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Chapter 12. Christian Living
The following miscellaneous topics are in the general category of Christian living:
While we need fellowship with others, especially believers, I feel the true source of loneliness is that we don’t realize the fellowship we have with the Trinity. We look to others to fill that void. But Jesus prayed that His disciples would know God. That Greek word for “know” goes far beyond the English word “know.” It denotes a deep relationship akin to marriage, including the sexual. Christian friends are necessary, as Jesus showed with His disciples, but Jesus also would pray all night to God. His union with God was the real answer for His companionship needs. We are to have friends, but Jesus must be our best friend. And we need to cultivate being in God’s presence and just resting there.
Being a person after God’s own heart:
“Create in me a clean heart” and “wanting to be a man after God’s own heart” have been my prayers in the past, but I wonder if, because of Jesus, we already have that capability within us instead of thinking it is something outside of us that must be added. It is a subtle but important difference: in one you are seeking something you don’t have; in the other you are realizing something you already have. Jesus said all things have been given to Him, so when we have Jesus we have the ability to have a clean heart and be a person after God’s own heart.
God in past times spoke through prophets, who often performed miracles to show they were true prophets. But now God speaks to us through His son, Jesus. Miracles are more for unbelievers than believers. Miracles are supposed to FOLLOW believers. Believers are to perform the miracles, not need them. Paul never cast a demon out of a believer. Teach someone to fish, they can eat for a lifetime. Teach a believer to walk in the power they already have, they don’t need a miracle for themselves. I think it is ok to believe for a miracle, but it is better to want to grow in understanding God’s nature to where we don’t need the miracle (much like the three about to be thrown into the furnace who told Nebuchadnezzar that even if God didn’t save them they would still believe in Him). There are instances during great revivals and moves of God in the past where God did perform greater numbers of miracles. It just boils down to knowing whether God wants to work one or not. Between man's free will and God's sovereign will, there are too many variables to figure miracles out. That is God's domain. This does not mean we shouldn't pray for one under the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We should always be on alert and boldly willing to be involved in one. But I'm not sure we can ever understand or predict them.
Respect for authority:
When the Bible talks about disrespectful of parents, there is a bigger meaning. It means someone who does not want to submit to authority such as police, teachers, and God. They are a rebel in God’s eyes, which equates to witchcraft. The Bible says we are also to submit to the king, which in America equates to all elected or appointed leaders. Ouch!
Purpose of praise and worship:
The purpose of praise and worship is to help you focus on God and who He is (i.e., His nature). Everything God does is to reveal who He is.
The only thing all instances of Jesus’ healing people had in common was He heard God tell Him who and how. Jesus healed in so many ways it is impossible to come up with a “formula.” The lesson I get from this is that we study the Bible and get all the logos information we can on healing. But the application requires rhema. For example, the logos says to have the elders anoint and pray for healing. But I believe the elders must have rhema on what and how to pray. In other words, the logos tells the general conditions for prayer, but when it comes down to the actual praying, that must be guided by rhema. But healing is a moving target. Just when you think you understand it, something contradicts it. Personally, I focus more on believing for health than healing. [TOOL] I often picture God’s life flowing through me and driving out anything contrary to His life.
Government and politics:
While not perfect, America truly is a great nation of freedom and opportunity, and it’s because of one reason: its Christian heritage. As America’s Christian heritage goes, so goes America. America is not Christianity and Christianity is not America. They are separate and should remain separate. But the closer America is to Christianity, the more it is “the land of the free”- even the freedom to reject Jesus. Christianity is like a force field: the closer you get to it, the more it affects you. Christians need to vote and be active in politics to get America as close to Christianity as possible. Each Christian has to determine what that means to them. I suggest each person seek rhema words for how they are to be involved. The immigrants from the south are not a spiritual problem. Many of them have a Christian heritage. The real spiritual problem is those who do not believe in Jesus, not because they are evil but because the Bible says they are under control of the evil one. We treat them with love and respect, but we can’t trust their spiritual vision for America.
Homosexuality and abortion:
I have a lot of compassion for those struggling with these two issues. After some research, I felt the Bible was less emphatic in condemning them than I thought. I think God knew how hard they would be for people to deal with. That said, I believe the Bible is still clear that both are a sin, and this is what the church must stand up and proclaim, but with love and compassion. It takes some serious rhema words to be set free from homosexuality. And until that happens, the church must not be condemning. If it never happens, the church must have compassion. The exact same applies to abortion. But both are still sins as I interpret the Bible. But neither means you aren't saved if you have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior.
