Posted by: Kimberly | Mon Mar 30, 2020

Stop Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater!

We, as Christians can glean so much from other churches and ministries and their teachings, when we put aside our differences. Even Paul said in his letters to Corinth that we know in part and we prophesy in part. Can you imagine if we could put all discrepancies in doctrine aside and follow the pattern of Jesus Christ? His perfect love as a guideline would create amazing gatherings. Think how much greater our knowledge and understanding would grow if we could walk in His perfect love and not cast aspersions at other ministries, denominations, or religions, but appreciate them for what they contribute to God and others. To have the ability to not point fingers would be to ‘write in the sand’ as Jesus did and say to former adversaries, ‘Where are your accusers?’ Instead of drawing attention to the areas where we don’t agree, we should find common ground. Here are a few examples of simple doctrinal beliefs that overlap for some:

    The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
    Baptists believe in the Virgin birth, that Christ died for sinners, and in the resurrection.
    The Church of Christ believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
    Lutherans believe that people are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
    Catholics believe in a Spirit-guided revelation of scripture.
    Many non-denominational and/or pentecostal churches believe in divine and miraculous healing.
    Mennonites believe that as followers of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they should spread grace, joy, and peace to the world.

All of these are examples of ideas formed out of perfect love and without that love, they are but clashing cymbals. When a nonbeliever hears arguing, it is pure noise. How can a person get excited about a church that doesn’t show love? If there’s constantly bickering, name-calling, and back-stabbing of other religions or leaders, or amongst members, then what would entice them to come in? Can we stop throwing out the baby with the bathwater by trashing others?! Let’s practice the same love we do to our family and friends and keep the baby too.

 

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways. For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

If we could meet in the unity of faith, there wouldn’t be quarrels over doctrine or whose church is correct, instead we would save our energy to praise God and love each other. We would love like Jesus. We would no longer have a veil that restricts our understanding or our perception of others. We would see and still love ‘warts and all.’ We must focus on love and hold tightly to it and offer it to all those we meet and the Holy Spirit can work through us to heal wounded hearts. Now, can you imagine what a celebration it will be, when we truly see like Jesus does, when he looks beyond perceived shortcomings? I think David gives us a glimpse in his last Psalm…

 

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! -Psalm 150:1-6

And while we’re basking in His presence and bathing, it might be a good time to follow Jesus’ example and have some humble pie by washing the feet of other ministers. Some of that ‘holy water’ might feel good to both the giver and recipients. Wash clean those who are already clean to refresh and renew. We should know his teaching and follow his example in order to live a life of blessings to others. Then we won’t be throwing out the baby in the manger, in the adjacent pulpits, or in our own congregations. We are all babies until we come to full maturity. I don’t know anyone who has become mature, only those who boast of their own knowledge or superiority, which in itself is immature. And if we are casting aspersions and not walking in love, we are not following Jesus’ example and throwing out him and his reason for coming to earth.

Jesus said to him, “You are already clean. You’ve been washed completely and you just need your feet to be cleansed—but that can’t be said of all of you.” For Jesus knew which one was about to betray him, and that’s why he told them that not all of them were clean. After washing their feet, he put his robe on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I just did?” Jesus said. “You’ve called me your teacher and lord, and you’re right, for that’s who I am. So if I’m your teacher and lord and have just washed your dirty feet, then you should follow the example that I’ve set for you and wash one another’s dirty feet. Now do for each other what I have just done for you. I speak to you timeless truth: a servant is not superior to his master, and an apostle is never greater than the one who sent him. So now put into practice what I have done for you, and you will experience a life of happiness enriched with untold blessings!”

John 13:10-14,16-17
Posted by: Kimberly | Wed Feb 26, 2020

It’s a Small World

Over the Christmas holiday, we visited my daughter and her family 1,100 miles away in Texas. While we were there, we attended church with them. During the praise and worship service, their praise team sang a song titled, “Here Comes Heaven,” which spoke of Jesus, being heaven, coming to earth. There are times the message in a song or the Holy Spirit will trigger a response in me that brings me to tears and this is one instance that it happened. It isn’t often, but the words are what hit me between the eyes, because I see the church as a whole not getting this message. As many churchgoers, or followers of Christ “wait” for heaven or look for an escape out of this world, we are missing the great gift God bestowed on us… Jesus and Heaven on Earth. Let’s look at the words to that song: 

 

