John 6:65

And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”  John 6:65.

Imagine going to the White House, or maybe Buckingham Palace, and you want to go inside to see what it looks like and to meet the President or The Queen of England.  Imagine taking it upon yourself to TRY walking through the front gate.  How far do you think you’ll get?  Not very far!  If you’re at the White House, you’d have armed police/security on top of you in no time.  If you’re at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Royal Guard stands in front of the entrance to the Royal Palace grounds and would prevent you from going any further.  No matter how much you plead or beg, you’re not getting in to either of those places without the proper permission to do so.  Now, imagine you do have permission.  The White House security nor the Palace Guard will just take your word for it.  I imagine that a representative of the President or Queen would have your name written down on a special form letting security know that you have been granted permission to come inside (with proper ID, of course).

Both Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 talk about the Lamb’s Book of Life and those whose names were NOT written in it BEFORE the foundation of the world.  Those whose names WERE in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world are those who were chosen to be saved.  Ephesians 1:4 says that we (Christians) were chosen “in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him…”.  I believe the Lamb’s Book of Life is like that special form with our names on it granting us access into the Kingdom.  But how do we get that access?

I believe it is through the work of the Holy Spirit.  God sent His Holy Spirit to draw us to Himself.  The Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes and illuminates our minds giving us comprehension to understand the gospel so that when the gospel is preached, we respond to it.

Many people claim to be Christians.  Many think just because their names are on a church membership roll, that makes them a Christian.  Some think that showing up to church on Christmas and Resurrection Sunday every year is all that’s required.  Others think that just mere intellectual assent to God’s existence is all they need.  That’s like saying we know WHO the President is, but the President has no clue who we are.  We may see him on the TV on a daily basis and someone will mention his name and we say, “Oh yeah, I know who he is.”  But, mention to the President who I am and he’ll say, “Sorry, I don’t know who that is.”  There will be many people who will come before God thinking they’ll be able to waltz right in and have a seat at the table.  But, their names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world.  They’ll say, “But I know who you are because I heard about you in church when I was a child,” or “I know who you are because I heard a preacher on TV talk about you.”  But they will only hear, “Depart from me for I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23).  Why?  Because their name was not in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Just as no one can take it upon themselves to walk into the White House or Buckingham Palace unannounced and without the President and Queen granting them entry, no one will be able to come to Jesus and enter into Heaven unless God has granted them the ability to do so.

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God Commands Us To Forgive

When King David took Bathsheba into his palace and slept with her, he knew that he had to do something to cover up his sin.  She had become pregnant and he brought her husband, Uriah, home from battle so that he could have time with her, that way people would think the child would be Uriah’s, not David’s.  But, Uriah, being the good soldier that he was, could not think about being with his wife while his fellow soldiers were still out in the battlefield fighting.  This upset David, so he came up with another plan.  He sent Uriah back to the battle and told the commanding officer to put Uriah on the frontline so that he would be killed.  Once the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin, David prayed to God saying, “Against You, and only You, have I sinned.”  That is the way it is with all of us.  When we sin, our sin is ultimately against God alone.

In Matthew 6:15 Jesus specifically says, “If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  I’m reminded of the parable where the debtor who owed much money to his master begged him to forgive him of his debt.  The master showed compassion and forgave the man’s debt.  But, then this man turns around and goes to another man who owed him money (which wasn’t as much as what the first man owed his master), and demands to be paid back.  The man who owed the money begs to have more time but is refused and he is thrown into debtor’s prison.  Word gets back to the master of what had transpired and he immediately has the first debtor thrown into prison also.  He reminded him of how he was forgiven because he had owed so much money, but since he was unwilling to forgive the other man what was owed to him, then his debt would not be revoked and he would go to prison.

When someone does wrong to us, we tend to forget that our sins are no better than theirs.  We think that just because we haven’t done something “as bad” as what was done to us, that it’s our right to not forgive them.  But the reality is, our sin(s) are just as bad because God doesn’t see any difference.  It really is very prideful to think that our sins aren’t like someone else’s.

