THE CHURCH UNITED


church1Corinthians 1: 10 – 12
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
I was blessed recently by the addition of Daystar Television to the “free” lineup of antenna stations available in my area. As I perused the programming, I began to realize that nothing has really changed since Paul’s time. Even with all of the information available to us in this modern, techno age, we still cling to whatever teaching tickles our fancy and run in the direction of the “spirit-led wisdom” of whoever agrees with us the most. The more persuasive and dynamic the speaker, the more believable they appear to us to be.
Let’s first take a look at the subject of the Blood Moon.
One teacher from a large church in San Antonio says that the Blood Moons represent the beginning of the tribulation and the rapture of the church. Another teacher, with a worldwide ministry based in Ohio, says that the Blood Moons represent the year of jubilee in which all who are faithful will prosper beyond their wildest dreams. So who is right? If we Christians are to be raptured before the tribulation (immediately following the fourth Blood Moon in 2015) then how can we possibly enjoy the bounty of financial prosperity?
Every weekday morning, a former (and once again restored) tele-evangelist has a variety of guests on his program touting the importance of disaster preparedness. The entire program seems to be a gimmick to sell generators and freeze dried foods. Every Sunday morning a well-known tele-theologian and his wife tell us how our government is turning against the Christian population and ushering in the end of the age. Both men have countless scriptures and news reports to validate their views. The former seems to be appealing to the Christian community to be prepared, while the latter appears to be reaching out to the non-believers in an attempt to bring them into the fold. Both are very dynamic in their approach and knowledgeable in scripture and prophecy, yet they rely on fear to spread the “good news” of the Gospel.
On any given Saturday or Sunday, throughout the world, you can find church doors opened and people worshiping the same God. (In this I mean those who are in keeping with the Christian faith.) The variety of doctrines is almost as numerous as the stars in the sky. Each “Fellowship” feels that they are the only ones who have rightly divided the scriptures and the others have either missed something or added too much.
You can attend a somber, liturgical ceremony, or a raucous and lively worship service with fog and lasers designed to usher you into the throne room of God. You can be a part of a group who holds to the Old Testament dietary laws and Sabbath regulations, believes in Salvation through Jesus Christ, and teaches strongly on the end time prophetical interpretation of Ellen G. White. You can find a group who believes that the New Covenant does away with the Old Testament entirely and adheres strictly to teachings from the New Testament. You can hear teaching that God is all love and no judgment. You can give all you have expecting a 100 fold return. You can look for signs and wonders or perform them yourself (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course) or you can discount the Holy Spirit all together, as being something that was only meant for the early church. In other words, nothing has changed since Paul’s time.
Even after this letter to the Corinthians, the church suffered divisions in teachings with the rise of the Gnostics and the teachings of Marcion. In the late second century, a consensus was reached concerning the teachings and the Canon of scripture. This brought us the term “catholic” which means “according to the whole” so that all people who held to the group doctrine could be included, and to dispel the heretical teachings of the others. This name (catholic) was not a separate sect within the ecumenical community, but the final word on what was truth. Unfortunately, even this was corrupted by man for political and financial gain, until the Lutheran Reformation caused another division in the church. It would almost seem that church unity was destined to fail from the beginning. The farther we have gotten from the source (date and individuals directly responsible for the scriptures) the more confusing the message has become to those we are trying to reach. And where does this leave us?
Maybe it is time to get back to the basics. Back to the simplicity of the three questions asked of all who were baptized in the early church:
Do you believe that God is the Father Almighty?
Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit, who was crucified, and died, and rose again on the third day, living from among the dead, who ascended unto heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the quick and the dead?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the resurrection of the flesh?
These are the questions that need to be answered for the unbeliever. These are the answers that they must come to terms with. This is the basis of our faith. If we cannot answer these questions ourselves, how can we ever expect anyone to make a decision? Yes, there are a lot of other teachings in the Word of God. There are guidelines for healthy and productive living. There are guidelines for financial and relationship management. All of these teachings are helpful in daily life, but some teachers get so caught up in the side issues that they forget about the basics.  It all comes down to these three questions in one. Do you believe in God the Father, Jesus the Son of God and the reality of the Holy Spirit?
1Corinthians 1: 20 – 25
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
© Simply Consider This, 2014.

