Monday, April 30, 2007

The Professional Christian

What Do You Think Of This?

What is a professional Christian?

A professional Christian is a professed believer in Jesus Christ
who has traded form for substance, inward faith for outward image,
and passion for polished professional religion.

The professional Christian can speak Christianese fluently,
such as Amen, Bless God, and Praise the Lord,
no matter what the state of their heart.
Jesus spoke to broken hearts.

The professional Christian maintains a cool collective demeanor
except when at certain well rehearsed placed in church services,
he smiles, laughs, or shouts "Amen" as if on autopilot.
Jesus wept.

The professional Christian tithes to the exact tenth of his increase
and then binds God to bless him "or else."
Jesus gave freely.

The professional Christian will send a check to help the poor and needy
but not go himself - it's not his ministry.
Jesus lovingly touched unclean lepers with His bare hand.

The professional Christian avoids the appearances of evil
lest "God's" image be tarnished.
Jesus let prostitutes weep at His feet
and was known for being a friend to sinners.

The professional Christian pursues movements
and well known ministries coveting the title "ministry partner."
Jesus pursued lost sheep.

The professional Christian sees tragedy strike
and knows with a shaking head that God's judgments are just.
Jesus was moved with compassion.

The professional Christian has a certain religious look, hair, and confident swagger
- after all, King's kids should have the best of everything.
Jesus hung naked and unashamed before the world.

The professional Christian makes church clubs
where anyone meeting their social, economic,
and educational standard are welcome.
Jesus promised that His Father would freely give
His kingdom to anyone who believed in Him.

The professional Christian loves other professionals
and greets them at church services with big bear hugs,
provided they aren't too annoying, don't sing off key,
and use generous amounts of deodorant.
Jesus loved the hurting outcasts who had no proper place to bathe.

The professional Christian drives the latest car, wears the latest fashions,
and the best watch. I mean, Jesus already paid the price of sacrifice already, right?
Jesus usually walked, lost his clothes to gambling soldiers,
and well, songwriter Ray Stevens answered the watch dilemma - no Rolex.

The professional Christian can quote every prosperity verse in the Bible,
unencumbered by context and condition.
Jesus knew the moment by moment heart of the Father.

The professional Christian has the formulas down:
the seven steps to great sex in marriage,
the three keys to victory,
the nine reasons God wants him rich.
Jesus retreated to solitary places
and often spent whole nights in prayer to know the Father's will.

The professional Christian loves the world,
the things of the world, and wants the world to love him, too.
He calls it, "Covenant Blessing."
Jesus calls it compromise.

The professional Christian has a form of godliness
but denies the power of it.
Jesus will tell him, "Depart, for I never knew you."

May God deliver us from our willing love of darkness
so that godly sorrow will work true repentance into our hearts.
May we love the Light of the world as He reproves
and exposes corruption in us calling us to a new life
and sweet freedom in Christ.

Bryan Hupperts, a former professional Christian
(with Thanks to Dr. Harvey Brown - Evangelist of Impact Ministries)

Ritualistic Thinking

Observance without reason, is idolatry

Some Jewish soldiers were knee deep in battle when the Sabbath dawned. They hid in a cave, rather than to fight and break the Sabbath.
The enemy found them, killed every last one and they didn't lift a finger in their own defense.
I have to question this.

As you can see, many gave the complete merit of the Law, rather than the Spirit of the Law. One Rabbi had gone as far as to say that if a whole wall fell on a person, it would be breaking the Sabbath to remove that rubble.

God Don't Like Stupid

If your bull is in the pit, you must rescue it. Were they guilty of worshiping the letter of the Law rather than the Spirit in which it was written?

God Don't Like Stupid

I grew up in the Catholic faith and was taught that all I needed to do was confess my sins to the Priest, do my penance of 1 Our Father and 2 Hail Mary's and I was good to go. This type of teaching, scares me. Of course I am being vague but if I go right back out and do the same sin on the premise that all I have to do is go to confession and I'm good to go, then I am guilty of worshiping the law and not the spirit of true repentance.

God Don't Like Stupid

So, I go for the ceremony of Baptism, even taking my child when it is born, to be baptized. In my simply understanding, I believe that child is right for life and my job is done. I think it is a wonderful thing, a ritual of exclaiming faith but will that get me or even my child, into heaven? Because I went through a ritual and had my child sprinkled with water, will this get my child into heaven?
I don't believe it is that simple, nor do I think that it alone assures a place next to the Father.

