Broken Nation

Broken Nation

Broken Nation

 

I’d like to preface this post with saying that I am talking about us as a nation and people, not individually.  I know there are many people that fear God and strive to obey Him.  But, we are no longer one nation under God.  We have lost our way as a nation.

 

 

Isaiah 1:5-6

5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.

 

The above is referring to the state of our Government and religious institutions.

 

How did we go from One Nation under God, to a society of God haters?  How did we go from most people respecting authority to a total disregard for authority? How did we go from a people who honored our veterans to many who despise them?  How did we go from a people who pledged allegiance to our flag to a people who won’t even stand up for the pledge?  

 

How did we go from kids misbehaving in school by passing notes and chewing gum, to kids bringing guns to school and kids in middle school sexting each other?  How did we go from presidents who at least carried themselves with respect for the office, to a president who totally disrespects the office of president and our way of life?  How did we go from a people who believed in the sanctity of marriage and family, to a people who are indifferent to the institutions?

 

How did we get to a place where good has become evil and evil has become good?  How did we get to a place where light has become dark and dark has become light?  How did we go from a Country that people from all over the world came to to become part of the American dream, to a Country that is being invaded by people of cultures that don’t wish to assimilate?

 

The answer to those questions aren’t that difficult to find if you know where to look.  There was a people in history who was very much like us, and had many of the blessings we’ve had in this Country.  Of course they did not have the technology we have, but they had great abundance throughout their land.  It was a land flowing with milk and honey “metaphorically speaking”.  They were a people who were given victory after victory in their battles, rain and fair weather for their crops and land enough for each man who was willing to work it.  They were a nation of just laws where life was fair for all whether rich or poor.  On top of all that, they had a just King, the Creator of all things, who loved those people and wanted nothing but the best for them.

 

Unfortunately, over time, things began to change, and they were no longer content with all they had.  So they began to turn from the path that led to all their blessings, and began embracing and emulating customs and behaviors of the nations around them.  They broke the Covenant they had with their King and turned away from Him.  They basically told their King, “The Almighty” they no longer wanted Him meddling in their affairs.   So, being the just King He is, and honoring His gift of free will to all mankind He began removing the hedge that He had placed around them so they could see what life would be without Him.  God’s love allows people to make those kinds of decisions as much as it hurts Him to see it.

 

The parallels of how the nations of Israel and Judah went from great national blessings to lawlessness, sexual deviance and corruption, and how we in America have followed that same path is quite uncanny.   We started out as a nation of just laws and mostly God fearing people.  We had been blessed beyond any nation in the world, and had become the richest nation that has ever existed in history.  

 

We have so many vast natural resources and are surround by oceans which protect us.  We have been a blessing to many other nations since our beginning  as a nation.  We have been given so much, and as life has become easier and we have become fatter, we have lost our gratitude, and have asked our King to stop meddling in our affairs and let us live the way we desire.

 

So once again, God is allowing a nation that once called itself His, to have it it’s own way.  God has given us free will to live as we wish.  Of course when we do things man’s way as opposed to God’s way there are natural consequences that come with that decision.  And don’t think that it’s God who is pulling some lever in heaven making bad things happen to us, the bad that is happening to this Country is the natural results of turning from God.

 

Let’s look at some scriptures in Jeremiah and see just how much of what Judah was doing lines up with what we are doing.

 

Jeremiah 2:7-8

7 I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit.

Jeremiah 2:13

13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 6:13-14

13 “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have also healed the hurt of my people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.

 

Jeremiah 2:19

19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord God of hosts.

 

Jeremiah 32:35

And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’

Did you get that last scripture?  Judah had gotten to the point where they were murdering their first born and burning them to a false god.  Now we might be quick to say we would never do that, but we have now murdered over 50 million babies to the god of choice.  Are we any better than they?  Do we really believe that we can have spilled that much blood and not have to give account for it?  Do we really believe that we are to big and powerful to fail and to be brought down?  Just look at the history of Rome and other great empires of the past.

 

Jeremiah 5:15-17

15 Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” says the Lord. “It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, Nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty men. 17 And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, which your sons and daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; they shall destroy your fortified cities, in which you trust, with the sword.

