buildingbodies4christ

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Archive for the tag “Sound teaching”

Hard Truth

All day, I have been avoiding this post. When I woke up this morning, a conversation I had yesterday was on my mind. When I had my quiet time, the conversation was still there – even more so after praying about it. After my quiet time, I went to the gym. I came home for lunch; it was still there. After lunch, I worked out in the yard. The longer I put it off the more it burned in my heart. So I guess I need to convey what was said and what’s troubling me about it.

For the last few weeks (months?), I have been praying for opportunities to talk with a friend about her beliefs. I have had a couple of occasions where I got bits and pieces and the picture is getting a bit clearer. It is as I suspected which makes me pray even more so. However, what I didn’t really pray about was another friend’s beliefs. I thought I knew what she believed and was not as concerned about her.

A couple of weeks ago, the latter friend and I started a conversation about the decision handed down from the governing board of the United Methodist Church. She’s a member of the UMC. I thought I knew her position and didn’t want to debate her about the decision. The decision the board revealed at that time was the decision to stay with the traditional views of the church doctrine. She was upset with their decision. The conversation was interrupted and we never got back to it until yesterday.

She received an email from her local church concerning this traditional plan and their denouncement of the board’s decision. She wanted me to read the email, which I did. Then she wanted my opinion. I told her I disagreed with the principles they were laying out for their church to follow. She was floored by my views, but I knew she would not understand. She started questioning me about what I believed about the Bible. She said she believed that it was not to be taken literally. But the kicker for me was that she said that God had to change with culture. I was floored. Why would God change on the fickleness of human thinking? It made no sense to me.

I don’t know everything about the Bible; there is still room to grow in my knowledge. However, I feel confident that what I know to be true is true – God does not change. The Bible is God’s Word and I believe every word of it. I didn’t know how to respond any further to her. If we can’t agree on the foundation of the Bible, there wasn’t anything more I could say that would change her mind. The conversation has left me with feeling a bit perplexed.

Many years ago, my viewpoint was totally different. I was very liberal, just like my friend. But I was living a lifestyle that was against God’s teaching. I wanted my beliefs to line up with my thinking. I was discounting the verses that didn’t line up with my thinking. The Bible cannot be bent to please my ears. After I left that lifestyle and started listening to sound teaching and reading the Bible daily, I began to see how deceived I had been in those early years.

What I find so disconcerting right now is the spiritual battle being waged in the church body today. I think some of the funk that I have been in for the last few months is the darkness that is being revealed in the church body. I feel the oppression like a weight bearing down on my soul. I don’t know everything about spiritual battles, but I know enough to see how the war is being fought hard for the church to survive in America today.

The Scripture tells us Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Jesus said that the Way to heaven is narrow and few will find it (Matthew 7:13-14). One other Scripture comes to mind, Jesus said that the one who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). In the verse before this, He said sin will be rampant everywhere. How true it is today – even in the church. But to the ones who stand firm on His teachings will be saved – it’s His promise. The others? The future isn’t that promising.

I turn to Revelation and see the last church mentioned before the end of the church age – the church in Laodicea. The church is lukewarm – neither hot nor cold. The church thought they were rich; but by Jesus’ standards, they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:18). Jesus said to be earnest and repent. He stands at the door knocking, waiting on us to open the door and let Him in. In the church. In our hearts. When we give Him access, we change, He doesn’t.

The one who is victorious will have the right to sit with Jesus on His throne. Stand firm on God’s Word. Don’t let culture deceive you into thinking that God’s word is outdated. God’s Word stands forever. God does not change and He will not be mocked. I truly believe this. Do you?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

Consider the Source

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take a little road trip with my sister and brother-in-law. I love road trips because it’s an opportunity for uninterrupted conversations, which seems to be rather rare these days. However, there was a time in my life when road trips were very stressful. When I was alone with my Mom on a road trip, I knew I was going to be in for an interrogation. She spent the time “drilling” me with questions about my life. And my life was not in the best shape at that time. I didn’t want her asking too many questions because at some point, I would only be able to give her a bunch of lies to cover up the truth. Glad those days are over! Glad I survived them!

Yesterday morning when I was in my quiet time, I recalled the conversation with my brother-in-law (BIL). We talked about a series of topics, but one of the discussions came to a standstill. I tried to convince him about something I had heard. No amount of argument could persuade him about the topic. His mind was already made up and nothing would change it. He told me to consider my source. I believed my source was good and believed the facts were true. But nothing I said led him to believe me or my source. So I dropped the subject, and we talked about something else for the rest of the trip.

As I remembered the conversation, I was reminded I need to consider the source of the argument. When I consider spiritual matters, I have to go to the source of Truth. The passage in my quiet time was about spiritual maturity. Maturity comes with walking closely with the Lord; reading God’s Word and applying what is taught. As we grow spiritually mature, we are enabled to grow in our understanding. The more we know, the more we grow. Our minds have to be tuned to the right frequency to hear the Truth. We have to be able to listen and transform our thinking to what the Lord is saying. We have to consider the source.

When I traveled with my Mom, I didn’t want to listen to what she had to say because I knew she was right; and I needed to change. I wasn’t ready to make the necessary changes. As time moved on, I began to listen; and I began to change. I don’t want to live in ignorance any longer. I want to be able to discern the truth and apply it. As I discern the truth, I change my mind from incorrect thinking. This is spiritual maturity. It’s transformation as the Lord leads.

We don’t use the term “repentance” anymore, but this is the term associated with “changed” thinking. We read God’s Word and come into agreement with Him on His Truth. In James 1:22, we are told not to just listen to the Word, but do what it says. It is written that “anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:23-24). Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

In this same letter, Paul wrote Timothy about the end of times when people will not put up with sound teaching. “They [the people] will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:4). Discernment is the key to understand what we hear and read is truth or myths. And when we are confronted with the truth, we have to be open to change our minds to line up with God’s Truth. When our stinking thinking leads us in the wrong direction, repentance turns us around.

John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. His message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus said throughout His teachings, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Many in Jesus’ day ignored the message. They did not believe. They counted on their inheritance as sons and daughters of Abraham. Jesus’ message is still the same today. There is only one way to receive the true inheritance of heaven. Jesus Christ is the key to unlock the true riches of heaven. There is no other source for true light and life. Consider the message and change your mind if it’s not firmly established in Truth. If you have ears, please hear the message before it’s too late.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. Mark 4:22-24 (NLT)

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