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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

It is amazing to me the variety of voices and views there are in the christian world vying for our attention.

Everyone has their own views and interpretations. I think we can learn something from everyone. Whether it is something new, a better way of doing things, a different way of thinking or just realizing we do not agree with what we hear and it bolsters our own faith.

The problem is that everyone has an opinion. That does not mean everyone is right or wrong. God works in each of us in different ways and what may be right for one person is not right for another.

We need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit each day, listen for his voice and ask that He will lead us into truth. God will speak and lead us through the Spirit, through the bible and through words spoken from fellow believers. The bible says his sheep know his voice so we need to be sure we are hearing from him, yet we can be assured we can know his voice.

Our relationship with the Father is a day by day experience. What we know and understand today may be completely different from what we believed when we were younger. What we believe today will probably change in the future. God leads us into His truth in His timing as we are ready and open to it.

Our goal is to daily seek the guidance of God through the Spirit and seek His truth. To many of us want to put our focus on a man, a popular evangelist or pastor. Obviously, we can learn from listening to others views and opinions but when we focus on people we can get off track and confused very easily.

Everyone has a different opinion. You can listen to one person or group and hear what they think is the truth, then find another person or group who has a completely different take on the same subject. Putting our trust in people and their opinions often leads to fighting and arguing. Many times, when we have been shown something or led in a particular way we expect everyone to see it our way and to believe the same thing.

The only way to get past all the different views and opinions is to focus on Christ. He will teach us and lead us into the truth. That is not to say we are all going to think and feel the same way on everything. God deals with us personally and in different ways and as followers of Jesus there are many different paths we will walk throughout this life.

We need to remember that the Spirit speaks from within us, he speaks to us from the written word and he can speak to us through other people. We need to be sure we are hearing his voice and know he does not always speak the same way and does not always have the same life experiences for everyone.

It is time we become followers of Jesus and stop being followers of men. Nothing wrong with listening and hearing the views of others, but take it as that. It is their view and opinion. Only Jesus is the one to follow and to be our everything.

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Growing up in the organized church, we were taught from a young age that the Holy Spirit came to reside within us once we accepted the grace of Christ.

Many times in the written word of God we are told that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit lives within us and we have no need that any man teach us.

Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice, yet most of us were taught that the voice really means the words written in the bible.

We have heard it said that if it is not in the bible it is not of God. We are told God only speaks through the written word, yet there are so many interpretations, various doctrines and so many verses that were written to a specific person or group of persons. These writings were often for a specific time period that no longer relates directly to us except as an example to learn about the nature of God.

I feel so much has been lost over the many years from when the original writings were done. So many of the translations have changed the original meanings because of changes in times, word meanings and such. Without the Spirit bringing to life the words we read and through confirmation through his voice within, we are really left to our personal views and opinions of what others have told us the written word means.

The bible is not God and it is not a god. The bible was inspired by an infallible God yet written by very fallible men, men who were inspired yet wrote with their personal views and ways of writing. The bible is about people trying to find, follow and fellowship with God and clearly teaches us how to do that. The written word leads us to the Living Word, who is the Christ.

So many times it is mentioned that the Spirit now lives within us. Yet so often, even though we say it, we do not act like we really believe it. Time and time again the bible says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ, the Spirit and the Kingdom are within you. And time and time again we seem to go right on thinking God is far away from us and all we can do is read from his word.

Sure, there are many people who say they speak from God and yet are nowhere close to being a godly example. It is easy to say God told me this or that, or say God told me to tell you something yet the person saying such things is only going on their personal feelings and interpretations. Anyone can say God told them this or that and expect us to do what they say, but we need to listen to the Spirit for ourselves and listen for the confirmation from within as to what is of God and what is not.

I believe if God says the Spirit lives within us and we can hear his voice, then it is something not to be taken lightly. As followers of Christ we can rely on the Spirit within us to teach us and guide us into his truth. We have to be listening and open to God to know his voice, but we can hear it and know it is from our Father. To say that we can only hear from God through the written word is to miss a more intimate fellowship with our Father.

Is the bible to be ignored? Are we to stop reading the written word and only follow what we feel is the voice of the Spirit. No, both the written word and the Living Word that lives within us are important, The written word is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Yet without the Living Word bringing those words to life, it is just a book that is good for teaching and learning. We need to be listening for the quiet voice of the Spirit of Christ who actually lives within us for truth and guidance. Sometimes he will speak directly in our spirits, sometimes he will speak through his written word.

Also remember that God is alive and his Spirit is within us. Do not think that He can only speak through one particular means. Just do not jump at every voice you hear, make sure it is the voice of His Spirit. His sheep hear his voice, which to me says we can hear and know it is from our Father.

Obviously this is not to say that you should immediately react to any thought that pops into your head. Although the bible says we have the mind of Christ we also have the mind of Jim, or Sam or Jane. We are still human and need to be sure we are hearing from the Spirit of Christ and not our natural spirit.

