Tag Archives: Christianity

Who’s the Better Christian?

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know you, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26

We know them. Sister ABC and Brother XYZ. No one can utter a negative word about them; no one can refute their pristine reputations. They give to those in need; their good deeds are legendary in your church. They know the Bible frontwards and backwards and can easily tell others the book, chapter and verse of all scripture. You admire them and want to model your life after them. They are the personification of Christianity.

While Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may deserve admiration and their actions may be a sincere product of their faith, Christians should never look only to man for an example of how to lead their lives. We have been given the ultimate example in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As John 1:1 explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In this verse, the Word is Jesus Himself. Therefore, for instruction on how to conduct ourselves, we need to dedicate time to consistent and conscientious Bible study rather than looking for others to lead the way. This responsibility rests upon each of our shoulders. Through study, we develop a better understanding of Jesus, His mission and His precepts thus strengthening our relationship with Him. Sunday sermons should not be the only time the Word enters our lives. Faith and belief should be personal, not based upon someone else’s interpretation and understanding. If during your independent study you come across scripture you cannot comprehend, pray for guidance and understanding. Don’t conclude that you are not smart enough, Christian enough or worthy.

At one time, Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may have been just like you. They may have witnessed the light of a Christian elder that shone so brightly it made them want to have the same spiritual maturity, joy and peace. Although that elder was the impetus, he or she was not the root. The root is Jesus Christ. Take the initiative to know Him for yourself.

Holy or Hypocrite?

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benched of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den or robbers.’” Mark 11:15-17

An influential Atlanta-based bishop recently reached an out of court of settlement with young men accusing him of sexual misconduct. Although unconfirmed, sources claim the settlement to be $15 million. A recent tabloid television investigation reported the opulent lifestyles of several of America’s most popular television evangelists. One allegedly has a fleet of airplanes (in the name of the search) housed at his personal airport (not in the church’s name) built near his estate. When approached and asked why he had the airplanes, he huffily told the investigator, “That’s none of your business!” Then, there is the preacher falsely prophesying the end of the world.

No wonder the masses have such a negative view of Christianity. Thankfully we, the church, cannot be dismayed or led astray. We who study know that Jesus warns us against false prophets and religious leaders. He teaches us that anyone who preaches against His instruction should not be trusted. His Word has held true since the time He walked among us. And they hold true forevermore.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. The wealthy have the same opportunity for salvation as everyone else. Unfortunately, with the wealthy, money and possessions become their gods. As is human nature, the more you have the more you want. There are not many people who would willingly give up their luxurious lifestyles to follow the Lord, illustrated in Matthew 19 when a wealthy young man asked Jesus what good thing he needed to do to get eternal life. When Jesus instructed him to sell his possessions and follow Him, the young man was greatly troubled, prompting this response:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

This passage does not mean everyone should sell his or her possessions. We have responsibilities and families to support. However, we should be willing to give up everything for God. There should be nothing separating us from Him, including money. It is impossible to serve two gods.

While I will never doubt the sincerity of anyone’s love for God, I am disappointed in the reported actions of the aforementioned and countless other preachers, pastors and evangelists. Let’s rededicate ourselves to the teachings of Jesus. Let’s meditate on His Word. Let’s be true Christians and not bow down to worldly gods.

Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

With respect to the Johnny Lee classic (from which the title of this post is culled), life is not easy. For as many people who have contentment, happiness and assurance, there are those who are lonely and have a very real fear of the present and future. There are those who are confused and spin their wheels searching for love, a higher enlightenment or just an escape from their lives. These people are often “ripe for the picking”, their desires for something – anything -better than their present situations cause them to follow and place their trusts in the wrong people and possessions.

People can be fallible. Possessions rust and can be stolen. These are things I’ve learned along the way to becoming middle-aged. Below are three more:

1. Just Because A Person Is Old, Doesn’t Mean He Or She Is Wise. Age has nothing to do with wisdom. There are older people who have experienced much but have learned little. I have an older friend whose conversation is the same as mine. By that, I mean she has the same wants, desires and concerns as me. If one listened to a conversation, one would not be able to determine who was the older, more experienced friend. That doesn’t make her a bad person. However, she may not be the one to turn to for wise counsel.

2. If It Walks Like A Duck…. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have denied a person’s faults because I didn’t want to acknowledge who and what that person really was. I also can’t begin to tell you how many times I have turned a blind eye to a situation because I didn’t want it to be true. In both instances, I was the only one who ended up hurt and disappointed. Note: Denying a fault is not the same as overlooking a fault. When you overlook, you are fully aware of the fault, you choose to not notice. With denying, you refuse its existence. Choosing to overlook is your prerogative; denying means you are lying to yourself. Never, ever lie to yourself.

