Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Struggle With Sin

I need to write about my struggle with sin because, I tend to write things that are very hard for us to digest, and I don't want people to think that I am some kind of saint sitting on a cloud looking down on everyone because they are sinning! Nothing could be further than the truth!

   The Bible says that we are to look at our own sins before we address the sins of others. See Matthew 7 for this. We can address the sins of others, but we must do heart work on ourselves first.

   Ever since I was small, I had a problem with anger. When I didn't get what I wanted, I threw temper tantrums. One time, my mother said I held my breath, and turned blue, because I was angry about something (I was around 1 1/2). When I was 4 or 5, I would be so angry at my mom because she wouldn't take me to the amusement park or wherever I wanted to go.

  I remember one time, my little brother was invited to eat dinner with some little boys at their house. I was so angry about that. I was angry at the little girl across the street, because she preferred playing with my little brother instead of me! One time, she hurt herself on our swing set. I thought to myself, 'Good. She deserves that'.

   My anger continued and when I got angry, my blood pressure soared. My face turned beet red. Where would I get help?

   One time, I wondered who could deliver me from my anger? But as I got older, the anger took different forms, and I didn't see my anger problem anymore. That is, until I got married and had children!

   The anger came back when something challenging happened with my first daughter. I don't even remember what it was, but I took a brush and threw it across the room. It broke. That was just the beginning of things to come.

   When I had two children, the anger flared up again, only this time, many more episodes of anger occurred. I found myself throwing things again, and breaking items. I could have hurt my children, but God was merciful and protected them from my anger. I began to be afraid of myself. It seemed like anger was bigger than I was. I couldn't control it. Again, I was wondering, 'Who can deliver me?'

   I would listed to our wonderful Bible teachers and pastors in the 80s and 90s. They would teach us on idolatry and worship. We all worship something. I would argue with them in my mind. They would talk about the power of sin, and I, for the life of me, couldn't see my sin. I trusted in Jesus Christ and thought that my life was totally sin free now. My sins were forgiven, but I didn't understand the power of sin still in my life.

   The root of my sin (anger) was idol worship. You are probably thinking, 'Yeah right. We really have totem poles and statues out there to bow down to.' Worship is an issue of the heart. The second commandment says to not make a graven image of God. We are not do design a 'god' that we want to believe in. God already tells us who He is in His word. I was worshiping a 'god' of my own desires. You see, I believed that the death of Jesus Christ reversed the curse of Adam on the earth. I thought that my labor would be painless. God forbid if I would have had to have a C-section. I believed my children would be in perfect health. We would never have to go to doctors because of sickness. I would nurse my babies perfectly and they would be plump and healthy. I really believed Deuteronomy 28 applied to me today, and had those expectations for my life.

   Deuteronomy 28 tells the story of the Israelites, as they were going through the wilderness, and getting ready to establish their own country. During their adventure in the wilderness, God would provide for them whatever they needed. For example, there were no shoemakers available in the desert. God told the Israelites that He would make sure their shoes didn't wear out. There were no hospitals, and maybe no midwives? Women would deliver healthy babies in the desert. If, the Israelites obeyed God, God would take care of everything they needed, because it was necessary for them to reach the Promised Land. That is how God would carry out His plan for redeeming mankind. God saw to it, that every detail was worked out for them. However, they were not removed from the curse that God placed on the earth, when Adam sinned. God's plan was progressive, not instant.

   I totally misunderstood that, and I believed that if my relationship with God was right, then I would experience God fixing everything wrong in my life. But that didn't happen. Now I know why, but I didn't then, and I was angry.

   By the time I had my third child, I knew that my anger had to be dealt with. I could no longer get away with being violent. I could have hurt my children and God was going to hold me accountable. I wanted to represent God in truth. By living in anger, I was dishonoring God. I was making God look like something He wasn't. But I felt so trapped. I couldn't not be angry. Who would deliver me from this anger?