We also know that the Spirit can speak to one person one way and another person in a different way. Just because the Spirit is speaking to me does not mean he is telling you the same thing. Just because I hear the Spirit say something to me does not mean it is something that has to be announced to everyone. It may be that he is speaking to me for something I need to do or learn and it is not meant for others to hear.

We are told the Spirit lives within us and that his sheep hear his voice, so we know we can hear and know the voice of God. So many of us have the thought that God is way up in heaven somewhere and all we can do is read his word or listen to pastors to know what he wants us to do. The truth is his word says that he lives within us through the Spirit and he speaks to us through the Spirit.

My friend Michael Clark wrote about this also and said in his article: “Jesus is the Word of God! He speaks to those who are His sheep. They know His voice and will not follow the voices of strangers (read John Ch. 10). Yet, so many Christians have said to me, “How can I know when Jesus is speaking to me?” To many of them the answer is, “Unplug! You are listening to and reading too many teachers. Break this habit of heaping to yourself teachers who tickle your ears. Get alone with God for a few months until you start hearing His whispered voice. Talk with Him and let Him be your friend above all friends.” (https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/words-words-words-or-will-we-be-one/)

Just as we think of the church as a building with an organized program, it is so much more than that. The Church is a community of people daily following the Spirit and living within the kingdom of God during our life now. We also think of the word of God as a book, yet the true and living Word of God is so much more than that.

Jesus is the Living Word of God and we can hear the voice of the Spirit which is within us. We can hear his voice through the written word also, but keep in mind that God speaks in more ways than one.

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Growing up in the church I learned quickly that the Bible was the word of God and that God spoke to us through his word. Everything had go along with the Bible or it was not of God.BibleatJohn1-1

I often wondered how a book written by many different people over many years, and in a time period so different from our own could be inerrant and the only way God communicated.

My personal belief is that the written word of God, which we call the Bible is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, as mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16.

Yet while reading some of the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:21 to 44, we listen to Jesus as he speaks to the crowds. Many times he says “you have heard it said” then mentions a verse from the written word. Each time he follows this with “but I say unto you” and follows with his words of advice. To me this says that Jesus, who is the living, inerrant Word of God has final authority over any written word which we call the bible. And remember Jesus spoke these words before the New Testament of our Bible was even written.

We read in John 1:1, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

JesusWordofGod2Again in John 1:14 we read ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’. The written words of the Bible did not become flesh and dwell among us, only Jesus fulfilled that verse.

And in Revelation 19:13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

For me, I believe the Bible is inspired by God, written by men and useful for leading us to the living, inerrant Word of God who is Jesus.

I am certainly not saying we should not read the Bible, but we should not elevate the Bible to a position of authority which matches that of Jesus. We are not to worship the Bible, nor are we to disregard the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. He will guide us into all truth.

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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.

jesusisnotchristian

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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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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Lately I have been thinking about the way christians, gays and atheists treat each other. Certainly talking about this can easily upset a lot of people, especially christian people.

I write from a christian perspective and I have many christian friends, along with many gay and atheist friends. I do not want to sound like I am taking sides or be condemning of anyone.

What bothers me is the way many christian people have so much hatred and animosity toward atheists and the LGBT community. When speaking of christian people it seems many have feelings toward gays and atheists that are not very Christ-like. There are times I can hardly believe the words and actions of christian people toward them.

Angry christian

True christianity is not a religion, it is people who believe in and follow Jesus. As followers of Jesus we want to live like him, and he was loving and kind to all people. So many people who call themselves christian are so far from following his example, especially when it comes to gays and atheists. Rather than being known for our love, some christians seem more like the pharisees of Jesus day. Pharisees were the religious leaders who Jesus would continually reprehend because they thought they were so much better than everyone else. Many christians nowadays see gay and atheist people as their enemy, and that is certainly not the case.

The fact is God loves all of us, and as his followers we are to do the same. Just because people do not all believe the same or act the same, we all deserve to be loved and accepted as we are. God loves us as we are, even before we came to follow him. A lot of christian people tend to forget this fact.

Now I also see a lot of demeaning comments from several gay and atheist writers about christian people from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if it started because of the mean comments from christians, but I do not like to see such things from anyone. If we could just get past the labels people put on one another and see the human being, the person who wants the same things: acceptance, happiness and love, I think we could do much better at getting along even in our differences.

