Friday, October 25, 2013

The Road to Reconciliation Part 1: Repentance

Sin has consequences. If we sin against another, there will be consequences. Our first duty is to repent to God since all sin is against Him. And then we go to the person against whom we have sinned. 

When we offer repentance and apology to people for our offense, and it is not accepted, then they are choosing to not forgive: their intention is to practice un-forgiveness. 

Again, our sin against a person(s) has consequences—even the consequence that they may not forgive us when we say we are sorry and attempt to reconcile. But when we do our part in the attempt at reconciliation, they, too, must do their part for reconciliation to take place. Their un-forgiveness reveals where they are at, not where we are at

"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father." 
Luke 15:17-20

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Look at God, Not People

I know people who have never allowed a relationship between themselves and God to develop because of the way supposed “Christians” treated them way back when, or the way they perceive Christians and the church acting now.

Perhaps you are one of these people. Maybe you were a pregnant, unmarried teen and felt judged by a “Christian” family member, pastor, congregation or some other “Christian.” Or perhaps you felt inadequate in some other way and perceived a finger pointed at you by a supposed “Christian.” I have two things to say to this: 1) Make sure it isn’t your own judgment you are feeling and displacing onto others. Many people feel their own guilt and then attribute it to others laying it on them. 2) Looking at how other “Christians” treated you or failed to love you only does one thing: it keeps you from looking at and seeing God.

People spend decades remembering or reimagining how people have treated them, thus blocking all opportunities to learn how God actually does and desires to treat people. Their worldview of the past and people in the past prevents them from getting to know God now. They are missing out. Maybe you are missing out.

The second group of people I am familiar with (I was in this group at one time) is those who were raised on sound bites of what born again Christians, God, Jesus, and the Bible are like. They never got to know a true Christian and never attended a real Bible-honoring and believing church. They never read the Bible. But they adopted someone else’s biased opinion and never got beyond it to find out for themselves what they believe about God, Jesus, true believers and the Bible. These, too, are missing out.

It’s one thing to have rejected God for yourself after getting to actually know Him and understand who He is. It’s another thing to reject Him when you don’t even have a proper understanding of Him and are rejecting Him based on your interactions with other people.

Not all people in churches are Christians. I grew up in and attended several non-Bible believing "churches" for years and was not a Christian, nor did I have any clue as to how to live as one because I did not know God, Jesus or the Bible. And Christians aren’t perfect. We still sin.

The Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, however, is perfect and does not sin. Who are you going to trust with your life? People? Or our Triune God?

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace" Helen H. Lemmel 1922

“And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.” Matthew 17:8

Monday, October 7, 2013

Worldly Wisdom Ruins Households

These lyrics from Warren Zevon's song "Disorder in the House" set up my Quote of the Day:

Disorder in the House

Disorder in the house
The tub runneth over
Plaster's falling down in pieces
By the couch of pain

Disorder in the house
Time to duck and cover
Helicopters hover over 
Rough terrain

Disorder in the house
Reptile wisdom
Zombies on the lawn
Staggering around

Disorder in the house
There's a flaw in the system 
And the fly in the ointment's gonna
Bring the whole thing down

The floodgates are open 
We've let the demons loose
The big guns have spoken
And we've fallen for the ruse

Disorder in the house
It's a fate worse than fame
Even the Lhasa Apso 
Seems to be ashamed

Disorder in the house
The doors are coming off the hinges
The earth will open and
Swallow up the real estate..."
                                Warren Zevon

Quote of the day: by Tony Evans

"Do you know why our homes have disorder? Because too many of our marriages and families operate out of envy and ambition. Instead of everyone upholding the central goal of the home, every family member wants his or her agenda. What else can you have but discord? That's earthly wisdom. 

But James offers us another kind of wisdom, the 'wisdom from above' (v. 17), which he says is first of all 'pure.' That means it's authentic, transparent, clean, like God's Word. Psalm 19:8 says, 'The commandment of the Lord is pure.'

God's wisdom is also 'peaceable,' promoting unity and not strife; 'gentle,' meaning considerate; 'reasonable,' willing to take instruction, ready to listen to people who make sense; 'full of mercy and good fruits,' giving practical help to others; 'unwavering,' taking a stand on principles instead of flowing one way today and another way tomorrow; and 'without hypocrisy,' not wearing a mask. That's what a wise person looks like." 
Tony Evans, Theology You Can Count On, page 142-143

"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:14-16

" But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23