GrowingInLOVE

..Sharing with Fellow Christians..

Suffering for Christ’s Sake February 5, 2010

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 10:46 am
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This is a video showing Christians in other countries who hang on to their faith in Christ at the cost of their very safety and lives.  I often wonder how we, here in America, would hold up under such circumstances as these.  Would we stand firm and steadfast in Christ, or would we buckle under the pressure and deny Him to save our own lives?  I honor and admire the brothers and sisters who endure persecution for Christ.  I also cry for them and pray for them.  The Bible warns us that we’ll face persecution for Christ’s sake.  My prayer for those of us who are being/will be persecuted is that God strengthens us to love not our lives unto death, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ unto death.  That we remain firm in our faith and faint not…that we don’t fear those who have power only to destroy the body and not the soul.  Let us pray for one another.

Let all be done to the glory of our Heavenly Father.  All is in His hands.

Christ is King!

 

The Wealthy Christ January 26, 2010

So I was watching television this morning, waiting for one of my favorite shows to come on as I get ready for work, as I do every morning.  Kenneth Copeland’s “Believer’s Voice of Victory” program comes on before the show I like to watch, so sometimes I’ll just let the program run while I do my morning routine.  Fredrick K.C. Price was the guest speaker.  I sort of grew up in a Word of Faith/Prosperity church, so I was very familiar with Price.  Now, having left that environment back in late 2008, and having grown and matured in the Word, I decided to listen to him now and compare his teachings to the Bible.  I wasn’t suprised at the fact that the topic was “prosperity”, and I wasn’t surprised at the fact that some things were said that I didn’t agree with and that were not truly biblically sound.  The issue Price focused on  was dispelling the myth that Jesus was poor.  Some problems arose during the course of his arguement in favor of a wealthy Jesus.  Of course, I was upset at the tactic of making scriptures say what he wanted them to say, but what flabbergasted me was a particular comment he made about Christ and His disciples. 

Now, I could have totally misunderstood what Price was trying to say, but I doubt that’s likely.  His argument is that Jesus was wealthy.  He then takes things from scripture to back up this claim.  He pointed out Mark 1:20, where Jesus calls James and John.  He said that since they had hired servants they couldn’t have been poor, since poor people don’t have servants.  I’ll give him that, but he ignored what that passage shows.  They were fishermen who had fishing equipment, a boat, and hired servants, so they weren’t dirt poor, but when Christ called them, they FORSOOK it all, including their father, to follow Him.

He used that to get to his next point, the statement that made me cringe, close my Bible, and say, “Guess I won’t be needing this!”.  With his reasoning, he came to the conclusion that 12 grown men would not have followed a poor man, and that Jesus had to have had something to convince them to hang around….that absolutely floored me.  It wasn’t because He was the Son of God, or because He hand-selected them, or because it was revealed to them who Christ was, it wasn’t even because he performed great miracles.  It was because He was wealthy?…

Disgusting!

Within a very small sentence he sure said a lot about what he thinks of our Savior.  Even if that wasn’t his intent, it was a VERY dangerous statement because of its implications.

 

Silver and Gold Have I None January 14, 2010

Filed under: My Writings — growinginlove @ 1:03 pm
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Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee

 I don’t have great, swelling words or an extensive vocabulary

I don’t have the Bible memorized backwards and forwards from Genesis to Maps

I don’t know the Hebrew and Greek meanings of all the words in the Bible

I don’t have an educational background attained at a seminary or a degree in theology

But I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ

By the working of the Holy Spirit, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

I am daily humbled by my Heavenly Father knowing that He saved me in spite of myself

I rest in the fact that Christ died on a cross, shedding His blood for remission of my sin, and that because He paid the debt that I owed, I no longer have to  

I have salvation in Christ from the wrath of God that is due to all mankind because of sin.  I was driven to my knees in repentance, turning away from the desire to sin and live in wickedness before God.

I cried before God to change me, cleanse me, and to teach me to walk upright before Him

I have the Holy Spirit of the living God on the inside of me

I have a heart of flesh that God has given to me in place of my former heart of stone

A heart that yearns and seeks after God and His righteousness and grieves over sin-my own and others’

It grieves over the lost and the hurting, and over the stubbornness of those who claim to know Christ but whose thoughts, words, and deeds scream otherwise

 Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee:

 The truth is that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.   God, being loving, merciful and extending His grace toward us, sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Without accepting, believing, confessing, and trusting in Christ, the Son of God’s, death, burial, and resurrection you will pay for your own sins, being judged and condemned to hell.  It’s not a pretty truth, but it’s truth nonetheless.  Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  No good acts or good works can get you in right standing with God apart from Christ.  Also, it doesn’t end with simply believing.  Christ tells us that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (Mark 3:34) and if we don’t, we’re not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38).  We must live our lives for God, follow His will, and walk in His ways. Once we become children of God through faith in Christ, we must get to know Him through prayer and reading His Word and yielding to His Holy Spirit.

Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee

What I have is the Gospel of Christ and a love for God.  This is what I have, and this is what I’ll share.

 

Does Christ Know You? December 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — growinginlove @ 10:14 am
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Upon doing some reading in Matthew last night, I got to chapter 25, in which Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins who were waiting from the bridegroom.  Five of the virgins were unprepared, as they had not brought any oil for their lamps, and while they left to go get some, the five prepared virgins were invited into the marriage.  When the five unprepared virgins returned, they said, “Lord, Lord, open to us”, but the response was “I know you not”.  (Matt 25:1-12)  These passages, of course, also brought to mind Matthew 7:21-23, which says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”.  Jesus also explained it in Luke 13:25-28.  Many people will say they know Christ, and even claim to do great works in His name, but He will tell them that He never knew them and that they must depart from Him.

Now, last night, upon reading the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25, the passage in Matthew 16 came into my head, and I have no explanation why, other than I believe that God wanted me to see something.  The specific part of that chapter that came to mind was the portion in verses 13-18:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Right then, it was like a light went off in my head.  Peter knew who Jesus was; He knew that He was Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus then told Peter that he knew it, not after the flesh, because God had revealed it to him.  Then Jesus acknowledges Peter by name, showing that He knows who Peter is.  Peter knew Jesus, and Jesus knew Peter, then Jesus said that upon this rock will He build His church. Upon which rock? Peter?  I beg to differ.

I believe Jesus was establishing the rock, foundation, on which His church (or body of called out believers) would be built: the believer knowing Christ, as revealed by the Father, and Christ knowing the believer.  In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says that regardless of who claims to know Him, or says, “Lord, Lord”, only those who do the will of the Father will enter into the Kingdom.  Doing the will of the Father is what keeps Christ from telling you He doesn’t know you.  Doing the will of the Father is how Christ knows us!  This is how Christ’s church is built! I don’t believe the focus was to be on Peter himself, but on the fact that Peter knew and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, Son of God, and Christ also knew and acknowledged Peter.  This relationship of us knowing Christ and Christ knowing us is the rock upon which Christ’s church is built.  We must do the will of the Father to enter into His Kingdom.

 

Thoughts of Concern December 10, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 1:42 pm
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I have a sincere concern for us who profess to be Christians.  Do we really want Christ, or do we just want the tangible things that we expect faith in Him to bring?  There are many well-meaning Christians ( and some ill-meaning wolves, goats, tares, masquerading as believers) who, I believe, have a distorted view of what following Christ is all about.  Self-esteem, self-help, and self-improvement is preached and promoted, but the life of following Christ requires self-denial.  The Holy Spirit working on the inside of us is what causes the real transformation within, not something of our own power.  Not too many of us, from what I see, even think about denying self.  We get so caught up in the lusts and desires of the flesh and this world, and then even try to claim that we want it to the glory of God, when in fact, the depths of our motives are selfish.  How much of what we pray for pertains to non-material things?  We know we pray for more money, cars, houses, etc, and we pray when we’ve run out of all other options. But how often do we pray that God increases within us the fruit of His Spirit? (Galatians 5:22)  How often do we pray for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?  How often do we study the Word and ask the Father to teach us more about Him?  How often do we pray for the lost who don’t know Christ?  How often do we pray for other people out there who are suffering?  How often do we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those which we may not even know personally?  

Many of our prayers are selfish and motivated by the wrong things. We seek physical, tangible evidence that God is working in our lives by what He gives us and how much He gives us, rather than the works that are wrought in and through us by His Holy Spirit.  Where’s the desire to learn to live holy, acknowledging and repenting of our sins, and asking God to guide our steps.  Where’s the desire to seek God’s will and let go of our own selfish wills?  We need to be making God absolutely first in our lives and remembering that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  We need to remember to take up our cross daily, crucifying our flesh, to follow Christ, and daily isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a lifestyle (Luke 9:23). We need to remember to share and stand firmly for the Gospel…the TRUE Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  We need to remember those in need and stretch forth our hands to help others in the name of Christ.  We need to stop worrying about what we want to get God to do for our own selves, and go humbly before our Heavenly Father seeking what He wants to do through us for His glory.  We must refuse to seek our own glory and the glory of men, and seek to honor and glorify God.  We are undeserving of any glory, and we are unfit to possess pride of ourselves, but we should be giving thanks, honor, and glory to our Father who is full of love, grace, and mercy in that He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt we owed and to keep us from the punishment we rightfully deserved.  If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is.  If that doesn’t inspire awe, reverence, and brokenness, I don’t know what does.