Advertisements

MORE THAN A CASUAL MEETING


handsI want more than a casual meeting
More than a how-do-you-do
More than once or twice in a season
For this will never do

Not quite sure how it all starts
To get to where I want
But this one thing I do know
I have a willing heart

To be intimately familiar
With all you are and do
Only way, one could achieve that
Is with spending time with you

What is your favorite color
Why is the grass green
And why did you make
The weeping willow trees

To know what makes you laugh
To listen to your wisdom
Above all those who are wise
To understand the reason
Of why you gave your life

Yes, my desire is to know you
I understand what is required of me
To give all my life to Jesus
The One who set me free

My heart, Oh Lord
Desperately hungers after you
I need more than a casual meeting
I need more than a how-do-you-do
For when I’m in Your Presence
Nothing less, will ever do

 

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

 

MY ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


robeThe Robe of Righteousness is given and it carries an aroma. It is the sweet aroma of the Savior which lingers on this beautiful cloak of covering.  Not worthy to wear this robe, it was taken and place upon my shoulders as a precious gift of love – as it was placed on me I couldn’t help  to inhale the aroma of the robe.   Shutting my eyes, all my senses were heightened.  Intoxicated, I began to melt into it’s fragrance.  Suddenly swept away, all I knew before was gone– the shame, fear, all the wrongs of times past.  Peace, such peace, forgiveness and warmth like I have never experienced in my lifetime flooded my soul. So completely caught up in it’s essence, nothing else existed.   Then softly interrupting this intimate moment, came a still small voice saying….
“Walk with this robe draped around you, walk in confidence that you are valued, loved and now belong to your Beloved.”

Oh how I cherished that moment.

As I wore this beautiful gift, this precious Robe of Righteousness, every day began with seeking the secrets of Life in my Beloved’s presence.  The robe always kept the sweet aroma.  As time went on, although I still wore this beautiful robe given to me by my Beloved, something changed. Something was missing. The sweet aroma began to fade.  Little by little the sweet fragrance began to turn sour.  My beautiful robe was soiled. Trying to bring the fragrance back, I began working harder in the things the Father had given me to do, thinking it would surely bring back the missing fragrant aroma of Christ.  All the good deeds, and the money given, everything I tried wasn’t working…the robe was still soiled.

Why and how can this be? I still wore the robe draped around me.  Never did I betray my beliefs of how it came to be there.  But no longer did the aroma, the sweet fragrant essence of the robe, linger.  It was gone.  Disappointed, disillusioned, and weary I began to seek the Giver of this once beautiful treasure, this Robe of Righteousness.  Sitting quietly, waiting, anticipating His presence, conviction of my heart began to overwhelm me and tears of brokenness began to roll uncontrollably down my face.
Instantly there was an awakening, the reason for the absence of the fragrance.  The eyes of my understanding were opened.  The sweetness of the aroma was the residue of the Savior’s presence.  Daily as I came to sit quietly before Him, to share my heart and listen to His and learn of Him, it was in those moments where His presence lingered on this beautiful Robe of Righteousness given to me – His fragrance, the sweet fragrant residue of Jesus settled upon this robe.  The robe would be freshened with His essence, His very presence.   And if the robe was to keep this sweet aroma,  I must spend time in His presence daily.  For by missing just once, the sweet aroma of my Beloved would fade.

Falling on my face I cried out, “Oh, Father forgive me…this beautiful Robe of Righteousness I have unintentionally soiled…a loving gift taken for granted, without attention nor respect.  A great price was paid for this beautiful robe, a price I could not pay. A price which was paid with your dear Son’s life.”
My soul wept bitterly.

Reaching out, tenderly with such warmth, the Creator touched my brokenness and breathed life into me once again.  Oh, nothing can describe the peace, acceptance and forgiveness so warmly felt.  As I basked in the warmth that radiated from Him, I noticed a familiar aroma began to fill the air. Sweet was the fragrance, the sweet aroma of my Beloved.  As I left the secret place where we have met so many times before, the robe draped around my shoulders once again carried His sweet fragrance. Closing my eyes I smiled, still surrounded in His presence, realizing this moment was a lesson well learned.
My beautiful Robe of Righteousness, this precious gift of Christ, can only retain it’s fragrance by continually, daily, being in His presence.

Jesus, may I become so addicted to the sweet aroma of your presence, that I desperately long for the moment when it is just you and me.

