Posts tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

Prove Your Faith

James 1:12 (NCV) – When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy. After they have proved their faith, God will reward them with life forever. God promised this to all those who love Him.

Proving your faith does not mean never sinning. And sinning does not mean losing salvation. Proving your faith means always returning to Christ…to seek His forgiveness, to seek restoration to Him, to repent and turn away from your failure. Your faith is proved when you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on determined to obey and glorify God better from that point on.

May God lift you today as you seek to prove your faith, while waiting for His glorious promise of life forever with Him!

Baby Ruth in the Swimming Pool!

Baby Ruth Purchased Feb. 2005 in USA

Baby Ruth Purchased Feb. 2005 in USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago there was a movie in which someone floated a Baby Ruth candy bar in a swimming pool.  I don’t think I ever saw the movie.  I can’t remember what it was called, who was in it, or what it was about.  But I remember the trailer that showed the floating candy bar, and all the people clearing out of the pool thinking it was something a lot more disgusting!  Yep, you are thinking what I am thinking.  Just like quickly moving away from someone you are swimming next to when the water suddenly gets warm in that spot.  Gross!!!  And you are wondering what in the world this has to do with Christianity.  Fear   not, I am going to fill you in.

The Christian church at Corinth was having some trouble.  For the sake of the faint of heart and those who aren’t raising boys, I will refer to the gross as a Baby Ruth.  The church had a Baby Ruth, or two, or three floating in the pool. Of course, it wasn’t anything fake.  It was the real deal.  Some nasty, ugly sins in the midst of God’s holy church, floating in and among His people.  You know the really yucky part?  They didn’t move away from the Baby Ruth.  They didn’t remove it from the pool.  In fact, they were proud of it!!!  Just like boys!

1 Corinthians 5: 1-2 (NCV) – “It is actually being said that there is sexual sin among you.  And it is a kind that does not happen even among people who do not know God.  A man there has his father’s wife.  And you are proud!  You should have been filled with sadness so that the man who did this should be put out of your group.”

I admit, my first thought was, “Eeew!  Nasty!”  A man having his father’s wife is a definite Baby Ruth in the pool!!  If you read further into chapter 5 and on into chapter 6, you will find more Baby Ruth’s   The pool was full of them!  Those who were sinning sexually, including, but not limited to prostitution, adultery, and homosexuality.  The greedy.  Robbers.  Idol worshipers.  The verbally abusive.  Drunks.  Cheaters.  Liars.  Thieves.

That is not a pool I would want to swim in!!!  It was so full of the filthy Baby Ruth’s it would be next to impossible to not bump into one.  Then you would have it on you!  What’s worse is that after a time, you would become so used to having it all around you, you might begin to forget how disgusting it all is, and be tempted to add a Baby Ruth of your own!!!

Paul told the Corinthians they should have been sad and put the Baby Ruth out of the swimming pool.  The hope was that by doing so the Baby Ruth might be cleaned up and the owner would then be able to return to the pool clean and pure.

Unfortunately the church of today is no different from the church of Corinth.  There are so many Baby Ruth’s floating in the pool with us that we really don’t look any different from the ocean in which the rest of the world swims in.  Our pool (the church) has been cleaned by chlorine (sanctified by Christ).  All of the muck has been filtered out.  When the world looks at us, they should see pristine water glittering in the Son.  But that is not what they see.  We are full of all the same Baby Ruth’s that were in Corinth.  Idolatry, greed, steeling, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, lies, gossip, cheating, bickering, unkind words, and the list goes on and on.  The sad thing is that we let it float.  We allowed our pristine swimming pool, the church, the Body of Christ, to become so contaminated with Baby Ruth’s, filth, dung, that we have begun to accept it as normal, and even rightgoing directly against the clear teachings of the Word of God!  God is not pleased with this, my brothers and sisters!!!  He is heartbroken, but He is righteously angry as well!!  We have defiled His church.  And even if we haven’t done some of these things ourselves, we have allowed others to do them and not said a thing.  We are equally to blame!

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5: 11-13 that we are not to associate with the people who are living these lives of sin.  We are all sinners.  But there is a big difference between someone who gossips, or even commits adultery, and repents and never does it again, and someone who habitually gossips, lies, stirs up trouble in the church, lives with someone without being married to them, practices homosexuality (yes, I include this explosive topic!) as a way of life.  Verses 11-13 – “I am writing to tell you that you must not associate with those who call themselves believers in Christ but who sin sexually, or are greedy, or worship idols, or abuse others with words, or get drunk, or cheat people.  Do not even eat with people like that.  It is not my business to judge those who are not part of the church.  God will judge them.  But you must judge the people who are part of the church.  The Scripture says, ‘You must get rid of the evil person among you.'”

Go back to verse 2.  The man with his father’s wife should have been put out of the church.  I recall attending a small church in my early teen years.  A man and his wife were one of the biggest financial backers of the church.  But they used that money to control what was happening.  They were greedy for power.  They should have been asked to leave the church, but they weren’t.  As a result, the church ended up collapsing, and the pastor (who was a wonderful man of God) was never a pastor of another church.

It is time for the Church to step up to the plate.  It is time to clean the pool!!!!  We are a disgrace!!!  We dishonor God by allowing all of this filthy dung to co-exist with us in His house!!  It is time for our pastors and church leaders to stand firm on the teachings of the Bible, not twist them, and mutilate them, and distort them into something that belongs in the dirty ocean that world swims in.  We do not belong in the ocean!  Christ lifted us out of it with His death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.  Do not forget that!!!!  We have been cleaned up and set in the purified, chlorinated water that is the Church.  And it is time for the Church body to stand behind the pastors and leaders.  Keep them accountable to start.  Support them when they  are standing strong and doing what truly honors God, His house, and the Body and bride of Christ!!

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Romans 8: 28-29 (NCV) – We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.  They are the people he called, because that was his plan. God knew them before he made the world, and he decided that they would be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers.

We have heard it hundreds of times.  We, as Christians, are to be like Jesus.  The world should be able to see Jesus in us.  We are children of God.  Perhaps for you, as it has been for me, these words have become cliche.  The punch is gone.  But these truths from God’s Word are there for a reason.  They have meaning beyond passing thoughts.

As I considered verse 29 this morning, the first image in my mind was a bunch of Jesus-like clones.  We are made to be like Him in every way, so that the world is filled with thousands of Jesus’.  Everywhere people look, they see Jesus.  They hear Jesus.  They feel the presence of Jesus.  But somehow the cloning process went wrong.  It is as though each cloning lost some of the essential DNA that would make us identical to Jesus.  Jesus is perfectly sinless.  We are not.  Boom.  Messed up cloning.

Then I realized it isn’t like that at all.  It is more like being from the same stock.  When you see members of the same family, you can see characteristics that are the same.  While they are each individuals, different from the other, there are some things that identify them as being from the same stock…the same family.  They belong to that group.

Being a member of the family of God is like coming from the same stock.  We are all different.  We have individual personalities.  God has given us each gifts and abilities that work together with the others, towards one goal…the return of Christ and His coming kingdom.  But there are certain ways that we talk, behave, think, “walk” that identify us as part of this one group.  We come from the same stock…the family of God.  Our big brother is Jesus, and like all younger siblings, we try to emulate Him. We want to follow in His footsteps.  Thankfully, we can know that they will never go astray.  As long as we follow Him, the world will know that we come from the same stock as Jesus.  

THANK YOU, DEAR FATHER!!!!

walking on the narrow path.

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