    Now that my belief system is in line with the word of God, I understand why difficulties come my way. It is not God punishing me, or showing His displeasure with me. God's word guarantees hardships will come our way. It is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle we have to put together. Most of us do not want to take the time to put something like that together, but when it is finished, a beautiful picture is depicted. God gives us difficulties each day, for us to work through, which will bring us to the place where we trust God more, and we will become more like Christ.

  I am grateful for my pastors, and many good Bible teachers whom I have listened to on tape. I have learned to look at my own heart and not be afraid of my sin, because there is hope. Now that I know the root of why I was angry, I don't have to deny my anger or pretend it doesn't exist.

   You may be struggling with anger. Or you may be struggling with something else altogether. The devil loves keeping us in bondage with lies. The devil wants us to live in guilt and shame. We fall into sin, then we try to get out, only to slide back in again. Then the devil rubs it in. We feel like trash. But, we don't have to!

   God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to die for your sins and mine. But not only that. He died so we don't have to be slaves to sin anymore. We don't have to worship false gods. As we learn who God is, from the Bible, we will learn to trust Him more. The lies will fall off, if we don't hold on to them.

For more on the Gospel, go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Unfair Cop - The Ticket That I Deserved But Never Got

  You've seen it. You've driven in it. You are only going 8 miles over the speed limit and there are cars buzzing around you everywhere. Where are the cops when you need them?

 Imagine you're driving down the road, going only 53 miles when the sign says Speed Limit 45. The car on the left just raced past you. Cars are going around you because they think you are going too slow. Another car speeds by. Then you realize there is a cop on a motorcycle behind you, wanting to pull you over. You pull over and get a hefty ticket for going 53 miles, 8 miles over the speed limit. What about the other cars? Didn't the cop see them as they were speeding by? You ask him, why didn't they get the ticket. The cop assures you that they did wrong, and should have gotten tickets as well, but his radar gun was aimed at your car, not theirs. Bummer.

  I worked at Eckerd Drugs, many years ago. I was very naive and didn't understand rules very well, but I was learning quickly. When at work, you really need to be doing work, and when there are no customers around to tend to, you need to be doing something else related to your job. A young girl who was a cashier who also worked there, decided she would read a book during work. She was successful in reading the whole book over a period of a couple of days. I wondered why she didn't get into trouble or even if she should have gotten into trouble, so, I decided I would try to read a book and see what would happen. Long story short, I almost lost my job!

   Why do some people get caught while others don't? One thing to remember is that everyone will be caught, One Day, if not here on earth, it will be before the Judgment Seat of God!

  It is an act of God's mercy when we are caught and penalized for wrongdoing. Cops are not omniscient nor are they omnipresent. Their radar guns can only be pointed at one car at a time, and that helps them to get an accurate record of how much the ticket will be, should one need to be given.

   The Bible gives a story of an event recorded in John 21. Prior to this event, Peter denied his Lord. Jesus was asking Peter if he really loved Him. If Peter really loved Jesus, then he would tend to the flock of God's people. Jesus continued the conversation and told Peter what kind of death he would face. Then Peter asked a question. "What about him?" meaning one of the other disciples. Now that Peter knew what would happen to him when he was to die, what about the rest? Shouldn't they have the same thing happen to them? Peter may have been thinking, "Why me, Lord? Why do I have to die like this? What about the others? That doesn't seem fair."

    Jesus response to Peter was basically, that is was none of Peter's concern how the other disciple would die. Peter is only responsible for Peter, not for the other disciple. The man who gets a ticket is only responsible for his own careless driving. I am responsible for what I do at work. If I do a good job, I will be commended. If I goof off, I might lose my job. No one can rescue me if I lose my job. I can't answer the question as to why the other cashier never got caught reading a book.

   One day, I was running late in picking up my son from band camp. I was going down the road and wasn't paying attention to how fast I was going. I saw a cop on the side of the road. He had his radar gun aimed at me. My speedometer said I was going 52 miles when I looked at it. The speed limit was 40 miles per hour. I went past the cop and nothing happened.

