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Chapter 12A. Christian Living- Part 2
The following miscellaneous topics are in the general category of Christian living:
Do all religions have the same God?
Yes...and no. Since there is only one true God, the God of the Bible, He hears all prayers. But since His goal with all people is getting them closer to Him through Jesus, He works to get non-Christians to Jesus and Christians even closer to Him.
The Future of America:
I believe a nation’s future with God is something no one knows, even Christians. The best we can do is try our best to live by rhema words from God based on logos, the Bible. God may have America in a time of testing. I don’t claim, as some do, that America is under spiritual attack as never before. I think each generation of Christians has had its spiritual challenges. What is critical for America now is for this generation of Christians in America to be able to hear what God is saying, and then go in that direction. You can’t go by what others might be saying. This has to be between you and God. If you can’t hear God speaking to you personally, then that is your first step. I talk about that a lot in this booklet. When you are hearing God, you operate on a level that is above social or political issues. Those aren't the real battle. The real battle is in the spiritual realm.
Walking in God’s blessings:
How much God blesses us is closely related to how much room we give Him to operate in our life. Since I believe God does not violate anyone’s free will, I am reluctant to believe that God alters the natural flow of events in our life very often. So the more we choose of our own free will to let God be in charge of the flow of events in our life, the more room He has to guide us in ways that benefit us, which we call blessings. While there may be other ways, I feel two of the ways we give God the ability to bless us are: 1) living by rhema words, and 2) living by grace. Both of these concepts are described in previous chapters of this booklet. This is true on a bigger scale, too. If the true church lives by rhema and grace, then it as a whole will walk in blessings, which means America will perhaps benefit, if it hasn't drifted too far from the true church, that is. As we follow God's way, He blesses us with wisdom along the way, not by suddenly supernaturally blessing us (usually). It is our correct lifestyle that gives God room to guide and bless us.
The Mark of the Cross:
Moments of intense awareness of what the shed blood of Jesus did for you.
What is Man?
The only reason I can think of for creating Man was that God wanted a being that had free will to choose Him or not. And that was at least one reason that made Man worth dying for. The angels had the ability to rebel, which implies at least a degree of free will, but the Bible doesn't say angels were created in the image of God. Nor does the Bible say that Jesus died for the sins of angels. This implies to me that Man was created with the capacity to relate to God deeper than angels or any other being mentioned in the Bible. This also implies each person is of immense value to God. [TOOL] If you feel your life is of no value, even to the point of considering suicide, remember you are valuable to God, valuable enough for Jesus to die for. (This is also why I don't believe there is life on another planet. I can think of only three categories of life God could choose from: 1) that with not total free will, i.e., robots, which I hope I've shown in this booklet that God isn't interested in; 2) that with total free will, which God already has in us humans; and 3) that not created in His image, which I have trouble believing would appeal to Him. One of the most appealing aspects of our children is that they often look like us, and even if they don't, we know they are the same as us.)
I personally don't think most of us were born with a purpose from God. That sounds like we have one specific task God wants us to perform. Jeremiah was born with a purpose: to be a prophet. But I feel most of us are born with specific giftings, and we are to discover and use those giftings for God's glory. That is our reason for being born (along with being made into His bride, which has to do more with our obedience than our giftings). We are to hear rhema words for how best to use our giftings, but that will vary depending on how well we hear. Do the best you can for God but don't feel guilty that you are not fulfilling your "calling." And beware of grandiose "prophecies."
A god of your own choosing:
To those who believe in a good god who does not kill people as they claim the God of the Bible does: why does everyone die eventually? Why would your god set up life like that? What kind of god is against killing and then kills? That's cruel. Something to think about. (By the way, belief in no god doesn't stop you from dying either.)
