Tag Archives: grace

Christian Response to Illegal Immigration

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brandieIn recent months, thousands of illegal immigrant children have crossed over the Mexico border into the United States.  These children range in age from 17 down to 5 and 6 years old.  They are without parents or guardians, they do not speak the English language, and they are here without any belongings in a foreign country.  This volatile immigration crisis has already cost the United States $263 million this year alone, adding a substantial burden to our government’s pre-existing financial budget crisis.

I’ve read many statements and articles about this current immigration crisis, and to be honest, I’m not sure what my opinion should be.  My heart aches for these children who were so freely sent across the border and are now living in unknown territory with both hostile protestors wanting these children gone and friendly faces who are willing to take them in and give them the bare necessities to survive.  The judicious part of me recognizes this as complete disregard and disobedience towards the laws of this land and therefore they should be treated as illegal immigrants and sent back to their country.   But then I find myself asking again… is this what Christ would do to these children?

The subject of these illegal immigrant children has created great debates among politicians, educators, families and friends, and even church members.  Both sides of this debate are very passionate about their opinions and seek out to have their beliefs justified.  I read all of this and find myself asking… what should my response be?  And more importantly, what should my CHRISTIAN response be?  Putting my heart and feelings aside, what does the Bible tell me about illegal immigration?

Democrat or Republican, Christian or non-Christian, we all believe this one truth – if you enter into a country illegally, you are violating the nation’s laws.  There is a proper way to enter into a country and those laws are set in place not only for the country’s safety, but for those traveling as well.  As Christians, not only do we believe that it is against the law to illegally cross borders into another country, but that those illegal aliens are also breaking the laws of God.

This is what the Bible tells us about obeying our governing authorities in Romans 13:1-5: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”

Whether we personally voted for or agree with our current government leaders, we must still respect them.  This means, we must respect their governing decisions whether we agree with them or not, knowing that God’s will is better than our own and that He will use every opportunity to bring others into His kingdom.  1 Peter 2:13-14 reminds us, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”  This does not mean we must agree with them or refrain from sharing our opinion when asked, but we must speak with respect to our authority figures and governing officials.  We must believe that our elected officials will uphold the laws of the land and God.  We must believe that our government will find the best solution for those who break the laws and believe they will judge them accordingly because they have been given the divine authority to do so.  We must believe that our government will prevent similar situations from occurring again.  Whether or not our government enforces the established laws, the church (and individual Christians) should not knowingly support illegal activity.  To do so, would be breaking the will of God as well as condoning the sins of others, including illegal immigrants.  To be clear, those who violate the laws of the government are also violating the laws of God and this is sin; those who support or assist in the violating of the laws of both land and God is sinning.

At the very same time, Christians are called to have compassion and mercy for others, including those who have knowingly broken the laws.  We must somehow separate the fact that the citizens of Mexico have illegally sent their children across the border and broken the law.  We must express compassion and mercy in both our thoughts and our actions.  Our hearts must not be hardened to those who sin, regardless of age or circumstance.  Our hearts must not be hardened to those who illegally cross borders seeking refuge, work, or a better life for themselves and their family.

But dare I say that these children did not knowingly break the law but were likely forced to cross the border?  Would this change our hearts towards their status within our country?  Would we render aid faster, educate them, and feed and clothe them if we found out they were forced across borders and left behind parents and families who had already deserted them?  Would this make a difference in the eyes of God? 1 John 3:17 says, But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”  Regardless of how or why these small and vulnerable children entered our country, I think it would be best if we helped them on their feet and equipped them with skills and resources to go back to their country.  This might require our own citizens to help and render aid.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  As citizens of eternal heaven, Christians need to remember that we too have broken the laws of the land and the laws of God.  None of us are without sin.  The laws of land do vary in regards to the consequences served, but in the eyes of God, you sinned.  We have all disobeyed God and we all have the ability to accept His grace and mercy.  To show Christ to others, we must all extend that same grace and mercy to others.

Our best answer to the illegal immigration crisis right now can be found in Scripture and through the loving nature of our God. What is God calling you to do to help our country with this crisis?  How is God calling you to help these immigrant children?

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Grace and Mercy

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graceGod’s grace is likely one of the most esteemed and fundamental principles of the Christian faith.  As Christians, we have all been saved by the grace of God through salvation.  He promises us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Grace is an unmerited gift from the Holy Spirit; it frees us from our sins.  There is no other way to please God than by accepting His mercy and grace, and living and walking daily in His presence.