What does it mean to forgive?  Well, it doesn’t mean we can forget the wrong done to us.  Sure, over time, we may not think about it as much as we did at first, but there will be times when something will trigger that memory of what that person did.  Second, it doesn’t mean we have to be friends with that person.  Forgiveness doesn’t obligate us to have any kind of relationship with them.  We don’t have to buy them gifts for their birthday or Christmas; we don’t have to invite them over for coffee or dinner.  What it does mean is that we are not going to be a slave to bitterness for what they did to us.  The more we allow that memory of their action(s) to fester and stew in our brains, the more bitter we become and we find that the very thought of that person affects how we live our life.  Ever known of someone who refuses to go to a family reunion/gathering because someone who hurt them in the past was going to be there?  Oh, they were going to go at first but as soon as they got wind of Uncle Jimmy or Cousin Beth being there, they quickly changed their minds.  Why?  Because they are allowing that person and their past sin to control their life.  They keep hanging on to that bitterness and refusing to forgive.

To withhold forgiveness from someone is like us telling God “I expect You to forgive me, but I don’t have to forgive this person for what they did.”  God don’t play that game.  We’re not above God.  We’re on the same level playing field as the one who wronged us and I’m afraid that many will find out that those sins they thought were wiped clean, aren’t.  We can’t expect God to treat us one way while refusing to do the same to others.

Nothing New Under the Sun

I’ve heard people say, “What is wrong with this world?”, or “What is the matter with people these days?”  Well, let me tell ya…..this world is no different than it was centuries ago.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, it says in chapter 1 verse 9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  In other words, nothing we see going on in this world is anything new.  It has been going to hell in a hand basket since Adam and Eve took that first bite of the forbidden fruit.  It’s just that those of us who are living in this day and age are seeing things happen that we’ve never personally seen before, but that doesn’t mean it’s never happened previously.  There have been cultures and kingdoms that have flourished and fallen because they have allowed all forms of perversion to become the norm whether it’s homosexuality, or pedophilia, or beastiality.

People haven’t changed over the millennia.  People want to do what they want to do with no consequences and no retribution.  I don’t care what it is, they think they can do anything without having to accept responsibility for it and that others should just let them go about their merry way without so much as suffering consequences.  But, it doesn’t work like that.  You steal money, you go to prison.  You rape a child, you go to prison.  You pull a gun on a cop, you get shot.  If you live, you go to prison.  If you die, you get put six feet underground.  People don’t like to live under rules/laws and they believe they should be able to live however they want and everyone else can just get over it.

The world is like it is because people have always been pushing God out of the way.  They don’t like the idea of there being a God because they know that He has a standard and they don’t want to live up to it.  But, none of this is a surprise to Him because He knew it was going to be like this.  He knows that people are full of pride, hatred, malice, and just pure evil.  But, as I said earlier, this is nothing new.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Just as we have read in the Old Testament how the Israelites forgot God and turned to idol worship and all kinds of perverse living, so we’re seeing people in this day and age do the same thing.  The sad thing is, many churches/denominations are ACCEPTING of these perversions.  God cannot and will not bless a nation that has turned its back on Him and allowed all this to become the norm.  I think we, as Christians, have been silent way too long.  And we have shown our hypocrisy.  We can criticize actors/politicians and other well known people for their sexual perversion, yet have no problem tuning in to a TV show that allows it to be shown.  If we’re going to laugh at what’s happening on our favorite TV shows but get condescending towards what people are doing in real life, that is being hypocritical.  Yes, I’m speaking to the choir.  Guilty as charged.

I hate to know how far down the toilet we’re going to have to go before we finally see people turn to Him.  God hasn’t left us.  He’s still here.  It’s just that we’ve turned away from Him.  God hasn’t abandoned us, but there are times when people are so stubborn in their ways that God throws up His hands and says, “You want it your way, you can have it your way, but you have to suffer the consequences of your actions.”  And I truly believe what we’re seeing in our country and world today is the result of God pulling His hands away and saying, “You’re on your own.”  The phrase “you reap what you sow” is true.  We are reaping the effects of abandoning the faith and doing things our way instead of God’s way.  I hear of people getting angry and saying how could God allow bad things to happen, but it’s not God.  It’s us.  God doesn’t just sit back and say, “Oh, that’s okay.  You do what you want.”  Actions have consequences and we are seeing that taking place in our society.

A society that turns it back on God will see the adverse affects and its eventual demise, unless it repents and turns back to Him.  At the rate it’s going now, it won’t be too much longer before that happens in our country.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

wavesandlighthouse

“GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

Many people say they don’t like change.  Well, let me tell you, life is all about change.  I’m used to change.  I grew up moving from place to place due to my father being a pastor.  So, every few years, we’d pack up our stuff and move to another town/community where my dad was called to pastor at a particular church.  I learned to adapt to change.  Some change is good and some not good, but one thing is for certain, there will always be change.

