GrowingInLOVE

..Sharing with Fellow Christians..

The Fiery Furnace May 5, 2010

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 9:09 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last night I read the first 4 chapters of the book of Daniel.  I had heard the story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego since I was a kid in sunday school, but it never resonated within me as it did last night. 

Nebuchadnezzar had demanded that these three be thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to obey his command to worship the idol he had set up.  They were bound and thrown into the fire, but upon looking, Nebuchadnezzar saw that they were no longer bound and were up walking, and he also noticed the figure of a fourth person whom he said was, “Like the Son of God”.  When the three came out of the fire, their clothes were not affected by the fire, not a hair on their heads was singed, and they didn’t even smell like smoke.  (Daniel 3:10-27)

Maybe I’m late with this, but this just spoke so beautifully to me.  It’s so encouraging.  When circumstances arise that threaten to take you through the fire, God won’t always prevent you from being taken through the fire.  He didn’t prevent Nebuchadnezzar from throwing them in there, tied up and all.  But while you’re in the midst of that fiery trial, God will be right there with you, and loose the ropes that bind you and walk with you to get you through it.  And since the one true God you serve is with you, once you come out of the fiery situation, you won’t even look or smell like you’ve been in fire.  Through Christ Jesus we are victorious, and He will bring us through the fires we face, enabling us to stand  firm in Him and for Him through any situation.  Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we won’t avoid every fire, but we can stand in the midst of a fire and not be consumed!

Christ is King!!!

Advertisements
 

Thoughts of Concern December 10, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 1:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , ,

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.

 

Why I No Longer Attend Church November 11, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 5:41 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This blog is not a poem or story..It’s moreso just how I’ve been feeling lately…nothing organized or formatted, because I’m really just pouring out what’s on my mind..so bear with me..lol

Now, I’ve never been the one to cling to titles…I actually can’t stand them, honestly.  People are so concerned with being known as a Baptist, Methodist, Apostolic, Episcopalian, and whatever else is out there…I just prefer to say that I’m a follower of Christ..Anywho, I have, as of recently, decided that I’d be a “churchless Christian” (for the time being..until God leads me to the proper place/people)…Just today I ran across a term that I thought was cute and it made me laugh to myself:  “free-range Christian”…isn’t that a term used for chicken?..lol.  It’s a term for the Christians who have decided to step away from the “institutional church”…

Now, for some reason, the hairs on the backs of church-going Christians’ necks stand up when you say you don’t go to church.  Public Announcement:  Not all non-churchgoers are backsliders.  People are quick to throw out Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” But where is the verse that tells us how large that assembly has to be?  Where does it say that it has to be in the same building at the same time on the same day each week? What about what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”?  That appears to be a pretty small assembly to me.  The Hebrews 10:25-ers seem to ignore verse 24, which says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works..” THEN, verse 25 comes in…I could be wrong, but verse 24 seems to show us the REASON for verse 25.  Provoking one another unto love and good works and exhorting each other is the purpose for assembling together.  Therefore, is it wrong to forsake the assembling if the assembly has forsaken its purpose of provoking one another unto love and good works and exhortation?  Basically, there is no scriptural reference or basis for pledging membership to any organization, whether it claims to be of Christ or not…we are to only pledge loyalty to Christ..
What we call “church” was not created to be what it is now. It comes across as very pharisaical–one of the very thing s that Christ spoke against during his ministry on earth.  Our Heavenly Father does NOT approve of his sheep being lorded or controlled by any but Himself.  Christ is the Head of the Church..not the pastor.  And the Church is not the building, hierarchy, institution, business, or corporation, etc. that we see today…Christ’s body of believers is the Church..The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands-Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24

So far, I’ve used the terms pharisaical, building, hierarchy, institution, business, and corporation.  I realize these terms may seem offensive, but a pig isn’t offending by being a called a pig..unless it thinks it’s a pony.