  Whenever I go past that spot, I always remember the ticket I never got, but should have. I don't know why I didn't get a ticket, but I am grateful that I didn't.

   So, when you are going down the road, going the speed limit or within reason, and people speed past you and don't get a ticket, keep in mind that they will be fined on That Day. Unless they repent and put their trust in Jesus Christ, they will perish in hell one day. All of us will, unless we come to Christ in repentance and faith.

  God, in His great mercy, doesn't want to have to punish us for our wrongdoing, but He has no choice. God is perfect and holy. His very being demands that He punish sin. So, in His great love for mankind, He sent His only Son, to live on earth for about 33 years, and then to die in our place. He died to take the punishment for our sins. Now we can go free, but only if we turn away from our sin and selfishness, and turn to God, trusting in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross for our sins.

   Just as I didn't get the ticket that I deserved, you and I don't have to experience the wrath of God, that we deserve. But we must respond to God.

  For more information on the Gospel message, go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com
or http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged and He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone!

   If you found out that you had a terminal disease today, and there was a cure for it that you could take, and it was a definite cure, would you take it?

    Of course you would. If you had access to it, you would take it, knowing that your terminal disease would be gone. Only a foolish person would not take the medicine.

    Then why is it, that when the part of the Gospel that has to do with sin, is presented, many respond with statements like, 'who are you to judge?' or 'let him who is without sin case the first stone.'?

    Whenever a standard is presented (a standard of right and wrong), you will hear these phrases. But why? I can come up with two reasons why.

    One is, because the person who is making this kind of statement, has seen arrogant 'Christians' holding signs up. pronouncing God's judgment on some group of people. Most of these so called Christians are Pelagians, followers of a doctrine that says an individual is completely responsible for their sins. The Bible says we are responsible to repent and turn away from sin, but sin is part of our fabric since the fall of man, and we are so enmeshed with sin, that it takes a powerful Rescuer to help a person be free from sin. Pelagians don't believe that, and neither do they hold an internal view of sin (sin coming from the heart vs. sin being an action, example, lying or committing adultery, which most of us can choose to not break those laws if we really decide not to do them). It is like chopping off the branches of a tree. You can cut all the branches off, but the root of sin is still there. In time, sin will blossom again unless there is a new root given to the tree (new heart).

    The other reason is, people want to hold onto their sin. What happens when a person first hears that lusting sexually after a person whom he or she is not married to, is the same as committing adultery? The person reacts, many times, by saying, 'Judge not, lest ye be judged' (I get a kick out of the KJV language that is often used when people react). Or, they might say, 'He who is without sin, cast the first stone', as if presenting the Law is casting the first stone!

   Telling people what God says is right or wrong is not casting the first stone! No one is claiming (except Pelagians) that they are without sin! The same rules apply to me as they do everyone else. It's not like I can commit adultery, but other people can't.

   Matthew 7 tells us not to judge, at least in the beginning of the paragraph. The whole point of the paragraph is to deal with our own hearts about our own sins, before we do anything else, then we can help other people deal with their sins. We can't give away what we don't have. We can't teach others how to deal with their sins, unless we have dealt with our own sins first.

    The medicine of the Gospel is the cure for our sin sick souls. The Gospel is the only cure for sin. A person would be foolish to not take the medicine of the Gospel, or to believe that the person presenting God's standard hasn't taken the medicine of the Gospel first.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Experience With The Demonic Realm