Those who don’t like change are comfortable with the familiar.  But, those who don’t mind change, see it as a growing experience.  Some change happens over an extended period of time.  In cases like that, it makes it easier to handle.  In other cases, change comes suddenly; without warning.  It’s those types of changes that bothers people.  They’re hit between the eyes with the unexpected detour.  They were going down the path of life with certain goals in mind and never giving thought to “what if”, and then suddenly, it all changes.  We all do it.  It’s easy to get in a set routine and live our life as if we’re promised our next breath.  But, that is never a promise we’re given.

My family had to deal with the death of two loved ones in the same week last month.  But, there was a difference in the two.  One was my mom.  She spent a little over a month going from hospital, to rehab, back to the hospital, until she was eventually sent home under hospice care.  We knew once she went home that there was going to be a future change.  A change in family gatherings.  A change in how things would be at home when we went to visit after she passed.  We, in our minds, began to prepare for that change.  We were given time to grieve even though she was still with us.

The second was my brother-in-law.  He was killed in a car accident four days before my mom passed.  We had his funeral on a Friday and mom passed the next day.  Life for my sister and their five kids changed in the blink of an eye.  Life for his parents and his sisters changed in the blink of an eye, too.  It’s times like this that remind us that we need to appreciate our family and loved ones.

And change isn’t just about the passing of someone we love.  It could be the sudden loss of a job.  One day you do life as normal and the next day you’re wondering “How am I going to pay the bills?”  Or, it could be the loss of your house due to fire or natural disaster.  One day you have a nice warm bed with a roof over your head.  The next day you’re living in a hotel or with family because you’re house is gone.  Or, it could be the dreaded cancer diagnosis or a sudden heart attack.  You’re going through life as usual, now you’re faced with the reality that you are now fighting for your life and wondering if/how you’re going to make it through.  Or, you come home to have your spouse say, “I don’t love you anymore.  I want a divorce.”  What do you do now?

It’s in these “blink of an eye” moments that we need to have a refuge to run to.  We may think we can handle whatever comes our way, but when the rubber meets the road, when that moment finally hits, we find out that we’re not as strong as we think we are.  Those who have their hope and trust in God and have experienced those “blink of an eye” moments have found unexplained peace and comfort that only He can give.  I’m not saying we don’t express emotions.  I’ve lost jobs before and went home crying wondering how I was going to pay my bills with no income.  And we all have grieved the loss of friends and family because we feel the pain of their absence.  Yes, we still feel and express emotions of pain and loss, that’s just human nature.  But, in the midst of those times of crying and feelings of grief, God, like a mother bird sheltering her babies from the storm with her wings, will cover us with His peace and comfort.  It’s His strength that carried us through those times that our life had changed “in the blink of an eye”.  So, when we find that life has suddenly changed, we mustn’t think “How am I going to fix this?” or “How can I get through this?”, it’s not for us to fix or to handle on our own.  God never intended for us to handle life on our own.  He wants us to depend upon Him to guide us through the storms of life.  And He will.  He won’t abandon His children when we most need Him.  We just have to stop looking inside of ourselves for the strength because we don’t have it.  It is only by His strength we are able to endure the storms of life.

 

 