3. Just Because It Is Said With Authority Doesn’t Make It True. One of the first lessons I was taught during my career in customer service was to never stammer or sound unsure when delivering information to a caller. Why? Because sounding unsure of yourself makes the caller doubt what you are telling them. If you have ever had the experience of speaking with a customer service representative in any capacity, then you’ve probably had the experience of being told something that you later learned wasn’t completely accurate. Customer service representatives don’t set out to deliver incorrect information. It can be challenging working with the public and the sheer volume of calls the average center receives can be daunting. In their efforts to maintain the metrics given to them by management, some representatives may provide an answer that was not fully researched or authorized my management. That doesn’t make it right, but it happens. It also happens in your interaction with others – friends, pastors, etc. Always take the time research for yourself any claim or fact you hear.

If you have made it this far in the post, then you may be wondering the inspiration for this soapbox discourse. If you guessed Harold Camping, you are correct. It now seems that since his May 21, 2011 prediction failed, he is now stating, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the apocalypse will occur October 21, 2011. Most of us have discredited this man’s apocalyptic predictions, but he still has a faithful core of followers. I’m sure that as October 21 approaches, there will be yet another storm of media coverage. While these predictions may have directed more people to reading the Bible, they are also leading those who don’t understand what they are reading to worry unnecessarily. Even worse, these predictions are leading some to mock Christianity. Both can lead to dire consequences.

Don’t be led astray. This includes pastors, friends and other trusted individuals. Stay alert to keep disappointment at bay.

Make It A Good Day!

Need a pick-me-up?  Need a quick break from the same type of YouTube clips?  Take a moment to view the following animated shorts to jump-start your day:

Feel Good About Yourself!

Don’t Be A Stumbling Block

We all feel depressed from time to time and we have all been in situations or know of others in situations that baffle us. Hopefully, these videos will provide you with a different perspective.

Make it a good day!

Come Together

It is Holy Week. It was during this week many centuries ago that the prophecies were fulfilled. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, completed his mission on Earth and died on the cross for our sins. He split in two the barrier between God and man (Luke 23:45). He then overcame death and was resurrected. Through Him we now have direct access to God. It is from His sacrifice that salvation is available for all men, not just a chosen few. Let’s use His sacrifice as an example in our lives. Let’s turn away from selfish thoughts and actions and put the needs of others before our own. Let’s come together as Christians; instead of focusing on each other’s faults, let’s embrace the one similarity we share – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God bless you and keep you. Praises and glory to the Most High!

The Closed-Minded Christian

I had a conversation recently where I referred to homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. The person to whom I was speaking became indignant.

“There is no such thing as an ‘alternative lifestyle’. Jesus didn’t give an alternative. I don’t care what they say, I believe what Jesus says.”

When I advised that I had purposely used that term to prevent offending anyone listening to our conversation, I was met with more of the same. The person actually began talking over my words to drown out and nullify what I was saying. That got me thinking. Not about the issue of homosexuality. God’s position on this is clear as Paul reminds us in Romans 1: 26-32. The purpose of this post is not to offer my opinion. Rather, I was struck by the absolute closed-mindedness of the self-professed Christian.

I knew what the person meant, but I couldn’t help but wonder how someone unfamiliar with Christ would internalize our conversation, especially if he or she were living such a lifestyle? Would that person feel comfortable approaching us to discuss and therefore learn why we take such a position on the lifestyle? Would that conversation make the person seriously consider making a change in his or her life? Or, would that person become apprehensive not just of us but of Christianity as a whole? As Christians, we have to be mindful of our speech and our actions. Proverbs 15:1 ” A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We should be vessels that direct one to Christ but sometimes we are brick walls for those seeking the Lord.

We should stand firmly against sin, but standing firmly against sin doesn’t mean we should discard the sinner. In Matthew 9:9-13, we are told of the time when Jesus and the disciples had dinner at Matthew’s house with tax collectors and other ‘sinners’, When the Pharisees (a Jewish religious group that zealously followed the Old Testament laws as well as their own religious traditions) saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Upon hearing this, Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'”

As followers of Christ, we should reach out instead of closing ranks. Christianity is not an exclusive club only for perfect people. If that were true then none of us could be members. In our zeal to confirm our Christianity to ourselves and to others, we tend to vehemently condemn sin by invoking Jesus in our speech. When we do, let’s remember to also take on the characteristics of Christ so we don’t turn away seekers but invite them to the most important relationship they will ever have.

Thought for Today – and Everyday

Have you ever had a problem that kept you awake at night?  A hurdle so prevailing that you have actually lost your appetite and couldn’t focus on routine activities? An issue that, despite all your concentration, planning and maneuvering, you cannot solve?  Instead of relying on your own strengths and understanding, rely on God.  His power and abilities are limitless.  Your problems are powerless before Him.  But, first, you must make the decision to rely on and trust in Him.   Once you humbly submit yourself, you will feel the yoke of your burdens being lifted.  Do your part and be amazed at how God does His!