Tag Archives: judgmental

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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Christian Response to Miley Cyrus VMA Performance

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mileyOur family didn’t watch the VMA’s because quite frankly we didn’t expect anything wholesome or appropriate from the awards show.  I did, however, watch Miley’s performance on YouTube after my social media accounts were flooded with improper and derogatory comments about the poor girl, not only about her performance but about her actual life and her eternity as well.  I knew I also needed to watch the performance because, like much of America, I have teenage children in my house and needed to know what the appropriate response to their questions and statements should be.

I watched and immediately felt horror for this poor innocent child who has clearly been affected by the outside world.  What must this child, and yes Miley Cyrus is still a child at the young age of 20, have been taught (or not taught) to think this public behavior is okay?  How have we failed these Disney stars that continually seem to fall so far from their previous innocent roles on public television?

And ever so humbly, God reminded me of my teenage years.  How thankful I am that I wasn’t in the public eye for so many people who did not know me to judge my worth and eternal value!   I’m fairly certain I would have failed that test.  God reminded me that he views all sins as sins and that my sin of laziness or losing my temper with my children are just as equal in the eyes of God, which is far more important than what man believes.

As Christians, we should not be bashing this poor girl so hatefully and most definitely not so publicly.  In fact, we should not be condemning her at all.  This is where we, as Christians, must use discernment and practice biblical judgment.  Our judgment should simply be that we do not want our children listening to her music or seeing the VMA video.  Our biblical judgment must stop there.

We sin when our judgments defy the command from Paul in Ephesians 4:29, “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.”  It pains me to see my brothers and sisters in Christ talk so poorly of this child of God while failing to remember their times of disobedience and immoral choices.

John 8:7 says, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Are you my fellow Christian willing to throw that first stone?  Are you willing to bear ALL your sins on your social media status or on national television?

I challenge you brothers and sisters to spend time in prayer for Miley Cyrus.  Every time you hear about her racy video, see a comment about her life or eternity, or see the inappropriate pictures people are posting about her, to simply pray for her.  How might her life be changed if all Christians stood in the gap in complete and humble prayer for her soul?  What might her testimony be after she encounters the Holy Spirit after un-judging Christians fell to their knees and prayed for her redemption?

This should be our response.  Will you join me in praying for her?

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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.

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

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Alchohol-and-the-Bible.002-564x272Some Christians believe alcohol is a sin and any drinking is unwise, some believe drinking is okay in moderation, and others believe alcohol is a gift of the Lord.  Very different perspectives from just one simple topic!  The issue of alcohol consumption is one that can easily become a heated debate between believers and non-believers as well as stir separation between Christians themselves.  So what does the Bible say about drinking specifically?

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.”

Galatians 5:21 – “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Proverbs 23:20-21 – “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”

1 Corinthians 6:10 – “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Numbers 6:3 – “He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.”

The argument I hear most is “they drank alcohol and wine in the Bible!”  While this is true, I don’t believe the alcohol content was near as strong as we make it in our present day.  Our alcohol made today is made with the pure intent to make people drunk.  But even so in Biblical times, the people were warned about not getting drunk.  When we drink to get drunk, we are deliberately disobeying God and his principles for our life.  And being disobedient is a sin with consequences.

Many things can happen when we are drunk and not of sound mind.  Nothing good can come when we are breaking God’s laws which were given to us as a free gift to better our lives.  As noted above in 1 Peter, when we are intoxicated the devil is more likely to use your impaired judgment to cause havoc and chaos in our lives.  We simply are not able to make Godly decisions when we are not of sober mind. Having a designated driver, drinking in honor of a celebration, drinking with close friends and out of the public eye are NOT good excuses for getting drunk.  They are simply excuses and nothing more.  I do not think a drink on occasion is a bad thing.  But I do believe we should be watchful about our consumption of alcohol and know when to stop.

We should also be aware of the people around us and the impact our choices can have on their walk with Christ.  Romans 14:15 reads, “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”  We don’t know the path the person next to us has taken or will be taking.  We don’t know if they are a recovering alcoholic, if they are currently struggling with alcohol, or if they are simply angry and judgmental and will chose alcohol because the strong Christian sitting next to him has a drink.  We simply do not know the life circumstances of everyone around us and must be attentive to those around us.  Sure, you may be okay to have a glass of wine, but that glass of wine may be a stumbling block to someone else.  Is that drink worth the risk of someone else taking a wrong path in life?

Ultimately, alcohol is a personal choice.  We are blessed with God-inspired scriptures to be used to make a sound judgment.  If the Holy Spirit is leading you to stop drinking (for whatever reason), then you must submit to those principles for your life.  The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to you to help you discern scripture and life circumstances; use that gift!  Open your heart and mind to the beauty of God’s wonderful gift and really seek His will for your life.

