He many not be who you think He is.

April 4, 2010

in Links to good stuff, Shared walk

Last week I spent some time praying with a group of folks from a church near us. Among their prayers was that on Easter Sunday they would be able to reach some of those who show up at church only on Easter and/or Christmas.  This is more or less (probably more less than more) my attempt at the same thing.

I am an unabashed follower of Jesus Christ. I tend to shy away from the term “Christian” because so many who wear that label have added a lot of things not of God to societies understanding of what Christianity is. Frankly, if I were outside looking in, and what I saw was what most “outside” see, I would not  be interested in the God that is so often portrayed. The Bible tells us God is love, but that seems to get lost in all the anger, rules, hatred, legalism, and separatism that so many of His followers think is necessary. Yes, there is right and wrong, but following of those is supposed to be a result of our love for God – a love that can only flow from a relationship. Rules don’t make anyone better, and not doing certain things does not make us good. Those who know the “rules” better than they know Jesus have missed the point, and the blessing.

To me, being a follower of Jesus is far more than just having “eternal fire insurance”. Yes, I do believe those who don’t choose Him will regret it for eternity, but I’d be doing exactly what I am doing, both publicly and privately even if someone could convince me that “all are saved”.*Following Him benefits me so much more than just in the “sweet by and by” – I am blessed, strengthened and enlightened daily. What’s more, I can say without any doubt, that the fantastic bride I have,  the incredible marriage I enjoy, and the wonderful life I live are all a result of having Him in my life. Without Him my marriage would be a mess because both of us would be to broken and too selfish to have a good marriage.

If you don’t know Him, please believe me that you should. If you avoid Him because of the behaviour of His followers, please accept my apologies, and please don’t judge Him by those who claim to follow Him but are not getting it right. If you follow Him at a distance, please get closer, you will be glad you did.

Want to know Him better? Want to know what it means to know and follow Him? Pick up a Bible (I would suggest NIV or NKJV) and start reading. My suggestion would be to start with the Gospel of John and keep reading. Let His Spirit speak to you as you read.

Okay, end of sermon – check out the great links below.

*I’ve had several folks try to convince me of that everyone will go to heaven. I’ve studied all the arguments, and I can’t find a way that it can be true if what the Bible says is true.




Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:


Do You Think Your Wife is the Problem? Think Again: Found this great quest post in The Marry Blogger archives. Why women response the way they do, and what you, as a husband can do about it. But be warned, no punches are pulled here – for example “Often times, when a husband has brought wounding to the marriage, he would rather apologize and move on instead of living in repentance to God and “walking with a limp” before his wife.”
For A Better Sex Life, Do This: Also on The Marry Blogger, Stu suggests that removing the TV from your bedroom will improve your sex life. I think this is true for many couples, but I had to add a dissenting opinion in the comments.

Marital Gridlock And Growing Up: A follow up to a post I listed here last week. “First, lets reinforce the belief that marriage is indeed designed to grow us up into better people. It’s not about happiness, or completion, or stability – it’s about growth.” I continue to dislike this idea – even though it is true in my experience, and seems both valid and correct. I strongly recommend you follow Corey’s blog, Simple Marriage, but only if you have the guts to face your own selfishness!
Why You Want a Debt-Free Marriage: A great post on Simple Marriage – with money being a major part of marital arguments and many divorces, being debt free makes a lot of scene for a couple.

Help Me Help You: “The trip to the altar with my beloved did not make me instantly privy to all his sexual wants, needs and desires. Nor did it make him privy to mine.” If your bride is unwilling to talk about sex, maybe this post from Intimacy In Marriage will show her why sexual communication is needed.

One Question That Could Save Your Marriage: Project Happily Ever After has an exceptional post on how a question is better than a complaint. This one is a must read in my book

Are Grudges Holding Your Marriage Back?: Great post on Lifegems 4 Marriage about grudges and how to deal with them before they hurt your marriage.

The Grace Barrier: I’m big on grace, and this post by Gina Parris is excellent.