However, grace doesn’t stop here.  Grace and mercy go hand in hand and both are something Christians need to be practicing and extending to others on a daily basis.  Grace began in the manifestation of God.  The greatest appearance of grace was the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, born to the unwed Virgin Mary.  We believe in Jesus Christ and believe that He died on the cross to bear our sins.  He lived a sinless and blameless life yet was scorned and shamed.  He was whipped and pierced for our transgressions.  He was labeled a criminal and hung on a cross.  He died a cruel and painful death because of our sins.  Jesus hung from the cross, gasping for air and spoke, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  This is the saving grace of God.  Even as sinners, as people who mocked and rejected Him, He never abandoned His place on earth.  He went as far as to ask the Father to forgive us for the pain we caused Him as He hung and died on that cross.

We aren’t deserving of God’s grace and mercy yet we receive them and treasure them.  We put our faith in the heart of the Gospel that defines the true meaning of love.  And while we are never outside of God’s grace and mercy, as sinners we acknowledge the need for His merciful grace on a daily basis.

While we accept God’s grace and mercy, how well do we extend the same blessings to other people? Sin is sin in the eyes of God; our sin is no less than other peoples.  Are our family members, neighbors, and enemies beyond OUR grace and mercy?  Are their sins more grievous, is their lifestyle more sinful, is their life more in shambles than our own?  We all at one time or another reveled in our sins, and if some of us were to be honest, we may still be delighting in our sins behind closed doors.  We are all disobedient and we follow our sinful thoughts and desires.  We have all turned our backs on the Creator; we deserve our punishment for our wrongdoings.  But because God loved us unconditionally, because God is rich in His mercy and grace, we have been made alive in Christ Jesus.  It is by grace that we have been saved.  And yet so many Christians do not truly understand the meaning of grace and mercy.

What is your response when you see a person hurting?  What is your response when you see a person out of jail and looking for a job?  What about that homeless man asking for food or spare change?  What is your reaction to the LGBT community, persons from another faith, or people with a different skin color than you?  Do you offer up that same grace and mercy that Christ so freely gave to you?

The issue of extending grace has been heavy on my heart for years.  To be honest, it was not an easy lesson and one that I had to truly be mindful about.  It was too easy for me to look the other way, to ignore those who were different than me, or to simply shrug my shoulders at someone who was suffering the consequences for their own choices and actions.  What I learned through my lessons of grace was that I too could be suffering greatly from my own choices in life.  The difference was, that I accepted God’s grace for my life.  In the same way, we ought to be like Christ extending grace to others.  1 Peter 2:21 says this, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

This is our test of faith.  How well do we truly accept and appreciate God’s grace?  Do we offer grace to others for their choices, even if their choices hurt or wronged us?  Do we love our neighbors as we love Christ?  Do we love our enemies well and ask God to bless them? Do you show mercy and compassion for those who are hurting or struggling in life?

Grace is a gift to us from God.  Let us not dismiss the example of Jesus Christ lest we become like the Pharisees who knew their bible and yet missed the heart of Christ.  Let us begin to extend grace and mercy to everyone we encounter.

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What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos?

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031Tattoos, at one time, were thought to be a mark of rebellion, a sign of adulthood and the freedom to make your own choices with your own body and no parent could stop you. As the years have progressed, Christians have continued with this trend of new-found independence and started putting Christian tattoos on their body to represent their faith and belief in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Others believe that all tattoos, regardless of their significance or symbol of your religion, are a mark of the beast and should be strictly forbidden. These theories confuse both Christians and non-Christians causing judgment to easily swell. The question remains – What is tattooing? And what does God say about tattoos? Are there really such things as Christian tattoos or is this an oxymoron?

The Bible speaks of tattoos (some translations use the word “marks”) as early as the beginning of time. In Leviticus 19, the Lord is speaking to Moses, giving the command that he must go and share with the Israelites; “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.’” This command seems simple enough! The origin of the tattoo was rooted and practiced in the demonic and pagan realm. The tattoos were given during religious ceremonies and were intended to put the bodily soul in accordance with supernatural forces. Many times dancing and chanting were also done during these tattoo ceremonies to exorcise demons. Regardless if your Bible uses the word tattoos or marks, the context of the word heeds a warning to the Israelites from joining occult practices and entering false religions. Be assured, this is STILL a warning for us today!!

