Unlearning A Perverted Gospel

Bread for the Bride

There are all kinds of ways to hear the gospel.  We may hear it in a church, from someone speaking on TV or radio, or perhaps by direct conversation with another person.  ‘Faith comes by hearing’ is a maxim drummed in to us from very early in our Christian journey.  We hear, through faith the Spirit enables us to believe, and we cross over that invisible line from unbeliever to believer.  The journey begins.

But what if hearing the gospel and receiving the gospel are not the same thing?  What if the gospel that now makes its way across the airwaves, or is preached from the pulpit, or is conveyed by word of mouth has become so distorted and limited that it bears hardly any resemblance to the pure and measureless gospel delivered by Jesus Christ Himself?

Paul didn’t mince words when challenging the Galatian Christians with this very question.

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It is Time to Stand Tall

It is Time to Stand Tall

Take up the cross and follow Jesus—Not religion

Has the body of Christ in Western society become weak and anemic?  Have we become self centered rather than Christ centered?

When this topic dropped into my spirit…I realized it was time to stop hiding in my comfort zone and again take my place as a member of the body Christ.  Self has a hard time being nailed to a cross but in order to be a true disciple self must be crucified with Christ. We must like Paul say “not I but Christ”.

On social media I read believers shock and despair because other believers in other lands are being killed and tortured for their commitment to Christ.  They despair when our politicians remove Christian standards and beliefs from our public spaces but allow other faiths to have free run.

We are not of this world but we live in it, is the life we are walking reading this is a follower of Jesus Christ, are we the letters he writes for the world to read or do they see something else?

When I see the hatred and hysterics of those opposed to anything to do with Jesus it confirms his WORD just as much as his blessing in our lives.

Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

Yes, when Jesus tells us to take up the cross and follow Him it will cost everything, but in turn we gain so much more if we truly every day decide to be dead in Christ instead of living for self.

It is a manmade gospel that tells us that we will not suffer in this life; anyone who has honestly read the scriptures and the lives of the disciples’ knows that along with the blessing of having a relationship with the living God, that in this world there is persecution.

So far much of what we as believers have suffered here in our Western Societies has more to do with our self-serving iterations of scripture rather than actual living out of scripture, and the life of Christ that flows from the disciple of Jesus whose life is hide in Him.

1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Verse 15 indicates that if we suffer because of our soulish behaviour it is our own fault and we need again lay our lives at the foot of the cross, there is shame when our own unchristen like behaviour brings dishonor to the body of Christ.  I do not want to go into examples of this kind of behavior as we are all at one time or other guilty of some form of it, the Holy Spirit if we are honestly open to Him will show you the error and enable your repentance.

  Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

This chapter in Matthew is a great place to begin to understand how Jesus wants us to live and what our attitudes will be when our lives are hid in Him. (a big ouch to the flesh)

Today to many ‘Christians’ have no idea what the Bible actually says, and only know what someone has told them it says…we need to read the Bible for ourselves and learn what it really teaches.

Acts 17:10-12 (NIV)

In Berea

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

This I believe is the first step we must take if we are to be salt and light in our world today we must know what Jesus lived and taught!  It is the only way we will be able to stand in this hour fully clothed in the armour of God.(Eph. 6:16-18)

If we continue as a bless me club, and not the living out working of the life of Christ, we will perish without honor, but if we will gird up our lions, take up our cross and crucify self and walk each day the crucified life when real persecution comes and it will, the body of Christ will again be a force to be reckoned with in the earth.

 

Is this the Fast…

This evening as I was going about my usual Friday evening activities I had this portion of scripture come to mind Isaiah 58:3

They say, “We fast to show honor to you. Why don’t you see us? We starve our bodies to show honor to you. Why don’t you notice us?” Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)


(For the purpose of this short discussion I will use this version for its ease of understanding, I also suggest that you dear reader read the whole of Chapter 58 in your version of the Bible you prefer.)