We as Christians must get our focus back on Christ.  We can’t let the cares of this world get us off course.  Would we continue to follow Christ if the stakes were as high as what the apostles and many, many others in Christ have faced, which was REAL persecution and martyrdom for Christ?  Do we really desire to forsake ALL to follow Christ?  If not, He Himself said that we are not worthy to be His disciples.  Does a man build a tower without first counting the cost, seeing if he has sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:26-35

 Let us pray without ceasing…

 

Dogs and Wolves December 7, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 12:26 pm
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I just wanted to do a quick blog on something that I just happened to notice while reading the book of Matthew just now.  In Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  I believe this means not to bother trying to teach holiness or wisdom to those who don’t want it because they won’t appreciate it, and they will attack you because of it.  Later on, in verse 15, He says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  False prophets come to you appearing to be fellow sheep, having an outward  appearance of godliness, but are actually dangerous wolves, in reality.  What is a wolf?  A type of dog.  They’re dogs who trample holiness, and they hate sound biblical doctrine and principles, and they’ll seek to destroy, discredit, and persecute any who would challenge them using the truth of God’s Word (give that which is holy).  They don’t live or teach true holiness, therefore they don’t desire to hear it or be corrected, and they’ll have feelings of contempt towards you for bringing it to their attention.

I’m not claiming this to be Christ’s true and intended correlation between these thoughts in these two verses of Scripture, or even that they’re related at all…I just happened to see an interesting way that the two could possibly be connected.

 

The Power of the Tongue November 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — growinginlove @ 2:40 pm
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I do realize and quickly acknowledge the fact that there is a lot I don’t know about the Bible.  I’m still learning things as the days pass, so forgive me if I don’t present things as a Bible scholar would.  God shows me a lot and He has a way of taking something that I’ve seen and heard numerous times before and making it come alive to me, and correcting the twisted view of scriptures that I had been taught.  Having said all of that, this is something I believe that God has allowed me to see.  *Please note that I am always open to sound correction.

 For years in church, we had Proverbs 18:21 drummed into our heads.  It was one of the scriptures used to tell us that we can somewhat create our own reality by the words we speak..to “claim” things we want by speaking it.  “If you want to have more money, you gotta start saying you have money!  If you’re tired of being sick, start speaking health to your body!  Stop speaking death into your life, and speak life into your life!”  I don’t think those people have a grip on what Proverbs 18:20 is really saying.  Proverbs 18:20-21 says, “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue:  and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Now having seen that, let’s jump over to Matthew 12:22-37.  The situation here is that Jesus  had cast out devils from a man, and the Pharisees accused Him of doing so by the power of Satan.  In other words, they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit.  Jesus let them know that this was one sin that was unforgivable.  Thus, they faced condemnation for speaking against the Holy Spirit.  Jesus tells us that a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good fruit, and an evil man brings forth evil fruit.  Then He goes on to say that on judgment day, man shall give account of every idle word they spoke.  On judgment day, they’ll be either justified or condemned by their words.  The Pharisees had condemned themselves because the words they spoke were blasphemous to the Holy Spirit, which is an unforgivable sin, and that will be brought up come judgment day.  Take note that in this same chapter, in verse 42, Jesus mentions Solomon’s wisdom and how He Himself is greater than Solomon.  Who’s wisdom was penned in Proverbs? Yes, Solomon.  This is why I believe Matthew 12:35-37 to be the explanation of Proverbs 18:20.  The power of death in the tongue is the ability of man to bring condemnation upon himself by speaking foolish words, e.g. blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  The power of life in the tongue is the ability of man to receive justification by his confession of Jesus Christ and acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit, etc.  And since the words we speak come from the good or evil treasure within us, we’re already justified or condemned and our words confirm it.  When judgment day comes, the good man, who is justified through Christ, will have his belly filled/satisfied because of it and the evil man, who is without Christ and condemned, will have his meal of that fruit: a damning judgment.  The “death” and “life” coming from the tongue being synonymous with “condemnation” and “justification”, respectively. (Proverbs 19:21) (Matt 12:37).  And the part in Proverbs about loving the fruit thereof, the Pharisees loved every minute of speaking against Christ.  They lusted after the opportunity to accuse Him of something.  They will eat that fruit of condemnation because of their love of speaking those blasphemous words.

I could expound more on this topic, but I tend to get long-winded.  I just wanted to hit on Proverbs because it was ingrained in my mind so much from the pulpit over the years, and I’ve just seen that scripture in a new light a few days ago and I wanted to touch on that a little bit.  That scripture has nothing to do with “speaking things into existence” to get them to “manifest in the natural”.  Speaking death and life is not the act of speaking good circumstances and bad circumstances in order to bring them to pass..you’re speaking evidence of condemnation or justification.  The verdict comes on judgment day when you give account of the words you spoke.  Simply stating that an inconvenience/problem is currently present in your life is not “speaking death” and will have no effect on your eternity..speaking blasphemies, scripture-twisting, using feigned words to make merchandise of God’s people, and using the same mouth to bless God and curse your neighbor, on the other hand, carries more horrid consequences.  That sounds much more like the deathly power of the tongue, to me.