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Posts Tagged ‘christian living’

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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Do you feel guilty when you do not talk 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 conversation into an opportunity to point out sinful behavior or to tell someone about salvation?

If we answer yes to any of these questions, 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 and we should not feel guilty for not doing so.

As Christians we are 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 the love of God.

ActionsandWords

We have always heard that actions speak louder than words. Our actions show what is within us. Words do not always show the real us. Words without the actions are usually pretty meaningless or as the bible calls it, faith without works is dead. This does not mean that faith without our effort or good works are required for salvation. It means that our words and our actions should match up showing the love of God to all people. Because of our faith and love for God, our actions or works will be a natural result of that love.

Anyone can speak words…words of condemnation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, words about Christian living 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. How many times have we heard of a pastor saying words against something only to find out the pastor is doing the same thing that is being spoken against?

We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to the Father. It is not our job to condemn people nor point out what we think is sinful. We do not have to force every conversation into a gospel presentation.

LiveaQuietLife

God’s word says that we should live a quiet life, working with our hands and to be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us. Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine minding your business, living a peaceful life and 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 will it make an impact on the person anyway.

By living this way and not forcing our views on others, the words we say will have more meaning to those who are wondering about the hope that we have within us. When our actions are consistently showing the love of God, our words will fall in line and have more impact on those we meet throughout the day.

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As someone who has grown up in organized religion, I can honestly say that the institutional church has fallen way off course. What we call church today many times seems more like a large corporation run by a CEO and executive board.

We seem to be more focused on our programs, building bigger buildings, having a bigger and better worship band, getting on radio or TV and being a step ahead of the church down the street.

Variousbeliefs

Our churches today are so divided by denominations, doctrines and biblical interpretations that it seems we fight among ourselves more than anything. Many places there is literally a church building every mile or two from each other yet we cannot come together and our world continues to get worse and worse.

It amazes me how upset and defensive people can get when you mention that going to church is not a requirement. They seem to forget that the church is not a building and is not a place we go to, but the Church is the body of believers. Usually the first verse that is quoted when we talk about not going to church is Hebrews 10:25 – not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Nowhere does this verse say that we have to assemble in a building on a certain day at a certain time. Nowhere does it say we have to have a pastor to teach us, or a worship band to lead us in praise and worship.

I feel that sometimes we Christians want to be entertained and told what to believe, then go home feeling satisfied that we have fulfilled our duty until next Sunday. We have become lazy and do not want to spend the time with God, reading His words and letting the Holy Spirit teach us. As 1 John 2:23 states – as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you (the Holy Spirit), and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

Jesus said where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. That can be in a restaurant, in a home, in a park or any place believers join together. Many people put more emphasis on where we meet and not enough emphasis on spending time with the one we love. Why is it we feel the need to go to a building anyway, God said we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God told us that He is always with us so why is it people say they are going to the house of God to meet with Him. We are the house of God and He is always with us.

Going to an organized religious building is not wrong, but we should call it what it is. The church building that people go to once a week is a place where the members of the Church get together. The Church are those of us who are saved through faith in Christ.

TheLoveofGod

So often we Christians can get more involved with the things about Christ, the services, the meetings, the up-keep of a building and the money to keep the bills paid that we lose sight of our first love. Jesus is the head, He is to have the preeminence. We should be putting our focus on Christ, loving Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and loving others with the love of God.

Stop the arguing over different interpretations and denominational doctrines and start loving others no matter what. It is then that the world will know we are His disciples and see a difference in the way we live as Christians.

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(Re-Post from September 3, 2014)

We all want to have friends. Have you ever heard the phrase to make a friend you have to be a friend? Obviously, everyone wants to be liked and have friends that are likeable and easy to be around.

I think it is important to also be yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and want to be friends. I have seen people work so hard to change and be someone they normally are not just to be friends with someone they think would be fun to be around.

Friendship

My thought is if you have to change who you are why do you need that kind of friend? This applies to any and all labels we place on one another whether it is black/white, gay/straight, religious/atheist and so on. The label should not make a difference when it comes to friendship.

There is another thing that bothers me about friendship. Have you ever met someone for the first time and they just seem so friendly and interested in you? I have been through this several times. I would run into someone in the store or out for a walk and they are smiling and so interested in getting to know a little about me. I get kind of anxious to get to know them and see if a new friendship was starting. Later I get a call or an email and get asked if we could meet for coffee and talk a while.

After the second time this happened, I started realizing that each time this has happened it was someone with an ulterior motive.

They really were not interested in me, they were interested in what I could do for them. Basically, they were selling something and looking for new people to join in under them doing the same thing.

I tell you this was so disappointing each time it happened. I was thinking, wow, what a nice person. I would like to get to know them and get to be friends. Then, wham, the rug was pulled out from under me by finding out they only wanted to make a sell or add me to their sales network.

True friends are hard to find. Even among people who are not selling something and do not have ulterior motives, it is hard to find a true friend.

Friends

Often it seems most of the friends we have are friends as long as we have the same interests or involved in the same activities. If we go to the same places, work together or involved in sporting events we talk and associate but if we leave that particular activity we usually do not see each other or talk.

True friends love us and accept us as just as we are. They are not waiting until we change and become more like them. They are actually interested in us. They want to see us succeed. They feel comfortable telling us things that are not popular or what we need to hear when they know we are getting into something that is not good for us.

A true friend will be there for you even when miles apart or when we have different interests and activities. A true friend is one of the hardest things to find in this world.

Now as followers of Christ, we have the best and most true friend possible in Jesus. But let’s be real, we need a flesh and blood person right in front of us to discuss things, do things together, encourage and support each other and cry with one another.

