Why The "Panicking Christian"?

Like most Christians, I occasionally find myself in a borderline, all out panic about something which I already knew, but seem to have forgotten or that I only knew in my head, as opposed to my heart. And mercifully, God decides to show me what is really going on or what it is that I needed to know, before I completely lose my mind.

So the writing within is just that. It is that which God has shown and taught me while I was typically in one of those times in my life. Since the way in which He has chosen to reveal things to me tend to be fairly easy to follow and understand, I am sharing them via this format. That said, I take no glory for any of this. It is God whom has given me the ability to write, and it is He who has given me the content to write as well and He who saved me by His glorious grace in the first place.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Just Don't...

A note with regards to judging others: Don't.
The fact that you are saved - not by anything you did but by grace, at that - does not give you the right to judge another person. "But we will judge angels", you say. Taking 1 Cor 6:3 out of context (the verse is about resolving arguments between believers) does not give you the right to do so either. There is only One Judge (James 4:12) and only He can judge the hearts and motives behind the actions (1 Cor 4:5), the best you can do is compare another against yourself with an uneven scale which ignores your own faults and failings. So, choose to love instead of judge for there is fear and punishment in judgement but there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18).

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ready! Aim! ....

This is one of those posts that may be a bit over due but, then again, perhaps it is right on time for someone.

Spiritual warfare.  It is a term which many Christians know altho not everyone understands what it is, or even if it is something they should know anything about.  With the last part, it certainly is something we should all know about since, as believers, we are part of a spiritual war, whether we want to be or not.

I am no expert but I have run into no small number of situations over the years and have learned some things along the way, so I shall share some of the tidbit I know. Generally speaking, there are three variations of spiritual warfare, altho there are certainly many branches beyond three.

The first involves things being said directly to you. These things may be said from the outside but, more often than not, they are spoken directly into your heart and mind.  These things will usually be some form or fashion of lie, fear or doubt and tend to cause confusion and chaos, among other things.  Now then, if we were to use the Ephesians 6 imagery of the armour, this battle would see us making heavy use of our shield or, more specifically, our faith. 

Do you recall the story of Eve and the garden?  Do you remember satan's words "did God really say"?  This type of battle sees a fair bit of that kind of thing as the enemy tries to make us question everything from the existence of God Himself to our salvation to who God says we are to what He has called us to or into, in an effort to keep us from being effective at all, keep us struggling when we don't have to and, inevitably, attempting to throw a spiritual wrench into whatever God wants to do.  In essence, satan is trying to destroy the very thing which is our defense:  faith.  So what is our defense in this situation?  Simply put, knowing what God said.  Knowing what God has said in the Bible about who we are, knowing whom He has said He is, and knowing what it is that God has directed us into or called us into whether that be ministry, relational, occupational, etc. So when the lies, fears, doubts, chaos, etc come we will know what God has said and be able to stand on that.

Another variation of warfare involves interactions with other people - whether individuals or groups.  Now sometimes, there are just personality clashes or issues on the go but other times there is a strong sense that "someone" else may be pulling strings behind the scenes.  This is the type of situation where we may become conscious that our struggle is not against flesh and blood at all.

In these situations our "gut reaction" may well be to react out of our own humanity - meeting violence or hatred with violence or hatred (something which rarely ever ends well for anyone) - but we may find ourselves merely running in circles getting more and more tired by the second.  So, we keep in mind the truths we know (from our first situation) and attack this situation prayerfully.  We pray for the other person or persons.  We may also pray for wisdom for ourselves in the situation for God will gladly give you wisdom (James 1:5).  But what do we pray?  Do not pray too specifically about what "you" want - leave room for God to do what He wants.  You can, however, pray for wisdom for them, for their salvation if applicable, for the enemy's influence in their lives or the situation to cease, for any deliverance which may be needed and for God to reveal Himself in a big away to them.  All good things to pray for and you may see the situation shift fairly quickly.  It does not hurt to enlist other people to pray as well.

Yet another variation occurs when things get, um, weird.

Now then, if that last sentence makes you lift an eyebrow and go "huh", don't over think it too much. However, I have no doubt that no small number will read it and say "yep, know that".

Occasionally, the enemy will make his actual presence known. And contrary to movies and TV programs, tossing salt around or trying to shoot it with a shotgun won't do any good.  What will do good on other hand is knowing the truth about who God is and who God says you are and who they are.  Now then, I am not going to get into the "how to's" of deliverance if for no other reason than to not freak anyone out who is unaware that it happens and fairly often at that.  What I will mention though is a few things worthy of note.

