Christians and Sin

Just a note. One thing that I believe gets confused and needs to be cleared up is this. —–>Understand, I am not saying you have to do this, this, and this to be a Christian. I am saying, when you give yourself to Christ you will become this. <———-This is one of the most confused aspects when it comes to being a Christian because quite frankly you can't make yourself by your own will. But only by Him leading. For our purposes, remember how you can tell who is a person is (keep in mind this is red type- Jesus said this) “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭15-20‬ NLT)

This article was prompted by something I saw this morning that
took me aback. Someone (I don't know) posted a classified ad in Waco looking for a church who would "allow/accept my family despite being a same sex couple with 2 young children." We know the bible is clear on this subject. What bothered me is that what this person is actually saying is I'm looking for a church who will accept my sin! I'd feel the same about her inquiry if she had said I'm looking for a church who will accept my lying, accept my drunkenness, or accept my adultery. It doesn't matter what sin we are discussing- if the church is the true body of Christ, then it cannot accept ANY sin! I think this is a major flaw and is part of what has caused the down fall of our society as a whole. We have began accepting what as Christians we shouldn't. I don't know if you have ever typed in sin and researched all the passages that come up, but I did just that. Here is a compilation directed as encouragement to fellow Christians urging you to always be standing in the truth and righteousness!

I am speaking up because- Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. (‭James‬ ‭4‬:‭17‬ NLT)

I'm talking to Christians- And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. (‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭2-5, 11-12‬ NLT)

The world is not our friend. It is nothing like us- You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. (‭James‬ ‭4‬:‭4‬ NLT) Also consider this, Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭2-3‬ NLT)

How Christians sin- We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. (‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭18-19‬ NLT)

How Christians treat sin- So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭5-11‬ NLT) Also-Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭1-4, 6-7‬ NLT)

Loving other Christians- We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭2-5‬ NLT)

You are not just encouraging sin, you are sinning against Christ- And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭8‬:‭12‬ NLT) Also remember what we just read in Colossians- Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭9-10‬ NLT)

In conclusion, May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. (‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬ NLT)

IMG_3773.JPG

Being the Parent God Wants You to Be

I have a sweet little 15 month old and one on the way. You can say I am fairly new to this whole parenting thing. I have always loved children and loved teaching them, but having some of my own has brought it full circle for me. I know I can get advice from books (even though there isn’t a parenting manual) or friends or even older women who have “been there.” I have always been the kind of person who values being right and standing in the truth. So while I can get advice and tips anywhere I decided to turn to MY Father and His wonderful book! This blog has helped me as I have looked into what God wants from me as a parent (and the results may shock you!)

One of my favorite verses that is my personal hope and I believe is a promise from God. We must train our children to do what is right and they will carry that on. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV) Yes you read that right. Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old or older he WILL NOT depart. Seems pretty reassuring right? I take that to mean consistency. You work with them everyday even when you are tired, even when you are mad. (Think of training a dog and how much patience and consistency that takes, in some ways children are the same) Now remember if you are training them the wrong way by what you do, they won’t forget that either! Also we see it expressed again here: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NKJV) God is giving is a direct command here. Bring them up in Him!

Now on to my next point. This is where I was shocked. The single most important and MOST talked about thing to do as a parent. Can you guess? Love? Lead by example? Love others? Do good in school? None of the above. It is DISCIPLINE. Yes in the same way God LOVES us and gives us discipline, he calls you to do it as a parent. Of course we know He does it out of love, and that is how we must do it. Not anger or frustration, but LOVE.

He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (Proverbs 13:24 NKJV)

Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5
NLT)

For the lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! (Hebrews 12:5-9 NIV)

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. (Proverbs 19:18 NIV)

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. (Proverbs 29:17 NIV)

Some of those verses are pretty powerful. “Discipline your child- do not be a willing party to their death.” “He who spares the rod HATES his son.” It is very apparent God desires us to train and discipline our children! Some feel they don’t want to be harsh, but God says if you love them, it must be done!