Left their first love:
In Revelation Jesus told the church in Ephesus that they had left their first love. Not good. No one is sure what that means. Many say it is Jesus. They had lost their love for Jesus. While that sounds good, it is pretty abstract. How do you fall back in love with Jesus? I think it could mean that the church had lost their ability to have true compassion for others, especially their enemies. Loving Jesus is abstract. Loving others is concrete. And hard. We must have compassion. We must see the person and not whatever issue is causing us to not have compassion for them. True compassion often calls for action with the possibility of costing us in some way- money, time, a changed attitude, whatever. Perhaps the Ephesian church just didn't want to pay the price anymore.
Importance of hope:
Recently I was in a church group and as I was looking at one of the members, I could just tell by his body language that he was struggling with having hope for his life turning out to be anything. I felt I was to speak to him that God was telling him to have hope, which I then did. Hope is so important. It is one of the ingredients of faith (Hebrews 11:1). Without it, you have hope-lessness. Be aware of any areas of your life where you have let hope be extinguished. Jesus is our hope. That means you cannot tie your hope to how you want your life to turn out. [TOOL] Every day tell Jesus He is your hope and that you are trusting Him with how your life turns out.
The false church:
Characteristics of the false church:
-compromises the Bible (part truth, part out-dated)
-compromises Jesus (there are other ways to God and Heaven)
-sees all religions as true (one-world church)
No longer can the true church and America co-exist. Until recently, America was guided by Judeo-Christian principles. But now, perhaps inevitably, humanism has grown to the point that America is forsaking its Christian heritage. The true church can no longer look on America as it did before. America is now at enmity with the true church. God is calling His people out of the America that was, and into the America that now is. One mark of the true church is that it will hear what the Spirit is saying, and one mark of the false church is that it will be quite comfortable with the direction America is now taking. So don't be confounded by what is happening around you. Speak truth in love but be ready to be persecuted for doing so, even within your own household (Luke 12:51-53). The false church is not easily discerned. It is found within every body of believers. Jesus foretold this before the church was begun when He told the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13). Even knowing they are there, we may never know who they are because in the parable the tares are only separated from the tares at harvest time.
Tithing is a great indicator of how well you understand God's nature. If you are struggling with tithing, go back and meditate on God's nature more.
Socialism vs. Christianity:
I feel many "Christians" today in America are actually Socialists. I even saw an article written by a Socialist claiming that Jesus was a Socialist. Socialism and Christianity have similar goals in a number of areas. But Socialists see "good" as making the world a better place. True Christians see "good" as how we point people to Jesus, and the world as a place we are just passing through. Totally different mindsets. (True Christianity does make the world a better place, but that is a by-product, not the primary mission.)
Is the Bible inerrant?
There are many opinions and much confusion if one tries to answer this question using man’s logic. Instead, I go to 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states that the things of God are spiritually discerned. The Bible contains all the things of God He determined we need to know. Hence, when we are able to spiritually discern, we can know what any verse of the Bible is saying. So the real question is not over inerrancy regarding words but inerrancy over discernment-ability (if I can coin a phrase.) That "discernment-ability" is what I believe God has preserved from the beginning, using His supernatural power if necessary. So how do we spiritually discern? Over and over in this booklet I have tried to explain that spiritual discernment comes when we have seriously studied (not just read) the Bible, seriously worked to hear rhema words, and have made a serious effort to understand God’s nature. God is simply not going to drop on us the ability to spiritually discern. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God hasn’t made it hard to find Him but it does take effort and desire. Listen to trusted elders but each person can ultimately arrive at their own conclusions about what the Bible is saying. That’s what the Bible refers to as a mature Christian.
How God judges your life is by how you responded during your life to the moments you were convicted by the Holy Spirit of your sin and that your good works weren't enough to appease a righteous and holy God.
How to stop worrying about the condition of things:
1. Have no hardness of heart;
2. Pray that deception be broken instead of getting upset with those being deceived;
3. Develop and use your giftings and give God the credit;
4. Leave everything else to God- we often get upset and worried because we don't think we are doing enough for God, or we think that what we are doing for God is not enough.