Why do I see the church system as pharisaical?  Well, in the days that Christ walked the earth, and prior to, the Pharisees and Sadducees had been enforcing laundry lists of religious rules for the people to follow…They were a puffed up bunch in positions of power and authority who exhibited outward shows of self-righteousness, they oppressed the laity–regular folks–and looked down upon them as if they themselves had all the answers.  They even tried to accuse Christ Himself of breaking religious laws and of blasphemy.  They tried, in vain, to trip Him up in all kinds of different ways.  In short, they thought they were the authority on holiness.  Now flashforward to today.   That same attitude or spirit, if you will, is still quite in operation today.  Many of these church leaders have special sets of rules and rituals that they enforce in either their own specific “church” or it’s a widespread sign or seal that is unique to their”denomination”.  The Pharisees enforced man-made laws over and above God’s laws.  These “denominations” seek to enforce their own man-made patterns and traditions that are not backed by scripture, causing division…Christ isn’t a siamese twin..He is the only Head, and He only has one body-one Church…Now, if you expect to be a member of that church or particular denomination, you have to follow those rules and/or abide by those traditions, customs, habits, or whatever may be the term of your liking.  This is imposing extra-biblical requirements upon God’s people…BONDAGE!!!..Christ said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light-Matthew 11:30…We are only supposed to be yoked and bound to CHRIST and doing what He tells us–what’s in His Word, not MAN’S systems and ways of doing things…That’s when we get into bondage which is exactly what Christ freed us from by His finished work on the Cross…The New Testament tells us about the liberty we have in Christ…Why would you settle for some human strapping their yokes and burdens of bondage back onto you?  Sounds a lot like the children of Israel complaining to Moses, wishing they could go back to Egypt after God had freed them from the bondage of Egypt…*sigh*..Biblical proof that some folks just prefer to be slaves and long for human rule over themselves…Let Christ govern your life and you’ll be more than alright.  I recognize the fact that God speaks through people..yes, He does..but people are not here to be our source of knowledge..God is..His Holy Spirit is the Teacher and He’ll guide you into all truth-John 16:13. We’ve become way to dependent upon people nowadays..We’ll bring a problem to a pastor or another person before we bring it to God..That is totally out of order..More dependency and loyalty is placed in the “church” system then in the Father and His Word…IDOLATRY!!

How does the church system operate as a hierarchy?  Christ said, in Matthew 23:8-12, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  The titles of Father, Master, and Teacher are to only be given to our Heavenly Father.  Also, He said that the greatest among us should be our servant. Luke 22:25-26 says, “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”  Christ is against men exercising lordship over His flock…Those who call themselves pastors, bishops, teachers, etc are there to serve the body of Christ and feed His sheep, not to BE served, or feed themsleves, as they are now.  There is so much pastor worship going on, it’s sickening.  The pastor is being treated like a king, when he should be a humble servant, setting an example for us to follow..we’re all to be humble servants…I’m not seeing a lot of humility in many of the church leaders I see…We are all to submit and be subject one to another, but it appears that only those who are in positions of power and control require submission, but they wouldn’t dream of submitting to those who are “beneath” them…To be a shepherd means nothing more than being an example unto the flock in how to fully take up our cross and follow Christ, because, techinically, the “shepherds” are still sheep…unless they’re wolves, of course… 1Peter 5:1-3 says, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” (I’ll get to the ‘filthy lucre’ part in a sec)  The Father also has judgment in store for the abusers of His sheep.  God spoke through Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 23:1-2, saying, “Woe be to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says the Lord.  Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; You have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them:  behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.”  Those who call themselves leaders will have to answer to God about what they’ve been doing and not doing in regards to God’s people, this includes those who claim to have received their position, “calling”, or “anointing” from God, when they’re really self-appointed or man-appointed..

