"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Posts tagged ‘Pharisee’

Are You Religious? Take the test.

The Religion Test:

  1. If church promised a $10,000 door prize at the 11:00 service or Sunday, would you go?
  2. If you could work-out in the gym at church for free, would that make regular church attendance interesting.
  3. If your company offered you double time to work on Sunday, would you skip church?
  4. If church was a really fun place to go with golf tournaments, theater and musicals and a great social program, does that get you to attend?
  5. If you heard that the church was teaching about ways to draw near to God and become intimate with Him, would that attract you?
  6. Or perhaps there is nothing that could draw you away from the sports on TV or a day on the lake.
An affirmative answer to all but the fifth question proves that you are religious about something.  If you answered yes to five, you are interested in really getting to know God which is based on a relationship with Him and His love.

We quickly see what is the most important to us when we consider these questions.  Most of us would go for sure to get the money.  If we wanted to get fit, the gym has a certain appeal.  Turning down the overtime money would be difficult.  The social aspects of a big church serve to integrate you in the community and help to meet new friends.  But . . . how many of us really want to draw nearer to the God of the Universe.

Religion itself is bondage to something.  We think of the Pharisees and Saducees in the Bible.  They were the most religious of all as is some of the church leadership today.  What are you bound to?  Is the organized church the answer?  How do you escape religion and get to know the God that loves you?

How many of us want to really know Jesus Christ?  How many of us want to sit, face-to-face with the Father God and have a conversation?  How many of us want to “be the true church;” to be ‘the called out ones?’  Called out by the Father to hear His voice and walk in His ways?

But, you say . . . “I don’t know how to do that.”  Yes you do.  So do I.  Why is it so hard to start?  What is the fear?  Are we afraid that He will show us the areas we are avoiding in ourselves?  Is it because we think that we don’t need Him?  Are we doing just fine using our own resources?  Or has the demonic realm deceived us and convinced us that we don’t need to get too close to Him?

What keeps us from the joy of knowing the wonderful God that loves us, even before we give Him a thought.  Why are we so arrogant as to think that we don’t really need anyone or anything.  Has  American independence so infiltrated our thought process that we think that we can go it alone and be just fine?   Then, I remember exactly what I had when I was on my own before meeting Jesus Christ.  I was broken and filled with bravado.  I didn’t want anyone to know how wounded I was;  but, everyone knew.  I was the only one who was being fooled.  Are you fooling yourself?

In the Scripture, there is a story of five wise and five foolish virgins awaiting their bridegroom to come for them.  When the time came, the foolish ones wanted oil (a type of the Holy Spirit) for their lamps from the wise ladies who were wise enough to say no.  This is not something that you can do on the preparedness of another.  It is up to each of us to be filled with the Spirit and ready for the encounters that the God who loves us has for us.

My heart hungers for Him.  My flesh avoids Him.  It is up to me now to decide who is in charge, just as it is up to you.  Do I let my heart rule and fall in love with my Lord and live in His grace and glory OR do I let my flesh rule and continue to do my own thing.  Now is the day.  Tomorrow is too late.  He wants me to spend time with Him; to romance Him and to love Him.  He desires for me to walk out Spirit-life.

When I draw near, He will draw near to me.  Then I will wonder, whatever did I think was so important, that I didn’t stop and meet with this One I love.

Righteousness verses Morality

I believe that there is a difference between righteousness and morality.  Righteousness is  a gift from God that puts us in right standing with God and morality is our attempt to be good without God.  When we are righteous, we are by extension moral.  When we are moral, we are not necessarily by extension righteous. We can improve our outward actions but apart from God, we are never truly free.

I would like to introduce you to John, a very moral man with a deep sense of moral outrage about people and actions.  He was big on judging and that is pride.  Scripture actually says to “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

He had attended church ever since he could remember.  John had served as a deacon and an elder on the church boards.  He didn’t like the new pastor and he was upset that he seemed to think that just anyone could come in to the place he considered his own place of worship.

John thought he knew the meaning of the Bible and taught classes.  He told them God hated several different groups of people.

He had marched against the abortion clinics while telling the young women that if they didn’t change their ways, they would be going to hell.  God’s heart aches.  People that hated religion were another of his enemies.  He would hand out tracks at the various festivals and celebrations held in his city.  When a recipient would take one look at the tract, scoff and drop it and then step on it, John would sneer at them and say, “God will treat you just that way some day.”

But the real enemy was anyone who appeared to be a homosexual.  He didn’t even bother handing them a track.  He just told them, right up front, that they were a disgusting abomination made for destruction and there was no hope for them.

Of course, we know that what John believed about these people is not God’s view.  God loves all of us.  Those of us who are in relationship with the Lord were once involved in these and other sins – some even worse.  We were labeled just you have been.  The only difference between any of us is our relationship with our heavenly Father.

The only sin that keeps you out of God’s heaven is rejecting His Son Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

The issue comes when we don’t understand who is real and who is false..  Just as there is a difference in people at a ball park; there are differences in the people who call themselves Christian.

At the ballgame, some people are extreme fanatics that paint their faces and go crazy.  The are all sound and fury, unable to affect the score but annoying everyone, while some sit on the sidelines and eat popcorn and peanuts just observing.  The true team mates get in and play the game.  Of the team that is on the field,  some of them take steroids, gamble and disgrace the team while others work hard and accomplish great things.  It is the same in the church.

In the church, there are people who know Jesus and the Heavenly Father who are filled with the Holy Spirit and there are others who are of their father the devil.  (I didn’t say it, Jesus did.)  Jesus addressed this when he spoke to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the religious leaders of the day.   “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.”  Matthew 23:15  The Message (MSG).  Yikes!  Jesus didn’t like phonies either!

Make no mistake, dear ones, the God of the Universe, our Creator, loves you and He loves me.  Satan is a defeated foe, but the church has let him run loose because so few in the church remember the Truth and they have lost their way.

I am sorry and beg for your forgiveness for I was such a one, but recently, I found a fellowship of the remnant of true believers  who KNOW the Father and Jesus and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.  As His children, we are not to be weak-willed and goofy.  We are to walk in the peace, power, and love of God.

Jesus Christ came to earth to destroy the works of the evil one – Satan.  He destroyed his work and took the keys of death, hell and the grave.  Then he left us to clean up the planet and enforce his defeat.  But the enemy had a few tricks left and decided that if he couldn’t beat us, he would join us.

So, many people hate what the church has become and the idea of a God who answers prayer sickens them. The Scriptures say that the enemy has blinded those who don’t believe.   I was right there with you but now I know better.  Will I obey what I know and cast out demons, heal the sick and lead lost people to the Light of God?  The Bible says that when we seek Him, we will find Him, when we seek for Him with our whole heart.  It is my prayer that you will reach out to Him today.  I do that every day and He meets me.

He has gifted me with righteousness and as a result my actions are wholesome and righteous.  Once I was blind but now I see.  It is a gift that is fully paid for by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Father God loves us with an everlasting love even when we are far away.  The people who call themselves His children are often the children of the devil.  But there is the real and you will know them by their love.  They will love you and they will love each other.  They will hate the works of the evil one just like Jesus did.  If you know your Bible, he took a whip into the temple and overturned the religious mess made by the priests and the money changers.  He was a man’s man – no ‘namby-pamby’ Jesus of the Easter Plays.  He was passionate and fully alive!

When we give our heart to Jesus and He takes us to the Father, we experience the life of God and we are passionate and powerful, just as He is.

Won’t you join me in this amazing adventure?  E-mail me.

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