2 Kings 25:1-3

25 Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. 2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.

Lamentations 4:9-11

9 Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger; for these pine away, stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of the compassionate women have cooked their own children; they became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 The Lord has fulfilled His fury, He has poured out His fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured its foundations.

 

Jerusalem was under siege for about two years before it finally fell.  During that time the people suffered greatly and toward the end starvation was rampant. It came to the place where people were cannibalized their children as you can see from the scripture above.  Can you imagine what would happen in this country if the power grid were to go down or we had a total economic collapse?  There are over 42 million people in this country on food stamps.  Most people live in cities now and know nothing about growing food.  What happens if the EBT cards are not filled and/or the food shelves are empty?  It’s frightening to think about, but it’s very real possibilities.  It seems the government has become the god of most people in this country, and that is who they look to to take care of them.  Unfortunately for them, the government is a false god and cannot save them or this nation.  Only the true God, the Creator of all things, can save us from what’s ahead.  Of course, we’ve asked Him to not meddle in our affairs, and sadly He is going to give us just what we asked for.

 

To see the end result of Judah and all she suffered you only need to read the book of Lamentations written by the Profit Jeremiah.  It’s not a long read, but it’s a very sad poetic explanation of what they suffered.

 

Although this post is a bit of a downer there is nothing to fear for those who call themselves by His name.  I feel a lot of suffering is coming our way as a nation, but God can keep you safe where ever you are if you are His.  Let me leave you with the following encouraging scriptures.

 

Isaiah 40:26-31

26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; Not one is missing. 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

 

Don’t forget to let you light shine in this dark world and always be ready to give an answer to those who wonder about the hope that is in you.

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A Christian Walk

A Christian Walk

A Christian Walk

I originally wrote this post under the title “Lessons From Rocky” in 2012, but feel it has a great lesson for now.  With our current culture wringing it’s collective hands over not feeling safe if people have differing points of view.  And when so many want to point the finger at others blaming them for their lack of success in their personal lives, I feel as a Christian we need to look within to see where our abundance or lack thereof comes from.   I’m not just talking about money either, but our personal values and character; and how what we do and say impacts the lives of those around us.

Have you ever watched the final installment of the Rocky movies, Rocky Balboa? If not, you really need to; and if it’s been a long time, you should watch it again. Whether you’re a fan of boxing or not, this movie is full of great examples of how we should treat others.

Rocky’s now probably in his mid to upper 50’s, widowed for three years, and has a son who doesn’t want to be around him because he feels he’s always in his father’s shadow. Rocky spends his evenings telling old boxing stories to the guests of his little Italian restaurant, and during the day interacting with the people of his neighborhood.

I think this movie is a great metaphor for our Christian walk. It has family values and examples of unconditional love. It shows a man can be strong and still be a gentle spirit. Rocky’s character gladly feeds those who are down on their luck, and would give someone the shirt off his own back if they needed it.

He’s respectful, kind and self-controlled even when he’s insulted. He cares deeply for his family and friends; and even when they are hurtful to him, he shows restraint and doesn’t hurt them back.

Now I don’t know a whole lot about Sylvester Stallone as a person, but his character in the movie is one to be emulated. He is a skilled warrior in the boxing ring, yet a gentle spirit outside of it. When in the ring he’s focused, committed to his task, and knows no fear. Outside the ring he’s kind, generous, and focused on making his part of the world a better place.

At the beginning of the movie, while visiting different places around town where he and his now passed wife had a history, he runs into, and befriends a single mom he knew from her youth. He takes her and her teenage son, with no father figure, under his wing to help them.

There’s a scene where this single mom, Marie, asks Rocky, “so why you doing this for us”? Rocky just kind of shrugs his shoulders and asks her, “Why does someone have to have a reason to do something nice for someone else“? What a wonderful example of loving your neighbor as yourself.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie though is when Rocky has a come to Jesus meeting with his son on a sidewalk near his restaurant. His son is trying to persuade Rocky not to fight the world champing because he’s going to embarrass himself as well as his son. At this point, Rocky gives a truly inspirational speech to his son that I believe speaks to us all.

There are some great nuggets of wisdom in the following video clip.

How often have we let life beat us down and steal our dreams?

