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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guilty as Charged

Some parts of Brother Kevn's message a few weeks ago. It reminds me of what I've thought before (and it seems what many of us here have thought before). When I go out with the brothers when they are street preaching, so many professing Christians will get upset at the brothers' signs. I cannot help but wonder WHY? Why would they be upset that we are promoting purity in marriage, loving our enemies, not storing up treasures on this earth, and so on? After all, these are just things Christ taught. Why is it such a crime to believe we must love others and love God?


Acts 26 – Paul has been taken here before King Agrippa. We'll start here in verse one.

Acts 26:1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
Now why was that a crime? Why was that such a criminal offense? And that's what he was saying. “I am standing here being judged for the very hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers.” I've been thinking about that some. Some of the brethren have been informed, somehow either by letter or phone or whatever, from there former church associates that what they have against us is that we emphasize Christ's words even above Paul's. They would say Paul is where we have the teachings and establishment of the church, so our crime in their eyes is that we elevate the words and the teachings of Christ and that we would even think to put the words of Paul as under Christ and not on the same level as his. Well, I appreciate that. I am glad that they are finally accusing us of something we do rather than other things like living 300 miles away form church or something like that and not fellowshipping with each other or some other ridiculous point that is not true. At least now they are getting close to figuring us out I guess, and the thing of it is, I am not at all apologetic for their accusations. As a matter of fact, I embrace it and appreciate it.

We declare plainly that we follow Jesus, and I am not apologizing for that and I'm not even really going to try and explain that. I mean, if Jesus is who he said he was then we are safe following Jesus.

After all, what's so wrong wrong with saying a woman is bound by the law of her husband as long as he lives – establishing the permanence of marriage? Don't the men and women of the world go from one to the other seeking a lasting relationship? We are saying, “Make it last!” We are saying, “It is there, it's permanent!” What's wrong with that?

What's wrong with loving your enemies and feeding them and not returning evil for evil? Defusing anger with good? Well, what kind of world would it be like if everybody was like that? Well, it'd be a pretty nice place to be, wouldn't it? Another “Hello!”. It's ridiculous [why some would be against this]. It would be peace!

What's wrong with not being greedy of gain? Being content and satisfied with food and clothing? And the world strives a lifetime to gain these things; a Christian, at the very onset, sets these things aside and is content with food and raiment, to seek things of value. The world does not have to worry about the Christian getting in his way. They'll let them have it.

Oh, and when I'm talking about “Christian” I'm talking about the real ones, not the ones that (you can probably finish the sentence) that led the Crusades. That's the first thing out of people's mouths, “Well the Christians went on Crusades!!” No they didn't. The Christians didn't do that. The Christians didn't kill or murder people. The Christians didn't go to war. “Well the Christians are the richest people in the communities!” No they are not. Christians are not interested in material wealth.

What's wrong with putting away being angry with your brother? We wouldn't have any lawsuits then, would we? What's wrong with humbling ourselves, letting others win, not making a show of our good deeds, and after we've done all saying, “we are yet unprofitable servants.”? What's wrong with being truthful and not needing to swear because what you say is what you mean and what you say is trustworthy because of the kind of person you are? I mean, if you swear on the bible, on the very thing that tells you not to swear, isn't that an oxymoron, or am I using that word wrong? That's an oxymoron. Are you trustworthy if you swear on the bible that tells you not to swear? You are swearing against your own supposed religion. That doesn't work.

What's wrong with not looking on a woman to lust after her? What's wrong with a woman not wanting to incite lust in a man? Well I guess we wouldn't have too many broken homes if we did that. What's wrong with keeping our hearts pure? What's wrong with taking thankfully from God and not laying up treasures for ourselves against an unknown future but trusting a God that knows the future?

Why are these such criminal things? It's because you have to die to do it and man inherently hates death. I do too, we all do. But you know what? We are all going to do it. Unless Jesus returns, we are all going to do it. And if he returns, it's still going to happen. Some will experience death forever then anyway and others will have already died. So, we are all going to do it. We are all going to give up. We are all going to surrender. We are all going to die. So really the difference is the Christian has decided to do it before hand. A christian has just simply decided to die ahead of time because somehow he got enough knowledge and wisdom to know he's going to have to do it anyway so he might as well do it in God's timing on peaceful terms with God.