The Bible also teaches us that our bodies are a holy temple for the Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” As believers, the Holy Spirit resides in our bodies as our conscience and voice of God and Truth. The scripture is very clear about this issue – our bodies are not our own. We must treat our bodies respectably and we must pray extremely hard before making any kind of permanent mark on the Lord’s dwelling.

And what is the stuff about the “mark of the beast”? 2 Timothy 3:1 warns us, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” Many believe we are living in the end times and that even today “cutting the flesh” allows satan and the demonic realm to easily enter your body. This blood-letting practice has origins in the cultic dominion (as stated above). We even read in the New Testament about Legion (Mark 5:1-9) who was possessed by demons and attempted to cut himself with stones to unleash the evil spirits locked inside his body. This serves as another illustration that mentions the cutting of the skin and its relationship with the occult and the demonic origins.

This command is not just an outdated Old Testament law. This is a moral law and was applicable then as much as it is now. It is just as important as many others given to Moses to share with the Israelites – do not make idols for yourselves (Lev 5:4), do not steal (Lev 5:11), and do not make your daughter a prostitute (Lev 5:29), among many others.

If you are a Christian with a tattoo, spend time in prayer asking God to cleanse your soul and use the mark on your body as a testament to his love and grace. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Have faith and ask God to use you for His greater purpose. If you are struggling with the desire for a new tattoo, spend time in prayer. Then spend more time in prayer. Ask God what He wants marked on His dwelling place. Ask God what He wants His money spent on. Are you willing to take that chance to allow evil spirits to enter your soul through this practice of blood-letting?

As a reminder, do not judge those who have tattoos. We do not know where their heart was when they received their tattoos and we do not know if they had received the word of God about this very issue. We cannot testify for them about receiving the facts and origins of tattoos. We must simply pray for them and ask God to use them to bring others to Christ.

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A Jesus Lovers New Year’s Resolution

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newyear2It’s the end of another year and the majority of us are eagerly awaiting the chance for new beginnings and blessings.  We certainly never look at the new year as a time for added stress, pain, or sickness.  In our anticipation and hope of new things to come, we tend to make new year’s resolution – to lose weight, cut out caffeine, go to the gym, work less, sleep more, find a new job, etc.

The question I ask of you as we close out 2013…. What does Jesus want from you?  He very well may be calling you to cut calories, lose weight, and exercise.  He may be tugging at your heart to work less and be at home with your family more.  But what does He want from your heart?  How can your life glorify His name in this coming year?  What changes does God want from you that will ultimately lead you to a closer relationship to Jesus Christ?

Here is a list of New Year’s resolutions all Christians need to work on in 2014:

Forgive more – As a forgiven sinner, you are required to forgive sinners.  Let go of other people’s mistakes and shortcomings, even if those decisions directly affected your life.  Satan will remind you of the pain others have inflicted on you but YOU are a forgiven sinner and are called to forgive the sins of others.  Remind yourself that you have not always been a Christian and that you too have hurt others.  We have all fallen short and we will all fail again.  Pray for those who have hurt you, that they are blessed by God and that those blessings change their lives.  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

Pray always – It’s so simple to say “pray more” but the thought of praying all the time can seem very daunting.  Rest assured, if you miss an opportunity to pray, you must not give up!  Begin by praying every morning or evening and slowly add in other specific times in your day devoted to prayer.  You will soon notice how your prayers shift from specified times to daily conversations with God throughout your day.  Make sure you also add a few minutes of reflection time to listen to what God says to you about your prayers.  “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Quit worrying – We begin to worry when we feel as if we are not in control.  The truth is, very seldom do we have full control over anything.    When we allow worry to seep into our lives, we are saying to those around us that we are helpless and have no one to turn to.  But as Christians, we must have faith in God and faith in His plan.  Find the good in every situation and be thankful for what God has already blessed you with.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

Give more – Give more of your time, your money, and your effort.  Pray about this specifically and see where God wants you to give.  Does he want you to give more of your money to your church or a mission?  Does He want you to give more of your time and volunteer efforts?  Does He simply want you to give your family more quality time?  Whatever it is that He leads you to give, give wholeheartedly and give as if you are giving to the Lord.  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Go to church – Attending church should not be a Sunday morning visit when times are hard.  Church is a time for weekly reflection and an energy boost.  It’s a time for us to put aside the craziness of life and refocus on Christ and His will for our lives.  Church is a time for Christians to fellowship with other believers and together build the kingdom of God.  “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Learn more – Read your Bible this year, start a devotional, or commit to reading that book your spouse has asked you to read.  If you’ve already read the Bible in its entirety, read it again to gain more knowledge.  You cannot go wrong opening your Bible and reading scripture!  But there is power when reading with other Christians and discussing life together.  “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15

