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Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

We all know the verse… we’ve heard it so many times.  But…. are we really letting the meaning sink into our hearts and living it out?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34 


Seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness!  This is where we often miss the mark…. we seek everything else first, THEN see if there’s time left over for Jesus. However, the Bible tells us this just won’t do…. not anymore than it would for us. Jesus should come first for us and everything else come in at second. After all, that’s what He gave us when He lived a sinless life for us then was willing to die so we could be forgiven for our sins. He put us and our needs first. 

We are called His bride and surely a bride wouldn’t look at her groom and think… “Yeah, I’ll get to you later… first I need to watch this tv show.”  Or think, “Yeah maybe after I work then I’ll try to see if I feel like spending some time with you.”   No, a bride would never do this to her groom that she loves.  So, why is it that we think it’s okay to do this with Jesus Christ, our Savior?   This is something that is so NOT okay.  Yet it happens all over the world every single day by millions, billions, of people that, if asked, would claim that they are a Christian and love Jesus.  That just should not be so.

Jesus lived a perfect life and died FOR US.  Surely, we can give Him attention and seek Him first in our daily lives.

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I saw this posted on Facebook today and simply had to share.  Please share this with others too.  So many people think that because they prayed a little prayer as a child (or even as an adult) that they are “saved” and Heaven bound, regardless of how they live.  After all, we’re all saved by Grace, right?  It’s not about our “works”, right?  Jesus did it all, didn’t He?  Therefore, don’t JUDGE!  Cause, well… that’s wrong ya know.    We’ve all heard it.

Listen folks, the Bible is clear about this and everyone should take it very seriously.  1st John 3:7-10 states clearly : Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.  The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared  was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are; Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.  

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Quotes 089

WHY JESUS DOESN’T WANT YOU TO “ASK HIM INTO YOUR HEART”

I’ll never forget it. I was in middle school. All around me were other middle school kids crying. Hardly anyone was standing. It was a powerful moment—so much so that even now when I think about it a range of emotions come over me. Where was I? I was at a youth camp. It was the last night where everyone “asked Jesus into their heart.” Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” was playing while the camp speaker asked all the kids to bow their heads and close their eyes. He would then say, “ok whoever wants to receive Jesus repeat after me….”

Sound familiar?

Have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?

Now first let me say this—I am not arguing in this blog that Jesus doesn’t save through this method (because He clearly does). Also, John 1:12 would suggest we do need to receive Jesus in some way or another. But my question is why has it become so mechanical? So forced? So calculated? Receiving the grace of Jesus is a beautiful thing. We tell people it is free (which it is), but we forget to tell them it will cost them their life (which it will). I’m humbly submitting that this might be the main thing contributing to our lethargic, apathetic, and consumer based Christianity that’s plaguing our nation right now.

Doesn’t it haunt you that this “prayer” is never uttered in the New Testament?

Have you ever asked yourself why?

Doesn’t it haunt you that people never made a “decision” but rather gave up all they had to follow Jesus?

Why is the life we are calling people to, so different from what the original disciples called them to?

When I first became a Christian about 4 years ago, the church I went to would give an “invitation” at the end of every sermon. It was very similar to the experience above. He would have people bow their heads and close their eyes, and “accept Jesus into their heart.” He would then usually say something like “I see your hand, God sees your heart.” I think about 15 people would get saved every service. At this time they were probably a 3,000+ person church with multiple campuses in a tiny town. I remember thinking after about a year, that if 15 people were getting “saved” a service in a town of around 20,000 this city should be upside down for Jesus. But Monday through Saturday nothing seemed much different. Why? Also why do they bow their heads and close their eyes? I struggled with the fact that if someone can’t proclaim Jesus is Lord and that their heart has been changed by His grace in the safest of all places—a church full of people who already love Jesus!—then do we really think they would proclaim Him boldly out in the world, where He’s hated?

Let me clarify though before my email inbox fills up with not so happy Christians defending this method. I don’t care how you preach the gospel, as long as its the gospel that’s actually being preached. Is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the focus? Is there blood? Is there cross? Is there persecution? 2nd Timothy 3:12 says all who seek to follow Jesus will face persecution. Too many times we proclaim “your best life now”, instead of a rugged cross. If they are being called to more than a stirred heart, but called to an abandoned life, then by all means do it. But, people aren’t being called to die for the sake of God’s glory and His mission, then I’d be careful to call it the true message of Jesus.

Jesus isn’t after people “accepting Him into their hearts” He is after people boldly giving up all they have and following Him by faith, death, and suffering.

Nothing makes me tremble more at night then knowing there are millions of people (most likely in churches) who don’t know Jesus at all, and are being led to hell under the pretense that they are “good to go” because they prayed a prayer. In fact the main reason they stay distant from Jesus is that they think they’ve already “taken care of that.” The truth is, if a boulder dropped on top of you, you’d look different after the fact. Why is it then that supposedly when the most glorious, holy, amazing, and beautiful infinite God of the universe “drops” on us we don’t look any different? You are saved by grace, but real grace changes you.
Is that you? Do you actually know Him?