Elvis Presley once sang a song in which he said, “And through it all, I did it my way.” Well a few years later his way killed him and your way will kill you and my way will kill me. But Christ's way will give life. Isn't this wonderful how simple it is? It's not that hard. Even for the unrepentant it's not that hard. The hard part of it is doing it and dying. 

If Abraham would be here today would he have fellowship with the Sabbatarians? If Moses were here today, would he have fellowship with the Judaizers of the day? Those who believe that they need to be circumcised and keep the laws that he told the people to keep? Not according to Jesus. He told the Jews, “If you were Abraham's seed you would have rejoiced to see my day. I'm not going to judge you but Moses in whom you trust is going to judge you” and the reason they are going to be judged by Moses is because Moses would be following Christ. That in itself is their judgment. Moses would be hearing Jesus. Christians simply do what Christ said, just like Paul, just like John, just like James did, just like Jude did, and whoever else wrote the New Testament after the gospels.

The irony of it is (and this is probably going to sound a little proud) we obey Paul more than they do! We respect what he told us because he followed Christ and was taught of him. The Christian has entered the kingdom of God already, that's why it says the kingdom of God is now. Now. That's why it says he that believeth on me shall not taste of death - because he gave up his will already. What do you want? A shadow? Or do you want the substance that made the shadow?

There are so many religions on each side of Christ. I appreciate what Brother Walter said the other day – at noon day a man doesn't cast a shadow. If the sun is over him he does not cast a shadow. The Jews were observing shadows and types of Christ and when Christ got here most of them rejected him. Almost all of them did and then some believed later. Since Christ we have 2000 years of shadow on the other side and it seems like everybody takes their place parking in that shadow and enjoying the shade of it instead of getting a hold of what's causing the shadow. Getting a hold of Him! It's not time sensitive. We didn't have to be there to follow him. Thankfully, because of witnesses, and his Spirit, we didn't have to be there to hear him. And because God left in us a conscience, or didn't allow Satan to destroy it completely, we can hear him. We have not followed cunningly devised fables.

You know, we were talking about this last night, among many other things – if this had been a cunningly devised fable, it wouldn't have had so many inconsistencies because religion seems to be so smart anymore that they have to make every thing systematic. There are books written on 'systematic theology' so it bridges all those gaps and fills all those holes it he bible. It makes it all coherent or mesh from one end to the other. It makes it all 'make sense.' Well we don't follow Jesus because he made sense. We follow him because he is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only way and we are convinced, and we know, that he is the son of God. I am encouraged with that thought! It's foolishness to the world. It doesn't make sense to the world and you are not going to convince them by your systematic theology or your debates with a bunch of Calvinists. That's foolish. The truth has nothing to apologize for and he was truth manifested in the flesh. The law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. We are either going to believe that or we are not.

Textual critics would throw out the bible, and they have. That's why so many atheists and these little educated guys out of school are throwing out the bible because in one place it says one thing and in another place it says another thing. Missing God's message. He left those things there to see if we'd love him or love a book. He left the brazen serpent on a pole to see if the Israelites would still look to him or look to it. So many copies. We have 2000 years of copy after copy of a copy of a copy. What do you end up with if you copy a piece of paper on a copying machine one time? Pretty nice and clear usually. But if you copy that copy and then that copy and then you do that 100 times, do you think it would be readable? Hardly. That is what a lot of Christianity is today. That's why we teach Jesus. That's why we follow Jesus and we respect and hold to the teachings of Christ and the apostles, but in that order. Just like they taught us to do. Just like he taught us. It's a blessing just to read through Acts and other books and see, “Amen brother! Amen” agree with what they were saying about Jesus. Agree with what they were saying about salvation. And we even get over to Peter and when he said 'some things that Paul said are hard to understand,' we even say, “Amen to that Brother!” But does that throw us away? Does that cast us off? No. That comforts me because I know that Peter had some of the same thoughts I do when I read Paul. Does that make our faith void because we didn't quite get it all understood. No, it doesn't.