Judge less – Learn how to judge righteously and ask God to show you when you’re sinfully judging.  Practice the art of judging the sin and not the sinner.  Find the good in every person and in every situation, even if it’s simply acknowledging that God will use that situation for His glory.  Remember that we have all sinned and fallen short in the eyes of God.  We will all stand on even ground before God one day; your sin is no less than any other man’s.  “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24

Be more gracious – Again, find the good in every person and in every situation.  Treat others with kindness and respect.  Even if we don’t think they deserve it, they really do.  Don’t assume the worst in others, even if their track record shows otherwise.  Give people the benefit of the doubt, always.  Complement those who frustrate you, and add a smile.  Work on changing your heart towards others and people will begin to seem far less threatening to you.  “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Plant seeds – Write down a list of people who are non-believers and commit to praying for them over this next year.  Make it your goal to talk to them about Jesus Christ and his unending love for them.  Invite them to church, offer to pray for them, connect with them regularly and allow them the opportunity to see how Christ is working in your own life.  The outcome is amazing to see how God uses YOU and your everyday circumstances to change the lives of others.  You plant the seed and watch as God grows new believers.  “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Go on a mission – Your mission trip doesn’t necessarily need to be across the world to a third world country.  While that is definitely an incredible experience, your mission field can be right here in your hometown.  Your mission field is the path you drive to work and the places you run your errands.  To be on a mission for Christ is to tell others of Christ and bringing His Good News to non-believers.  Begin by asking strangers, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?”  Spend time everyday preparing for your mission work and ask God to show you where your work needs to be done.  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19-20

To put our focus on Christ rather than ourselves is ultimately what God wants for our lives.  He wants us to depend on Him.  When we do these things, our lives begin to take on a new meaning and good things begin to happen.  We will still suffer loss and heartache, setbacks and pain.  But life becomes bearable when we walk with our Savior and allow Him to lead the way.

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Does X-Mas Take the Christ out of Christmas?

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jesusIs there really any truth to the saying that when someone writes “X-Mas” that they are intending to keep “Christ” out of Christmas?  Is it true when people write “X-Mas” that they are claiming to be non-religious and yet still celebrating a religious holiday?  Should Christians be offended when we see others shortening the name of our Savior and taking the word “Christ” out of Christmas?

I admit I’ve always been a bit insulted when I see the shortened version of Christmas.  I’ve always justified my offense with the statement that Christ gave us His ALL, including His life, why would anyone save time and shorten His name?  Surely the Savior deserves His full name to be written out during this precious time of remembrance!  This year I decided to dig a bit deeper and search for the truth behind this issue.

I confess… I was definitely surprised!

The “X-Mas” abbreviation is neither recent nor disrespectful as many people believe.  The usage of “X-Mas” has been in use for centuries, possibly as far back as the very beginning of Christianity.  Its Greek origins can even be traced back to the Roman alphabet.  The Greek word for “Christ” is “chi” and the Greek letter for “chi” is represented by the symbol “X” in the modern Roman alphabet.

The fact remains – the X-Mas abbreviation was NOT created to slight Christianity or fashioned for the purpose of demeaning Christ in any manner.  While the abbreviation is definitely an old form of writing from a very different language, it may still cause offense to those who do not know the history of the abbreviation.

Study the facts and be ready to share when you see someone who feels insulted by this abbreviation.  Extend grace to those who choose to shorten the word “Christmas” because they may have absolutely no intention of keeping the “Christ” out of Christmas and were just quick to write the word down.

And most importantly, the method in which someone writes the word “Christmas” is NOT an appropriate time to judge anyone.  Even if you are still offended by the use of “X-Mas”, this is not a sin and we are not called to judge anyone based on their mode of writing.  We do not know their hearts or their intent when abbreviating the word Christmas and therefore we are not to cast judgment based on something so futile.  What we can do is extend grace to those who may offend us and remind ourselves that the abbreviated form has been used for centuries and really does have origins in Christ.