3 comments
LoveMyWiffle
LoveMyWiffle

I am so very thankful, on an almost daily basis lately, to have so many others around me proclaiming what I myself keep saying... I read your section on apologizing to those who stay away because of the "Christian" witness they see, and I can so easily put those words in my own mouth. I hear people I work with all telling me how they used to want to go to church, they used to want to read the Bible, they used to want to be "better"... until they started seeing and hearing their friends and family -who were "living as the Word instructs". Those friends and family did nothing but chastise them, accuse them, belittle them, daily drive in to them that they were unworthy to even try. It makes me so sad for them, and all I can do is try to let His light shine through me, my words, my actions. Maybe, just maybe, they will still have soft enough hearts. As for the comments from Eleutheros-- I'm not sure from what you wrote where you're really standing. Your words remind me, way too much I'm afraid, of those used by all the goofy "I'm okay, you're okay", "let us all meditate and seek the wisdom of nature", "trust in the divine energy of the universe" people. I completely understand where you might be coming from in regards to translations -HOWEVER- that only takes into account the King James version until you look at the newer ones like "The Message", who seem to paraphrase more than actually quote. The majority of others... NASB, ASV, BBE, CEV, LITV, to name a few... are actually translated directly from the original Greek and Aramaic. When one does about 15 minutes of homework, s/he will find studies... in which greek students sat down with original manuscripts and proceeded to verbally translate them into english. Meanwhile american students sat reading along in NASB and ASV versions, almost word-for-word. All of that to simply say... It's not the translations that cause problems in leading others to Christ. Rather it is the legalism, and our tendency as humans living in the flesh, that pushes others away. To give them the all too popular creed, "If that's a Christian, I don't want anything of it!"

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

You said: "Yes, I do believe those who don't choose Him will regret it for eternity, but I'd be doing exactly what I am doing, both publicly and privately even if someone could convince me that "all are saved". That is all that really matters. You, Paul, are a different human being than you once were and a better one, a good one, for your salvation experience/ accepting Jesus into your heart/ coming to Jesus and being saved. 'Cause whatever you want to call that moment in your life that began your new journey, this change in you is all that really matters in the end, not your theology of heaven and hell. A correct understanding that actually answers more questions than it raises is helpful, but that is only acquired when one is free to disregard everything that they were taught ‘in church’ from our English Bibles, for re-examining it in favor of the Truth. I have come to strongly suspect that the complete, original understanding that was taught by the apostles to the first Believers who turned the world upside down with their love, one for the other, got 'lost in translation' because the medieval humans who gave us our English Bibles were staunch supporters of a late-coming theology that is actually foreign to the original text. Did not all of the apostles warn that there would come many false teachers after them who would pervert their original teaching, seeking to gain ascendency over the weaker ones among them? Was it not happening even in their life-times? Can anyone prove, historically speaking, that this perversion of their original teachings didn't happen? Be that as it may, it is obvious that enough of the Truth of Jesus Christ was brought to the World with these Bibles that many 'found Jesus' and were born anew for the things they read and acted on. Such that, because of this new birth- the one of spirit- they were re-sired by Jehovah to gradually become, through their obedience to His spirit's promptings and His grace, of which one aspect is the room He gives us to make the mistakes we learn from, consistently good human beings; the kind that can stand before our Creator and hear the words: "Well, done you good and faithful slave! You have been faithful over little; you shall be given more! Enter into the joy of your Lord! Those who are re-sired are then as John said: "Whoever should be avowing that Jesus is the Son of God, God is remaining in him, and he in God. And we know and believe the love which God has in us. God is love, and he who is remaining in love is remaining in God, and God is remaining in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judging, seeing that, according as He is, so are we also in this world. 1 John 4:15-17. And you don’t need a correct theology for deciding which humans go to 'heaven' and which humans go to 'hell' (though you will seek to gain an understanding) to experience this learning how to be good, just as you were created to be!

Annalea
Annalea

Hi Paul, It sure was fun to see you make mention of the guest post I wrote: "Do You Think Your Wife is the Problem? Think Again" over at Stu's site The Marry Blogger. Thanks for the mention! And thanks for your blog - it's really terrific!

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