A common term heard is "rebuke", but it is a bit misunderstood sometimes.  Think of it this way: dog runs in from outside, soaked from the rain, and jumps up on the new chair in the living. If you ask the dog "oh get down off the chair please poochy" it is not likely going to move. However, if you snap out "Get down!", even if it is not your dog it will likely jump off the chair. The latter is a rebuke. Short, to the point, no nonsense, command. It is not a request. Nor is it phrased "I rebuke you dog!", it is merely done.

There are also things which should not be done, like do not taunt them.  Jesus didn't in the NT and He could have if He wanted to.  You are not God, do not even try - you will be setting yourself up for something you would rather not get into.  Also, do not get into a conversation with them.  When they speak, they lie. Even if it is 90% truth, that other 10% is lethal and they are VERY good at it. I know Jesus spoke with legion but if God wants to talk to them, He can. As mentioned before, you are not God and there is nothing they know that you want to or should know.

There you go, a little basic spiritual warfare stuff. Like I said, am no expert and there are all kinds of branches off of these three that could be gone into, but hopefully this bit is of use to you.  Remember, we are more than conquers (Romans 8:37) and we do not have to live this life constantly on the defensive struggling to keep our heads above water.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stand and Deliver

No small number of believers are aware of the words of Ephesians 6 with regards to the "armour" of God.  However, no small number may also not be aware that merely quoting those words is akin to sitting on your couch and saying "I lock the door, I bar the windows and I turn on the security system" all without actually getting up and doing any of it.  The Apostles words are not merely something to be stated - they are instructional in nature and are things to be done and known, not merely spoken.

For instance, if you wish to defend yourself against the lies, fear and doubts that the enemy tosses your way, you should 1) know what God has said to and about you and 2) stand on the validity of those words because of Who it was that said them.  This is your shield and you will find knowing and doing this far more effective at stopping "arrows" than just quoting a verse about strapping on a "shield of faith."

Do not be caught unaware my Brother, do not be caught off guard my Sister, our enemy is not of flesh and blood, and they roam this plane like a hunting lion looking for prey.  Know the truth and stand firm.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Brief Q & A

Q: Hey, what is required for me to be a part of the church?

A: Well, if you are talking about the Church,  as in the Body of Christ as described in the Bible, the answer would be faith in Christ.

Q: But, what about all that other stuff about dressing a certain way, or talking certain ways or giving up habits, etc?

A: Ah, well, those would be requirements to join a local church, club, clique, etc set in place by someone at some point in time, not the Church as in the Body.  That is not take anything away from your local church but God only requires faith and nothing else.

Q: Local church or Body?

A: A local church is like the baptist church down the road or even that interdenominational one across town - a relatively small group which typically meets in the same building once or more a week.  Church - as in Body - is what the Bible frequently is talking about when it says church and that would be all of those people - regardless of who they are, where they live, when they meet, etc - who have a relationship with God via faith in Jesus Christ. So there is a pretty significant difference, for there are people who belong to the Body who have never been in a "church building", just as there are people who meet faithfully in a "church" who would not know Jesus if He knocked on their door selling cookies.

Thus concludes this evenings Q&A, we hope it has been informative.

Friday, April 21, 2017

And Your Challenger...

Day 1

This challenge involves social media (Facebook, twitter, etc).

Today, you will start praying through your entire friends list.  Some of us have quite lengthy lists, so this may take more than a day to get through but I encourage you to continue at it until you have gotten through it at least once.

Pray for each person to be blessed - mention each one by name. Other things include (but not lmited to): that they come to know God, that He reveals Himself in new ways, that they feel His love for them, etc. Do not pray against anyone and try not to be overly specific with situations - leave God lots of play room/ don't try and limit Him.  If you come to someone whom you feel you have something in your heart against, pray to release them and forgive them.  Don't rush this - if you feel you are starting to rush along, stop and come back later.

This may seem kind of simple but you might be the only person who will be praying for <whomever> today, or ever, for that matter, so it is a bigger deal than you realize.  Also, You may think  that those in "vocational ministry" positions (pastors, etc) on your list have lots of people praying for them but that is not necessarily true either.