I know we are not all going to agree on things, although as christians we have the power through the spirit to love and accept all people no matter who they are or what they believe. As people of God, we are to be known for our love for one another. Many of us have a hard time loving other christians not to mention those who think differently. Showing love goes a lot further than fighting, arguing and condemning.

loveacceptance1

We know not everyone is going to change their mind and believe in God as we do. As christians, we want everyone to know and enjoy the love and acceptance of our Father, but we need to remember it is the Spirit, not us, who draws people to the Father, and it is through love rather than rule keeping and condemnation. Those who choose not to follow a christian belief still deserve our love and understanding, even when we do not agree. I think many times christian people are afraid to accept others who are not christian because they feel it is denying their faith. They feel accepting others in love is saying we are in agreement on everything, yet they think they should be pointing out what our differences are and leading them to a christian faith. My viewpoint is we should love and accept others as Christ did and leave any convicting or changing to the Holy Spirit.

Rather than condemning and avoiding those who are different than us, we should be willing to spend time getting to know, accept and understand others. We can talk and discuss our differences and learn from each other, yet without the expectation that we are going to change anyone.

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In our world today, people are constantly fighting over who is right and who is wrong, or whose rights have been violated. Abortion rights, women’ rights, gay rights, discrimination by race, gender, nationality and on and on it goes. I think we could come up with a different topic each day to fight and argue over.

In the natural world, I do not think this will ever change. Each of us want to have our rights upheld, and we do not want to back down from what we think are our rights.

In Kingdom living, I’m not sure any of us really have any rights. We have turned everything over to God and we let His life flow through us. At least, that is the way it should be. We have been crucified with Christ, we are dead to the old self and it’s no longer about what we want, or how we want it, but letting His love and compassion live in us every day.

God created man (being both men and women) in His image. No one group of humans are better than another. There is no upper, middle and lower class of human beings. We were created in His likeness, and we are equal in His eyes. Needless to say, in our world each of us grow up in different cultures and have different opportunities and lifestyles, so there are upper, middle and lower classes based on economics, but spiritually each of us are created equally in His image.

One area that has been given a lot of light recently is the decision in Indiana of the so-called Religious Freedom Act. Although I don’t understand the law completely, it is certainly not right for anyone to be discriminated against. Truthfully, I do not know why, especially in America, we need a religious freedom act. We already have all the ‘religious’ freedom we need. True, there are certain things we feel are being taken away, but honestly, we are free to love God, talk to God anytime and anywhere, love others, attend church or not attend church, and many other things without the fear of being put in prison or killed.

Acceptance1

In regard to the Religious Freedom Act, I personally believe the gay and lesbian community should be free to live their lives and be loved and accepted like anyone else. It seems we Christians want to demonize gay people and say they are worse than anyone else. I’m not sure why that is, but I certainly do not believe this is the way it should be.

Even those who try to show acceptance have a strange way of doing so at times, such as a recent posting I saw on Facebook stating something like .. Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, yet you can’t make a cake for a gay couple? I understand what they are trying to say, but to me the underlying message is still saying that being gay is a sin.

Truthfully, I don’t think we are to be the judge of such decisions. We are not called to say who is right or what is sinful. We are called to love God, love others and make disciples. The decision of who is right or wrong, what is sinful and what is not is in God’s hands, not ours. The Holy Spirit will convict the worldly of any sinfulness. We are to love everyone we come in contact with, and accept them as they are….just the way God did for us.

We all have different thoughts on what is right and wrong. What we feel is wrong, may not be wrong to someone else. No matter how we feel, do we have the right to point out the issues in someone’s life that we don’t agree with or accept? Many times we want to uphold our right to express our views and point out the differences of others, when we should not say anything, show God’s love and allow God to do what needs to be done.

It seems each of us have certain sins that we consider worse than others. I’m not sure why we are so hard on some things and yet never talk about others. You never hear, gluttons can’t eat at this restaurant…is that a sin or a poor life style? Cussing isn’t allowed around here…is it a sin or a bad choice of words? Smokers aren’t allowed here…is it a sin or an unhealthy choice? No divorced people allowed to participate in our church…is it a sin or a bad choice in your mate? Why do we make so much out of making it our right to point out what we consider sins or flaws in others when we should be showing Jesus and his love to them?

Let’s face it, we all sin at times. There are no levels of sin, none that is better or worse than another. Through Christ, our sinful nature was crucified and buried at the cross. We are now free of the sinful nature, although we obviously still sin when we take our focus off Jesus. Thank God our sins have been forgiven by Christ’s death because God has provided His grace for everyone.

GraceforAll

Just as much as we should love others and accept them for who they are, that doesn’t mean we are always going to agree. Each of us have our way of thinking and each of us have what we feel is right and wrong, and we don’t have to give that up. We do need to realize we are all different, we feel different ways about things, and we consider different things right and wrong. We should not discriminate against anyone for being different, and we should love and accept everyone and just agree to disagree on some things.

I think it is time to stop being negative and focusing on what we think is wrong, stop worrying about our rights and start realizing that God loves each of us. We need to stop putting people into groups we do not want to associate with or those we treat differently, and accept the fact that we are not all the same. We can accept and love one another in Christ by letting Him live through us, and loving those He brings into our lives each and every day.

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