Category Archives: Christian Living

Part 4: Build your House in ’09

The Windows and Doors

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

What if you had a house that had no doors, no windows, or no way to let in natural light?  You would have electrical lights, but without sunlight it would begin to get depressing.  A house without windows and doors becomes more like a dungeon, than a healthy living space.  Now think about being in the middle of the woods at night.  You’re lost, hungry, cold, and miserable.  The moon isn’t visible and its pitch black outside, except for the lights from a large log cabin setting up on a hill.  It’s your only hope for survival.  But without the windows and doors of that cabin, the lights would not shine.  Without that light, you couldn’t see it, as though it didn’t exist.  If it were just a dungeon, like in our first example, with no windows or doors, the light wouldn’t shine.  The same is true of us Christians when we are content to live within ourselves, become self-absorbed in our own “rat race” and refuse to observe the verse above by letting our, “light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

The Bible tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV So we know that works will not save us, but we also must recognize that, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17 NKJV In context within this chapter, James is instructing us that we are called to serve others, not through our faith, but through our service by means of our faith, so that as Matthew told us above we may have our, “light shine.”  This outward expression of an inward connection allows others to see how God works in the life of a believer.  Later in this same chapter, James references Abraham.  “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.  And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’  And he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”  This example shows just how strong faith and actions work together in our lives.  As James concludes this chapter he states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

Just as we are to have faith and works, we can express those works through our spiritual gifts given to us by the grace of God.  The scriptures tell us in Romans that, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 Each of these gifts, and others, are examples of how we are able to express our faith outwardly to others.  When we use the gifts to serve one another, the Apostle Paul tells us to do so in love. Galatians 5:13  Peter builds upon this thought by telling us, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10

We can profess our faith to others, recite Bible verses, show up to church to worship, but our faith, our heart, our inward light will only shine when we set aside ourselves by serving others.  Our service is the true window to our soul and one of the best testimony’s we have for non-believers.

Luke 11:35-36 “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.  Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

II Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

The Unseen War

Christian Flag

There’s a war going on.  Have you seen it?  Heard about it in the news?  It’s everywhere, local news, national and international news.  Everyone is covering it, but no one can really see it.  It’s not a war of flesh and blood like Iraq or Afghanistan.  In fact, the causalities in this war outnumber those of all wars throughout history combined.  This war is raging through our churches, destroying our youth, capturing the weak in spirit, but yet our media outlets won’t address it.  It’s a spiritual war and we’re engaged in the “Battle of Antietam” for souls.  The Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  But what are we as Christians going to do about it?  Daily we face the assault on our faith, our God, and His Son, Jesus.  Our administration will not allow the name of Jesus to be spoken during prayers for presidential events US News Link; our schools will not allow prayer MSNBC; churches are compromising their beliefs, as I wrote about Wednesday Denomination Dangers; the United Nations are working on legislation to place a ban against critizing Islam, essentially promoting its ideology while condemning Christianity World Net Daily

What’s it going to take Christian?  What will it take for you to stand and say enough is enough?  What will it take to arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit and prepare yourself for this war?  Make no mistake about it, the war is going on.  To the enemy it makes no difference to him if you’re on his side, or on the sidelines.  It’s the same thing if you’re not actively involved in the fight.  To take part in this spiritual battle we need to arm ourselves according to Ephesians 6:13-18, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

We need to be actively involved in our church, reading our bible and praying daily, seeking God’s wisdom for our lives, because this war is going to continue and it’s only going get tougher.  I placed the Christian Flag at the beginning of the post for a reason, to ask who will pick it up and march into battle alongside me and fellow Christians?  Isn’t it time to march onward Christian?

There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian’s right to live luxuriously “as a child of the King” in this atmosphere sounds hollow — especially since the King himself is stripped for battle. John Piper

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.  Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see his banners go!

Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. 

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!  Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise. (Refrain)

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.  We are not divided, all one body we, one in hope and doctrine, one in charity. (Refrain)

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,but the church of Jesus constant will remain.  Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail; we have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.(Refrain)

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.  Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King, this through countless ages men and angels sing.(Refrain)

Listen only to Sound Doctrine!

Something has really been bothering me recently and I want to get it off of my chest.  Excuse while I enter a mild rant about some doctrinal teachings that are going on in today’s church by some well known pastors.  I may have posted some things about perseverance, encouragement, trial by fire, etc., because I know these are issues that I deal with and I feel that everyone needs a positive message from time to time to uplift them.  But what I want to impress upon you is that while the central theme of the Bible is love, we can’t dismiss the fact that it also teaches a much firmer message of death and separation from God if we do not repent from our sins and in turn trust Christ as our Savior. 

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  In accordance with this, Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Combine those two messages and it tells us that we are ALL worthy of death because of our sin.  This is reality.  This isn’t a feel good kumbaya message.  It’s death and separation for all eternity.   The only message of hope, is through the gift of God, in Jesus Christ.  In Psalm 130:5 David says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” There’s not some hidden message, or hidden meaning.  Jesus’ death on the cross is our hope; our hope is in His resurrection and coming again.  The Apostle Paul states, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 No seed of “hope” needs planting by someone else.  There is no hope without Jesus.  If you want to know the “purpose” for your life, this is it: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

I offer this measuring stick of truth as a test to those who might not be preaching sound doctrine of the Bible.  Pay close attention to the sermons you hear, whether they are at your home church, on the internet, or on TV.  If you do not hear the name of Jesus being preached I Corinthians 1:23; if you don’t hear the way to salvation is through repentance 2 Peter 3:9 and belief in the bloodshed of Christ on the cross Romans 5:8-9 then that is your queue to remove yourself from that false teacher.

 

2 Timothy 4:2-5 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”