Compassion:
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;” (Psalm 103:13 NIV) In keeping with the understanding that we love our kids and that is why we discipline, we must also have compassion. Do we have compassion when they willingly chose the wrong path? Certainly not. That’s what discipline is for. It says The Lord has compassion on those who fear him, not on those who do wrong. Same for parents.

Love:
“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,” (Titus 2:4 NIV)

Fear The Lord:
“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26 NIV)

Conclusions:
What God says about children and their actions: “Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.” (Proverbs 20:11 NKJV) That is pretty plain and simple and says to me we must hold these children ACCOUNTABLE. (Discipline when necessary) And finally, in accordance with holding our kids accountable we look at one final verse: “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin. “(Deuteronomy 24:16 NIV)

Hope this article helps and keeps you encouraged while doing the toughest job on earth!

20140512-134253.jpg

What is salvation? 7 things you may not know about baptism.

20140307-150456.jpg

I have decided to write this blog because the devil is working very hard to make people misunderstand what salvation is and means. It’s been on my heart some time to write this blog. The thought crossed my mind,’ if I were the devil what would I do?’ I would make people like me who believe the truth and love the truth keep quiet when they hear people teaching about the bible and being inaccurate; they are teaching their religion. (All with good intention I’m sure) I’m going to look at accounts in the Bible of when people were converted, became a christian, were saved. All three mean the same thing, they are interchangeable phrases. In religion, today every doctrine seems to have a different definition of what it means to be saved. As I said, I am going to look at accounts that are Biblical examples that we have and we should be going by.

First of all we can all agree to be saved we must first hear the word or gospel and know we are lost without Christ. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

Once we have heard, we must believe. But here is the hang up. What does belief mean. Is it something you ‘feel’ in your heart? Is it what is in your mind? Or is belief a prompt to an action?
“Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:37 NKJV)

Let’s start there. This one verse can be a little deceiving. Lets look in context
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:35-38 NKJV) By this verse we see belief and then we see it prompted a response and that was baptism.

For now let’s focus on where I feel confusion comes in. The religious world says: say this prayer and you will be saved, ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved, call on His name and you’ll be saved. Before I get into everything, please understand that when understood in its entirety the bible is the beautiful word of God, when taken out of context it is confusing and can seem contradictory. Here are some scriptures for us to consider:

1. “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Acts 2:21 NIV)
2. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NIV)
3.If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)

These are all true. How blessed are we that Christ sacrificed himself to die for us! But sadly, the religious world is only telling you half the story. And sadly I see too often where they want to MINIMIZE SIN (so you don’t feel so bad of course). Yes we sin, yes God still loves us. But here is the rest of the story. Keep in mind these are words straight from the precious mouth of Jesus himself!
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NIV)

Wow lots of information, right? Well I said I was going to give examples of scriptural conversions, those are yet to come. The first thing we need to cover is WHAT IS BAPTISM? Remember that verse from Acts where the Eunuch believed AND was baptized? Lets talk about that now. Baptism is so misunderstood. The doctrine of some religions have referred to it as “being dunked in water.” So nonchalant and it hurts my heart to hear such disregard of a precious thing. As it says in Galatians 3 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26, 27 NKJV) When we are baptized into Christ, WE PUT HIM ON! Other versions say clothed with Christ. How beautiful! So no, world, its not just being dunked in water to show you are already a Christian. It is to put Him on.

Here is a list of other verses that describe what baptism is: (the 7 things you may not have known)
1. Baptized into His death: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3 NKJV)
2. Buried with Christ and raised to walk a new life: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4 NKJV)
3. Believe & be baptized= salvation “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”. (Mark 16:16 NKJV)
4. Wash away sins: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:16 NKJV)
5. Baptized into His body (the Church!) “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:12, 13 NKJV)
6. Saves you by resurrection of Jesus
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:18, 20, 21 NIV)
7. Spiritual circumcision/ circumcised by Christ (also we are buried by baptism):” In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:11-13 NIV)

Wow, even more information, right!? We haven’t even gotten to biblical conversions where we see all these scriptures put into practice! But here we go, maybe the part you have been waiting for. Here are examples of people becoming Christians!

