Posts Tagged ‘redeemed’

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Part of the ‘Word for Easter’ series, a new resource for you to freely use in church and share with friends this Easter. For more videos go to http://www.premier.tv

This is something that I am beginning to hear more and more. Now before anybody accuses me of being self righteous, I am not perfect and I sin everyday just like everyone else.

Capture

My gripe is not so much with the fact that a christian might cuss, but their attitude towards it. It is as if, some try to justify it, some just let it roll off their tongue with no sense of regret at all. It has so much been engrained into their daily speech that some are probably not even aware that anything is wrong. For the world, cussing and swearing is the norm but for us who call ourselves Christians, we should be different and those around us should notice that difference.

The Bible is very clear as to what our speech should be like:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (col 4:6)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (eph 4:29)

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit (1 Peter 3:10)

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (james 3:9-10)

There is no shortage of scriptures that admonish us not to cuss or swear. So when we do, what does it reveal about us? Let’s see Jesus had to say on the matter

 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)

It reveals something about our heart condition and with that, we should perform some self examination. The first question you should ask yourself is how do you feel about swearing? Do you hate when you do it or do you try to justify it. This is one of the signs of being a christian. Your relationship with sin should not be the same as before. One of the triggers for bad language is because we have a lack of self control (which is one of the fruit of the spirit) , especially when we are angry (one of the works of the flesh) and its so easy to ‘put down one’s Christianity’ and pick it back up when we have simmered down.

If you have a problem with swearing, first of all, see it as God sees it and that is sinful. The next thing you should do is repent of this sin and then take the problem to God in prayer, sincerely asking him to help you to stop. Read James 3 about taming the toungue.

If you are struggling with swearing, that is a good sign. Why? Because it is a struggle. All Christians struggle with sin, whether it be swearing, lying, gossiping, watching porn and the list goes on. The problem starts when there is no struggle. When you are comfortable with your sin. It could indeed be a sign that you may not be a christian at all and could be a sign of a false conversion.

So remember, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

If you put a human in a cage with a tiger, the chances are that person will get mauled to death. Why? Did the tiger do something wrong? No. It was just being a tiger and doing what it does by nature?

If you have a cat like I do, you know that cats love scratching things, hence why I have a scratching post. Even though it can be annoying sometimes, again, I cannot expect the cat not to scratch because it is only doing what it does by nature.

So what is the nature of the gospel? No matter how we like to dress it up sometimes, the nature of the gospel is offensive. Why is that?  Because it targets the sinful and proud heart of man. It tells them that they are not good and that without repentance from sin and faith towards God, they will remain dead in their sins and end up eventually in a lake of fire. That is not the kind of message that society wants to hear today because we are such a ‘ME’ society and its all about OUR rights and how dare anyone tell US how we should live OUR lives.

So does that mean we go around telling them to ‘turn or burn’. Not in so much words. Ephesians 4:15 instructs us to speak the truth IN LOVE. Our conversation should be seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6) when we speak to others and even though there is bad news, for that individual, it can end with good news. In the post when it is OK to offend other believers without remorse, I mentioned this quote from Trip Lee

The Bible is clear about the fact that if we stand for truth, we will offend people. The crazy thing is that it doesn’t treat it like a possibility, it speaks of it as if it is a fact. And it goes as far as to say we will be hated!

In Matthew 10 the Lord Jesus says this:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues… you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

It is pretty rare in our country that we are flogged or injured for Jesus, but when we offend, we are indeed hated. Did you see why we he said that they would be hated though? For His name’s sake. We see that Peter refers to Jesus as “a stone of stumbling and a rock of OFFENSE.” The offense is the message of the Gospel, the truth of the Scriptures.

So then, this second category of offense isn’t wrong at all. It’s a result of preaching Jesus. This type of offense has nothing to do with the messenger, but has to do with the message. Some people are too abrasive, or condemning, or self righteous and they add offense to an already offensive message. This is what we must avoid. We are to lovingly present an offensive message to those who need to hear it. This includes Christians and non-Christians.