Other fun facts about “X-Mas”:

  • Chi is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός which translates in English to Christ.
  • The –mas in the word Christmas is a Latin-originated Old English term for “mass”.
  • The expression X-Mas was very popular for religious scribes, who are believed to have started the abbreviation for Christmas.
  • The XP symbol is derived from the Greek letter “X” (Chi) and “P” (Rho).  This christogram is formed by overlaying the two letters to create a monogram.  Although the XP monogram is not exactly a Christian cross, the Chi-Rho letters do resemble a cross.
  • The Chi-Rho symbol was used by Greek scribes to mark respected or significant passages.
  • The wreath around the Chi-Rho symbol signifies the victory over the resurrection over death.

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Furious Love Review and Giveaway

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Furious-Love-Home-Page-Design

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked
with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. -Mark 16:20

While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts
of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. -Hebrews 2:4

So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness
to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. -Acts 14:3

The amazingly raw and incredible films, Finger of God and Furious Love, both created by Wanderlust Productions, set out to reveal modern day miracles through God’s mighty power.  But more than just miraculous events happen; God’s heart for His people is exposed as well as the war between good and evil.  The films prove the hand of God in everyday action and the amazing love He has for each of His children.

The Furious Love Event Collection is a documentary response to these two films with the sole purpose to inspire churches worldwide to spread the Gospel through the amazing wonders and love of God.  The speakers from the hit films came together in April 2011 with the intent to inspire and charge the church to “love radically, love excessively, and, above all, go and be the hands of God.”

The inspirational speakers include:
Heidi Baker
Rolland Baker
Shampa (Shanti) Rice
Robby Dawkins
Philip Mantofa
Angela Greenig
Mattheus van der Steen
Greg Boyd
Will Hart

Who doesn’t want to be inspired by God?  And who doesn’t want to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ?  Within just minutes of hearing their testimonies, you too will be completely inspired to set out within your own community and travel throughout the world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ.  Your heart will be forever changed and empowered to prove God’s love for all of humanity time and time again.  Your mind will be transformed as you take a deeper look into the realms of good and evil.  Your mission for Christ will become so stimulated that you will ache to spread the word of God immediately!

You can order each individual event separately or you can order the complete 11 box set online for just $114.89.  Other products from Wanderlust Productions include the original films Finger of God, Furious Love, and the most recent Father of Lights.  Additional products include books, music, and video downloads.

The good news….

The Judgmental Christian has been blessed with the opportunity to offer this COMPLETE 11 box Furious Love Event Collection to one of our readers for FREE.  What a blessing to be able to share these inspirational and spiritual films to one of our readers!  Thank you Wanderlust Productions for this unique occasion.

To enter the giveaway, click HERE to learn how you can enter for a chance to have this box set.

What Should I Wear to Church?

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These-ARE-my-church-clothesSomeone recently asked me what I thought about how people should dress for church.  Honestly, my first reaction was, “who really cares?!”  Not too long after this, I heard some friends complaining about how their church members dress for church and again I wondered why this really matters.  But apparently some have a very strong opinion about what someone ought to wear to church.  I’ve spent some time in my Bible and prayer and these are the scriptures that I continue to fall back on:

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 – Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

We are called to worship in everything we do.  It says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Our lives should be a constant worship of our Creator.  The difference between worshiping daily and worshiping at a scheduled church gathering is the actual worship time and that it’s with a community of believers.  Why should our appearance be any different at the different places of worship?  The Bible tells us that we should not consider our outward appearances, but our hearts.  When we put too much energy into what we wear, especially if it’s just to please others at church, we are sinning against God’s word.  Our hearts during worship is what our Heavenly Father is looking at, not our outward appearances.   Our hearts must be in the right place and focused on our worship toward our God.

Likewise, if you are bothered by what others are wearing in church, your heart and mind are not focused on worship; your heart and mind rather are focused on others’ outward appearances.  This is a sin.  If this is something you struggle with, turn to God and ask Him to clear your mind for worship.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own.”  This doesn’t mean just on Sundays; it means every day our bodies are a temple for God.  Every day we should be worshipping and every day we should be mindful about our appearances.  Every day we should be modestly dressed and in preparation for worship throughout our day.

Some may choose to attend church in their absolute best clothing.  And this is okay.  Rather than worry about the appearances of others, devote time in prayer that your appearance will lead others to dress in their Sunday best.  Ask God for a more gracious and forgiving heart, and seek opportunities to clothe others if they are lacking in clothing.  And remember, if Christ came to your church wearing the only garments He owned, you wouldn’t turn your back on Him because he wasn’t in a designer suit.  Likewise, don’t turn your backs on those not dressed up in the fanciest clothing as they may already be wearing their best.  As we all grow in our walk, we are continually transformed and there is nothing wrong with wanting to “present” ourselves to our Father in an honoring fashion.