Jesus will never leave us, he will never forsake us. He is closer than a brother and the best friend we will ever have in life. Yet in this life we need human friends. And those human friends, if you think about it, are almost like having Jesus right in front of you. Since we are now the temple of the Spirit, God living in us, we are in a sense Jesus to each other. I am not saying we are God but His Spirit lives within us and we can love and accept each other through that common truth more than anything.

So, for those shallow people who are only looking for someone to use and get things from I would rather not even start a friendship. We still love everyone through Christ but we do not have to be friends with everyone. Pray for the guidance of the Spirit to lead you to true friends in your life and see Christ in the brother and sisters he brings along.

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After being on Facebook for some time and following articles and comments on social media, it does not take long to realize everyone has an opinion. There is nothing wrong with that, it is quite normal. Yet when people start trying to force their opinion on others it becomes a problem.

FacebookOpinionsI have found it best to listen to others opinions but not to dwell on them. We all have an opinion on life issues, a way of interpreting the bible and views on living for God but very seldom do we agree on things.

We each need to follow the leading of the Spirit within us and stick with what we feel is right for us. Obviously this does not mean we are always right, but at the time it is best to go with what you feel is the correct way until the Spirit leads you to a different view.

Do not take the view of any person as gospel, do not let any person guilt you or shame you into seeing things their way. Listen to others opinions and respect them, but listen more for the soft, quiet voice of the Spirit to teach you the truth. Always be open to changing your personal views according to what the Spirit teaches.

So often we read an article that says one thing on a particular subject, then find another article that says just the opposite. It is not long until a heated argument begins in the comments and things can get ugly. Name calling and getting mad because of differences of opinion and interpretation is just not the way it should be. We need to learn to accept that we all have different views and we can all be wrong at times.

Sometimes people argue over bible doctrine or subjects that are highly controversial in our world today. We seem to think we have to defend our view and prove our point or we are not being faithful to God. I personally think God can take care of himself and we do not need to defend our interpretations. We are not called to convert people to our way of thinking, we are only called to love them.

In the christian world today, one of the major areas of arguments and differences of opinion seems to be in regard to marriage equality and gay people.

Many christian people seem so hateful toward people who are gay. I am not sure why we tend to make gay people our enemy. I know many gay people who love God and want to follow Jesus. To say they cannot be christian because they are gay is just plain wrong. Yet whether christian or not, gay or straight Jesus calls us to love all people.

Christian people will say being gay is a choice, yet I never remember making the choice to be straight. I was born that way. Is it not the same with people who are gay?

I think so often people only look at the label and do not see the human being. The fact is there is no difference between straight and gay people other than the people we are attracted too. We all want to find that one special person to love and to enjoy life together.

Rather than forcing our opinions on others whether they are gay or straight, christian or atheist, muslim or jew, black or white, republican or democrat, male or female we should be able to show the love of Christ to everyone and accept them as our fellow human beings who want the same things as everyone else. We all want to be happy, enjoy life and be accepted and loved.

It is fine to have our individual opinions, yet we need to remember that not everyone will see things the same way. We are all entitled to have our views and opinions without having love and acceptance being withheld.

BeKind

Jesus said to love God and love one another. He never said to love only certain people or only people who believes the same. We can have our different opinions yet we can love and respect each other even in those differences.

Once we can get past insisting our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong, it will be easier to accept others. When we realize none of us have it all together and we are all learning, then we can accept people with different views and opinions without the hatred and condemnation.

No matter what interpretation, opinion or view you have, we should be able to believe what we feel is right and still accept the differences of others and love one another with the love of God.

A few verses on loving one another:

Mark 12:30-32 — and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:36,37 — Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, the one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise.

John 13:34 — A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Galatians 5:14 — For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

1 John 4:20 — If someone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

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Why is it that a lot of us who call ourselves Christians want to defend our beliefs so much? We do it not only to non-believers, but even to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We know how Jesus lived, loved others, accepted those who the religious crowd did not like. He was kind, loving, forgiving, and caring to all he came in contact (except for the ‘religious’ self-righteous leaders). Then we go out and want to argue with those who interpret the Bible differently, or who don’t believe the same as we do.

It seems to me rather than fight and argue over doctrine, interpretation and belief we would do better to love, accept and show compassion.

This certainly does not mean we have to agree with everyone, or tell others anything goes, but we do not have to fight and defend our way of thinking. Many of us think we have it all figured out and our way of faith is the only way. We think we have to persuade others to come to our way of thinking or they are doomed to hell.

I’m not sure any of us have it all figured out, in fact I know none of us do. We all have room to question, learn and change. I know my wife and I are doing more questioning than we ever did, and we are finding new truths as we walk in the Spirit daily.

When it comes down to it, I feel we should be open to accept others no matter what their way of thinking. People want to be loved and accepted, they want to be happy and get along with others. When we get all religious and defend our point of view, it does more harm and drives people apart more than anything.

Acceptance

My wife and I have been asking God for strength to accept and love everyone. No matter what they believe, what their faith or doctrine is, no matter their religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we want to see them as Jesus sees them. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us. We want to love, accept and care for people. Naturally we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas and love them in Christ. We feel this is the way that others will come to see the love of God, not through condemning and bashing them. Not in trying to prove we are right and they are wrong. Love doesn’t mean seeing eye-to-eye, it doesn’t mean we agree or even like some of the things people do, but it does mean we look past the differences and love them as Christ loves them.

Let’s try to look past the labels and see people who have feelings, who want love and friendship, people we can get to know, learn from, share thoughts and ideas with, and accept as human beings who were created in the image of God.

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