As a matter of fact, I have talked with some within the body who have been offended by me and my brothers hard stances on biblical truths. For some, we’ve hurt their feelings *[see below]*. And while I strive to speak with them lovingly and graciously, I am not apologetic. That is unless I’m shown that I’ve misunderstood what God said in His Word. I strive to proclaim truth boldly even if it offends man, because to shy back would be to offend God. That’s the other mistake we must avoid- not standing for truth in fear of offending others.

So in conclusion, when we preach the gospel, and even if we speak it in love and with grace, we should never be surprised if people are still offended by our message. That is the nature of the gospel. That is the nature of the cross.

I mentioned this in the ten things I don’t want to be as a Christian but last year I began to realise more and more about how God is interested in the whole man and not just one part as they are all related in one way or another. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. If you feel stressed (the emotional side), it can cause you to have a stomach ulcer (the physical side). If you have a painful ulcer, it can affect your prayer life (the spiritual side). Lack of prayer may result in things not changing in your life which my stress you out, and the cycle carries on. Admittedly, that was a simplistic example but I hope you understand the point I am trying to make. God does not want you to only take care of your spiritual side but wants you to have a life more abundant in other areas as well. As I stated in the blog,

This may be going to the cinema, going to the park with the family, taking a holiday, going salsa dancing, going out to dinner with friends, going to a wine bar and the list goes on. If you haven’t got one, take up a hobby. I personally love roller skating. Just remember that  “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

balance-wheel

Some people think that doing the practical things above is not spiritual but all these things can enrich a person’s life. Just spending quality time with the children is practical but is part of a bigger puzzle when it comes to the quality of the child’s life and how it will shape them as they become an adult. Also it is those small things that will matter in the end. My friend tweeted

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

There must be a balance in everything. If you have to miss church to spend some quality time with your spouse, don’t be made to feel guilty doing so. If you have to miss a prayer meeting because you are physically and/or emotionally drained. Take a rest and replenish yourself. Even God took a rest on the seventh day. If you have been working all the hours that God sends, take a vacation and refuel. Take care of yourself in EVERY way. Make sure you try to stay healthy and get regular exercise. That is the way God made the human body, to be mobile. Not for you to be a couch potato watching the Christian channels all the time

Don’t neglect one part. God is interested in the whole man and not just the ‘spiritual’ side.

1: I don’t want to follow the crowd

I have done this in the past and you can see a bit of my story in the About Me section on this blog. I have followed the crowd in the past and even though I did question a lot of stuff internally, externally I just did what everyone else did. However, as you may have guessed from some of my posts, those days are well and truly over. I have to be a Berean and make sure that everything I hear lines up to scripture. I refuse to swallow any spiritual junk that maybe fed to me, whether that be in the pulpit, or on the tv/radio by a popular preacher

2. I don’t want to bring just a bench warmer in church.

Jesus said that he did not come into this world to be served but to serve. Yet many of us as Christians do not want to serve in our local church at any point. The Bible says that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. I have personally decided to be fully committed to just one ministry in my church as I would rather be effective in one ministry than ineffective in two or three. In many churches you find the few carrying the load of the many. If you are not involved in your local church, just think what could happen if every christian got involved (and was committed) to at least one ministry, sharing the burden. I understand that different churches will have different requirements e.g. a smaller church, but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say. I also understand that there are exceptions and circumstances which may be unavoidable but try to be a participator and not just a spectator

3. I don’t want to be a person who never tells other people about Jesus.

If you read my post about the fishless fishermen, you will understand where I am coming from. I dont want to just have a come to my church and see mentality. As much as I enjoy church, if I don’t periodically give someone the gospel in one form or another, I feel as if I’m being selfish in keeping this good news to myself. If I know how to be saved from Gods wrath, because of the price that Jesus paid on the cross for my sins, how can I not share this with others and tell them how they can be rescued as well? Jesus has commanded me to tell others. My christianity should not just stop with myself