   People tend to have overactive imaginations. Combine that with the adrenalin flow that comes while watching a horror movie!
  For those who live in the demonic realm, it is like living in a horror movie, but it is real life, not just a stretch of someone's wild imagination.
  I received a Ouija Board for a present one year. It was something I requested, but after I opened it up and started using it, I wasn't so sure I wanted to continue to use it.
  A friend would come down to my house and we would play on the Ouija Board. He seemed like an expert at it. I more or less sat and watched, but I did participate some in it.
  About this time, I was probably in sixth grade, and I was already scared at night. But there were things that were happening now, that were more than just my imagination. I heard a man's gurgly voice, occasionally during the night. I could never hear what the words were, but whenever I heard the voice, it was always the same one.
  This went on for a long time. Then we moved. The Ouija Board came with us. The voice also came with us. I heard it at night again.
  After a couple of years, there were more voices. They were men's voices, and sometimes they would laugh. They were having a conversation during the night. Just short conversations, some laughter, then it would stop. I was scared.
  I have to inject here, that I was not a Christian at this time in my life. I knew that there were probably ghosts that existed, but didn't really know exactly what they were. No one believed me when I tried to tell them about the voices.
  The final episode came when I was almost 15 years old. One morning, after my dad left for work, and it was still dark, I was lying there in my bed. I heard the voice. This time, it called my name. It sounded like surround sound. Couldn't tell where it was coming from. It called my name again. Not too long after that, I got rid of the Ouija Board and never heard the voices again.
  I write this for a couple of reasons. First, I know there are a lot of young people who take the occult lightly. We don't think much of the demonic realm. We dabble in the Occult fearlessly. We don't fear God, nor do we take the occult seriously. We are asking for trouble when we get involved with Occultic activities.
  Parents need to know that, even if you have a good solid Christian home, there is a good possibility that your child is involved in the Occult. He might not have a Ouija Board, but he might be listening to demonic music. He could be involved with drugs. Don't be surprised when your child does sinful things. He might be keeping it from you and blocking you from his private life, but look for signs of the works of darkness.
  Also, being involved in Satanic activity can be traumatic for a child. Don't ignore his or her fears. Don't pretend things aren't happening or deny the presence of the supernatural. This kind of activity could lead to mental illness if left untouched.
   I have to remember back to a story I read about Jamie Buckingham's son, who listened to questionable music during a period of time in his life. He knew the music he listened to was not good, nor was it based upon truth, but he listened to it anyway. One day, a force held him down and he could not talk (he was on his bed in his bedroom). If I remember back correctly, he was unable to break free. Whatever this demonic hold was, it had to do with the music he was listening to, and something to do with the label cover of the album in question.
   We are not playing games here. This is real life. When we poke at the demonic, there will be consequences. We need to rid ourselves of anything that will open the doors to the demonic realm. We need to be freed from them, not enslaved by them.
" And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.  And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily." Acts 19:16-20 ESV