We are not going to be given a test on how much we knew and just how much we understood it to mean and how our theology all lined up with what Paul said. The test is right now and how we are following Jesus – the one that Paul preached. The test is right now in how we are following Jesus – the one that Moses talked about. The test is right now in how we are following Jesus – the one that David prophesied. The one that all of the patriarchs talked or prophesied about in one form or another. All the prophets were talking about the things of Christ coming. We are being tested right now.

I think one of the most tormenting thoughts in hell will be the thought of the very things they strove for, or a striving to live for, or are trying to get, they rejected because they rejected the one who gives it. Rejecting it because they wanted it their way.

Acts 2 – this was Peter standing up with the 11, lifting up his voice after the coming of the Holy Spirit and the believers there spoke the wonderful works of God in many other languages, preaching God and Christ to those around them.

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

I say Amen to that! And I would say that to all the house of Jakob Ammann and all the house of Menno Simons and all the house of Martin Luther and Augustine and many of the others – ALL the others! I don't care who they are! Let them all know that God hath made this same Jesus, whom the Jews ripped his body apart – this same Jesus that you are tearing apart his body, the church - both Lord and Christ. And he will come again. And he is going to judge this world. He is going to judge all this division making and all this nonsense that was supposed to not even happen, because another oxymoron: loving one another, agree with one another and forbearing one another and calling yourselves Christians. I'm not saying all of these men necessarily, whoever they are, were not trying to follow Christ but I'm talking about the houses that name themselves after them in particular and some of the men themselves. Or the schools that name themselves after them that are trying to figure out their doctrines.

I'm determined to follow Jesus, no matter what. And I have to determine that every day. Every day. And you do too.

Do you want to be content with a shadow? Right down there, turn the corner and there's a church on the right. There's a big one down here across the street from the grocery store. They are all over this town and every town. We want to teach the substance here. We want to uphold the substance. We want to believe it and we want to stand for it. And by the grace of God and all the power he can give us, we are going to do just that. We are going to do just that.

I will close with Colossians chapter 2.

2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Praise the Lord! In whom are hid ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! Moses wasn't even mentioned! Paul wasn't talking about himself! He was talking about Jesus. God. 

Let's live in the substance. Let's live in Christ. Let's rejoice in that when someone says, “Well, they don't look at the bible as a flat book!” You are right, we don't. We follow Jesus and let all the bible point to him. “Well, they put the words of Christ above the words of Paul!” Yeah, just like Paul did. Amen. Amen. That's a blessing!

So brethren, continue to be guilty in these things, and may the God of peace bless you.

Some comments from the brothers:
Duane – I appreciated the message and wanted to say amen. I had to think of when the dark ages were ending and the reformation started. The people saw the Catholic church and the tradition that had come with it and everything that was added to it and the wanted to reform it so they said, “Sola Scriptura” or “only scripture” but out of that thinking they developed Martin Luthers and John Calvins and Zwinglis and a host of other names. The anabaptists didn't say “sola scriptura” they said “only Christ” and they lived the kingdom.

Kevn – Amen, praise the Lord. That's why we have fellowship with the early anabaptists when we read them.

Norman – I was reminded of what one of the brothers here said one time when we were talking about people who promote flat bibles and how in the transfiguration it seemed like that's what Peter was suggesting. When they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Christ, Peter said, “It's good to be here, let's make three tabernacles, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” the idea that Christ would take his place among Moses and Elijah. But while he was still speaking a bright cloud covered them all and they were very afraid. The next thing they knew Moses and Elijah disappeared and there was no one there but Christ. A voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son, hear ye him!”

Kevn: Amen. He didn't say “hear them” he said “hear him”. Amen. I appreciate you bringing that out.