How many times have we let adversity beat us up, and shake our faith?

I would like to have a poster made that says, “It’s not how hard life hits you, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”.

As a Christians we’ve got to be able to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at us.

When we get hit with trials, we can’t wallow in self-pity and hang our heads in defeat; we must grab hold of God’s promises, pull ourselves up by the boot straps, and keep moving forward?

Life is wonderful, but life is also hard. Our ability to keep moving forward will determine the kind of walk we have with God, and the works we’re able to do in His name.

Jesus Christ is our Rock and our strength. He will give us whatever we need to keep going, but He expects us to do our part and keep pushing forward.

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Knowing Our God

Knowing Our GodHow do you see God?  Is He like a great grandfather in the sky who smiles, pats us on the head and loves on us know matter what we do?  Or is He a harsh God who sit’s up there waiting for us to make a wrong move or bad decision so that He can zap us and throw us into some ever burning hell fire?

 

Is God capricious in His nature changing His mind about things as He goes?  One day He gives us these laws to follow that show us how to love God and our fellow man, and the next He gets rid of them because they’re just not necessary anymore.  Is God Omnipresent like some believe?  Is He in every leaf of every tree, in every blade of grass, in every rock, etc.?  Is our Great God “little baby Jesus meek and mild” like some view Him? Or is He a great and mighty King who will raise up His Saints while conquering His enemies on this earth one day?

 

I could go on and on with the many ways that people view or see God.  We tend to have opinions about God and His nature we inherit from our parents, our churches, even our culture.  On top of that we have this tendency to want to see God the way we think He should be.

 

If what I’m writing here were not true, would we have hundreds of different Christian churches and doctrines?

 

There certainly are many mysteries about God that we like to speculate about, but we are just not able to know at this time.   God does not give us every detail about Him, but He gives us what we need to know.  He gives us a path to follow that will lead us right into His Kingdom if we are willing to follow it. 

 

Would you like to know what the most important thing to know about God is?  He tells us right in the scriptures and it’s actually very simple.  You can find the answer to this question in the book of Jeremiah.

 

 

Jeremiah 9:24

But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

 

That scripture says so much!  First it tells us that we can understand and know Him.  That right there tells us that He is not distant or esoteric.  He is a personal God and can be known by us.  What a blessing that is.

 

Next He tells us what His nature is.  He exercises lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness.  Let’s break those down a bit and see what it tells us about God.

 

The first thing God tells us about His nature is He exercises lovingkindness.  So what’s the difference between kindness and loving kindness?  I think the best example might be found in how we might show kindness to a stranger as opposed to how we show kindness to someone we really love and care about.

 

A perfect example of God’s lovingkindness is found in the book of Jonah.  We all know the story of God telling Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophecy to the people that in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed.  And we all know how he tried to get out of the job and fled on a ship but eventually was thrown overboard swallowed up by a great fish and delivered to the beach near Nineveh. 

 

The gets very interesting when Jonah started going through the streets of Nineveh calling out, “Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown”.  The king of Nineveh hears about this and immediately humbled himself and commanded all his people to do the same.  They rent their clothes, put on sackcloth and call for a city wide fast.  They even made their cattle and other animals fast and wear sackcloth.  And when God saw the repentance and how the people from the greatest to the least humbled themselves, God showed them lovingkindness and repented of destroying the city and spared all their lives.

 

The very act of Jesus Christ suffering the torture, beating, humiliation and crucifixion for our sins is the ultimate act of lovingkindness.  Isn’t it great to know that our God is a God that exercises lovingkindness?  If He weren’t, we would all be toast.

 

Next God tells us that He executes judgement.  What exactly does that mean?  Well, we are told very specifically that we are not to avenger ourselves of wrongs that are committed against us.  That doesn’t mean we can’t defend ourselves, only that once something is done to us, it is not our place to exact judgment on whomever offended us, but it is God’s place to exact judgment.

 

Romans 12:19

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

 

God his given us a great gift which is free will.  So if we are truly free, we must be free to do both good and evil; sadly, many choose evil.  Judgment is how God deals with evil and He will not ignore justice which is judgment.