I’m not asking do you struggle or wrestle (you should) but I’m asking do you know Him? Do you love Him? Do you want more of Him? Even if you are struggling, if you can answer yes to those questions, you are in a safe place. But, if you are simply clinging to something you did years ago, but you have zero intimacy with your Creator, I’d tread softly.

From now on what do you say we….

Stop asking Jesus into our heart, and start asking Jesus to change our heart.

Stop receiving Jesus, and start following Jesus

Stop raising our hand for Jesus, and start raising our obedience for Jesus.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Luke 9:24-25

Link to the original post below:

http://jeffbethke.com/why-jesus-doesnt-want-you-to-ask-him-into-your-heart/

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I used to smoke,  a lot.  I started at the tender age of 14.  My mother smoked and back in the day it was thought to make you look cool, and older.  I was a terribly rebelious teen so smoking seemed like a grand idea.  A good way for me to look cool and rebel parental authority all at the same time.  Everyone knows a teenager of 14 wants more than almost anything else to appear more grown up, so smoking helped me with that too. At least in my mind, if not in reality.  In reality, I’m sure I just looked foolish and silly, if not stupid.

Over the years I deeply regretted having started smoking.  They cost a ton, they stink, they make you stink, and they make you sick.  Even so, I still loved smoking  – so I was in a mess.  I knew they were making me sick, yet I loved them.  I knew I had to go to the Lord and request His help in wanting to quit smoking first.  Without the desire to quit, nothing I did would make any difference.  Sounds silly to want to quit, yet not, but that was me.  My desire to smoke was just larger than my desire to quit.

I began asking God to please give me the desire to quit the nasty habit and then I picked a date.  I chose to simply give the whole mess over to the Lord and let Him deal with it.   After all, I knew He’d want me to quit and He tells us to ask and He’ll give us our heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:3-5) 

The date I set was November 1 of 2007.  I told everyone I knew that I was going to quit (not one single person believed me either – that’s how much I LOVED smoking at that time of my life – sadly) and that the Lord would help me accomplish it.  I knew He’d help.  I just KNEW it, deep down in my heart.  I didn’t know if He’d make it easy for me, or if He’d just hold my hand and walk me through the process, but I just knew He’d stay with me the whole time.  I was prepared for it to go either way and simply told any and everyone that would listen that I was going to quit on that day and that was that.

And I did.  I was blessed by my complete and total belief in Him and His promises, and He made it much easier than I’d ever dreamt of.  I’ve been extremely thankful ever since.  Thankful enough to know that I can never pick up even one and smoke it…. ever.

Now, it seems like I’m going to have to go to Him again and get His powerful help with another apparent addictiion – anger.  Seems kinda out there to call anger an addiction, but I honestly feel that it fits.  Anger is like a drug, like nicotine.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not running around punching people or anything, but still… I know that anger (and pride) are some serious issues that I need to be delivered from.  I hate the way it makes me feel.   It’s so hard to let it go while in the midst of whatever issue has upset me.  I don’t like that feeling.  I’d much rather be more humble and less concerned about myself.

I had a work issue come up recently and, at first, couldn’t wait to tell one of my close co-workers all about it.  But then I got to thinking that no… I shouldn’t talk about it and fuel that fire.  I felt like I needed to just give it to God instead.  So, I decided to not speak about the issue the next day when I’d see this co-worker.  However, she brings up an issue closely related to the one I was upset over and even though there was a part of me screaming out, “Be quiet!!!!  DO NOT go there and complain or gripe or whatever you wanna call it!  Just don’t!”  Sadly, I found myself doing it anyway….  Ugh!  I hated that!  I felt just like I had in all the many times I’d tried to quit smoking in the past when I was trying to do it all by myself. There was the whole argument going on inside of me of “Tell her!  No!  Don’t, it won’t help anything and will only get her upset too!  Tell her!  No! Don’t…. ”  I felt like I’d failed myself, but mostly like I’d failed my Lord and Savior.

The experience has reminded me though that, just like when I prayed for His help to desire to quit smoking, I first need to go to the Lord and ask Him to give me more of a desire to let go of silly annoyances and the effect that they can have on me,  more of a desire to see His will done, rather than my own.  To be more concerned with loving His people, than what’s “fair” in my own eyes and understanding.   I need His help in desiring to lay down my hurt and pains at His feet, rather than seeking a way to make myself feel better through “making people pay” in any shape form or fashion.  After all, God tells us that vengeance is His.