I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

A LINE IN THE SAND


stock-photo-drawing-a-line-in-the-sand-an-old-metaphor-2360943Children of God it’s time to choose
Let’s get back to God’s Holy Truth
No more can we afford to be
In the world and called Godly

A line is drawn in the sand
on which side will you stand
Time has come to make your choice
no more games of back & forth

There are no 50 shades of grey
Only black or white  for this day
Here & now decide your fate
Stop pretending and being fake

The season of last chance appears
No more time is given here
It’s all or nothing that’s required
Putting on Christ or worldly attire

There’s  a choice that must be made
Remember eternity is at stake
Dabbling in the world’s affairs
thinking it’s okay to settle in there

Caught up in pleasures of a worldly life
blindly lead you down a path of lies
Controlled only by selfish wants
Taking God’s word as nonchalant

The world may say oh come on dude
But God’s Word states clearly, choose
Contrary to popular belief
There really is no in between

Because you are either or your not
With God there’s no in between spot
Arise to be called children of God
or choose to be called nothing at all

Luxury of time is no more
Saints of God the choice is yours
Some day soon Christ will appear
To take His Bride away from here

Brides

When He comes what will He find
A pure and spotless awaiting Bride?
Oh that truth I pray He finds
In us, oh Church
An awaiting spotless Bride

A line has been drawn in the sand
Oh Church of God
On which side will you stand?

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

YOU CAN DO THIS


How to Tie Your Shoes

Driving to work this morning I was thinking about the dependence we have upon God.   We are always asking for help, granted there are times when we should, but some things we should be doing because we have already been taught.   He (Jesus) gave us everything we needed to live an overcoming life, everything.  He has already given us the knowledge to do what we need to do – His Word, the Holy Spirit and the ability.

This thought/scene played in my mind’s eye – one of a father teaching his child how to tie his shoes.  Remember teaching your child or sibling to tie their shoes?  You would show them, then take them through step by step several times until they got the hang of it, then step back and say, “Now you do it.”   Stumbling, clumsy fingers would try  until at last they would succeed.  It took several tries to get it done, but finally the shoes were tied.  The first few times it may not have looked so pretty, but practice soon took care of that.  Tying  shoes became “old hat” to them.

Wouldn’t  this same principle apply with our spiritual lives?

God has given us reason, a mind, ability and the opportunity to learn how to win against all opposition, by His Spirit, His Word and the life of Jesus that lives in us – Christ won at the cross and by His resurrection the War has been won.  All of the enemies of the soul were defeated.  The Blood of Jesus shed, the resurrection power of God that raised Him from the dead and defeated Satan for all times.  Christ Won!!!  He won!!  And that same power, the resurrection power, is in us, as was in Christ Jesus.   When we follow, obey, live for Christ…when we ask Him to come and dwell in us – that power is ours, because of Christ living in us.  He is our source of power against ALL the enemies of the soul.

Just seems to me, we ask God for things and abilities that we have already been given – maybe we should start asking for the wisdom to apply these lessons and quit asking God to do it all for us.  Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge  – right?  So as we are taught “how to tie our shoes” so to speak we should start doing it ourselves and quit asking our parent to do it all the time for us, right?

I believe that we all need and should pray for guidance, always, in our lives everyday.  That should never change.  We need to commune with our Father.  Listen and spend time learning from Him.  We need Him, we need Him involved in our lives.  He is our strength, our source of life.

However, if I kept tying my child’s shoes for them, they would:

1) never learn a simple function necessary to keep their shoes on their feet and to keep from tripping over the shoes laces.

2)  soon take for granted that I should/would be required to do something for them that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves.

3)  not be able to teach others – when or if the occasion arrived.

Scripture verse comes to mind….it’s used, and quoted a lot,  but we really need to take it to heart and live it.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (ability, knowledge, determination)  The first part of the verse is a statement Of I, me – not God will do it….. it’s a partnership – You and Christ. The Christ that lives in you.  I can do all things, by the power of Jesus that lives in me.

God has given us the ability – God has given us all we need –  Jesus taught his disciples then said, “Go.”

Why aren’t we putting God’s principles into practical application in our lives?  He said, “Now believe.” He taught, “Now do.”  By His Word, by His Spirit that lives in us we have the ability to live the life of the over-comer.  We need to apply the lessons He has taught us, stepping out in faith, believing in His power that lives in us to conquer and stop asking Him to do those things for us – it’ time to grow up.

Isn’t time we started tying our own shoes?

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.