 

We all know the story of the children of Israel in Egypt and the hard bondage they went through.  On top of the horrible servitude the Egyptians put the Israelite’s, the whole county was complicit in the murder of many of the Israelite’s baby boys.  Because Pharaoh couldn’t get the midwives to kill the baby boys when they were born, it commanded all his people when they found a new born baby boy there were to cast him into the Nile River.

 

We  have know way of knowing how many Israelite baby boys were murdered, but it was probably thousands.  There are people who ask, “Couldn’t God have just gotten the Israelite’s out of Egypt without killing all the first born of Egypt”?  Of course He could, but how could God let the murder of all those innocent baby’s go unanswered?  Where would be the justice?  God is fair, God is strait, He says very specifically, He will repay.  That is judgment.

 

Exodus 12:12

‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

 

Vengeance is God’s job and it shows that God is fair and will exercise judgment on those who have it coming.

 

Next, God tells us He is a God of righteousness which is the quality of being morally right.  This tells us that we can always count on God to do what is right.  God is always fair and strait with us.  He will never be capricious or unknowable in His judgments.  He thereby gives us an example of how we should be in our dealings with others.  Below are just a few of many scriptures on God’s righteousness.

 

Psalm 7:17

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 9:4

For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.

Psalm 9:8

He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness

 

The bottom line is all the issues we want to argue about regarding God are futile.  There are things we just cannot know about God and there are things we can only speculate regarding God.  But the things that are truly important to know about God are these:

 

Jeremiah 9:24

But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

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I Had a Dream

swan-1002942_1280-1I had a dream the other night and it was so vivid and realistic that it almost didn’t seem like a dream.

I’ve been wrestling lately with feeling like I’m not as close to God as I would like to be.

I know I have not been praying nearly as much as I should be, nor reading my bible as I should.

Anyway, I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours before finally falling asleep. (That’s when it got weird).

I found myself standing on a beach, to my right was this large, deep and, beautiful lake it was cool and crystal clear and it seemed to draw me in; and to my left and around the whole perimeter of the lake was every kind of big and impressive structure you can imagine.

There were: hotels, casinos, movie theaters and restaurants of every kind, there were bowling alleys, dance clubs, colossal financial institutions and skyscrapers, there were amusement parks and water slides, there were street vendors and musicians on every other corner. And every where you looked there were bright lights and laughter and people scurrying about. I could feel myself being pulled in that direction.

Then I turned back and looked at the lake and I found myself captivated by its beauty. I noticed brilliant and strange looking creatures swimming under the water. The surface of the water was like a sheet of glass, and there was a cool and gentle breeze blowing toward me off the lake. When I focused on the lake, I almost forgot about the shore, it just seemed to fade away. Out toward the middle of the lake I noticed, there were people swimming. There were not nearly as many people as on the shore, and they were not laughing and hollering and scurrying about like the people on the shore, but they seemed to be really happy. They seemed to really be enjoying themselves. There was a look of contentment on their faces and they seemed to be completely at peace. It really seemed like such an odd contrast.

Then I started feeling this tug of war going on inside me. I felt pulled toward all the things that were going on around the lake, at the same time I felt drawn to the water. I really wasn’t certain what to do.

Suddenly I noticed there were people all around me. Most were enjoying all the pleasures that surrounded the lake. Some of them would walk up to the water from time to time, take off their shoes and dip their toe in the water. The majority of them would recoil as if they saw a snake. That water is way to cool for swimming many of them said. Plus, my friends and family are waiting on me so I really don’t have time to swim now, maybe another day.

Then there were some who would step in for just a moment, but when they saw a wave coming in their direction, they ran out of the water and said, “It’s way too risky and hard to stand, I feel much safer on the shore, I don’t feel comfortable in the water”.

Then there was a smaller number who even though the water was cool decided to venture a little deeper. Some went in up their knees and some up to their waists.

For a while they seemed to enjoy the water, but they kept hearing the sounds and voices from the shore. You could see a struggle going on in their faces, and unfortunately the pull was too great for some of them and they left the water and went back to the shore.

Then, there was even a smaller group who entered the water and didn’t look back. These people dove under and totally submerged themselves in the beautifully clear and cool water. When they came up, there was such a look of contentment on their faces. You could tell that many of these people had lived hard lives and been through a lot, but they seemed to be so at peace after submerging themselves in the water.