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Short Testimony

   I want to give a brief testimony on this blog. I already have a page on this blog with part of my testimony, but I want to make a brief one here. I was challenged when a friend asked a group of us if there were anyone who would share their testimony in 2 minutes, to which I automatically know that I can't do in that time period. But I will try to hit a few key points in this one.
  I came from a morally good family, where mom took us to various churches most of our lives. In these churches, I never heard the Gospel message though, and was wondering what it was that God wanted us to know.
  When I was 14, God began to make Himself real to me. I was proud, arrogant, and making a name for myself (and being successful at it). This thought of God was continually in my mind, 24/7. After a while, I wondered what it was that God wanted me to know.
  Yet, I was running away from God as much as I possibly could. At this stage in my life, I didn't want God. I wanted to run my own life and do what I thought would make me happy.
  Some of the things I was getting myself into could have been dangerous. I almost got raped. I met people taking hard drugs and even had a boyfriend who was on these drugs. Some of the guys I met, weren't good at all for me, and I ended up brokenhearted (could have ended up a lot worse).
  This inner knowing that God was trying to reach my heart continued. I told the Voice in my heart, one night, that I would rather go to hell with my friends than turn to Him. But the Voice and inner knowing that God wanted me to know something continued anyway.
  My mom prayed that I would meet a nice boy that I could date (the ones I was bringing home were unacceptable). I have to go back to the week before in order for you to appreciate this story. I was seeing a guy who played in a band (wasn't allowed to date him though), and he introduced me to another guy while we were at  the Youth Center one night. I wasn't paying attention though, because I had an ex boyfriend who was just a couple of feet away, that I was trying to make jealous so he would like me again. The following week, was the week my mom prayed for a nice boy for me to date. I remet this guy I was introduced to the week before. At this point in my life, God was far away from me, but I knew there was Something telling me to meet this boy again (actually, I didn't remember that it was the same guy that my boyfriend in the band introduced me to, the week before). So we met, or rather, met again. And we started dating.
  The first date was to a place which he wouldn't tell me. He just said, 'you will like it. It has music there'. All I could think of was that I was going to be trapped at some religious meeting where I would come face to face with the fact that God was trying to get my attention. I dreaded the thought of where this new boyfriend was going to take me.
   The night came for our first date. It was at a church building and it was called, 'Young Life'. I saw some of my friends/enemies there. Some of them were smoking. I almost pulled out a cigarette, but didn't. I reluctantly listened to the speaker and didn't understand what he was saying. I was afraid I was going to hear some message telling me that I was going to go to hell.
  I avoided anything that had to do with 'religion' because of my fear of going to hell. Actually, I was afraid that I would find out that I was doomed and that there was no hope. So, anything that had to do with God that came my way, I closed my ears to. In fact, I remember being in the car with my parents, and there was a religious program on the radio, which I thought was strange. I made my ears clogged so I couldn't hear what the guy was saying.
  My new boyfriend was a Christian. He asked me if I were a Christian, to which I said that I was. He talked to me about being baptized. We even went out and talked to his pastor about being baptized. I had no clue what this pastor was talking about. The pastor gave me a little booklet called, 'The 4 Spiritual Laws' which I took home and read over and over again.
  We moved to a new house when I was almost 16. I was still dating my Christian boyfriend, yet, I didn't understand the Gospel yet. I still loved myself and still had cigarettes with me (I could actually buy them from a convenience store, but I could get them from rolling up cigarettes for my mom with her cigarette rolling machine. I would just make some for myself as well). My boyfriend actually told me that if I smoked, he wouldn't be dating me.
   The devil told me that Christians looked dowdy and if I were to become one, I would have to wear my hair in a bun, use no make-up, wear saddle shoes and black shirts with white blouses. I couldn't imagine a 'Christian' girl wearing normal everyday clothing, so in my mind, I met a bet with God. I would become a Christian if I could see Christian girls wearing blue jeans and make up, if they needed it. Sure enough, God heard my bet.
  In homeroom, we sat by alphabetical order of our last names. There was a bubbly girl who sat behind me in our row. She seemed to have a lot of people around her all the time, and she talked about the Lord as if He were right there with her. I thought this was strange, but I was intrigued. She asked me if I were a Christian, and, of course, I told her I was. Actually, I thought maybe I was by this time, because I had voluntarily prayed the prayer in the back of the 4 Spiritual Laws booklet. But I am not sure that I understood what the Gospel really was then.
  I had a lot of questions for this girl, who sat behind me in homeroom. I remember her asking, 'Don't you love Him?' I never heard about having a relationship with God. But she was a living example of what that was like.
  I knew I was a sinner, but I didn't see my sin as offensive to God. My sins were minor, so I thought. But deep down in my heart, I knew that I was in rebellion to my parents, (and to all authority) and I was running my whole life the way I wanted to. I understood that one day, for a question came into my mind. It was a question of 'which way are you going to go?'
  By this time, my boyfriend and I loved each other and were planning on getting married, probably in the future. But he didn't know the other side of me, even at this point in our relationship. I felt like I was two different people. Do I want to continue on the road to fame, and continue whatever it was I was doing to become popular, or, would I be willing to let go of all that in order to gain eternal life? Eventually, I would have to tell my boyfriend, and we would have to break up because he was dating someone he didn't know, but would find out one day. But, I could give all this up, and live for the Lord, and still have my boyfriend, if this was God's will for us. I was in the family room when this question was before me. I decided at that moment, to give up all the things that were so successful (or that I thought were successful, but were really lies from the devil) and to follow the God that I was running away from the year before that.
  It was amazing how God led me to meet all these different people He used to position me to come to Him. My life was radically transformed. God began working in my heart and the Bible was alive to me. I now understood what sin was, and why Jesus had to die on the Cross. It all made sense now.
  God gave me a new heart, and helped me to be able to say 'no' to sin. He gave me a brand new life with the power to live this kind of life. It was a new adventure for me, and the best one I could ever have had. It is better than anything I could ever imagine.
  My boyfriend and I were married two years later. On another blog sometime, I will write about that adventure, and how God led us to the church we are in, and the relationships with people we have in the body of Christ today. (Clue: the church we are in today, has a lot to do with the girl who sat behind me in homeroom).
If you have any questions about this, that you would like to ask me personally, send an email to: RUgood@mail.com
If you would like to learn more about the Gospel, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Dilemma of the Gay Community and Christianity

