actually a sin or not is not the issue to them, it is that they think it is, they do not like it and they are sure to point out to you what they think.

Jesus told us as his followers we are to love God and love others. He also said that the Holy Spirit would do the convicting and disciplining when and where needed. I do agree that sometimes the Spirit will work through us to bring to light something in the life of another that they need to deal with. I do not think in those few cases it will be done in a judgmental or condemning way.

I personally feel that we are to live our lives following the Spirit and being open to his leading and teaching for ourselves. After all, the Spirit of Christ lives within us and he will teach us and guide us in our walk with him. We are to forget about judgment and condemnation of others and leave the job of changing others to the Spirit.

We are to love God and love our neighbor, which is all our fellow human beings. We may not always agree with them, we may not always like what they do or how they do it, but we should always be kind and respectful even in the differences. To convict others of sin is beyond the calling Jesus gave to us. Live from love and let the Spirit work in the lives of others.

Also check out this article of similar topic by John Casimir O’Keefe:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thenakedjesus/2016/08/why-we-shouldnt-judge-others/

(Photo used by Permission from The Naked Jesus by John Casimir O’Keefe @johncasimirokeefe)

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I get so tired of seeing arguing and disagreeing among fellow christians. We certainly do not see a lot of unity and agreement. We are so divided and exclusive in the christian world today.

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.

Not only is it hard to find acceptance 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.

AcceptandRespect

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 the thought of getting to know them. This seems to be a pretty common occurrence.

It is sad that we put 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. We are to love God and love others no matter what they believe, especially among those who are his followers.

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. I think we can disagree and have different opinions and still act in a respectful and accepting way toward our fellow human beings.

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 our way of interpretation.

AcceptMeJustAsIAm

I personally do not think we are to act in such judgmental ways. 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.

God is love and love draws people. Rather than judge, condemn, exclude 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 believers and non-believers who can use the encouragement of an accepting person who cares and shows the love of God.

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One big sore spot with me within the christian religion is listening to big-named evangelists and preachers tell us we need to give them our money so they can go forth and proclaim the gospel.

money

They will pile up big bank accounts, nice houses, huge buildings, expensive jets, cars and who knows what else, all under the guise of being able to proclaim to gospel to more people.

Many times the money they raise is coming from people who can barely afford to meet living expenses day to day. They will give money to these people because they are told it will help them better spread the gospel around the world. They are also told they are robbing from God if they do not give.

If I understand what I read in the bible, Jesus and his twelve disciples turned the world upside down with their love and by teaching the good news that God loves them. I do not remember reading about how much money they had, or how many luxuries they had that helped them spread the gospel.

It really bothers me that the money spent buying these people some of the luxuries of life could be used to help many starving, homeless, jobless people across our country or around the world.

As christians, we are all called to proclaim the gospel. We do so in the way we live. We are to show love to all people and help those in need with the means we have been given.

We are not under the old covenant law that said bring ten percent into the storehouse. We should give to help others, but not out of obligation. We are to give out of love and that amount we have determined without our own heart to give.

PriesthoodofBelievers

No person, man or woman, should be looked upon as more important or more spiritually holy than anyone else. We are to be a priesthood of all believers with no one more important than another.

Rather than focus on those who are demanding we give them our money to support the kingdom of God, let us follow after the example of Jesus by loving all people and using the money, gifts and talents he has given us to help those we can directly.

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Well here we are at the end of another year. It can be a time of sadness in some cases, but usually it is a time of excitement and anticipation for a new beginning.

The past happenings of the year are either remembered as sad occurrences or as happy memories. Either way I think they help shape us into the person we are becoming.

HappyNewYear2018

Each new year seems to give us a sense of renewed purpose and goals of doing better, whatever that may mean to each of us. For some it is going to the gym, others want to read more or volunteer more. Many want to get closer to God while others want to distance themselves further from religious ways.

We are all different. We all have different ideas on life yet we are so similar in many ways. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want to be happy and successful in life. We want to have a purpose and fulfill a meaning that is suited for us. My belief is we accept one another the way we are. We do not all agree or condone the actions of others, but we can still respect and treat each other kindly. We can be friends and still be as different as night is from day.