I was really troubled by all these images and didn’t know what to make of them when I heard a very loud and powerful voice behind me.  The voice I heard roared like the sound of Niagara Falls, yet extremely clear.

The voice called my name and I turned around and felt as though I was looking into the sun. The brightness blinded me and I found myself dropping like a sack of potatoes. I felt this feeling of insignificance and fear. I then felt a hand touch me and the voice said, don’t be afraid, be at peace.

I felt my strength come back and stood and turned toward the One who had said, “don’t be afraid, be at peace”. He no longer had the appearance of the sun, but looked like the image of a man and said, “walk with Me”.

He asked me if I understood all the things I had seen, and I told Him, “no, I am very confused over it all”. Then He proceeded to explain what I had seen.

All the things you saw around the shore, like the hotels, casinos, movie theaters and parties, the restaurants of every kind, the bowling alleys, dance clubs, colossal financial institutions and skyscrapers, the amusement parks and water slides, the street vendors and musicians all about ARE THE CARES AND THE THINGS OF THE WORLD.

The beautiful large and deep lake that you saw that was full of brilliant and strange looking creatures. The one whose surface was like glass and had the cool and gentle breeze that blew against you, THAT IS GOD’S SPIRIT AND HIS KINGDOM.

The people you saw that were scurrying around all the buildings and happenings that surround the lake ARE THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD,

The people you saw dipping their toes in the water ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM AND DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT, THEN THE WICKED ONE COMES AND SNATCHES AWAY WHAT WAS SOWN IN THEIR HEART.

The people you saw who waded out a little further, but ran out when they saw a wave coming ARE THOSE THAT HEAR THE WORD AND IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE IT WITH JOY; YET THEY HAVE NO ROOT IN THEMSELVES, BUT ENDURES ONLY FOR A WHILE. FOR WHEN TRIBULATION OR PERSECUTION ARISES BECAUSE OF THE WORD, IMMEDIATELY THEY STUMBLE.

The people you saw who ventured into the water up to their knees and some up to their waists ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD, BUT THE CARES OF THIS WORLD AND THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES CHOKE THE WORD, AND HE BECOMES UNFRUITFUL. (This is the place where so many people fall)

The people you saw who entered the water and didn’t look back. The ones who dove under and totally submerged themselves in the water. Those that came up with such a look of contentment on their faces. The ones that though they had lived hard lives and been through a lot, yet seemed to be so at peace after submerging themselves in the water, THEY ARE THE SAINTS OF GOD, THE ONES WHO HEAR THE WORD AND UNDERSTAND IT, WHO INDEED BEAR FRUIT AND PRODUCE SOME A HUNDREDFOLD, SOME SIXTY, AND SOME THIRTY.

Then He said to me, “Michael, why do you struggle so”. “You submerge yourself in the depth of the water then keep walking in the direction of the currents that tend to drag you back to the shore”.

“You live in a day and age that seems to make your walk with God so challenging.” “Do you know why that is”, He asked me. “No, I said as I looked down sheepishly. “It’s because you let the busyness of this world come between you and God.”

Instead of reading the word in the morning, you get up as late as possible where you have to rush off to work, or put on the news and close Me out. Instead of taking time during the day to go into your room and pray, you find other things to busy yourself with. Instead of making the last thing you do before going to sleep, spending time with God, you end your day with the news drinking in the horrors and sadness of the day. Instead of going to sleep with the Word in your heart, you go to sleep with the worries of the world on your mind and weariness in your spirit.

Then He put His hands on my shoulders, looked me strait in the eye and said, “Come to me Michael, you and your brethren. I know you labor and are heavy laden; I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” “You must stop trying to find time for Me, or fit Me in; you must make time for Me.

I then woke up and felt compelled to share this dream with you. You see, I learned from this dream what I already knew, that God must become number one in our lives.

God must be more important than your husband, more important than your wife, more important than your sons or daughters, more important than your mother or father, more important than your boss or your job, your friends, your hobbies, your fun. God must be paramount in our life or we run the risk of being lukewarm in the eyes of God and being spit out of His mouth.

Stop trying to find time for God. Make time for Him!