  I feel like I have to write this as I am reading so many things posted on the internet or published in a newspaper or magazine that indicate the ignorance of so many of us on this issue.
  So, what really is the issue, and what is the real problem? And even more importantly, what is the answer to this dilemma?
  There are so many facets to this problem, I honestly don't know where to begin. Which weed do I pull first? Should I go with my gut reaction, or should I be more factual? Maybe both? Compassionate or tough? Maybe both.
  I have written other blogs on this subject and don't wish to repeat everything I have already written. But let's just keep a couple things in mind first.
 1. Gay people are human beings, and like every human being, are to be respected as such. All people are created in God's image, and no matter how much we hate what a person does, they still have dignity because they are created in God's image.
 2. Homosexuality is a sin condemned in the Bible, but it is not the only sin condemned in God's word. If we wanted to list all the sins that God recognizes and will punish, the list would be very long, and on that list would be sin categories all of us fit into, whether we are Gay or straight.
 3. Many professing Christians today do not really believe the authority of God's word, and as such, will put God's word in a category as 'outdated' or 'passe'. They believe culture has more authority than God's word does, and when these professing Christians give counsel or even make claims, they will say things like, 'in the Old Testament days, science discoveries were not available like they are today, and therefore the Old Testament laws were only for those people that God was addressing at the time. Now we know better.'
 4. Many professing Christians who counsel base their beliefs on the principles of the Therapeutic Movement, which basically exalts man and demotes God. Many teach that God wants us happy and that anything negative or hard is harmful for us.