ELECTION vs. FREE WILL, PT. 3

salvation

In these blogs I have been discussing the Doctrine of Election.  People have many objections to the Doctrine of Election–“man was born with free will and salvation is their choice” or “if God already knows who will be saved, then there’s no reason to evangelize.”  Another question people may ask is, “Well if God has already chosen those who will be saved, then doesn’t that mean that they are saved against their will?”  No!!!  God is not going to drag people into His Kingdom kicking and screaming.  But I do believe that when the Holy Spirit begins to draw and convict people of their sin, I believe that He also conforms their will to God’s.  Their desires change.  Instead of being satisfied with living in the state of their sin, they realize how unsatisfying and empty that life is, and they desire to give their life to Christ because only He can satisfy and give them eternal life.  That’s not to say that life will be problem-free and everything goes their way, but it means that no matter what life throws at them, they have immeasurable peace through Christ and that they can depend on Him in all things.  What about those who reject Christ?  Why do they reject Him?  They reject Christ because their minds have not been opened to the truth of the Gospel.  There has been no drawing or conviction of the Holy Spirit.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate their minds and to conform their will to God’s.  Because when you think about it, whose will is stronger, ours or God’s?  God, in His Sovereignty, has chosen whom He will save.  Look back at Acts 13:48 where it says “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed”.  What God has predestined from before the foundation of the world, will come to pass.
There is a term used in the Bible, “born-again”.  This means that a person is re-born spiritually.  When we are born into this world physically, we are spiritually dead.  We come into this world sinners.  But God made a way for us to be “born again” spiritually and that is through the death of Christ on the cross and His gift of salvation.  How many of us were given a choice as to what family we’re born into?  None.  We didn’t pick who our parents would be.  Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”   In cases of adoption, the child isn’t the one who chooses the parents, the parents choose the child, just as in the case of natural birth, we didn’t choose who our parents would be.  This is the same with spiritual birth and adoption.  There are countless people who are walking around  professing to be Christians, but I believe they are not.  They’ve been sold a bill of goods.  They’ve been told “just walk the aisle, say this prayer, sign this card, get baptized and you are saved.”  I don’t think this is done intentionally, but I believe many have bought into the teaching that all it takes is to say a little prayer, get baptized, and they’re safe.  Matthew 7:21 says “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” There will be a lot of sad people who will stand before God and realize that they were never saved.
I guess after reading these three blogs, people would label me a Calvinist.  But my intention isn’t to gain a label.  The only label I want is that of Christian.  My intention is to study and dig and learn what the Scriptures say.  And I believe that it is the duty of every Christian to interpret and understand the Scriptures correctly!!!  I don’t want to be labeled a Calvinist but I guess that will happen whether I want it to or not.  All I want is to know and understand the Scriptures the way they were intended.  People will disagree with what was said here, but they aren’t disagreeing with me, they’re disagreeing with Scripture.  And I hope that this will begin to stir up questions in their minds and cause them to look closer and deeper at what the Bible says.  I heard a saying once, “Question everything”.  In this particular instance, don’t question Scripture, but question what you’ve been taught and see if it lines up with Scripture.

INTELLECT vs. EMOTIONALISM

maryatchristsfeet

As a Christian woman I am offended by the so-called women’s Bible studies and teachers that are available to us.  The landscape is littered with many women’s teachers whose studies and conferences are geared toward our emotions and not our intellect.  I realize that we are the more emotional gender, but to ignore our intellect is just downright offensive.  It’s as if they’re saying we’re not smart enough to understand theology.

In the past I went through a few Beth Moore studies and conferences, and each time, I came away thinking something was wrong with me because I got nothing out of them.  Her worship services were emotionally charged and her studies didn’t explain biblical text at all.  She found a way to make the stories and scriptures about us.  I don’t do emotional fluff.  I’m not saying I’m not an emotional person.  I can get pretty emotional at times.  But when it comes to studying the Bible, I don’t want emotional fluff.  I don’t want someone to tell me what THEY think the scripture means about us.  I want to know what GOD meant when He gave us His Word.  That is why I got nothing out of Beth Moore.  I went in wanting to learn the truth of God’s Word but instead got emotional goo.  Once we know and understand what scripture teaches, once we understand why God did what He did, and why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins, then we can respond with the proper emotion.

The number of true women’s Bible teachers are very small.  Two that come to mind are Nancy Guthrie (http://www.nancyguthrie.com/) and Susan Heck (http://www.withthemaster.com/).  These two women go through the Bible and explain what the verses mean (God’s interpretation), not what they think they mean.  If you’re interested in their studies, they both have podcasts you can listen to.  Nancy’s is “Help Me Teach The Bible” and Susan’s is “With The Master”.  No emotional goo, just straight up Bible study.

So, I’ll pass on the ladies conferences.  If I want emotional, I’ll find some chick flick to watch.  When it comes to Bible studies, I prefer those that challenge me to increase my knowledge of the Bible.  Give me the Greek and Hebrew words and what they mean so that I can understand it better.  You can keep the Kleenex.

SPIRITUAL ADULTERY

rondiciani

In the book of Hosea, we read how God commanded the prophet, Hosea, to take the prostitute, Gomer, to be his wife.  I’m sure Hosea had some questions as to the validity of this request.  But, he did as God commanded and married Gomer.  She bore him 3 children and after a time, she left Hosea and began prostituting herself.  After a period of time, God told Hosea to go find Gomer, and buy her back and take her home.  Many use this story of Hosea and Gomer to talk about faithfulness in marriage, but God used this story to show how Israel (represented by Gomer) had been unfaithful to God (represented by Hosea) and how God was going to redeem Israel (through the death of Jesus Christ).  Ironically, the origin of the name Hosea comes from the same name that Joshua comes from and both of those mean, “Savior” or “Salvation”.