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Homosexuality and the Bible

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What-The-Bible-Says-About-Homosexuality-300x225Homosexuality is clearly stated in the Bible as a sin that is condemned by God.  As Christians, we are called to have a righteous judgmental stance on sin, including homosexuality.  We must judge sin as clearly stated in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”  This clearly states that we are called to make righteous judgments that allow our hearts to discern right from wrong.  Homosexuality being a sin is not a judgment or an opinion, but a fact based on God’s word.  If you believe in the Bible, you MUST believe this to be true.  You cannot pick and choose what you want to apply to your life.  Your belief must be in ALL of the Bible, or NONE of the Bible.

Here are some scriptures that clearly define homosexuality as a sin:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

Romans 1:26-28: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”

Leviticus 18:11: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

1 Corinthians 7:2: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

1 Timothy 1:9-11: “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

If you are not a Christian, these verses will not mean anything to you.  If you are a Christian and you believe the Bible was written on facts, testimonies, and words inspired by God, you must believe these scriptures to be true.  When we became Christians, we were given a gift of eternal life.  We were also given the gift of the Holy Spirit who speaks in us and helps us discern scripture and sin; this is righteous judgment.

As Christians, we are NOT called to slanderous judgment.  We should not be walking around pointing out sins in others while ignoring our own sins.  We are all sinners and there is an appropriate way, based on scripture, to hold each other accountable to God’s standards.  In 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 Paul writes, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’”  Christians are only to judge their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  This form of judgment is more than discernment but a means to hold them accountable for their actions.  If we see a believer of Christ acting in a homosexual manner, we must follow scripture and lift them up.

We are not called to judge others outside of the church.  However, we are called to DISCERN their actions as sin.  This does not mean we are to condemn them or predict their eternal salvation.  Because non-believers do not follow the standards of God’s word, they do not understand the heart of a believer.  This is why so often Christians are labeled as “judgmental.”  We must simply love.  Love covers sin and Christians must choose to love everyone.  We were not always believers and someone took the time out of their lives to love us and speak truth into our lives.  We must do the same for others, including those living a homosexual lifestyle.  Love them and build a relationship and only then will they see we care and accept our knowledge.  Love must come first.

Aside from showing love, Christians need to stand firm on the word of God.  And that means we should not approve of any homosexuality tendencies.  Our world tells us we should be more accepting and conform to today’s way of thinking.  In Romans 12:2, the Bible specifically tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As Christians, we need to be mindful about our words and actions and how they may affect others.  Just because a male isn’t athletic, does not mean he is a homosexual.  Just because a girl is athletic, doesn’t mean she’s homosexual.  Just because a male likes to act and sing or a girl doesn’t want to wear dresses and makeup, doesn’t mean they are homosexual.  Have we failed our younger generations but making fun of others or predicting their future?  Have we failed our younger generations but not loving others?

Homosexuality will always be a sin and will always be condemned by God.  This is not a passing judgment or hasty opinion.  As long as Christians believe in the Bible, this is a fact based on scripture.  You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe and what you wish to push aside to make life easier or more accepting.  As Christians, we are called to believe in the ENTIRE Bible, not just the portions that make us feel good or are easy to follow.

1 Peter 4:8-9 reads, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Have a question?  Reply to this blog and it will be answered on the follow-up Q&A blog coming soon.

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Christian Response to the Legalization of Marijuana

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Our world is changing, people are conforming, and so are some perspectives of the legalization of marijuana.  Can Christians use marijuana for medicinal purposes?  Can Christians partake in the leisure use of this drug now that it’s becoming legalized in various states although still considered illegal under the federal law?

While the Bible does not come right out and say, “Thou shalt not smoke pot” it does discuss the use of other mind-altering activities.  True Christians who whole-heartedly follow Christ understand that the Bible provides us with a clear path of understanding and when we read with clear eyes and a heart of discernment, we can use the word of God to help us separate truth and evil.

Here is what the Bible does say about intoxication:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.  Who has needless bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.  Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.  You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.” Proverbs 23:20-21, 29-34

“Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler; whoever is lead astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1

These versus are very clear on the practices of intoxication of any kind.  It’s to be avoided at all costs.  As Christians, we are urged to guard our hearts.  Alcohol, prescription drugs, and now marijuana in some states are legal.  While we do have freedom in Christ, we are NOT to use our freedoms to sin.  The Bible confirms our freedom:  “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16) and “You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13).