We must praise God for those who are in church, regardless of their apparel.  Hallelujah!!  People are coming to church!  What a blessing that the church doors are flooding with people who want to hear the word of God and come just as they are!  How sad it is that some of us are scoffing at mere appearances rather than seeking their hearts.  Welcome them in, have a servant’s heart, and be a witness for Christ!

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  There should be no judgment on what others may be wearing to church.  Let God, not man, convict their hearts to wearing clothing that honors our body as a temple.

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Homosexuality Q&A

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What-The-Bible-Says-About-Homosexuality-300x2251. What about when people say they “are born this way”?

The Bible is very clear about this issue.  In Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  God is perfect in all ways and He made us in His OWN image!  We are born of perfection; sin is what makes us unclean and imperfect.

2. Times are changing, surely God would be okay with everybody just being happy and getting along versus fighting over the way some people choose to live?

What God wants is for His children to live in obedience to His word and live with a purposeful heart to spread the good news of the gospel.  God gave us commandments and principles to make our lives better and He promised us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  God knows the human heart, after all He created us!  He knows we fall subject to sin but He also provides a way out of sin.  We too often choose to go our own way in life thinking it is easier.  But God tells us in Proverbs 3:6, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  God wants obedience, He wants us to long for and rely on Him, He wants us to have faith in His ways, and He wants you and me to have victory in Christ.

3. Why should we care how other people live their lives if they aren’t hurting anyone?

Everyday Christians should be on a mission for Christ.  We should be seeking and saving those who are lost.  Acts 22:15 says, “You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” Someone at one time took the time to reach you, to preach to you the good news of Jesus Christ.  We should also be doing the same for others.   We are also called to rebuke fellow believers when they are sinning.  James 5:20 reminds us to, “remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  As Christians, we need to know when we are sinning so that we can repent and turn from our evil ways.  Sometimes we don’t recognize when we are sinning and even when we do we need to be held accountable to our fellow believers.

4. But what if you have feelings for the same sex?

We are all sinners just as it says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  However, as Christians we must recognize our sins and change our mindset to praise God.  While we are born of perfection, we are subject to sinful thoughts and actions.  This sin is no different than an alcoholic struggling to not drink, a mother struggling to keep her voice down, a father fighting the urge to work late, or any person fighting any sin that keeps him away from giving God glory.  We need to recognize our sinful thoughts and ask God to change them.

5. Can a person repent of their homosexual activities and inherit the kingdom of God?

Absolutely!  We are all sinners and are all in need of the redemption and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:9-11 reminds us, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are put right with God, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’”  To be truly repent means to turn your back on sin completely.  You must believe in ALL the Bible and praise God in all circumstances.

6. Is it possible to be a Christian and be gay?

This is a question that is best left between each individual person and God.  I believe that as a Christian we should turn our back on ALL sin.  We cannot justify our sins to please our desires of the flesh.  As a Christian, we should strive to be like Christ in all that we do, in every way, and every day.  To knowingly sin and continue to sin, is not a true repentant heart aiming to serve God in every way.

You might also like to read Homosexuality and The Bible.

Value Life

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exodus20-13Exodus 30:13 says, “Thou shall not kill.”

We hear about murder daily on the news it seems.  This commandment appears so easy to follow, one we may often brush aside, believing we don’t really have to worry about it since we surely won’t ever take the life of another human being.  But there is more to this commandment than just killing a person to their death.  This scripture includes the killing of others physically, emotionally, passively, and spiritually.

A person is guilty of physical murder when they commit a homicide, suicide, or are involved in an abortion.  In the year 2010 in the United Sates alone, 12,996 homicides were committed, 38,364 suicides were executed, and more than 1.2 million abortions were performed.  These are the numbers of lost American lives.  Killing people physically is the most understood part of this commandment but yet it happens all too frequently.   As Christians, we are commanded to not support murder of any kind.  There is NO justification in the killing of innocent lives.

Emotional murder is speaking out against another person with hateful words.  James 4:11 says this, “Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.  When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”  We need to be careful not to use people or diminish them.  We may not even be aware that our words hurt others and must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these times to us.  Our focus should be to love others continually and extend grace.  We must be sincere and active-minded towards others, acknowledging their achievements and giving gratitude and thanks in all circumstances.