  Although people struggle with same sex attractions, I do not see that as the problem at hand. The whole problem of the Gay community (LGBT) is similar to the problem of Islam. It is a group of people who are gaining control and getting involved in government making laws that are unnecessary and harmful to others.
  On the one hand, I can empathize with the Gay people. Many struggled with same-sex attraction and wanted help from the church, but the church rejected them and would not offer help. They only offered condemnation on top of their struggles. People in the church mocked Gay people and shunned them. But notice something here; these Christians may not truly be Christians in the sense of being new creatures in Christ. Every generation has had these arrogant church going people who have been a stumbling block to others. If someone was part of their church who was involved in the porn industry, they would probably have ignored the person. In the 19th century, there were middle and upper class people who claimed that people who were sick were being punished by God. No wonder people formed their own psychiatric groups instead of using the church for help! What arrogant people were in the church. God does not allow His people to be arrogant. God will oppose the arrogant person or group of people.
  A Gay person struggles with his sexual life. We, as the church, need to help those who are struggling and want to repent. The Gay person ends up not wanting to repent because he knows nothing with happen with his desire for a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex.
  Whether you are Gay or not, if you have lived long enough, you know that there are things you struggle with that you can't seem to get rid of or overcome. We really can't get rid of our addictions and desires, but we can ask God for help. He will help us with our struggles. It won't be easy though, and we need others to walk with us while we seek help and deliverance.
  The dilemma though, is really with the concept of the Gay community, not with Gay people themselves. In certain countries, and probably soon in America, pastors will not be allowed to preach from the pulpit homosexuality as sin. If laws get passed to stop this, what other laws will come about? I saw a new one today. People are trying to make it difficult for evangelists to teach that Jesus is the only way to heaven. You might think this is ridiculous, but these people are forcing their way into the government, while we just sit back and say, 'How disgusting!'.
  A few years ago, we would have not believed this was happening, but, laws were passed which required teachers, (mainly science teachers) to teach Evolution as fact. A group of Christians went to prison because they were near a Muslim event in Dearborn, Michigan, a couple of years ago. They were just passing out tracts and talking with people who were interested. But they were arrested anyway. Years ago, a man went out sharing the Gospel with people, in a public place, and got arrested and went to prison. His trial was the next day, and fortunately, the judge dismissed him in a heartbeat.
   Yes, these people were not breaking the law. But they did get arrested and some went to prison. They got out because there was no law broken. But, we don't know what is cooking in the government today, unless we see things happening, like people going to prison for no reason except the preference of the cop.
  God loves Gay people. God loves pedophiles. God loves prostitutes. That doesn't mean God loves their sin. In fact, their sin is what nailed Jesus to the Cross. God loved us while we were still sinners. Jesus died to rescue us from our sins. Jesus is a great Deliverer too.
  God doesn't want people to stay in their sin though. Pedophiles need to be punished. Rapists need to be punished. Those involved in the porn industry or sex trafficking should be punished.
  There is a way out, and Jesus died to rescue us all from such sins and addictions. He can wipe our slate clean and give us power to change.
  There have been people who struggled with homosexuality, and have repented and come to Christ. God gave them the grace to turn from this sin. This sin is not good for anyone. There is no new religion or new science discovery that says homosexuality is genetic or can't be helped. Many homosexuals have had unfortunate sexual experiences done with them when they were children. This sets a trap for them to become Gay when they get older, or at least to struggle with sexual issues.
   I can be friends with a Gay person or Lesbian. I can love and accept them as human beings. What I can't do is to support a group of people who are marching their way, laying the foundation for a community of people who are opposed to God and what He says. I can have Muslim friends, yet I am not going to support in any way, Sharia Law.
  To the Gay person, I ask you to consider searching God with all you have. God promises to meet people when they honestly seek Him with their whole hearts. To those who are truly born again, I would ask that you humble yourselves and realize that you also have sinful struggles that you have to work through. Be patient with those who are Gay, and support them as they try to seek God. Empathize with them, realizing that you could fall into sin as well. (See Galatians 6). And to anyone else who is struggling with addictions, and sins, ask God for help, and keep asking. Find those you can trust in the church to help. Don't give up. God is more than glad to help you to become free.
For more help in understanding the Gospel, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or http://test4gp.wordpress.com 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Does Calvinism Promote 'Easy Believism'?