When we hear the term “adultery”, our minds automatically think of one spouse cheating on another.  But, just as the story of Hosea reveals, there is another kind of adultery and that is spiritual adultery.  Every single one of us has committed some form of spiritual adultery.  Remember how it used to be when you first came to know Christ?  You read your Bible, you prayed, you were at church every time the doors opened.  But, somewhere along the way, something caught your attention away from all that.  At one time, you couldn’t get enough of God’s Word.  Now, your Bible is gathering dust on your nightstand or you tossed it in the backseat of your car and hasn’t been touched in weeks or months.  You can’t even remember the last time you prayed.  And now attending church is just one more thing to check off your weekly list instead of something you feel privileged to do.  We have all done it.  Why is that?  Because we are like Gomer.  We are unfaithful.  It doesn’t matter what it is that draws us away from God, the root problem is self-centeredness.  Just as Gomer thought she could do better than Hosea and went out looking to satisfy her needs through other men, we, too, go out looking for something other than God to satisfy us.  It could be a job.  It could be a hobby.  Sometimes, it’s just ourselves that we’re worshipping.  We’d rather live our lives the way WE want to instead of how God wants us to.  We have made ourselves to be an idol and are living in spiritual adultery.

But, thankfully, because we belong to God, He will only let us hang out so long in that state and He will bring us back to Himself.  We may have to hit rock bottom before we realize that the idol of our own making was leaving us unfulfilled and wanting, and that God, who redeemed us through His Son Jesus, is all we need.  God is and will always be faithful, no matter how unfaithful we are to Him.

CARTOON CHRISTIANITY

Looneytunes

I’ll probably get hate mail for this but it’s just the way I feel.  I cannot stand seeing Christian quotes and Facebook memes using cartoon characters.  Years ago, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it, but as I’ve gotten older and a bit deeper in my knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, doctrine, and theology, I see them as juvenile, foolish, and very irreverent.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m no “stick in the mud”.  I don’t mind passing some time away watching the old Looney Tunes or Scooby-Doo cartoons.  Heck, it’s what I grew up on!  My favorite comic strips are Peanuts, B.C., Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and the old Bloom County.  They’re entertaining.  But, when I see cartoon characters being used to spread the gospel, it just rubs me the wrong way.  God is no cartoon character (although atheists would disagree).  He’s the Almighty Creator of the universe.  He deserves our upmost reverence in how we live and how we worship Him.  To me, it belittles God when we reduce His message of mercy, love, grace, and forgiveness down to a cartoon character.

But, that’s just me.

HAVE WE FORGOTTEN ABOUT GRACE?

grace

GRACE–the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

PATIENCE–the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset or angry

Over the years since the gospel has become more man-centered, we have seen the slow, painful demise of showing grace to those around us.  It’s everywhere.  “It’s all about me!!”  Or, “How dare he be late.  Doesn’t he know how valuable my time is?”  Driving a car?  Oh boy, talk about your lack of patience and grace!!  Oh sure, we talk about the grace that God showed us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  We’re ALL about that grace!  Why wouldn’t we be?  I mean, there we were, filthy, vile, wretched sinners, but God, because of His love for us, sent His only Begotten Son to take the punishment for our sins.  We did not deserve one ounce of that grace.  Not one.  But yet, we are so thankful that He did that instead of leaving us where we were.

Sadly, we aren’t so quick to show grace to our fellow believers.  I know how I used to be.  Very low on patience and just as low on grace.  I think those two go hand in hand.  If we’re low on patience, we certainly can’t be gracious.  And I still have those moments where I’m not practicing either one.  Believers should be the poster children of patience and grace, but sometimes, I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget to extend those to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why?  Are our needs, wants, and desires that much more important that those around us should cater to them instead of remembering that we, too, aren’t any better than they are?  Is our time that much more valuable than theirs?  Do we think we are more deserving of God’s grace than they are?  We tend to make excuses and justify our lack of patience and grace.  We point out how that “stupid driver cut us off!”  We get frustrated when people don’t seem to do things our way.  “Yeah, but……”  Yeah, but, nothing.  Again…..NONE of us deserved the free grace God gave us but He gave it anyway.  We are to follow Christ’s example in how we treat our fellow believers even if we think they don’t deserve it.

