Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Good and the Bad

The Good & The Bad

 Ecclesiastes 7:14(NIV)
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
When I was a kid, the show Facts of Life came on TV and the theme song says "you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life..." and the words of that song are true, it is a fact of life that you are going to have good days and bad days, good things and bad things happen to you, and you are going to deal with good people and bad people.

Even as a Pastor and a long-time Christian(though I've certain failed at it many times), I still sometimes struggle with the concept of what seems to be "good things happening to bad people and bad things happening to good people."  I'm admitting my weakness in this area and being honest about my struggle. While I know I am certainly a sinner and I mess up, struggle, and sin every day I also feel I try to be good, but the only one who is GOOD is GOD! We are only saved and good through Jesus Christ!

However, my human weak flesh still gets frustrated when I seem to be getting attacked by bad things or see other good people having bad things happen to them and then I see good things happening to bad people or seems that bad people are getting away with bad things and good people are the ones who are suffering.

The key word God reminded me of is "seems", you see, things aren't always as they seem, because we are looking through the eyes of pain, lack of perspective, or not seeing the bigger picture and plan that only God can see.  I think what I've been lacking and what others are lacking is truth Faith.  True faith is trusting enough in God that even though it seems bad or it seems someone is getting away with something, or bad things are happening to you and it seems good things are happening to those who are bad that He will protect us, empower us, and answer our prayers and something even better will come of it.

Secondly, we also have to trust God through faith that He will deal with the bad people or things going on, that's His job not ours.  We need to be reminded of scripture that God is the one who deals with vengeance and our job is to allow and trust Him to do it on our behalf.

Thirdly,  I think satan and evil attack our lives when God is trying to use us or satan feels threatened because we are growing in our faith or God is using us or preparing us for something great, and satan is a sore loser and master of lies and hate and wants us to lose faith and trust and hope in God. We must stand our ground, not giving satan a foothold, but also remaining faithful to God and trusting in His will, His timing, and His plan.

Fourthly, we need to focus on God and His love and protection and not our problems, struggles, events, or situations, and that is very very difficult to do. It's hard to not notice the storm you are in when they is wind, lightening, thunder, waves, and dark skies all around, but we have to look past all that to the one who can and will rescue us and even better grow our faith and make us stronger.

I have not arrived, I have been through many storms and things recently and it has really caused me to question my faith and question God with my doubts and fears, but I have to remain faithful to prayer, faithful to His Holy Spirit at work in me, faithful to the promises of His Word, and faithful to Him and trust Him to get me through whatever is going on in my life and I pray you and me can all work toward being that faithful in the good or in the bad. It's easy to praise God or be faithful when times and things are good, but if things were always good, we'd soon forget to thank and praise God, and also it is in the times are darkness, doubt, fear, anxiety, and pain that we truly learn what we're made of faith wise, and we grow, learn, and become stronger, wiser, and better in our faith and trust in God if we allow ourselves. 

Job 36:15 (NIV_
But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Seek Truth

Seek Truth

Jesus gave some pretty challenging words in defense of Himself in John chapter 7:
John 7:18( NIV)
Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
While Jesus was trying to defend himself as being the Messiah and son and His teachings coming from God, He makes a valid point for all of us who claim Christianity, do you seek your OWN glory or the GLORY for GOD?  The difference is if it's for your own ego, insecurity, or pride then it's false and if it's for the glory of God, then your desire is Truth!
We live in a world today where many want to water-down truth, only want truth that is convenient for them or fits in their life, or the way they were raised, or brought up, or brainwashed or whatever. Truth is, it doesn't matter what you or I think, the way we were raised, or what church group we were brought up in, at least it shouldn't.  The truth is Jesus Christ.  The truth is the WORD of God, the Bible and Jesus is the Word and the Truth.
Our basis for living in a faithful Christian relationship with Jesus should be to seek truth, follow it, live it, and share it. Not our own agenda, not our version of truth, and not to tell people what they want to hear.  Truth needs no defense.  God's Word doesn't need defending.  You either accept it as the inspired Word of God and truth or you reject it and we reject it when we try to pick and choose what parts to live and practice or what parts to ignore or twist.
Too many people try to take God's Word out of context and fit it into their already predetermined beliefs, denominations, or teachings instead of reading God's Word objectively, led by guidance of the Holy Spirit, and being willing to learn and be uncomfortable at times.  The only way God can teach us the truth of His Word, is if we are teachable, willing, and open to His leading.  It is hard to learn, grow, or mature in the Truth of God's Word when we have already established our own agendas, belief systems, sacred cows,  doctrines, or influences from denominations, authors, or other people.
Too many so called Christians including preachers spend way too much time wanting to debate, argue, ridicule, slander, slam, and belittle others because of  so called false teachings, doctrinal errors, certain types of beliefs or practices, what version of the bible they use, what type of church they go to, what kind of music they worship with, how they dress for church, their views on eternal security, baptism, speaking in tongues, end of times, etc....pick your hot topic.
I am not at all saying we as Christian shouldn't take a stand against certain teachings or doctrines, however, what I am saying is sometimes we can be "right" on a topic or subject, but "wrong" in attitude or how we treat others, and I know this is hard to accept for some who are arrogant or think highly of themselves and their stances, but you my friend have not cornered the market on salvation, do not have all the answers, and were not hand-picked by God to be His police to the world.
We are called by scripture to study to show ourselves approved and correctly handle the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15), Jesus also told the us if we followed His teachings we'd be his disciples and the truth would set us free(John 8:32).  (1 Timothy 4:16) Paul warns Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely and in doing so would save himself and those who heard Him.  Scripture also warns us about false teachings and teachers, and so we must guard ourselves against them, but our whole existence shouldn't be about proving others wrong or proving ourselves right, it should always be about sharing Jesus and the truth of His Word in Love. 
I know many times in my life I've met people who thought they were doing me a favor and God a favor by trying to rebuke or correct me, and I'm all for being taught and correcting, but when the one doing it is arrogant, mean, ugly, prideful, and misusing or misinterpreting God's Word to promote their church group, their denominational agenda, or personal ego then they do more harm than good.
I wonder how many people are kept away from God and His Salvation, not by false teaching, but by narrow-minded, legalistic, and arrogant people claiming to be Christians and representing God????  What I am trying to promote today is the each of us individually must read, study, and seek the truth of God's Word. We must rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and use discernment and wisdom in what church we attend, what teachers, preachers, and authors we are willing to follow, and above all our responsibility is to please God, honor God, Worship God, Glorify God, and do it in spirit and in truth.
I encourage you to always seek Truth.  Seek God's Truth in His word.  That is our one and only source for His Truth.  Not mine. Not man's.  God's.