I wonder how many of us through the years have said almost the same thing perhaps not in regard to fasting but in regard to the many things we do as we go about our walk with God. When it seems that life just isn’t going our way, we are not receiving the blessing we thought we should expect, after we gave all those things for God because our church taught it was the right way to please God?  After all God I am doing everything the Pastor tells me I must do to be a good Christian…it just isn’t working Lord why?

But God says, “You do things to please yourselves on those special days of fasting. And you punish your servants, not your own bodies. You are hungry, but not for food. You are hungry for arguing and fighting, not for bread. You are hungry to hit people with your evil hands. This is not the way to fast if you want your prayers to be heard in heaven! Do you think I want to see people punish their bodies on those days of fasting? Do you think I want people to look sad and bow their heads like dead plants? Do you think I want people to wear mourning clothes and sit in ashes to show their sadness? That is what you do on your days of fasting. Do you think that is what the Lord wants? ERV

Could this be our answer?  Have we taken the time to find out what God wants, or do we depend on others to tell us what he wants?  Do we have a personal relationship with our God through Jesus his son or is our relationship with God through others, the pastor or the latest big name preacher on TV or the Internet?  Without reading and thinking and praying over Gods word and letting it through the Holy Spirit speak to us personally it is so easy to lose our way and get away from life and into dead religion.

I didn’t come from a tradition where fasting was a big part of our formal practice, though it was taught that fasting and prayer was a good thing to do.  Fasting was also about going without a meal or a number of meals to spend time with the Lord in prayer often for a specific need.

I remember the first time that I read this chapter many years ago I was surprised to find that Gods take on fasting was so different from that which was taught.

“I will tell you the kind of day I want—a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help.”ERV

Wow, what a different perspective this gives one!  Now you say to me well this is Old Testament where did Jesus telL us to anything like this? Matthew 25:31-40

31 “The Son of Man will come again with divine greatness, and all his angels will come with him. He will sit as king on his great and glorious throne. 32 All the people of the world will be gathered before him. Then he will separate everyone into two groups. It will be like a shepherd separating his sheep from his goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the king will say to the godly people on his right, ‘Come, my Father has great blessings for you. The kingdom he promised is now yours. It has been prepared for you since the world was made. 35 It is yours because when I was hungry, you gave me food to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I had no place to stay, you welcomed me into your home. 36 When I was without clothes, you gave me something to wear. When I was sick, you cared for me. When I was in prison, you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the godly people will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you with no place to stay and welcome you into our home? When did we see you without clothes and give you something to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and care for you?’ 40 “Then the king will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for any of my people here,[b] you also did for me.’ ERV

Let us think about this could this be part of the reason our lives are so barren and filled with lack?

(Also read the rest of the chapter of Matthew and see what Jesus says will happen if we don’t do this.  For anyone who may want to read the version I have used in this article https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+58&version=ERV )

 

 

 

 

 

Prosperity

For a month I have been trying to write this blog and keep getting bogged down with so much information that I can’t seem to put into a few words so this time I’m going to just write what is on my heart with a few references.


 

Having a happy, rich, and full life has less to do with the amount of money you have and more to do with knowing that God has provided you a way to have eternal life which is a free gift from God!    Steve Repak Crosswalk March 14 2016


 

When we hear someone say God wants us to prosper what do you think he is talking about?  Do you hear wealth of money and things?  I wonder what the scriptures actually say about being prosperous.

3John opens with:

3Jn 1:2  Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

This is the verse often quoted when speakers affirm that as followers of Jesus we should have prosperity, what do they mean by prosperity?

My first reaction is that this is a greeting to Gaius to whom the letter is addressed, in today terms it probably could be stated ‘Hi I trust you are well and all your needs have been met.

Prosperity for me has always been having enough for my own needs and enough to share with others, it has never meant having a great many things or a lot of money, yet I have watched my friends and acquaintances run after money and things in search of prosperity, because they believe God wanted them “rich”.