If God saw fit in His love to extend to us and our other brothers and sisters in Christ free grace through Jesus Christ, why are we less willing to show grace to each other?  Do we think so much more highly of ourselves that they aren’t worthy of our grace?  We sure love and appreciate the grace God showed to us, but to have to show it to our fellow Christians??  Well, that’s just asking a little too much……according to some people.  If we take our focus off ourselves and onto Christ, we would find it easier to be gracious and kind and patient.

CHRISTIANITY LOSING ITS MEANING?

set apart

 

We all read or heard the news of the man who went on Facebook Live and shot an elderly man in cold blood just because he was upset over circumstances in his life.  The man he murdered wasn’t anyone he knew.  He picked him out at random and decided to end his life just because.  Then we heard the news a couple days later of how he turned the gun on himself when the cops finally caught up with him.  His mother was quoted as saying that her son was “a good Christian person……he just snapped….”.  Now, I’m not here to judge this man’s salvation.  The Bible plainly states that it’s not for us to say if someone is a Christian or not.  Only God knows a person’s heart.  But, when I read his mother’s comments, I just had to ask myself, “Really?  Was he TRULY a Christian?  Because it seems to me that his actions and the motivations for his actions don’t reveal someone who would profess to be a Christian.”

There was a time many, many, MANY years ago when you could tell the difference between those who were truly Christians and those who weren’t.  I know as Christians we still sin.  We still battle our sinful flesh on a daily basis.  We will still do things that go against what we claim to be.  But, it seems in recent decades that people have lowered the standard of what it means to be a Christian.  I live in what is known as the Bible Belt, but in all honesty, I don’t think many churches these days in this region truly know and understand what being a Christian is all about.  1 Peter 2:9 says that Christians are a “chosen generation”, a “royal priesthood”, a “holy nation”, and “a people for His own possession.”  The KJV uses the phrase “a peculiar people” for the last one.  When the Bible uses the word “holy”, it means that we are SET APART.  It’s important to note that if YOU say you’re a Christian, then YOUR actions and how YOU live your life will be drastically different from those who aren’t.

These days, people like to THINK they’re Christian because they (a) joined a church and got their names on a church roll, (b) went to church as a child with grandma and grandpa, and, by golly, if mawmaw and pawpaw are Christians, then they are, too, (c) attend the local church on Christmas and Easter, or (d) they think, “I’m a red blooded American patriot and because America is a Christian nation, then that makes me a Christian, too!!”  And come political season….oh my goodness…..everyone running for a Republican office is suddenly a “Christian”!!  And church people eat that stuff UP!!!  “Oh, he/she says they’re a Christian so let’s vote for them.”  I know of a politician who was told to never step foot in church again if the only time he’s going to show up is during election time.  As far as I know, he had NO use for the church until it was time to try to get re-elected to his office.  To me, he was only making a showing for the Christians, but never identified as one until he needed to be one.

People……America may have started out as a Christian nation, but being an American doesn’t make you a Christian!!  Christianity started centuries before America was even a nation!  Christianity isn’t about which political party you vote for.  It’s not about making sure your name appears on the membership roll of the church two blocks down from your house.  It’s not showing up for the Christmas and Easter services like it’s some sort of thing you check off your list.  Being a Christian means that God, through His Holy Spirit, has regenerated you.  Regeneration means to be “born again”.  It means that God has taken your stone cold, hard heart and replaced it with a heart that now desires the things of God.  It’s living and acting in such a way that sets you apart from the world.  And the ONLY way that can happen is when God saves you.

The bar has been set low as far as Christianity is concerned.  Now days, the church proclaims a person a Christian just because they walked an aisle, signed a card, and got dunked in the baptistery.  Sadly, many of those who did that never darken the door of the church again because the church has told them that was all they needed to do.  Now we have “Christians” running around our country who were never really converted because they’re basing their salvation on something THEY did, and not on whether God has regenerated them.  Trust me on this.  I used to be one of them until God truly regenerated me.  I based my salvation on the fact I walked the aisle and got baptized when in actuality God had not changed my heart.

America really doesn’t understand what being a Christian means.  It’s sad to say, but it’s gotten to the point where other countries know and understand what Christianity is and are sending missionaries to us because we have gone so far off the path.  We have truly lost the meaning of what Christianity really is.