It is true, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)  Let’s be sure we don’t twist the truth to uphold our sinful desires.  We must remember that we are governed to obey God rather than man when man’s laws are in direct conflict with God’s laws. (Acts 5:29)

It is also true that God said, “’I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.’” (Genesis 1:29).  However, God also gave us sexual pleasures to have within our marriages with our spouse, not for sexual immorality.  We have weapons to defend ourselves, not murder the innocent.  He has provided hemp to be used for textiles, lotion, fabric, paper, fuel, and wood.

So are Christians free to smoke marijuana now that it’s legalized?  If you find yourself questioning the issue of marijuana use, I challenge you to pray and seek God’s word and His wisdom.  I believe that if God has put this issue on your heart, He is leading you to the answers you know are true and right, and will convict you of this question.

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Christian Response to Presidential Elections

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Well, the presidential elections are over and Obama has been reelected into office.  Now what do we do?  How do we support our government and president who claims to be a Believer yet his words, actions, and decisions do not align with Biblical Commandments or teachings?

Let’s first compare our president’s beliefs compared with the Bible:

  • Obama said in a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani, “I believe that there are many paths to the same place…. All people of faith – Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone knows the same God.”  This is contrary to John 12:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Obama supports abortion.  In Psalms 139:13 it says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” It also says in Proverbs 6 that the Lord hates the shedding of innocent blood.
  • Obama supports homosexuality. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers not male prostitutes not homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
  • In a 2007 interview, Obama recited publicly the Islamic prayer saying, “Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme! I witness that there is no god but Allah! I witness that there is no god but Allah! I witness that Muhammad is his prophet!”

The truth is our nation’s president is NOT a Christ-follower.  So what do we do?  How do we respect our governing president who believes things contrary to the Christian faith, contrary to the very beliefs our country was founded on?  How do we teach our children to respect authority when we find it hard ourselves to respect our governing officials?

We rely on God’s word for His truths, for His redeeming love and unmerited grace, for His forgiveness of our sins, and His tender mercy.  We remember that God still sits on the throne in Heaven, that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, regardless of who the President of any nation is.  We remember to open our Bibles for His truth and answers.  We remember our Savior sent from God who died for our sins and that through Him, and only Him, we will one day be in Heaven.  We remember the cross and that it stands as a symbol of our true and ultimate salvation.  We remember to pray continuously, in every circumstance.  And we remember that God will never leave us or forsake us.

We sit down with our children and talk to them about right and wrong.  We talk to them about our gift of free will and the effects those choices may have.  We discuss with them the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and how the Bible remains our one certainty in this fallen world.  We teach them by example to pray for Jesus’ return through the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10.  We teach them to stand firm in their faith and not conform to this world.    We prepare them for the persecution of Christians and how to remain a shining light for Jesus.  We teach them to obey the laws of God and to not obey the laws of man when they conflict with the laws of God.  And we live our lives accordingly, allowing them to bear witness to what this all looks like.

We continue to speak the truth of God’s will.  We share with others the gospel of Jesus Christ and introduce them to the forgiveness and redemption of Christ.  We share with others the signs of the end times.  We do not waiver on God’s truth or conform to the ways of the wicked.  We plant our feet in God’s word and hold to its truth, because our life depends on it.

We trust that God appointed our president.  We believe that God has his hands in every situation and will continue to work GOOD in every trial and tribulation.  We trust that God remains sovereign and we respect and not resist our governing authorities as the Bible tells us in Romans 13:1 and we must remain courteous and gracious.  We may not like or care for the sitting President, but we still show respect to the position.

We pray!  We pray for those who partake in the now-legal recreational drugs, for those who choose unemployment as well as those affected by unemployment, for the needy to be taken care of, and for our healthcare.  We pray for our unborn, that their mothers choose life.  We pray for the born who may be subject to after birth “abortions.”  We pray for our religious freedoms and our freedom of speech.  We pray for the sanctity of marriage, our military that protects our lands and families, we pray for our allies and enemies, and we pray for the nation of Israel.  We pray for our nation’s leaders, our neighbors, friends, and family.  Jesus tells us in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  We pray for those who are lost and who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  God can change hearts and it should be our prayer that our leaders look to the Bible for truth.

And we love!  We love those who wrong us.  We love those who disagree with us.  We love those who challenge us, persecute us, and hate us.  We love because we were once sinners who did not follow the ways of God.  We love because we are loved, even as sinners.  We love because God loved us.  We forgive because God forgives us.  We allow grace for mistakes because God gives us grace.  We allow God to do the judging and for God to provide the mercy for sins.  We are called to Biblical behavior.  We are called to love.

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