Rituals mean nothing if we do not carry them out in the fullness they were created, in the spirit, with the spirit in mind. Even memorizing scripture and being able to quote it at the drop of that hat, is useless, if you do not live that scripture.

Even our prayers mean nothing, if they are done in a ritual sense, just for the sake of doing them and not saying them with conviction. When Christ/Yeshua told us to pray and he gave us a prayer, as in "Our Father", he was not saying, to simply memorize it and spout it out, he was giving example, of a conversation;

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Just praying for the sake of praying or just saying those words without feeling or even understanding, is fruitless. We must converse with our Lord. Think about it; If you spoke to a friend, parent, family member in a robotic manner, in memorized and methodical text, they'd probably think something was wrong with you. We must converse with our Lord, in our prayers and talk with conviction. We must stay in prayer, throughout the day and share in the good as well as the bad. If you only called your Dad, when something was wrong, I imagine he'd eventually, not look forward to your call. But if you called to share in your joyful moments and even everyday stuff, he'd be glad, you called.We must incorporate prayer more freely in our everyday lives. By just saying a memorized prayer, at the end of your day, you are not conversing with your heavenly Father.While He may appreciate your effort, I think He'd rather hear from you.
Get the point?

Read this

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Put On Your God Goggles

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.
Sydney Smith

Some of us will never be famous. Many of us will never reach the masses, or be emulated for our words. If this is what we aspire, it is a forced situation, it is a fake. No, we must remain humble and do our part in our little piece, our little bit of world. What can we do, in our world, to make it a little better?

Matthew 9:9-12

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said, "It's 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."

The word "Healthy," is used. Today, we use this word to describe the physically fit, the beautiful people, who eat Granola and jog and on and on. But if the truth were known, they may be, what appears to be healthy but are they really? You can be a paraplegic, amputee, AIDS victim, whatever and be healthy. Take apart the word healthy and you see the word, "Heal". Christ/Yeshua is the only one who can make us healthy. While our bodies may be broken, we may still be "Christ Healthy".
Often times, the, what I will call, "Worldly healthy," are not healthy at all. They work on the shell, that body which will die and perish, turn to dust. While I see nothing wrong with trying to maintain your weight and eat right, exercise and so on, the important thing is your Spiritual growth, you spiritual heath. Are you Christ Healthy?

I think this Christ Healthy comes from our exercise in the word, repentance and prayer. Likened to someone in the gym who lifts hundreds of pounds, we have become really Christ healthy, when we stop praying for ourselves, groping for our own wants, when he gives us all we need, notice the difference, "what we need."

We are lifting the heaviest weight, when we pray for others and reach out to those that are truly in need. In the Bible, the words Charity and Love are synonymous. They mean the same thing and they need to be utilized in the same way. If you love freely, your fellow man, you become charitable. Everyone says, they love their fellow man but if the truth were known, they often love what is convenient and do not choose to see people with "God Goggles" on?

God Goggles are seeing people as God sees them. Only God can see them as they really are but if we attempt to see them through these goggles and afford them a charitable heart, we will see them, view them in a different manner.

In the scripture, Matthew 9:9-12, the people are questioning Jesus and his approach to life and lesson. They just couldn't catch the concept that he was the
Great Physician. A Doctor who only treated healthy patients would be a fool and a fake. They couldn't understand his approach to the sinner, when they were the ones that needed him most. The Pharisees were so high and mighty, they'd lost touch with reality and looked down their noses at these, "Low Life's." Their air of superiority shows just how "Unhealthy," they really were. We still see this today, don't we?

No one needs love more than someone who doesn't deserve it

In our religious fight, to be right, "our translation is the best and only way", we omitted the most valuable, the most elementary approach, the rudementary teachings of Christ/Yeshua;

I'm not speaking about tithing or giving to your favorite charity, which is a good thing. But if your heart is not charitable it is an exercise in futility, it really means nothing. It is likened to a man who prays on his mat, at midnight, observes all the Feasts and the Sabbath, goes to church/synagogue/mosque, knows all the Scripture and reads his Bible religiously. He leaves church and looks down upon all those around him. He has that holier than thou attitude and passes judgment upon all those around him. It's so easy to pass judgment and walk away. He does not have a charitable heart and he is one and the same with the Pharisees.