So what does the scriptures say, I looked up prosper in the three Bible dictionaries I have;

Vines,

euodoo , “to help on one’s way” (eu, “well,” hodos, “a way or journey”), is used in the passive voice signifying “to have a prosperous journey,” Rom_1:10; metaphorically, “to prosper, be prospered,” 1Co_16:2, RV, “(as) he may prosper,” KJV, “(as God) hath prospered (him),” lit., “in whatever he may be prospered,” i.e., in material things; the continuous tense suggests the successive circumstances of varying prosperity as week follows week; in 3Jo_1:2, of the “prosperity” of physical and spiritual health

Strongs,

euodoō    yoo-od-o’-o  to help on the road, that is, (passively) succeed in reaching; figuratively to succeed in business affairs: – (have a) prosper (-ous journey

εὐοδόω   euodoō

Thayer Definition:

1) to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey, to lead by a direct and easy way2) to grant a successful issue, to cause to prosper 3) to prosper, be successful Part of Speech: verb

All three have the sense of a journey with help as one goes. Having success in one’s life and business, what does success mean does it mean the accumulation of great wealth, for some it may but it won’t necessarily make for great happiness.

A prosperous life will be a full life, but sometimes there will be lack of things and ready cash, but will still be prosperous because of a strong relationship with God, family, and friends with all ones needs met on a daily basis.

I have known very wealthy people whom I couldn’t see as prosperous; they had an abundance of things and money, but were alone, in poor health and lots of family strife.  Having money and things doesn’t make one prosperous.

Yes, scripture does tell us if we obey God and live as he directs us he will give us the ability to get wealth, (Deut. 8:18) but we need to look carefully at the happened when the Children of Israel in the OT became wealthy did it always come to a good end?

We need to be sure that our emphasis is seek God and his will, not seeking money and things, then he will make our way prosperous.

 

 

God invites us to reason together…

God invites us to reason together…

Isa 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, says Jehovah; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. MKJV

Why as believers are we so afraid of anyone who dares to present a different approach to the Word of God?

Our relationship with God is a personal one so it is quite likely we may each have learned something different in my walk with Him, yes this must be filtered through the written word to verify its veracity.  This usually isn’t the problem between believers, the problem usually comes when we begin using dogmas and traditions to verify truth and the refusal of one or other to even consider there could be a different way of applying a certain scripture or that the translation you have been religiously using may have missed something, or numerous other things that bring errors into our thinking.

 Is our trust in Jesus the rock on which our faith is based so shallow that only that which we have been taught by people with whom we have associated is to be considered to be worth listening too, are we so weak in what we really know the scripture tells us that we dare not look again to see if there may be more to be learned?

This is a very old problem Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:1- 11 tell this sad tale;

1Co 3:3-6 For you are yet carnal. For in that there is among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men? For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each?  I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. MKJV

and in verse 11 it says;

1Co 3:11  For any other foundation can no one lay than the one being laid, who is Jesus Christ. MKJV

Yet we still divide ourselves up accord to the human teacher we choose to follow. for example today some say I’m of Calvin or of Arminius, neither are completely in error nor are they totally correct and such is it with most human teaching we must be like those in Berea…

Act 17:10-11 And the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. They, when they arrived, went into the synagogue of the Jews.And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so. MKJV

The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments admonishes study for ourselves to seek truth,

Isa 28:9-12 Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little; for with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people.To whom He said, This is the rest; cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing. Yet they were not willing to hear. MKJV

2Tim. 2:15  Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. MKJV

Must we continue to be sheep being led into the ditch because we do not take the time to study and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us.  The Holy Spirit is a gift given to teach us so that we may know truth and have wisdom and live in love and grace with all believers in Jesus.  None of us have all the truth but if we obediently seek we will find Jesus and he is truth!

 

Edie

March 2 2016