4. I don’t want to be a success at church and/or work and a failure at home

God’s order has always been God > Family > Church/Work. If you change the order in any way, the order is messed up. I have witnessed many times people who have been burnt out by church. I am very fortunate to be part of a church that is VERY family orientated and puts a lot of emphasis on family and actively makes sure that we have a healthy rest from ministry if need be and that there is a balance. I am part of the music ministry in my church and one of the thing that my leader actively enforces is that we are not ministering all the time and that we take a break. In one of my previous churches, this was not the case and we were made to feel guilty if we were not ‘ministering’ every week, even at the expense of spending time with the family in the congregation. This only is not healthy but can actually have a negative affect on the person, even to the point where spiritual abuse may come into it. I particularly would like to leave a lasting spiritual legacy to my children. To see them live for Christ. Not because of me but because that is their own desire even though at present, they don’t wan’t to follow God 

5. I don’t want to be a Sunday Christian who just go through the motions

I’ve done that in the past and my Christianity became a burden instead of being joyous, even when serving as per number 2. I want to be passionate everyday of the week and see how my Christianity can be lived out and affect people directly or indirectly every day of the week, whether that be at home, at church, at work, on the street and just going to the shops

6. I don’t want to be self righteous

This does not mean that if I see wrong, that I refrain from pointing it out but at the same time, I must remember that people are at different stages in their Christian journey and may not be as mature as I am. When I was young in the faith, I did a lot of things in ignorance and learned a lot of things along the way, some through my mistakes, some through following incorrect doctrine. But I am where I am today because of the many up and downs of my journey and I’m sure in 10-20 years time, I will look back at today and still see some faults in my current thinking. I am constantly learning.

7.  I dont want to be a dumb Christian who doesn’t think

I have found that for some reason, some Christians don’t like to use their brains and think for themselves but just swallow everything that they hear. Some like to spiritualise everything and forget that we live in a physical world and God has given us a brain to use. We go to work and school and we use our brains and do things practically but when it comes to God stuff, we leave our brains at the door. Yes I understand that God doesn’t always do things according to logic but on the whole, we just need to use wisdom in a lot of things. This can be something as simple as choosing a school for your child or looking for a partner which I have mentioned in a previous post.

8. I don’t want to be a Christian who isn’t real

One of the things that we as Christians are very good at is putting on a mask, pretending that we don’t have personal struggles. We like to make people think that we have it all together. We don’t like to share our struggles. We are humans and we go through EXACTLY the same ups and downs of life like anyone else and are not exempt from it. We suffer tragedy and heartache. I have found that the people who helped me the most are those who can relate to me with what they are REALLY feeling and are not ‘faking it to make it’

Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. (2 Cor 1:3-5)

9. I don’t want to be unbalanced.

I will be writing a separate post about this but life is not all about church. 1 Tim 6:17 states that God has given us ALL things to enjoy. God has given us many things non-church related to enjoy. This may be going to the cinema, going to the park with the family, taking a holiday, going salsa dancing, going out to dinner with friends etc. If you haven’t got one, take up a hobby. I personally love roller skating. Just remember that  “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

10. I dont want to be a bad witness for Christ

I am always conscious that for some, my life will be the only ‘bible’ that they will read. What will they see on the pages? Will they see hypocrisy? Will they see a light shining bright or a light hidden. Will they see a reflection of Christ or will they see a fleshy Alan. I know that my life should NOT primarily be about me but should be about Christ. My favorite scripture is “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

What are the things that you don’t want?