Christ did not visit the Country Clubs nor did he dine at the best Restaurants. He ate with the sinners and tax collectors, He walked with the prostitutes, the dereliction of society, amongst the sick and infirm. I can imagine it was not pleasant but he did not run because it was uncomfortable. Was He wearing God Goggles? I do believe he was wearing "GG" designer glasses and he chose to see these people as children of His heavenly Father. They were and are, the children of God and should be treated in this manner.

So, what can we do or how can we apply this, to todays world, in our society today?
We can start with our own Spiritual health. We must look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we have had a charitable heart? Do we behave as the Pharisees and look down upon the less fortunate? Can we put on those GG glasses and begin to see people in a more charitable way? Can we see them and try to understand what brought them to this point in their lives, a point you do not understand. Can you try to understand it and them? Will you ask for understanding and pray for those people you would normally look down upon?
If we spend our time in prayer, for those things and those people that we do not understand, we would begin to become Healthy. The next time you look at someone in disdain, take note. Instead of passing judgment, pass prayer, let it cross your lips and your heart. For what you do not approve of, lifestyle, behavior; Pray for them. For what you do not understand, lifestyle behavior; Pray.

I do not approve of all that I see and hear, in this day and age. Some of it may truly confuse and upset me. It may even anger me. Anger kills, it is an evil and damaging entity. I have to pray for wisdom and understanding. I have to pray for empathy and patience. I have to not judge but try to understand, put it into perspective and when I can't do that, I must pray instead of judging. I'll leave the judgment for the Master and simply try to have a charitable heart and put those God Goggles back on.

We must live today the way you will wish you had lived, when you stand in judgment before God.

Monday, April 23, 2007

May I Have Your Pearls?

The Pearl Necklace

A cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll
think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a
bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess-- the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

" Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And, when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of beautiful genuine pearls. He had had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

Question- what imitations are we holding onto that stops us from receiving God's genuine treasures?

Author: Unknown

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Faltering Faith

Years ago, a Seminarian went on a month long pilgrimage. He took no money with him as he wanted to know the true feeling of having to beg for his food and lodging. It was an exercise in faith and putting his entire trust in God.
He stated, afterwards that, "Many a night, I experienced near panic at not yet having found, a place to stay or a meal to eat."

Even the disciples experienced this, a similar panic attack, even though, they had seen Jesus feed the crowd's with next to nothing, right in front of their very eyes.

I do not take comfort in their panic but I do understand their, what I will call, "Nature of Man." With their own two eyes, they witnessed, first hand, the miracles of Christ, yet time after time, they were filled with fear or trepidation.

This comforts me only because I realize that it is that nature of man, to be the "Doubting Thomas," and while I don't understand that nature, I too have experienced it.

I have seen miracles. I have seen my own life, with God's stamp upon it, change for the better. Good things, unexplainable things, have happened to me, yet I continue to question, my own faith.At the same time, my faith grows daily and I pray for faith or the wisdom to understand it, to utilize it.

Don't we all experience a falter in faith from time to time. We worry about things, we question things and we forget to pray instead of worry.

I think this blog serves as a reminder to me, that I serve an awesome God. I am reminded from the story of the Seminarian, that there have been times, when I have been in that panic; worrying, wondering, will I be sheltered and clothed, fed and tended?

As I look back, upon my 48 years of life, I have been so close to having nothing. I have lived in my car, I have wondered where my next meal was coming from and I have felt stuck. Even in and at my worst, He never let me starve. I never ran naked in the streets because I had no clothes. I always had some shelter from the elements. I also see, that often times, I did not pray to Him for help but he watched over me. Just as Job was tested, so was I. I've known my Lord, since I was very little. My faith was huge and I do believe that Satan knew this and went after me. I had lived a charmed life, as far as worldly and material things go. I didn't appreciate those things and often had a sense of entitlement. I had been handed so much but I was surely a brat.

Then, I was crippled and covered in sickness, scabs on my skin. I was so broken, literally and became and began my addiction. It was all consuming, all I thought about. It took me to the brink of death and left me there to die. But I did not ever rebuke my Lord. I was certainly tested, about as seriously as you can be tested. During my addiction, I had turned God and my conscience off. I did not pray but stewed in my own feces. I was not a nice person, no quite the contrary and I look back at some of the things I'd done and see a different person. I was evil and my heart became black. But I did not forsake my God, I'd just chose to turn him off.