We commit passive murder when we fail to meet the needs of others.   This type of murder encompasses many forms including seeing a homeless person and failing to share food and hope, seeing a person struggling to walk and not giving them a helping hand, seeing a child or adult in an abusive situation and not contacting authorities.  When we receive the eternal gift of salvation, we are also given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to take action and we fail to do so, we commit passive murder.  We must be attentive and seek every opportunity to help others in need.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we should be sure we are also meeting the spiritual needs of others.  In Acts 20:27, Luke writes, “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”  We are commanded to share the gospel to everyone and always seeking to share the gift of eternal life.  Nobody should be damned to eternal life in hell.  Someone took the time to share the gospel with you and saved your soul, we should have the same spirit of giving and an overwhelming desire to see others come to know Christ as their personal Savior.  How sad will it be when we come face to face with our God and we see missed opportunities?  We serve a God of forgiveness and second chances.  Someone gave you that second chance and hope for your future, we must share the same hope to others.

A person is NOT guilty of murder when they are defending our nation in war or when capital punishment is being enforced.  Romans 13:1 says this, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”  Government is a mandate of God and God has given society the governing authority over its people.  Our government protects the people from the hands of those who seek evil.  Righteous war that is ordained by God will have exhausted all peaceful measures first and will have been appointed by appropriate authorities.  Righteous war is fought with good intentions for all mankind and has a reasonable expectation to succeed.  Righteous war combats against those doing evil and, if possible, avoiding the death of innocent civilians.  Righteous war must have the ultimate goal of establishing peace.  The Bible is very clear about making peace with our enemies but it also gives grounds for war to protect the kingdom of God here on earth.

How sad it is that sometimes we commit murder and never even realize it?  How many opportunities have we missed to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ because we failed to meet the needs of others or share the gospel?  How many times have our words or actions (and sometimes lack of actions) caused a slow and painful death to someone else?  We should all desire to align ourselves with scripture and submit to His obedience.  We have the Truth in our hands and we are commanded to obey His word.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  We are all guilty of murder and we must all repent and lead a life that’s pleasing and honoring to our Heavenly Father.

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How to Write a Testimony

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testimonyNo one can deny your personal experiences in life and how the hand of God helped you through trials and troubling times.  These hardships and sufferings are a part of your testimony and shape your walk with Christ.  The Bible is filled with testimonies and examples of how God saved people from difficult times and used them for His glory.  Your LIVING testimony has the power to point people to the love and redemption of Jesus Christ as well.  Your story can prove to others that God is love and that we are all broken and in need of a Savior.

How do you write a testimony?

1. Recognize the power of a written testimony.  There are recorded events and testimonies written throughout the Bible that we use today as examples and encouragement.  Your testimony can be the same for someone else.  Testimonies are messy but that’s the beauty in everyone’s story.  The power of overcoming the devil is something to be joyful about!

2. Devote time in prayer.  Can your testimony bring others to Christ?  Will your testimony provide a truth of redemption, God’s grace, and His everlasting love?  Reflect on your life before being rescued, your journey to finding Christ, and where God is leading you today.

3. Explain your sin.  What was life like before you surrendered your life to Christ?  What were you dealing with?  What emotions did you feel?

4. Share how you realized you needed a Savior, a solution to your problems.  Tell the readers how you came to know God and our Savior.  What brought you to the point of needing to be rescued?

5. Reveal how God is working in your life today.  How is life different with Christ as your focus?  What lessons in life has God taught you?  How have your thoughts and attitude changed overtime?  Tell the readers how your faith brings you through current sufferings.  How your life has been impacted today is just as important!

Helpful tips:

1. Stay focused on your story.  Remember the most important times and critical moments in your story.  Not every detail needs to be shared or readers may get lost in your novel versus your testimony.

2. Give specific examples of how God worked in your life.  Exercise wisdom and write as God leads you.  Do not give specific examples about your sins; your sin is not the focus of the testimony.  Make your testimony tangible with raw emotions and real events so that others can relate.

3. Be honest and real about the events in your life.  There is no reason to lie or exaggerate the truth.  Testimonies are painful and sometimes chaotic; remember the redemption at the end of your story.

4.  Do not use names or describe the sins of other people.  This is YOUR testimony, not theirs.

If you’re interested in sharing your testimony, message us on Facebook.