Good News, Cont.

If someone is saved, they have suddenly entered a new life with Jesus, and they now use this newfound understanding to tell their neighbor they are going to hell if they too don’t come to the same understanding, is that good news?

If someone is saved, and they feel the love of God fill them with every breath, and they use that love to tell a sinner that God HATES their life, is that good news?

If at every turn, the world is seeing Christians as people with fingers pointed, and with condemnation in every message, and in turn the world HATES God for what they are perceiving, is that good news?

Is is good news when more people are rejecting God than accepting Him, and it is because of Christian extremists who are doing anything BUT showing the love and compassion of Jesus through their HATE?

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as `Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, `Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, `I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'” Matthew 7:21-23

Is it good news if it imprisons rather than saves?

No.

The Good News cannot be force fed. If it is force fed, the receiver will end up despising it. My way of offering the good news is not through strong words, fire and brimstone, condemnation, pointing out the wrong in beliefs, insistence on changing ways, finding sin in every action of this world. My way of offering the good news is by making sure that my faith is strong, my ways filled with love and gentleness, my light shining bright. I have gotten into more talks about faith, not because I brought it up, but because God was shining through.

I was at odds in my faith for a long time, and certain things did not sit well with me. And it wasn’t what was in the bible, it was how the bible was being read. The bible can be perceived many different ways. The bible was written in such a way, with so many metaphors, so that we may study it and apply it to our lives to the best of our understanding. I believe that the bible does not say things plainly. This is so that debate and study are neverending, so that the word is a river rather than a pond. It is easy to find just what you are looking for to make a point. It can be done with good intent, and it can be done as a weapon. And there are many points that have been diluted down and ignored, just like there are many points that have been overemphasized. Is not sin, sin? Dear reader, how many sins have you committed today? Did you kill anyone today? Did you engage in homosexual sex? How about, have you ever cut your hair, tattooed your body, pierced your ears? Have you refrained from cheating on your spouse, but found yourself lusting after another? Have you had any impure thoughts at all? Have you lied? Have you felt hatred towards your boss? Have you judged another, pointed your finger at another and their wrongs like YOU are God in Heaven?

If sin is sin, and Jesus paid the price for those sins so that we may be forgiven and our slates are wiped clean, how about we focus on the love of God? Without a relationship with God, how is forgiveness ever going to be sought? If someone is being told that God HATES the sinner (which is entirely NOT true), why would that person ever come to God on their own? Do we lead people to God through fear, or through love? Would you come running to your own father if you thought he would beat you? Or would it be because you expected to be embraced? Should someone believe in Jesus because they fear hell, or should they come to Jesus because they admire His life and want their life to be like His? Which one do you think God is going to accept? The one who came because they were afraid of what would happen if they didn’t, or the one who came because they wanted to?

I have now come to terms with my faith, I am strong in how I believe, and I find that this has brought me closer to God, closer than ever before. I believe everyone’s faith is different. Even a Christian can have a completely different walk than the Christian in the seat next to him. Our faith is between us and God. I have belief in Christ. But I see wisdom in every religion. It would be naive to think that Christianity is the only religion that has any bit of wisdom to it. All religions hold a common bond. The underlying message is one of love, of loving God and of loving our neighbor. And even in our religion, we speak of men being gods (Psalm 82:6, Matthew 10:34-38), and of reincarnation (Matthew 17:11-13). And in Matthew 10:34-38, if we are “gods”, then doesn’t the Father also reside in us and us in Him, and therefore, can’t we see the god in everyone? The main point is, religion, all religion, can be linked in some way or another, linking all of us together. And all religion is important for the good of mankind, to keep the world from turning even more on itself. This war of who’s right and who’s wrong is hurting more than it is helping.

I do not condemn how others perceive their Christianity. I do not condemn the personal relationship between someone and God. That is not for me to get in between. It would be like me entering someone’s marriage and telling them HOW to love their spouse. It is not my place. And with all due respect, I do not feel my faith in God is in the danger zone and needs tuning. I am comfortable in my relationship with God, and because of that, I am now eager to keep striving for more in my relationship with God. I am a truth seeker, and my faith is that I am on the right path.