 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Self Pity and Selfishness

Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are not quite what WE would like them to be. Sometimes people do not act how WE think they should. Sometimes WE think one thing should go 'this way' but it goes 'that way' instead. When these things happen (and they will) what is our reaction?
The bible encourages us to give thanks in everything. Do we believe that? We might say we do, but do we really? Maybe we believe it when 'everything' is going OUR way, however what happens when 'everything' seems to be going 'wrong'? If we would but just step back and think instead of react in the flesh we might see things differently. We might really be able to give thanks in everything ... even the seemingly 'bad' things. Afterall, don't all things work together for good if we love the Lord and are walking in his will?

But then maybe that's the problem right there. We must check ourselves. Do we really love the Lord like we say we do? He has told us that if we love him we will keep his words. Are we keeping his words? One thing he said over and over again (in direct and indirect ways) was that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbour as ourselves. Are we doing this truly to the best of our ability? Do we seek out ways to please the Lord and to bless others? Or are we moping around wondering why no one likes us? Maybe we are hiding in our houses doing our own thing because we are 'too shy' to go help someone else? Shy? Really? Or selfish?

A brother has said "you are only as close as you want to be." I remember when I first started visiting churches over 10 years ago. I was 'shy' and found it hard to step outside of myself and try to be social. Often times I found myself standing against the wall, feeling sorry for myself, wondering why no one would come talk to me. "I just don't fit in" or "They must not like me" and other like thoughts would fill my mind. I consider myself a pretty logical thinker, however that logic goes out the window when self pity strikes. Thankfully my logic came back and I found myself thinking, "Why don't I just go talk to someone instead of waiting for someone to come talk to me?" Dah! It worked great and I made friends. The saying really is true - you are only as close as YOU want to be.

Waiting for someone else to do something before you will be happy or before you will step out is just plain selfish. We must love others more than we love ourselves ... and when that happens I believe there will be no room for self pity. These thoughts of self pity and all ... it's from Satan. Submit to God: deny yourself. Resist Satan and he will flee from you.

This also reminds me of my long-time excuse for not visiting the elderly. I really am not naturally a nurturing person. Some people are just that way. They see a need and have no problem whatsoever filling that need. They know how to deal with those who are sick, handicapped, or otherwise disabled in some way or another. My daughter is such a person and it's a blessing to see her work with the elderly and sick. She certainly did NOT learn this from me. People like me have to work hard to make this stuff happen. It takes a lot of effort. In the past I used my excuse of 'being shy' as a reason to not go minister to the elderly or those in need.

When I first moved here to Monett one day the elder told me he set up a little cleaning job for me -- I was to go to this elderly woman's house and clean her oven/stove out. I was SO NERVOUS. It really was a stretch for me. That was over four years ago; Brianna and I have been going about 3 times a week ever since. She liked me so much that first time that she wanted me to be her new helper ... I did not know that first time was a 'trial run' but it was. Christine is a dear old woman who has become exactly like a grandma to me and a 'great grandma' to Brianna and the boys (she is 94). She has become our family. How could I have ever been afraid of visiting her?? I was selfish, that's how.

Another time soon after that the elder came to me and said he thought I should go visit Vana at the nursing home. Nursing homes scared me and it was the last place I wanted to be. But, I could not argue because I KNEW it was the right thing to do. The children and I went and sang some hymns to her. Vana was in her early 60s and stricken with cerebral palsy. She could not move on her own except to flop one hand around a little and she could also move her head. She could not talk but was able to make some noise. Once in a while, on her good days I guess, she might make a noise enough like a word that we knew what she was saying, however this was pretty rare. Her body was tiny and shrivelled up from lack of use. For all of her handicaps, her brain was 100% normal. Could you imagine???? She was literally trapped inside her body. She spent her days staring at the wall, waiting for someone to come in and move her body around to prevent sores for forming. She also had to wait to relieve herself - the nurses were quite busy and could not always make it there on time. Someone had to feed her. Bathe her. Clothe her. Turn on music for her. Turn the TV on or off for her. She usually did not have a choice. Sometimes we'd walk in there and there was some violent movie on. She hated that! But she could do nothing about it and was always thankful when we came in at those moments. She'd much rather hear us sing than to listen to that garbage on TV.