 

Of course, I didn’t really dream this but believe allegories and metaphors are such great teachers.  And although this is a re-post from 2012, but felt it was a good time to re-share it.  We are living in perilous times, and there is nothing more important right now than our relationship with God.  As we head into these perilous times, we need to stop with the toe dipping and being afraid of the waves.  It’s time to submerge ourselves in the Word of God!

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Is Being a Believer Enough

Disciples

Disciples

Are you a believer? Do you believe that Jesus is God? If so, how many points does that give you? Where does that belief put you with God? How does that measure up in your relationship with God?

 

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

 

So even the demons believe that Jesus is God, so how does that square with being a believer? You hear people say that all the time, “I’m a believer”.

 
Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

 

Let me ask you a more important question than are you a believer! (Are You A Disciple or Warrior Of Christ?)

 

Well, I guess we should determine what a disciple is to determine if we are one or not?

 

Harper’s Bible Dictionary describes a disciple as an apprentice or pupil attached to a teacher or movement; one whose allegiance is to the instruction and commitments of the teacher or movement.

 

Does that describe your relationship with Christ?

 

So, above we see that a disciple is not just a believer, but he’s an avid learner and imitator of his teacher. Are you and avid leaner and imitator of Christ?

 

What did Jesus say about being a disciple?

 

Luke 6:40

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

 

Are you in training? Do you have the peace of God?  Are you investing yourself and time? Are you, am I like our Teacher? Do we emulate Him, do we speak His words, and do we act as He did?

 

Part of being a disciple is being like what Paul talked about in Romans:

 

Romans 8:29

For whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, …

To be a disciple then, we must be emulating and conforming to the image of Christ. Are we doing that?

 

I don’t know anyone who is a perfect disciple. I can assure you I don’t always speak His words, or act the way He would in all situation; as I still struggle with carnality when not vigilant. What I can tell you though is when I fail; I get up, I repent, I brush myself off, and move forward. I want to be like my Savior, even though He is a hard act to follow.

 

Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him? Unless you do, the scriptures say we can’t truly be His disciple!

 

So, what is something that might identify us as disciples? Let’s take a look at some scriptures on that.

 

John 8:31

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

 

Do we abide in Jesus? Do we accept and act in accordance with His word and His will; not just with lip service, but with action?

 

James 1:22-25 22

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

 

A doer isn’t someone who just hears and believes something, a doer is someone who takes what he learns and does something with it.

 

So, what’s another way to measure whether we are a disciple of Jesus?

 

John 13:34-35 34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sometimes people aren’t very lovable, but Christ doesn’t say anything about only loving the lovable. Also, this is not an emotional love He’s talking about, but a charitable love; a loving in spite of. He also tells us to love our enemies.

 

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. …

 

Again, this isn’t some warm and fuzzy love for people who are evil toward you, but a decision to treat others well in spite of their treatment of you.  As a disciple we’re supposed to follow Christ’s example, the only people He treated harshly were the religious hypocrites. People will know and judge us according to our actions, and how we treat others. What are your actions telling others?

 

Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself falling short as a disciple, we all fall short more often than we’d care to admit. But, being a disciple isn’t a matter of getting everything perfect, it’s a mindset and commitment to emulate the one we follow.

 

Isn’t it the same in life when learning a skill? Those who truly want to succeed in life, in relationships, in business or some career must have a disciple’s commitment in their learning.

 

There is no greater calling to me than to be a disciple of Christ. That doesn’t mean that your whole life is about reading the bible, and spending hours in prayer each day. Some are called to evangelize or preach so most of their time will be serving the church. Others are called to write, or to be activists for just causes; they are called to devote time and study to that calling. Some are blessed with financial success so that they may help others in that way.

 

Being a disciple of Christ is about the heart. If you feel you are having problems with your heart, ask God to be your cardiologist, and make it right.

 

In all my years, I have never felt the sense of urgency to be right with God as I do now.  There is a time when God says it’s too late.  Look at the parable of the 10 virgins.  If we are not spiritually ready when the Groom returns for His bride, the door will be shut on us.  Don’t wait another day, if you feel you’re not where you need to be with God get on your knees and pour out your heart, and He will make His home with you.

 

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