No matter how hard many of us christian people try, none of us have it all figured out. None of us have it all together and none of us have the right to force others to live, act or believe a certain way just because we think we are right. We are responsible for ourselves and as christians we are to let the love of God flow out to all people no matter if they agree with us or not. God said the Holy Spirit will draw people to the Father and will convict of sin where that is necessary. He only asks us to love God and love one another.

LoveThyNeighbor

As this is the last post of the year I wanted to take a minute and thank each of you who take the time to read my articles. There are many different views and thoughts on life among my readers and I know not all agree with what I say and that is OK. I am not trying to force my views on others, I am just writing about how I feel and how I personally see things at this period of time. Each of us have our own views and opinions and we should be able to follow and share those views, and yet be accepting of others.

I also want to make sure that no matter who you are, what you believe, no matter what religion, race, sex, nationality, I consider you a friend and you are more than welcome to visit, read and post on this site.

I enjoy reading your posts and hearing different thoughts and ideas, but I do not get into debates. I see debates as trying to force my view on you or yours on me and I see no reason to try to force others to agree on things. I do encourage friendly discussion anytime.

So, until next year I hope each of you have a good holiday season. I am hopeful you will continue to visit my site and find encouragement, acceptance and friendship throughout the new year.

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Christianity can mean a couple different things and it depends on what meaning we are using as to how I feel about it.

If, when talking about being a Christian, we mean we are following Christ, acting like Christ and living like Christ, I am all for being called a Christian.

Religions

Usually these days the word Christian means more about the religion of Christianity. Just like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Baha’i, Shinto, Taoism and a host of others, Christianity is a religion controlled by men. It is divided up into many various denominations, doctrines and biblical interpretations. Contrary to popular belief Jesus did not start the Christian religion.

Here in the United States we are so proud to say that America is a Christian nation. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with that idea. America is a country made up of many religions and beliefs. The good thing in this country is that we are not forced to be a part of any religion or belief. We have many freedoms that are not found in other places and I am thankful for that fact. We are free to choose what we want to believe, who we want to follow and we have the right to express that without fear of punishment.

Following Christ is not about a religion. I actually think it is better sometimes not to use the word Christian because of all the religious thoughts and ideas it brings up. Religion is a man-made, organized system that divides more than anything. We separate into groups that meet in buildings on set days and at set times saying we welcome anyone, yet only want those who feel the same way we do.

It bothers me to see so many who profess to be Christians, those who believe in God and Jesus and spreading His love to others, who argue and fight with those who think differently. We are supposed to be known for our love for others and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Still, it seems a lot of Christians are more interested in defending their personal views and thoughts, getting mad and arguing amongst themselves while those outside the faith are looking at them and wondering why they need to have Christ in their lives.

Now, talking about Christianity in the sense that we are following Christ, living like Him and treating others like Jesus treated people, this is an entirely different thing. As mentioned in Acts 11:26, the disciples were first called Christians by the people of Antioch because they saw the disciples acting so much like Christ. To me, this is the true meaning of a Christian.

BeLikeJesus

True Christianity is a community of people who act like Christ and let him love through them. It is a daily life and is not separated into normal living and religious living. It is not specifically following set doctrines or following rules of do’s and don’ts. It is not meeting in a building once a week listening to one person talk, singing a few songs, shaking hands and going home. It is not a system of leaders who are on a higher level than others. Those who have gifts of leadership lead by example, lead as equals, and lead by a servant spirit to encourage and build up their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. They are not to lead by power or a position of authority.

True Christianity is a daily life following the leading of the Spirit. It is meeting with those we come in contact with along our daily routine and showing the love of Christ. It is eating together, laughing and crying together, accepting one another, talking and discussing our thoughts and views.

As followers of Christ, we are to love others, accept others, and treat others with compassion, respect and love. We do not have to agree with everyone, just accept them. We can agree to disagree and love people just as they are. Everyone does not have to be just like us and they do not have to believe like us. They should be able to be themselves and we as Christ followers should be OK with it.

It is time to stop being a Christian in the sense of religion and focus on Jesus and let Him live through us. After all, we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ, God lives within us. There is no reason why we cannot love and accept others just like Christ loves and accepts everyone.

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