So anyway, back to my first visit. We sang for her and tried to talk a little by introducing outselves. We spent about a half hour there and then hugged her goodbye. I cried when I left. How selfish I had been! I finally saw it and understood. It's not about ME!!! It's about loving others as Christ loved us. How shameful to stand before the Lord on judgement day and hear him say, "Why didn't you minister to those in need?" and my pathetic excuse, "Lord, I was shy!" His reply? "Why do you call me 'Lord' but not do the things that I say?" By rejecting others I was rejecting Christ.

I am so ashamed of how I used to be but praise the Lord for repentance and forgiveness ... and more importantly, for the freedom to move on and do his will.

This is an encouragement to you women who are facing those same struggles right now. If you feel alone, unloved, unwanted, shy or any other number of emotions, please see these for what they are: selfishness. Instead of wasting your time and energy feeling sorry for yourself, or letting your 'terrible past'  run your life today [because we ALL have a story to tell], go visit someone who really IS alone, unloved and unwanted. Make them loved! Make them wanted! Make them a part of your life so they are no longer alone!!

Are you a true follower of Christ? He says we are to deny ourselves and follow him. Do you think he would be sitting around feeling sorry for himself? No way! He'd be about his Father's business and if we really are his then we should be doing the same. And if you do, don't think you are doing anything special. No. You are only doing what you are SUPPOSED to be doing. Loving God and loving others.

Praise the Lord.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Tomorrow - a poem by Edgar Guest


He was going to be all that a mortal should be –
Tomorrow.
No one should be kinder or braver than he –
Tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do –
Tomorrow.

Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write –
Tomorrow.
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight –
Tomorrow.
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he'd say –
Tomorrow.