There are times when anger is appropriate, but often times, our actions when angry aren’t.  I need Christ’s help in knowing what’s what and in choosing appropriate reactions.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:22 (the words of Jesus) But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!  If you call someone an idiot,  you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”    In Romans 12:14-19 We’re told, Bless those who persecute you.  Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other.  Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.  And don’t think you know it all!  Never pay back evil with more evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Dear friends, never take revenge.  Leave that to the righteous anger of God.  For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

69286_554861371205447_1968733517_nIt’s not nearly as hard once the force of the feelings of the anger have calmed down some.  Once that’s happened, then I’m able to pray for those that have hurt me or angered me.  It’s during that “heat of the moment” that I’m having trouble with.  But I know that I know that I know that I can take this problem to Jesus and lay it at His feet and He’ll give me a strong enough desire to get past my “feelings” no matter how strong they may be at the time.  I KNOW I can trust in Him.  Please, won’t you also pray with me on this?   If this is an issue for you, please feel free to comment and we’ll pray for you too!  Or if you need help with quitting smoking, please feel free to comment and request prayers for help with that too!  With Jesus, we can all quit smoking and giving in to anger!

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Personal Disciple-Making Plan.

Can’t say enough good things about what David Platt and Francis Chan are doing in the area of encouraging people to get out there and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone possible.

I fully believe we need to get serious about sharing the truth and the love of Christ.  I hope you enjoy this blog post I’m sharing that can help you in this area of life that is soooooo very important.

Keep speaking…gently.

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Coming in March: An online study based on The History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible”.

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I can’t begin to tell you all how very much I liked this post. It’s come at a perfect time in my life for reasons I won’t get all into right now. Suffice it to say that I have a hole to go dig.
If this post speaks to you in some way, please share it in the comments section. I’d love to hear about the necessary holes in your life and how the Lord blesses you with a brand new shovel.

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Be careful what you say today because the power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20) You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him.  This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Deuteronomy 30: 19, 20

 

34 You offspring of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil (wicked)? For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks.

35 The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things.

36 But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.

37 For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.     

Matthew 12:34-37    Amplified Bible (AMP)

Do we pay as much attention to our words as we’re supposed to these days?  I think we can all admit that the honest answer to this question is a definite no.

There are all sorts of opportunities to use words in our lives.  We can chat it up with all kinds of people, whether friends, family, or simply people we encounter in our day-to-day lives.  There are more methods of communication available today than ever before.

And with all this talking that we’re able to do, what are our words doing?  Are they blessings for those around us or are they curses?  Are we blessing or cursing ourselves? Are we using our voices to share love, to teach people about the love of Christ or are we gossiping, perhaps even causing someone to stumble?

What are we accomplishing with our words?

I believe this is something we need to all be more aware of and in more control of in our lives.  Let us all pray for the Lord’s help with this and begin blessing those around us.

Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body.  Proverbs 16:24  (AMP)

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How many times do we tell God – I love You, but…?

Anytime we choose sin over God’s good plan for us, we are basically telling Him that we love Him, but this other activity is worth going against His plan. Maybe it’s a tv show you love, maybe it’s music you enjoy, or movies, or books, even hanging out with friends that aren’t believers; things we enjoy, but deep down inside, we know in our hearts that it makes God unhappy because it isn’t good for us. The Bible is His gift to us so we can know about His plan for us, what’s best for us to do, and what’s best for us not to do. God KNOWS all that is best for us and wants us to have that best.

Satan comes along and does his best to tempt us and blind us to God’s Word. He makes us think that this one little thing (favorite tv show or music video) won’t really matter cause gee… look at what so n so is doing and well goodness… it’s fun and I love this (song, show, movie, whatever). Surely, this   o n e   l i t t l e   t h i n g  won’t matter all that much to God. Surely, me doing this   o n e    l i t t l e    t h i n g    won’t really “hurt me” in any way since, after all, I’m saved by **Grace, not by my “works”.   These are all saying to God “I love You, but.”

He’s the Author of everything, He loves us so much He sent His very own Son to live on this earth, and be a perfect sacrifice for us.   Yet, we sell Him out for an hour of primetime tv. I don’t know about you all, but this hurts me when I think of what this does to His heart.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to say “God, I love You, but…”  less and less each day.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is good for you.  And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1st Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)

 

 

** God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  Ephesians 2:8-9  (NLT)

***Chapters 7 and 8 in Romans are both good to read in regards to this subject.

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God’s instruction for believers to love other people is a commandment, not a suggestion. But don’t we, as Christians, often act as if it was something God suggested that we do, maybe on just special occasions or something? You know like – “Hey maybe you guys could be a little nicer to folks around the holidays or something? You know… as long as they don’t inconvenience you or get in your way as you’re out shopping n such…?” I’ve looked around in various translations of the Bible and I’ve yet to find it there, at least not like that. What I have found though is the commandment to love. It’s in John chapter 13 verse 34 – Jesus said to his disciples “So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”

We try to tell unbelievers about Jesus. We want them to know Him, to know of His love and how He can change their life, change their very world for the good. Jesus is LOVE, we say. But what good is it to tell people that Jesus is love if we can’t even manage to be polite, nevermind loving, to those who pass through our lives?

We can talk to people all we want, but until we start living out the love we talk about, they’re going to continue to not believe us and think us only foolish. I’m afraid that we hurt a lot more than we help when we say one thing, yet do the exact opposite.

My prayer is that we, the church, will WAKE UP and start a true revival of love in action.

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