Children, weep no more
Hope is on the horizon
Weary world behold
Your promised Messiah
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes Heaven
Sinner, wait no more
Love has broken the silence
Come let us adore
The Savior is with us
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes Heaven
Here comes Heaven
Now, behold His glory
Glory in the highest
All the earth rejoice for Christ is born
Now, behold His glory
Glory in the highest
All the earth rejoice for Christ is born
Over all who mourn
Breaks the dawn of salvation
Darkness reigns no more
For Jesus is greater
He is greater
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes heaven
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
All creation worship Him
Here comes Heaven
Here comes Heaven
Elevation Worship
When the song was over, I wanted so desperately to get up and exhort that congregation to really listen to the words of the song, to stop crying about the troubles of this world, which are only fleeting and to realize that Heaven dwells among us, that God sent Heaven to earth. He sent His Savior to us to redeem us. We are heaven on earth, if we trust in Jesus, because God inhabits his people. Jesus told us in the book of John that we would do greater things, meaning we would reach more people, but many look at that and expect to outdo God. Let me tell you, we will never outdo God, but we have the ability to reach more with our technology today and the advances we have made in communication. We can advance the Kingdom of God to more people more quickly than they could in Jesus time. As I thought on these things, and the millions hurting needlessly, I turned to my daughter, with tears streaming down my face and asked her the name of the song, but she didn’t know, which is unusual for her. After the service, I cornered one of the worship team members and complimented them on their praise portion of the service and asked him about the song. He said it comes from a church in North Carolina, called ‘Elevation.’ My husband and I looked at each other and smiled, we are from North Carolina and know this church about an hour and a half away. We told this young man why we were grinning. What a small world, but isn’t that what God wants? To take our vast world and bring it into ONE. To take a song and unify us, to bring Heaven to Earth so that we aren’t waiting for it? To bring us into Unity. To give us all that we could ask or hope. No, children of God, don’t wait for that pie in the sky, sometime, somewhere, somehow… Know and Believe that heaven is on earth and he dwells among his people! Give praise to God for he sent Heaven to earth and he Never took it away. Heaven still lives in us if we grasp the Truth. Jesus is that Truth.
Follow these scriptures for more on Heaven: Matthew 3:16-17, John 1:49-51, John 6:32-33, Ephesians 2:6-7, 19-22
Posted by: Kimberly | Sat Aug 10, 2019

The Light of Godliness

How much do we truly identify with our new nature as Christians vs the natural conditions we face on this Earth? Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations. There’s no getting around them, but do we identify with them more than we identify with who we are in Christ? Do we allow them to be our excuse or our cop-out for bad behavior when we should use restraint or allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into better behavior?

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 5:47-48 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Downstream

Jesus is our best example of how to treat others, think of him when he was being beaten and scourged, he didn’t lash out. Not that we should take illness as our lot, we shouldn’t, because he paid the price for us, but while we are enduring, we should remain humble. He is our refuge and healer.

I know Christians who face serious illnesses with Grace and mercy. If you were to meet them for the first time, you would never know how ill they are. I’ve even known friends who were dying of cancer and never uttered a word to others about their condition, except when they were in horrific pain. Otherwise, they kept a cheerful attitude facing the world with dignity and never complained. Then I’ve known others who cry over the smallest paper cut as if they needed great attention and care, leading others to think they were the ones dying with their dramatization. And some who scream or are short fused with their family when they feel the slightest twinges of problems, or scream at them when they did nothing wrong. Who in these instances are allowing the light of godliness to shine through?

2 Peter 1:5-9 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’m not saying we should hide our feelings, but we shouldn’t use our conditions for ill behavior. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or driving home in traffic, do you take it out on your family when you get home? That isn’t godliness. It’s allowing your circumstances to control your outlook and ruin other people’s days, when they weren’t the cause of your situation. If you feel ill, should you snap at those around you? Should you bark orders and expect others to wait on you hand and foot? No, and they shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. They may feel sorry for your condition, but it isn’t their fault that you have the medical or emotional condition you have. I’ve known families that cater to one person with an illness because they play a guilt trip on others for their lot in life, making everyone in the family wait on them hand and foot. By the same token, I’ve known family members who ignore family members who seem to have one illness or problem after another. Neither attitude is right. There should be a balance; a give and take. The one who seems to keep having medical issues certainly never asked for them and needs understanding and compassion. They need acknowledgement from their family, not a ‘sweep it under the rug’ as if it doesn’t exist. Certainly, we have a hope that any illness or calamity will be healed by the blood of Jesus, but in the meantime, show them you care without making their condition a reason for them to act out. Obviously, some conditions may limit them from physical abilities they’ve had before, but it shouldn’t limit the one suffering the ability to show kindness, mercy, and grace. In fact, if anything, it should do the opposite and make them more compassionate and tenderhearted towards others. Sadly, that isn’t always the case and many lash out in anger.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

When I see this in Christian brothers and sisters I want to say, “Get over yourself! Who is your source?! What are you drawing on? What makes you entitled to special favors and treating others poorly?!” I’m not saying I’ve never been grouchy when I feel ill, I have and normally I catch it and apologize quickly to anyone I’ve said any harsh words to, but I don’t live there. I’m talking about people who live in that state and wear it like a badge. You are not defined by whatever “fill in the blank” condition you have, you are defined by God and who he created you to be! You are his righteousness and his holy ones, act like it and treat others how you want to be treated. You are not this disease, this condition, this illness, this whatever. You were created in the image of God…. Think about that… Created in the Image of God…

Ultimately, if we are Christians, we will grow and have the fruit of the Spirit, which does not burden others or put upon them or put forth angry words or speak harshly. What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

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