Oh, the many ways the “church” is a business/corporation.  They’re God-peddlers, moneychangers in the temple, sellers of the Faith..or a faith, anyway…Apparently, there’s big money to be made as a pastor…Matthew 21:12-13, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”   I’ve heard the excuse that He only cast out those that sold at unfair prices, cheating people.  Clearly, the Scripture doesn’t make a distinction between who is and isn’t allowed to sell..(sidenote-they bought and sold, yet were still called thieves..hmm..interesting)…Christ made ALL of them leave.  Mark 11:15-18, “And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.”  I’m no “bible scholar” but I’ll go out on a limb and assume that the scribes and priests feared Him and wanted to destroy Him because people were actually taking notice of what He said about buying and selling in the temple, and that probably meant that Jesus’ words would hinder the money being made..and people don’t like for you to mess with their money.  No “church” should be buying or selling anything…Christ Himself would turn over the tables and probably turn the church bookstores upside down.  If a “pastor” cares so much about people’s salvation, well-being, and the quality of their lives, why would he make the people pay for that information.  Why do pastors have books upon books about how to do this or that, or how to live this way, how to get this to work for you?  If they felt it that important to help you, they should broadcast the message on their television programs free of charge.  If their revelation on how to do things came from God, I’m sure they didn’t write God a check in order to get it, so why do they get to put a price tag and barcode on it?  If I had some pertinent information that could change people’s lives, I wouldn’t dare expect payment for it. Also, why are million dollar jets, homes, cars, etc for the pastor being purchased for their “ministry” while there are people in their own congregations who probably had to choose between using their money for food or for rent?  Your “ministry” should start at home.  Why go to other countries to do things when there are families 20 minutes from their homes who are poor and don’t know the Gospel of Christ?  Instead, they hop in their private jets and fly right over the heads of their own community they’ve ignored just to dump their “religious” garbage on foreigners.  Christianity is one of the world’s largest religions, and it got that way before television and radio..What’s wrong with pounding the pavement for free and spreading the Gospel?..that’s how Jesus and the apostles did it….These people boast multi-million dollar ministries, but are spiritually bankrupt, and sadly, many don’t even know it..and dangerous are the ones who do…they also rob their “members” or patrons…I’ve already written about “tithing” so look on the side for my blog about the tithe, but if your pastor is telling you that tithing 10% of your income is required, they’re either ignorant of the Word concerning giving, or are intentionally conning you out of your money using fear tactics (being cursed for robbing God) and convincing you to treat God like a slot machine, e.g. “Sow a seed” and “The return on your giving”…Anyone who uses the excuse that the pastor has to drill you for money so the “church’s” needs are met, are in denial..if the establishment or “ministry” is from God, He’ll maintain it, if not then it’ll fall like it deserves to.  2Peter 2:1-3 says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”  I don’t know about you, but I will no longer be the merchandise to feed any covetous man’s pockets, let alone while he endeavors to prostitute the Word of God…And how sorely do they ignore Christ’s warnings against the love of money and the desire for earthly wealth…

The long and short of why I’ve stopped attending “church” is because I’ve discovered that many churches (and no, I’m not condeming ALL “churches”) are preaching a “different gospel” and “another Jesus”, (2Corinthians 11:4 and Galatians 1:6-9) even though most would disagree …The Father has blessed me with the ability to discern between true and false teachings, and He’s giving it to me and increasing it according to His will..so I’m still learning…He’s taught me to filter EVERYTHING through His Word..if I find a discrepancy or encounter something I’m unsure of, I pray about it, and He either clarifies it for me so that I understand it, or exposes it for the lie that it is…I just refuse to eat the leaven-mingled messages and sit through the unscriptural practices of “churches” anymore…I pray that the Father opens the blind eyes of those who are being deceived, but sadly, many of the followers are receiving exactly what they want…2Timothy 4:3-4“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2Timothy 3:1-7, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” People WANT what’s being given to them.  They don’t want the REAL TRUTH of God’s Word..whatever the pastors tell them, that’s what they want…whatever the pastor is telling them that “God wants them to have” or what “God wants them to be” is what they want…they don’t want to know what God really says and what He really desires FROM us instead of FOR us…they want their itching ears satisfied..and this love for lies and lack of desire for the truth will put them in a dumbed-down state, which they’ll enjoy, and it will  prepare them for the appearance of the antichrist, to accept his deception through his lying signs and wonders..and GOD will SEND them strong delusions so that they’ll buy into the lie because they didn’t  have a love for the truth.  That’s their judgment. (2Thessalonians 2:1-12) 

I would apologize for my rant, but I won’t..I’m upset about this..I’m upset about God’s people being lulled to sleep in ignorance while they’re being sheared and starved…All I can do is inform those who’ll listen and pray for those who won’t..It’s all in the Father’s hands…

(The only thing I will apologize for is for the unorganized manner in which this was presented, but in all fairness, I warned you in the beginning..this is a blog in the truest, rawest definition of the word..lol)