CaptureOn 14th December 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother before driving to Sandy Hook school and opening fire killing twenty children, aged 6 and 7, and six adults. The obvious question that many people will be asking is why did God allow such a tragedy to happen? After listening to one of the fathers of the victims (who sounded like a Christian), why would God allow this to happen to one of his children? This would turn the doctrine of blessings, breakthrough and favor right on its head. If God knows everything in advance, why did he allow this to happen? Couldn’t he of stopped it? Is God evil for allowing this to happen? These are the type of questions that many people (including Christians) will be asking and nothing is wrong with that. The Psalmist asked many honest questions.  Got Questions addresses this question head on from a biblical viewpoint

Question: “Why does God allow evil?”

Answer: The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:

1) God could change everyone’s personality so that they cannot sin. This would also mean that we would not have a free will. We would not be able to choose right or wrong because we would be “programmed” to only do right. Had God chosen to do this, there would be no meaningful relationships between Him and His creation.

Instead, God made Adam and Eve innocent but with the ability to choose good or evil. Because of this, they could respond to His love and trust Him or choose to disobey. They chose to disobey. Because we live in a real world where we can choose our actions but not their consequences, their sin affected those who came after them (us). Similarly, our decisions to sin have an impact on us and those around us and those who will come after us.

2) God could compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100 percent of the time. God would stop a drunk driver from causing an automobile accident. God would stop a lazy construction worker from doing a substandard job on a house that would later cause grief to the homeowners. God would stop a father who is addicted to drugs or alcohol from doing any harm to his wife, children, or extended family. God would stop gunmen from robbing convenience stores. God would stop high school bullies from tormenting the brainy kids. God would stop thieves from shoplifting. And, yes, God would stop terrorists from flying airplanes into buildings.

While this solution sounds attractive, it would lose its attractiveness as soon as God’s intervention infringed on something we wanted to do. We want God to prevent horribly evil actions, but we are willing to let “lesser-evil” actions slide—not realizing that those “lesser-evil” actions are what usually lead to the “greater-evil” actions. Should God only stop actual sexual affairs, or should He also block our access to pornography or end any inappropriate, but not yet sexual, relationships? Should God stop “true” thieves, or should He also stop us from cheating on our taxes? Should God only stop murder, or should He also stop the “lesser-evil” actions done to people that lead them to commit murder? Should God only stop acts of terrorism, or should He also stop the indoctrination that transformed a person into a terrorist?

3) Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts (Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8). While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others.

Instead of these options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others. Because of Adam’s choice to sin, the world now lives under the curse, and we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). There will one day come a time when God will judge the sin in this world and make all things new, but He is purposely “delaying” in order to allow more time for people to repent so that He will not need to condemn them (2 Peter 3:9). Until then, He IS concerned about evil. When He created the Old Testament laws, the goal was to discourage and punish evil. He judges nations and rulers who disregard justice and pursue evil. Likewise, in the New Testament, God states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide justice in order to protect the innocent from evil (Romans 13). He also promises severe consequences for those who commit evil acts, especially against the “innocent” (Mark 9:36-42).

In summary, we live in a real world where our good and evil actions have direct consequences and indirect consequences upon us and those around us. God’s desire is that for all of our sakes we would obey Him that it might be well with us (Deuteronomy 5:29). Instead, what happens is that we choose our own way, and then we blame God for not doing anything about it. Such is the heart of sinful man. But Jesus came to change men’s hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He does this for those who will turn from evil and call on Him to save them from their sin and its consequences (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does prevent and restrain some acts of evil. This world would be MUCH WORSE were not God restraining evil. At the same time, God has given us the ability to choose good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us, and those around us, to suffer the consequences of evil. Rather than blaming God and questioning God on why He does not prevent all evil, we should be about the business of proclaiming the cure for evil and its consequences—Jesus Christ!

Let us pray for all of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this shooting. I honestly do not know how I would be if my children were the ones left in a pool of blood.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12:15

Related Posts:

 Why does God allow evil?

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 2

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 3: Pain and Suffering

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 4: If God is so powerful and so good, why do bad things happen?

If God knew people would sin, why did he make them?