The greatest of workers this man would have been –
Tomorrow.
The world would have known him, had he ever seen –
Tomorrow.
But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do –
Tomorrow.

 ~~~~~~
Let's not put off till 'tomorrow' what could and should be done today. "Tomorrow" may never come.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

White Picket Fence

For some reason I was thinking about the fictional, oft romanticized image of the white picket fence today. Why is this such a peaceful thing? All I see is hard work and money. Not only do they cost a lot, but you have to maintain them. If it's wood, you'll have to occasionally scrape and repaint (more money). Repairs will be needed as time goes by. If it's synthetic, you'll have to wash it ... especially if you live in a climate prone to growing moss and/or mold. The north side is the worse by far. I guess this could happen with wood too.

No thanks.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Social Media ... take two

A while ago I did a post on social media and then took it down because I was not sure how to word it correctly. I think I am now ready to try again, but this is not just about social media, it's about gossip in general.

I remember a valuable lesson I learned 10 years ago. We were living in San Antonio and the elections were gearing up; I was listening to NPR a lot in those days (and still do from time to time) and will never forget a story I heard. A radio broadcaster who was obviously on the 'left' side was interviewed over the phone by a radio broadcaster who was obviously on the 'right' side (and I don't mean 'correct' because both are corrupt ... I mean 'right wing'). The 'right' guy was planning on airing the interview for his audience at a later date, however something in the interview went wrong; something apparently really offended him. He stopped short and never aired the interview. He did however tell all of his listeners/followers how terrible this other person was. So what happened? They believed him of course, without ever knowing the 'other side of the story'.  The 'left' radio person shared with her audience how the interview was stopped short and never aired ... but that's not where it stopped. After the 'right' guy said what he said to his audience, his supporters sent thousands upon thousands of letters of hate mail to the person on the 'left'.

Regardless of who was right (correct) and who was wrong, this was certainly a very good lesson in social studies ... or mind control ... or gossip. Without ever knowing what really went on, tens of thousands of people simply took one persons word and participated in hate and slander towards someone else.

And this is what I have seen happen on social media sites like facebook ... well, chiefly facebook. When something is shared [and ~99% of the time the one sharing and the ones comforting/encouraging the offended are women], especially if it involves that person being 'wronged', not many are willing or able to stop and think: "maybe there is more to the story?" or "maybe this person is not even telling the truth?" They just believe it. Sadly, what ends up happening is a whole group of support begins to rally around the person who was 'wronged', thus giving that person further assurance that they 'really were wronged'. Even worse, now a whole group of people are participating in hate and slander towards someone else ... and they probably don't even know the person to begin with and don't even have the whole story!! What a sad, sad state we are in.

Our current church sign.

People think they are helping and encouraging, but really what they are doing is helping the person to sin, feeding self-pity, pride, or any other number of things, and setting the stage for it to happen again and again.

A brother here once said how it's like how someone goes down into their basement, sits in front of the computer, and all the sudden they are 'super man'. It's easy to hide behind the computer and be a super spiritual person or be someone else you are not, but it's much, much harder to be face to face with someone or in a group and just be yourself. It takes humbleness to be a part of a REAL body of believers and be willing to let them help you on your walk. It takes pride to hide and be a part of a pretend body.

Women, I caution you and encourage you: if you are participating in social media, PLEASE be careful of what you read and believe when someone else is sharing how someone or some group wronged them.  Please remember that you are only hearing one side of the story that may or may not be true. Before taking their side and possibly encouraging them in their sin, consider that there is another side. If someone is posting these kinds of things on their facebook or blog, chances are they are not doing it with the right heart ... and is it really any of your business anyway? These matters should be left for the people involved to deal with in a way that pleases the Lord, not be spread all over facebook or blogs.

Be careful not to participate in gossip or slander; the Lord hates both!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated family photos

Here are a few updated family photos :)

Back: Tylor & Corban Front: Malachi, Me and Brianna

Tylor messing around.

Sadie

A race ... who do you think won? The dog of course!

How deep is your non-resistance?

I am wondering if I posted something like this some time before but I cannot find anything and this has been on my mind the last week or so, so I thought now was a good time to share.

The question is, how deep is your non-resistance?

Some may not even understand what 'non-resistance' means. A non-resistant person believes God has ordained the governmental leaders in this worldly kingdom [the law is for the lawless] and they must do their thing, however a member of HIS kingdom is not to be involved in it because to do such would break several of the commands of Christ (swearing oaths, serving two masters and not loving your enemies just to name a few). Well, this is a very simplified explanation and I'm not going to take the time to explain what a pacifist is.

Now, again, how deep is your non-resistance? I'll share a few of my thoughts quickly here.

I see some things that are really obvious. For example, believers in non-resistance all know it would be grievous to Christ and the Father if we shot someone or physically harmed someone in any way. Then there are other things that are not always so obvious but really should be. For example, your thoughts towards someone. Are they kind and loving? If you do have someone that you believe is treating you wrong, do you pray for them? Do you look for ways you can be a blessing to them? Or are you bitter against them? Maybe you are even going around telling others how bad and mean they are? Maybe you are so sure you are right that you are seeking justice to fix the wrongs they have done to you?

What is the example Christ gave us?

Sadly, one small seed of bitterness can sprout and grow into something so huge it can divert your path and send you in the wrong direction ... all the while thinking you are still on the right track. One small seed of bitterness can skew your whole way of thinking towards certain people and/or certain situations.  Misunderstandings abound and the seed grows into a hearty plant. I believe us women especially are vulnerable to this and that is why the Lord has given us the headship order! Let us be wise and be in our place!

It's easy to abstain from picking up a gun and blowing someone's head off, however it's a bit harder to love and pray for and bless those who are treating you wrong. But this is exactly what Christ tells us to do, and he gave us the perfect examples.

When we always seek to love others and be a blessing to them, the soil in our heart is terrible ground for that seed of bitterness! And if there was a seed beginning to sprout, it will quickly die and be no more. Not only does this help us and keep us right with God, it also brings glory to Christ! And too, we might just be able to help the one(s) who wronged us [or maybe we'll realize they never did wrong us and WE were the ones in the wrong?]. And too: when we seek to love and bless others -- even the worst of our enemies -- we might have a role to play in their repentance. However when we seek justice and revenge and are sowing seeds of bitterness and discord, we might have a role to play in their damnation. Woe unto us!!!

Seek to always be a blessing.

(Edit ... obviously there is a time for rebuke and even excommunication if need be. In times like that, rebuking and/or excommunicating IS the loving thing to do.)