I believe, He was there, the entire time. He allowed Satan to have his way with me, until I was like a rag doll, tossed to the side, abandoned, torn, dirty, empty eyed. He gave me that little bit of hope, His Spirit stirred me and I cried out to Him. I'd finally turned back on the switch, long enough to make a soulful cry, that had to have been heard in the very depths of hell. Satan was so happy to hear my cries but when I began to cry out to my Lord for help, I'm sure he was not pleased. He just wanted me to be in turmoil, sick and used up.

God delivered me and put me in Prison. I am so grateful, that I can see all this. I am grateful for these scars upon my body. It has all filled my faith well, it is over flowing and I know He is there and always has been. Even though I did not deserve it, like a good Father, he knew I was the type of child that had to learn things the hard way. But I'm also the type of child who uses what I have learned and hopefully, it will help someone else, in their struggle.

Every time the wind blows through my black, graying hair, I am reminded of my Lord. I can not see Him but I can sure feel him. I am so grateful, he did not let Satan kill me and I am grateful that I learned from all this.

What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Prayers

Lord, sometimes, I just don't know the right words to express myself. I ask you for those words, Spirit driven. My pain is real, I believe you know this. I ask for your assistance with this pain. I have not been healed for a reason and I have faith that you know that reason. I do not believe it has to do with a lack of faith on my part. It is simply for a reason. I ask for the words, please Heavenly Father. Guide me to the help that I so desperately need. Thank you Lord, as I believe you will give me this. I praise Your Holy Name. I ask this in Jesus/Yeshua's name. Amen

My Prayer

Lord, I am your daughter and it is you I come to, with my prayer. You are my shepard and my refuge. I ask for your protection, as the wolf is breathing down my neck. I am strong but not strong enough to fight this battle by myself. You know my heart, hear my cries, for your Angels to be placed around, me and mine. Heavenly Father, I know that it was You that saved my life and it was for a reason. I ask that you protect that life and that of my children and theirs. I have no other God, you are my Master. This is such a rough time but I know it was You, that held my hand and guided me through the fires of hell. When I was too weak to walk, you carried me, when I was too sick to move, You stirred me and gave me the strength to get up. I am so grateful that you chose me to learn all of this. Before I thought you were not there. But I know now that You were always there. I now realize that, "An untrained, undisciplined child, is an orphan." You allowed me to go through all that to teach me. Give me courage and strength. Give me the words and wisdom of the ages. Protect Your investment in me, Lord. I praise Your Holy Name, My Lord, My God. Help me, I ask all this...
in Jesus/Yeshua's name. Amen

Monday, April 09, 2007

God-Honoring Children

My Mom sent me this. It is more than interesting!

Parenting Approach Determines Whether Children Become Christians

Research Shows Parenting Approach Determines Whether Children Become Devoted Christians

The Barna Update: April 9, 2007

You’d think that after thousands of years of practice, humans would have figured out how to consistently raise God-honoring children. Even a cursory examination of our society shows that’s obviously not the case. My new book, released this week, is entitled Revolutionary Parenting. It’s about the results of a long-term research study we conducted to figure out what perspectives and practices are most likely to produce spiritual champions. The study revealed that there are six critical dimensions for parents to master as they raise their youngsters. This week you can read the free Barna Update about the book, as well as a sample section from the book. To read the full story, click here

Research Shows Parenting Approach Determines Whether Children Become Devoted Christians

Barna’s New Book is Available. It’s finally here. Revolutionary Parenting is George Barna’s first book since his groundbreaking volume, Revolution, shook up the Church in 2005. You’ll find it is worth the wait! This week’s Update describes some of the book’s content, and you can read an excerpt on our website. Order a copy today to get a “new release discount” - this $18 hardback for just $14 plus shipping (and tax, if applicable). Please click here

Revolutionary Parenting

Invite A Friend. What do friends do for each other? They help and serve each other. If you find the Barna Update to be helpful to you, why not invite your friends to get their own free subscription? Most research firms have eliminated their free newsletters for subscribers and now charge an annual fee. The Barna Group continues to provide this free, every-other-week resource for those who care about Christ and His Church. Make the most of it

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Watch the Lamb

I found out a few days ago, that my ex-fiance', Chris, committed suicide. Pray for his soul please? My Mother sent me this video link for, "Watch the Lamb." It comforts me. You can read the story on Ask Aunt B