And I also do not claim that sharing of God and Jesus is wrong. There are people out there who are in need of hope, and hope needs to be given to them. It is when some Christian leaders do so with a shove rather than a nudge, that’s what I have a problem with. It is when hate and condemnation is the main way of leading people to the Lord. It is when someone does not need, when they make that clear, and they are being told insistently that they DO need. It is when it is not enough to believe, but to believe in the exact same way as another Christian. It is when it is apparent that the only reason we are “loving” is to get someone to God on our terms, and if they don’t listen, we throw our hands up and want nothing more to do with them. It is when the need to believe becomes more about man and their ego than it does about God. It’s that kind of agenda that promotes distrust, that adds fire to the convictions of those who DON’T believe. I don’t think that is the agenda that Jesus had in mind.

I cannot offer a strong fight against those who disagree with me. Faith is a personal thing, and really does not need defending. One who defends their faith to try and get other’s to see that they are right, is one who’s faith is shaken and needs support that they are “right”. My faith is not shaken, and I feel no desire to make others see my way. I couldn’t anyways, and I do not pretend to be able to. I share my faith because I am saying something about ME. That is the purpose for this blog. If someone reads this and finds hope in it, I am glad. But I am not sharing my faith with the sole intent to change another’s view. In the end, it is only my path that I am responsible for. And that is where my duty lies.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Good News, Cont.

  1. How can you say that God is happy with a person’s destructive life? If my child was living a hurtful life how could I be pleased with that? I certainly would hold my other children accountable if they sat by in there comfortable life and said to me at there death that they should have just followed by their example. The bible warns of this in Ezekiel.7-9 “You, son of man, are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life. At first I found this offensive too. How could I not I was the offender!If you truly love them how can you not warn them? Some times the message seems foolish to them but the bible also talks about this.1 Corinthians 1:18 18-21The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written, I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.Please read the whole Bible for yourself. Your Brother in Christ,Rudy

    Like

  2. “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as `Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, `Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, `I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'” Matthew 7:21-23THAT is probably my most favorite scripture in the Gospel of Matthew!But THAT scripture was not written all by itself–it was prefaced by this one that adds clarity and contextualizes it:Matt 7:13-20 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”WOW–that certainly brings to light the meaning of the remainder of the chapter! Some interesting observations from this are:(verse 15) “Beware of false prophets” pseudoprophetes- in the Greek“one who, acting the part of a divinely-inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies”When I hear things that “sound” pseudo-Christian, but do not line up with genuine-Christian, I have to defer to the Word of God for clarity and for the established modis operandi.There are MANY things that are being said and done in the name of Christ that DO NOT in any way respresent His Word. The “Haters” who speak condemnations and judgment without offering any hope and absolutely no love–that is anti-Christ. Then there are the “Mystics” who speak great swelling words of love and acceptance and understanding–yet their words offer no real transforamation because they “treat the symptoms” yet leave the “disease” intact–that is anti-Christ as well.The Word of God MUST provide the roadmap to the Father.Another observation–JESUS uses the terms:Wide gate…leads to destruction (bad news)Narrow gate…leads to life (good news)Wide gate (many)Narrow gate (few)Just ponder that for a moment…Verse 16-20 all utilize the term “fruit” which is what “you will know them by” So, what is this fruit that is so very important in the identification of people?Is it love? Is it joy? Is it peace? That is certainly what we might think or at least what we have assumed…but not according to The Word of God!Those are the attributes and “fruit” of the Holy Spirit! When we are saved He will manifest those things in righteousness through us–but they remain HIS fruit.So what is “our fruit?” I am glad that you asked!In all of the instances that the word is rendered “fruit” in these verse–the Greek word “karpos” was chosen.This is especially interesting in light of the subject matter as well as this discussion. Thayer’s truly breaks it down beautifully in providing the Greek definition of the “karpos” it is:1)the fruit of one’s loins, that is, his progeny, his posterity 2) what originates or comes from something, an effect, a result: 3)to gather fruit (that is, a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in figurative discourse of those who by their labors have fitted souls to obtain eternal lifeAll of these fruits relates DIRECTLY to the only “spiritual reproduction” that has been entrusted to the genuine believer and that is “winning souls into His kingdom” and He has already (many times over) told how this was going to be done “Go Preach the Gospel.”Further…where He goes on to say “I never knew you.” THAT was such a key word utilized in the context of this passage because it is the same Greek word used in Matt 1:25 when it says that “Joseph did not know Mary” or that he had never been intimate or consumated the marriage!Intimacy is what God chose to procreate and TRUE intimacy with Christ will also procreate “after our own kind” which is souls brought to the Kingdom.The point being: We just cannot “pick and choose” what “fits” us or te world around us from the Bible and call ourselves His children. HE said, “How can you say that you love me, but you don’t keep my commands?” One of those “commands” was ‘GO into all the world and PREACH THE GOSPEL” that was written in the emphatic thus was a “command” and not just a sweet suggestion.Preach and Gospel are easily understood as “to herald or cry out” the massage that “unless we repsent we will perish.” THAT message was good enough for John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, and Peter..but it has somehow ceased to be envouge for today. Why would I even bother with explaining any of this? Well–since the advent of thisthing called the internet and the proliferation of ideas via such venues as “blogs” it has given a virtual “platform” to many would-be teachers of the Bible, of which I have committed and dedicated a lifetime to. This is not my hoby or vocation. It is not what I do or what I think. It is who I am. My life has been bought and paid for by faith in the shed blood of my Savior Jesus and I am obligated by it “word for word” Line for Line and “precept upon precept” WHY?Because James 3:1 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”Once we began to “write, post, or otherwise propogate” some thinking or ideology to a potential audience–then we should also take and assume the responsibilty of having to answer for those things—based upon the standard of the scripture.What does God say about “false teachers”2 Pet 2:17-19 “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity– for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”YES–it is about our personal “Faith” but don’t forget–HE said “Faith comes by hearing the WORD OF GOD.” That the sole source of Biblical faith—weighing and measuring everything as to how it stacks up against the Scripure.