More on politics and social issues:
Politics for a Christian is pretty simple: vote and support whatever makes America most resemble Christianity. But more importantly, live on God's spiritual plane where no political or social issue affects you because your focus is on Him. Leave political and social issue outcomes in God's hands. Our mission is to witness for Jesus. We still need to have Bible-based opinions on political and social issues, but they are not our focus.
Adam not the first man?
I have read some articles by well-meaning Christians explaining why Adam was not the first man created and that there were millions of people born before Adam. They are attempting to reconcile the Bible with science. Their motive seems ok but I have concerns about their conclusions. They aren’t trying to disprove God’s existence but I’m concerned about their understanding of God’s nature. I don’t think God would make it look like there were many people born before Adam without any reason or mention of it in the Bible. He doesn’t have to explain everything, but to conclude that the finding of the ruins of cities older than 4000 years means we have not interpreted the Bible correctly in light of scientific advances is dangerous. Perhaps science has not discovered enough to make alternate explanations feasible that are more in line with traditional Biblical beliefs. Science denied that Hittites existed until evidence of their existence was found fairly recently. It’s ok to ask questions but we need to do it with an understanding of God’s nature.
I am seeing some articles and videos about the case for spontaneous creation. Scientific hypotheses, such as these, that cannot even begin to be explored by the scientific method are closer to philosophy than science. Don’t be fooled. These arguments are not based on proofs but on trying to convince you to look at things a certain way, which is philosophy. If there were any actual proof, it would be headline news on every media outlet in the world. Christianity is a faith-based philosophy since it has beliefs that cannot be verified by science. But if scientists start talking about spontaneous creation, then they are putting science in the same category: a faith-based philosophy. Do they really want to go there?
The purpose of science:
The purpose of science is to prove the existence of God, not disprove. And science is actually doing that, by eliminating all the ways that creation began, leaving God as the only way. That is how medical doctors diagnose certain medical conditions. They eliminate all the other possible causes. Scientists don’t know what happened before the Big Bang, assuming the Big Bang is true, which itself is unprovable. They are starting to talk about spontaneous creation as science instead of a philosophy with no hope of actual proof. And they are desperately searching for life on other planets, to no avail. That leaves God.
I'm a Christian. I have to love you.
In my opinion these two simple sentences can be used to help us in our quest to understand agape love.
They can be read on several different levels. I encourage the reader to pursue what they mean to them.
(Hint: agape love is a choice more than it is a feeling.)
Penn Jillette of the magician duo of Penn & Teller said that if Christians really believed people were going to Hell, then they would be much more concerned and zealous than they seemed to be. I believe there is some truth to this statement. However, I would like to make a few counter-points. True Christians believe Hell is real. The Bible is clear about this. Whether it is actual fire or not is somewhat debated, but most would agree it is definitely not good. The problem Christians have is two-fold:
1. We are to be witnesses for Jesus. We witness about what Jesus has done for us personally. We aren’t commanded to witness about Hell, though many have witnessed how Jesus saved them from a living hell their life had become;
2. The actual Hell is far, far worse than anything any of us have experienced. Far worse than any of the great tragedies in our history books. It’s hard to be moved sufficiently by something like Hell when it is beyond our ability to comprehend it. So why doesn’t God supernaturally let us experience Hell for a few seconds so we can comprehend it? As usual, I think it comes down to God’s not wanting to violate our free will. If everyone were allowed to experience Hell for a few seconds, everyone would choose God. But it wouldn’t be a free-will choice. And they would no longer be human. Perhaps Christians should be more vocal about Hell. But make no mistake. Hell is real.
More on Hell:
In Chapter 1 I stated that the more we understand God’s nature, the better we can trust Him with the inexplicable things in life. Nowhere is this truer than when grappling with the concept of Hell. There are multiple beliefs about Hell, plus it seemingly contradicts the verse that says God is love. My opinion, based on my understanding of God’s nature, is that Hell is God’s just response to a life of unrighteousness and refusal to heed the conviction of the Holy Spirit, without which you cannot be saved. We really don’t need to know any more than that. I believe every person ever born has an equal opportunity to escape Hell. All who experience Hell deserve it.
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