I don’t believe God selects whether a person will be saved or not before they are born. I believe God did, however, define groups that would be saved or not. Using the analogy of creating a game, if you sat down and created a new game, you would establish rules for winning. You were “predestining” a group of winners and a group of losers. When God decided upon how one could be saved, He established a group of those who would be saved and a group of who would not. But He did not know who would be in each group before they made their choices while playing the game we call life. I believe each person has an equal opportunity to be saved, even those who never heard the name of Jesus. None were selected, or “predestined,” beforehand to not be saved. That would not be God's nature.
The “musts” you must live by:
1. You must believe that Jesus is the only way to God (and Heaven).
2. You must have all your beliefs based on the Bible.
3. You must have compassion for every person, including your enemies (compassion is not condoning, though).
4. You must live not for this life but for the next (we are pilgrims passing through this earthly life).
The true church:
The true church is Christ-centered and Bible-centered. The true church is where you hear God speak to you. Churches centered on social and political issues are very dangerous, in my opinion. The litmus test is very simple: the true church is one where every belief is backed up by the WHOLE Bible. Christians and non-Christians alike are famous for quoting only those verses that back up their opinion. If a church can show exactly where the Bible, the whole Bible, supports their beliefs, then I will listen to them. Quite frankly, I think liberal churches would have a hard time justifying some of their beliefs with the Bible…the whole Bible. The danger of not basing all your beliefs on the whole Bible is forming an image of God of your own choosing. These are the ones Jesus has to tell to depart from Him for He never knew them.
A Christian’s approach toward the world:
1. Speak the truth in love;
2. Get rhema for spiritual warfare against evil spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers.
Just as the Wise Men searched until they found Jesus, so wise Christians search until they find a rhema word. Mature Christians are not thrown by what happens in their life, their nation, or the world. They get a rhema word from God about what personally they are to do about each.
Humanism cries “Equality for all” instead of “Jesus for all,” and “World Peace” instead of “Prince of Peace.” The spirit behind Humanism is the same spirit behind the devil’s words to Eve and the same spirit behind the Tower of Babel. That spirit is the anti-Christ spirit of everyone that says they don’t need Jesus. Beware of anything that wants to take rights from the individual and transfer them to The State.
The only thing holding many Christians back is their image of themselves. And the devil keeps throwing it at them. [TOOL] You must refuse it and relinquish to God your right to what that image should be. Don’t try to picture what that image might look like, you have to totally give that right to God. Your job is to not accept your image of you, especially in the middle of the night and on your worst days.
There really is a demon behind every tree and around every corner. But they rarely use possession. What they do use is deception. This deception is evident in America today. Deceived non-Christians are championing causes that look and sound good, but are demon controlled. Some who profess to be Christians are doing the same. Don't be fooled. The Bible is the bastion against such deceptions. That's why the Bible is attacked as error or irrelevant. We must know the Bible thoroughly and know how to hear rhema words for spiritual insight and warfare.
Doing good from the heart:
Non-Christians can do good things from their heart with no ulterior motive. This confused me until I saw it in Romans 2. I think the reason they can do so is that we are made in God's image and His heart is to do good with no ulterior motive. The problem is:
1. Non-Christians think it is because of them, not God, that they can do good from their heart. So they don't give God the credit (glory) for it. This makes it sin.
2. Because non-Christians don't have the discernment of the Holy Spirit, they can be deceived into thinking right is wrong and wrong is right. Romans 1 talks about this. So they do wrong things from their heart, thinking they are doing good.
Giving God glory:
Giving glory to God is very simple. Just give Him credit for what you would like to take credit for yourself. The hard part is confessing that before others, especially nonbelievers.
I watched a documentary on Islam to find out more about it. They made it sound very appealing. I think Islam and Christianity have some similar ideas about helping others and wanting to live for God. But the stark difference is that Islam is based on submission to God, helping others, and adhering to certain practices, none of which will atone for sin and appease a righteous God. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. This is what we are to say to a Muslim, nicely.
On having a relationship with God:
A personal relationship with God must start at the cross. Any person, dead or alive, who tells of how they can talk to, sense, feel, or otherwise relate to God, and don't start at the cross, then they have been deceived, either by themselves or the devil. Sin separates us from God. Only the blood of Jesus removes sin. Hence, without the cross, the separation is still there. You cannot have a relationship with God without a true born-again experience with Jesus.
The Faith (Confession) Movement:
I believe the Faith (Confession) Movement (i.e., Hagin, Copeland, Dollar, Osteen, etc.) is based on a misunderstanding of God's nature. I was in it until I realized it didn't work. No large numbers of adherents were getting rich or well, which always seemed to be the goal. The problem is if God did work that way, it would skew the purpose of faith. Faith is to be based on God's nature, not on my ability to build "my faith." And the goal of faith is to get us closer to God, whether we ever get healed or rich. It would totally violate a person's free will if God operated the way the Faith Movement preaches. That's why He doesn't operate that way.
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