    Like

  3. How can I defend something I never said? I never said God was happy with a person’s destructive life. Not once. In fact, I never said anything about what God thinks, only how man portrays God. Furthermore, if I were to say anything on what God thinks, I do not believe ANY of us pass the standards by which we are saying God judges.If you disagree with me on what I write, if you find my faith weak, please read Romans 14. I do not find my faith weak, and neither do I find yours or anyone else who disagrees with me weak. I have very strong opinions, but I’m afraid that by arguing certain points is mutually making me guilty of passing judgement on disputable matters. And I’d rather not do that, especially with people I love and respect.

    Like

  4. I think you have to strike a balance. Universalist inclusivism isn’t the answer and neither is rigid fundamentalism. While there is truth and beauty to be found in religions other than Christianity we must still point to the fact that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. And if Jesus truly is the way then can we affirm truth, wherever we find it, and lovingly point to Jesus as the source of that truth and beauty and invite others to come along with us as we discover how to live “in the way of Jesus”.I love the way that the Apostle Paul approached the worshipers gathered at Mars Hill in Athens. They had gathered to worship many gods. He didn’t scorn them, or make them feel stupid for worshiping other gods, in fact he praised them for their spirituality (Acts 17.22)! When he saw beauty and truth in their diverse religions he embraced that truth and took it as his own, he even quoted one of their philosophers (v.28).He acknowledged truth and beauty, and he pointed them to the source of that truth and beauty (v.23-25). I read a book recently (Journey Towards Relevance) that talked about the two extremes that we see in Christianity. One side was Separatists that set themselves so far away from “real” people so as to be holy, and the only time they came down off the “high horse” so to speak, was to yell at the world about how they need to become separatists like them. This person woule never affirm truth from anything other than their religion.The other extreme was Conformists. They had been damaged by a church or a seperatist at some point and decided that they were never going to be like that. They lived by the motto, “You’re OK, I’m OK, We’re all OK.” This person affirms truth in many places, but would be comfortable saying, “you have some truth, so you’ll make it” and never make it around to pointing to Jesus as THE way.The third option was what this book called a “Transformist”. This is someone who engages the surrounding culture while still pointing to Jesus. Affirming truth, and pointing to Jesus.I pray that I can be a transformist and take the love, truth, and beauty of the way of Jesus to those around me.

    Like

  5. the writing is in the sand around every preacher who presumes they have the whole truth and nothing but the truth… Father forgive them for they know not what they do…

    Like

  6. If you don’t believe in the whole bible as the truth. You are creating you own religion to suite your life style and trying to make fit in. instead of you fitting in with God.

    Like

  7. Crissi, I love you. Thank you so much for sharing your faith journey and the thoughts that run through your head. It is a privilege to know you and be your friend. Thank you for continue to work your faith out and to do it out loud so others can join you on this journey. It’s so good to get things out and to work through them and figure it out along the way. Thank you once again for you honesty, it is inspiring to me. You wrote, “I do not feel my faith in God is in the danger zone and needs tuning.” I also do not feel your faith is in the danger zone. Since knowing you and being your friend I am confident of this. Your heart is in a beautiful place and I am so proud of you in everything you say and do. Continue to walk with God and dance with him. After all, what He thinks of you is all that matters.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s