1. Phillipian Jailer: “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:26-33 NKJV)
2. People who responded to Peter preaching about what they had done to Jesus: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36-38 NKJV)
3. Remember that Eunuch we mentioned earlier? So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:34-38 NKJV)
4. Simon and other men and women: But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:12, 13 NKJV)
5. Saul: “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:12, 13, 15, 16 NKJV)
6. Lydia: Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16:14, 15 NKJV)

Lastly one of my favorite passages to consider before my final remarks. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:1-8 NIV)

We have covered so much here. But see how when you consider the WHOLE bible and ALL of God’s word how precious this gift is from Him through His son! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Or if you feel by scripture I have said something contrary to God’s word, please let me know. My only desire is to spread the good news not any religion. I am a Christian and that is all I desire to be. Many people ask are you baptist? Methodist? Catholic? I am none; only a follower of Christ- a Christian. I will leave you with some simple words from Jesus and I hope to discuss the minimization of sin in another post.

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”(Mark 16:15, 16 NKJV)

A culture of Love

I’ve talked to many people about what it means to feel judged verses what it feels to be corrected or guided with love. As Christians, we are instructed to love others as Christ loved others. The Bible teaches very plainly, not only love those who love us, but to love our enemies. So you can say that Christians should be exhibiting a culture of love. I feel that it is so hard for Christians today to exhibit the unconditional love that they are called to have because they have not seen it! They don’t know what it looks like! Those of you who know what I am talking about- you are not alone. When you are diligently trying to walk in love know you are making the world a better place and being a light for Christ. Those of you who are Christians and have no idea what I am talking about- open your eyes and heart. God wants you to understand this. I have decided the culture of love starts with me! I am going to make sure my children understand this because it is a basic principal on which we grow in Christ! The way to love someone is to understand your past, your past sin, your current struggles and be humbled. Be humbled so much that it strips you down so that only love remains. I don’t mean to harp on the mistakes you have made, I mean grow. Let Christ use you and grow you, whatever that means. When you look at someone look at them with that humble heart and understanding. I was raised to look at sin as something you should not be near and that means distancing yourself from people who are taking part in sin. Thru many revelations God has shown me His way to handle anyone or anything- and that is LOVE. I used to be a person who saw someone walk to the front of the church and ask for the prayers of the church or forgiveness of something they have done publicly and wonder to myself “wonder what sin is in their life that has made them this way.” Oh how grossly wrong of an attitude that is. Now when I see someone walk up front, immediately tears come to my eyes and my mind whispers, “brother I’m here for you, and I’ve been there too.” I pray for God’s hand over them. I love them. That is what they need. That is what will change a heart. Love. I could go on but I think the post is clear. Love is the answer to every question. Where there is love there is no judgement or contempt.

20140120-131742.jpg

Being At Peace

As my surgery date is looming I think back to a conversation I had with my mother-in-law regarding my fear. In just a few weeks, I’ll be having my gallbladder removed. I had thought a lot about what could go wrong with little to no thought about things working out and going smoothly. Even though it can be considered minor the thought of surgery is something that I don’t think will ever be an easy topic for me. I was discussing with her my anticipation and fear when thinking I will have a camera inside of me! I will be cut open! Yikes! As with many facets in my life, I realized in the conversation, that I needed peace. I needed to realize I had no control, all I could do is pray. I realized that this is something I’ve done before. So, I knew I could do it for my surgery! Once I gave it to God, I knew His will would be done; and I’m ok with the outcome because it is through Him that everything will take place. I had to give it to Him. I had to acknowledge that it was all in His control. So needless to say I have peace in Him and its amazing the feeling that brings. When we realize He loves us more than we love ourselves, we can rest easy. I will continue to pray and prepare in the way He has provided, but ultimately I know He is in control and I have peace..