Day 2

One cannot underestimate just how much power there is in an unexpected encouraging word or kind action.   There have been lives changed, and even saved, due to the words or actions of someone unexpected or a stranger.  Today, you are going change lives.

As you go throughout your day, make an intentional effort to speak a word of encouragement or kindness to someone and I want you to do it for someone that you either do not know (at all, or well) or towards someone you feel does not deserve it.  Do not falsely flatter someone, just say something honestly nice.  You may also do something nice for someone. Something as simple as holding door open can sometimes make a huge difference. In addition to just "being nice", I want you to either add a "God bless you" or "God loves you" - because He does, and you are doing this as an extension of that as opposed to just feeling like being nice today (you are associating your words and actions with God's love as opposed to good manners, etc).  You do not, however, take it any further than that - there are no strings attached, after all.  God loves everyone - today, show people love; encourage them, say or do something that lifts them up and makes their day a bit brighter.

Some suggestions for people, if your stuck:  cashiers, sanitation/janitorial workers, transportation workers, and, in your church, elders/deacons - all people who tend to not get shown much appreciation for what they do.  And do not stress out about mentioning God - a simple God bless you will suffice - baby steps, after all.

PS:  I also want you to make a point of doing this for someone very close to you as well - sometimes we can take people in our lives for granted.

Day 3

Someone you know - immediate / close family or friend - has something wrong. It might be something small, like a headache or it could be something bigger. Should they mention this thing when you are together (physically) sometime over the next 24 hours, I want you to ask if you can pray for them. If they know you, they will likely say "sure" and expect you to maybe remember to pray at some point for them. But I am not asking you to do that. I am asking for you to ask them if you can pray right then for them and, should they agree, I want you to reach out, and pray for them, then and there.

Maybe you step out and do it and the headache (for example) stays. At least they know you actually prayed for them, since they were there for it. Then again, maybe it goes away ... that changes things a bit, for both of you.

The Final Challenge

Here is your final challenge:  keep doing these.

None of these things - praying for people both in private and in person, encouraging people and sharing God's love, forgiving people and seeking His leading - are odd or over the top - they are all normal, practical Christianity.  Unfortunately, we sometimes can find ourselves lulled in complacency and start believing that if we go to church now and then, or a Bible study or even post "inspirational" pics on social media that somehow we are living our faith.  That is not quite true.  Our God is active and alive, therefore, our faith should be as well.

So yes, keep doing these things as often as you can - even if you do have to stick to doing them on day 1, day 2, etc, the important thing is that you start, and continue, to do these things.

May God bless each and every one of you and give you wisdom, insight and boldness as you do each (or any) of these challenges that have been set before you this day.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Matter of Life and Death

Faith in Christ does not make you sinless or "sin-free". The Bible tells us that anyone who thinks they are without sin is not only fooling themselves but is making God out to be liar (1 John 1:1-10) - strong words.  It is not sin we are free from but rather the power of sin, which is death, that we are freed (not will "eventually" be free) from (Romans 8:2).  But we still all die right?  Physically, yes, we do all die regardless of what we believe, but that is not the death we speak of.

Let us contrast this "death" with the eternal life we have through Christ.

What is eternal life?  It is not that we will live forever, for all of us - believers or not - are, in a very real sense, immortal.  That part which makes us "us" - our soul - does not die when our physical forms fade away and decay; this  part of our being lives on. So eternal life cannot refer to immortality.  Jesus Himself defined this in John 17:3: "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."  So eternal life actually refers to knowing - and being known by - God.  Something we have in the here and now through Christ, for "the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:23).

Romans 5 tells us that sin brought death into the world and the prophet Isaiah says that sin has cut us off - separated us - from God (Isaiah 59:2).  So we see that  the power of sin is in stark contrast to eternal life, for sin has the power to keep us apart from God.  But this is not in the sins we commit, for it is not the act of sinning which makes us sinners, it is the fact that we are all born as sinners which makes us sin.  If the reverse were true, then every stray thought or bit of frustration would plunge us back into darkness, but this is not what happens for God is faithful to us even when are less than faithful to Him (2 Tim.2:13) which, if you are anything like me, is really good news.

So, if you are a believer - that is, you have made the conscious decision to follow Jesus - know this:  you are free.  Sin no longer has the power to keep you and God apart, for God Himself took that power away from it on the cross and nothing - not angels or demons or anything else - can separate us from God (Romans 8:38-39).