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

DISTRACTION


distDistract– from Webster’s Dictionary
archaic : insane, mad
a : to turn aside : divert <refused to be distracted from her purpose> b : to draw or direct (as one’s attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time <was distracted by a sudden noise> 2 : to stir up or confuse with conflicting emotions or motives
Medical Definition of DISTRACTION
1a : diversion of the attention b : mental derangement

I sat down in front of my computer to write.  I needed to get my laundry done.  I needed to take out the trash. I needed to figure out what I was going to wear to work today.  I needed to check my bank account online and make sure nothing was happening that wasn’t supposed to.  I wanted to look at Facebook and check my emails to see if there was anything there that needed my attention. I wanted to look for jobs in case there was something better out there that I could qualify for.  I needed to give the dog a bath. I wanted to go downstairs to look at the weather on TV.  I still needed to get something to eat and take a shower before I left for work.
I went and sat out on the front porch to collect my thoughts and organize my day.  With everything I thought I wanted and needed to do, I was exhausted.  I didn’t have enough time to get it all done. I went back upstairs, turned off the computer and laid down for a nap.  There was always tomorrow to write.  I was too busy today.
How many times has this happened to you?  You set out to do one thing and two hundred others come up or come to mind.  Unless you are one of those who can “multitask,” pretty soon everything overwhelms you and you end up getting nothing done.
My wife is one of those who can multitask quite well.  She calls it multitasking, I call it watching a squirrel on crack.  She  can start cleaning in one room and walk into another, see something that needs to be done, start on that, walk into another room and do the same thing.  Soon she has six or seven things going (half done) and somehow can manage to finish them all sometime that day..  I usually leave the house or go upstairs just to get out of the “confusion.”
Usually, if I cant finish a project within an allotted amount of time, I don’t start.  I want to devote my full attention to something or not at all.  One thing at a time.  If I start a house cleaning project it is one room at a time, or one task like vacuuming. Once that is completed then it is on to the next. I suffer from OSAD (Organizational Simplicity Attention Disorder). If I start thinking about something else, its over.  Too many thoughts and I retreat to my nothing box. Once I start worrying about something, I give it my full attention and the original task never gets completed.
Matthew 6:25-34
[ Do Not Worry ] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
I find it interesting that one of the definitions of distract and distraction is insanity.  If you don’t keep to the project at hand, getting sidetracked and derailed with the least little thing, sooner or later it will make you feel like you cant get anything done.  Worrying about things is just a distraction, a supplant of the evil one to stir up or confuse with conflicting emotions or motives. It can make you goofy.

DO NOW WHAT YOU DREAMT TO DO


Sun Dance

Life is but a vapor
Here, then gone
These are not sad words
These are real words
Our life is given as a gift
Moments in our existence pass
So quickly before our eyes
Life as we know it, is so, so short

Don’t wait –
Do now what you dreamt to do
Try what you were afraid to try
Step out and grab a hold of life
Live with no regrets

Laugh often, smile a lot
Make it a habit to give hugs
Love intensely
Love like there is no tomorrow
Give from your heart freely
Share hope, give joy
Encourage, and lift up the brokenhearted
Listen, understand, be gracious
Sing in the shower, loudly
Crack a joke, then laugh at yourself
Cry with a friend
Hold someone’s hand

Do now what you dreamt to do
Try what you were afraid to try
Step out and grab a hold of life
Breathe –
Take time to stop and inhale spring
Summer, fall and winter
Smell the changes in the air
Watch a bird in flight
Get lost in the splendor of color
As the sun rises in the morning
Be captivated by the beauty of the water
As the rays of the sun dance upon it
Look up and take notice
Of the pureness of the blue in a summer sky
How the stars sparkle
Against the velvet blackness of night
The sweetness of a baby’s laughter
The aroma of home baked cookies
How it feels to be with family
Embrace life
Notice the small things that surround you
For simple joys are our greatest pleasures
But most of all be thankful
God created life to be savored
He gave it to us as a gift
To be unwrapped and enjoyed
Relish every moment
Of the life He gave you
Live it to the full
For life is but a vapor
Here, then gone

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

MAY I ASK WHO’S CALLING?


Telephone

Ever not sure of who you are speaking with on the phone?  When I call my daughter’s house, at times it is hard to know if I am speaking with my daughter or granddaughter because they “sound” so much alike – I must question them, okay, is this Stacie or Hannah?  Even though  I am the one who gave birth to Stacie, since she moved out of the house and started a family of her own, we don’t communicate or see each other every day. Knowing her as my daughter, completely…. but if I don’t talk to her every day, I can mistake her for my granddaughter. Why? Because the closeness of every day living, communication and personal interaction with her has changed.  We still love each other, but the intimacy of every day life we once knew is not there anymore.

The amazing thing is the closer you draw to a person, the more time spent, the more intimate you become, the easier it is to “instantly” know their voice.  For example, my husband calls. I instantly recognize his voice, after all, we have been married for over 25 years and very much in love, still. We share so much with each other, dreams, disappointments, good times, the not so good times, we’ve been through a lot together – know what we like and dislike – we even finish each other’s sentences or speak the same thing at the same time.

Why? Because of the time we have intimately shared together.  Same applies to our relationship with God.  The longer we’re acquainted, (more than just an occasional 2 hr, one day a week encounter), the more time we spend with Him, the closer we become and the easier it is to recognize His voice.

The more time we spend with Jesus has it’s definite benefits…we began to think like Him, understand Him, love Him more and more as every day passes. Then it becomes a necessary part our lives…like the air we breathe, we have to be with Him.

Ah, to be so intimate with the Savior…has your heart ever yearned to be with Him like an unconsoled lover? Just to hear Him breathe, listen to His heart beat, to know the sound of His voice.  To sit quietly and wait upon Him, to share your life with Him.  Do you know what God sounds like?  When was the last time you spent some serious alone time with Him? (crisis time doesn’t count)  When was the last time you craved (just got to have) to be with Him?  Craved Him, like a parched soul craves refreshing…oh, that we would become so desperate to be with Jesus that we would crave that intimacy…heavy the heart would be without the time spent together.

How can we know our Father when we don’t spend anytime with him?

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.