   This is a good question and one to consider. Does Calvinism even believe in 'easy believism'? Some have attributed Calvinism to having this belief, but is it true?
  The Bible talks about after people are converted, they are not to continue in sin (see Romans 6). According to the Bible, people are known by their fruits. But how do we understand the complexity of a redeemed person who still lives in a human body in a fallen world?
  To make this article short and to the point, yes, some who have been converted can still sin and bring much dishonor to God (see the Corinthian church, as well as Galatians). When we are truly born again, we receive a new nature, which is intended to rule us. We have a new heart with new desires which should rule our lives and govern everything we do. At the same time, we still have an old nature and the devil who continually is before us tempting us to sin, especially in areas where we won't see our sin. That's why so many Christians, especially those in leadership positions, fall.
  The Bible is very clear that we are not to continue in sin. With the power of God dwelling in us, we don't have to sin anymore. But, we do have to be vigilant and be aware of the devil's tactics, because he will always be there to tempt us with sin.
 Sin is not just the obvious things we do like lying, stealing, murder, talking back to our parents, but those are all indicators of deeper roots of sin in our hearts. If we deal with our hearts, we will be dealing with pride, arrogance, hatred, anger, idolatry, selfishness, putting our desires (even good ones) before God, manipulation, dishonesty, slander, etc. When those things are in our hearts (which they, by default, usually are) we will break the 10 Commandments on a regular basis. Most of us do not even know those inner flaws are in our hearts, and if someone confronted us with them, we would be blind to them. That's why we need to be asking God to reveal our hearts to us, so we can deal with inward sin roots. But sometimes, we can still obey the commandments, even though our hearts are filled with selfishness and pride. We can only obey them outwardly and in a limited way. We can be deceived into thinking we are doing pretty good, when on the inside, we really aren't (Pharisees are a good example; the outside of the cup was clean, but inside were dead bones and crud).(
  Those who attack Calvinism would claim that Calvinists believe the phrase 'Once saved. Always saved.' This is a true claim, yet, we have to understand the meaning of this phrase from the Bible. Does it mean that once a person comes to Christ, he can turn around and do whatever he or she wants? Of course it doesn't mean that. First of all, if a person has repented of their sins, and puts his or her trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, He or she will not want to go back into sin. That would be like being pulled out of a pit, only to go back into it. Why would anyone want to do that?
  I have talked to people on the streets and have come in contact with those who do believe this doctrine and believe they are saved, yet they either have never repented or they think they did, but can do whatever they want now. Did these people truly come to Christ? I doubt that anyone who would go back into sin (or who wants to stay in sin) would have truly been born again in the first place. We can't skip over the repentance part of this. Furthermore, we can't trick God into thinking we have repented when we haven't. God is bigger than that and knows everything. If you are playing games with God, He will never be fooled by you. You can't ever trick Him into believing that you repented when you really didn't. God knows everything from beginning to end, well, actually He knows everything throughout eternity past, present, and future.
  I think this is where the crux of the problem is. It goes back to this idol of an all-loving, all-forgiving God who people say they believe in. No wonder there will be many surprised people on That Day.
  Yes, the Bible does teach that once a person is saved, he or she will not lose his/her salvation. The issue is not really one of being able to sin after you come to Christ. The issue has primarily to do with whether the person really has come to Christ and whether salvation has actually taken place in his or her own heart.
  Many people trust in an action as their salvation. Many will say, after being asked if they have come to know the Lord, that they were baptized at such and such a time, or, they asked Jesus in their hearts at such and such a time. Some will even say they joined at church at such and such a time. I hope my readers know that going down an aisle, raising your hand, saying a prayer, being baptized, joining a church, or any other activity like those, as good as they might be, do not constitute salvation. Going down an aisle does not forgive your sins. But, if you are down in the front, praying for God to show mercy to you, and repenting of your sin, and turning to God, God will meet you where you are at. This whole thing has to do with your relationship to God, not something you did to mark your day of salvation.
   We don't 'pray' to get saved, but we respond to God, which involves prayer. God does the saving. God can save us because we deserve to be punished eternally for our sins, but God sent His Son to take our punishment by dying on a horrible Cross (crucifixion) in our place. Just knowing this information doesn't save us. We have to respond to God by repentance and faith. And when we do this, God promises He will never leave us or forsake us, and He will completely remove all our sins. We will be washed in the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) and will receive robes of righteousness.
   Easy believism is simply believing the Jesus died for our sins, yet, it doesn't require anything out of us. Calvinism does not believe in easy believism. The Bible doesn't teach that people can believe this way and still go to heaven after they die. Any truly born again person will see sin in a different light and it will be ugly now. The temptations to sin will still be before us and will be many, but we must learn how to say 'no' to sin, and 'yes' to righteousness. Through the process of sanctification, we grow spiritually and become more like Christ. As long as we are on earth, we will struggle against sin, yet, those who are born again will be able to resist sin and desire righteousness.
  The promise of God to those who know Him, is the forgiveness of sins. He promises us that when we do sin, we have an Advocate, who is Jesus Christ, His Son. Also, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1). That does not mean that it is ok for us to sin. We will sin though, because of our fallen nature and the deceitfulness of sin. God will pull us out, pick us up, brush us off, and give us the power to get back on track with Him.  And that is what makes grace amazing.