Archives for category: Christian Views

One of the Ten Commandments the Lord gave in the Old Testament is “Honor your father and your mother . . .”. By honoring your parents not only will you have a long life and a good life, it will be a much more peaceful one. But what if your parent is not “honorable”? Honorable by definition is: worthy of being honored, honest, upright, or bringing honor. Honor’s definition brings respect, good reputation, integrity, adherence to principles considered right, integrity. First problem is to separate the parent as a person and not as the action. Maybe what the parent is doing is not honorable and deep down they are honorable. All parents have imperfections. Also, remember even if one is not a parent, one is a person. How each of us react to others, especially parents, says more about us than the other person.
As with all relationships, time and understanding communication develops good bonds. Spending time with another or even time reviewing situations that reveal whether or not a parent is honorable is the best evaluation of character. One must place themselves where they see outside of the problem. By doing this, one realizes the situation revealed the parent or person is not so much the problem as the event “made” the person choose the un-honorable path. We each have our own weaknesses; thus because ours is not the same as our parent or the other person, we can’t determine who is honorable and who isn’t. We each can only determine whether or not we act “honorably” by acting in a compassionate, understanding manner and not vengeful (by telling lies about the one who wronged us, doing physical or any type of harm) retaliation for any dishonorable act the parent is perpetrating on the child. This is the “peace of the Lord” displayed in the Gospels where Christ was under fire of false accusations about who He was and was not. Therefore, Christians must act as their name-sake “Christ-like” and do the honorable thing and most times that is as He did: do nothing against His accusers, even if we have the power to return “nasty” comments. Only take it to the Lord and “cast your cares at His feet”.
Matthew 16:57-62
PS When one is in this situation, it is best to spend LOTS of time with the Lord, either reading Bible or some sort of meditating with the Lord. Getting and keeping out of the picture until one is “centered” and at peace with view of how the Lord sees every angle of the situation.

One of the hardest things to do is to pray for a burden to be removed and know that the Lord chooses not to do so. Paul requested the “thorn in his side” be removed many times and the Lord chose to let it remain. Why would a loving God do that? While many have speculated what the thorn in Paul’s side might be, one should focus their analysis on the purpose of allowing the trial or burden of the thorn in his side. One of the many verses in the New Testament about one’s trials having a good purpose is in James 1:2-5. One is to be joyous because the testing is for spiritual growth of some kind. Out of the trial’s growth comes faith and endurance, producing perfect and complete wisdom of the Lord.
As one is going through the trial, the fog of the situation clouds one’s vision. Where the person blindly goes and how depends on where one’s spirit is with the Lord. The closer one stands and listens to the Lord through meditating prayer and reading of His Word, the better the situation goes. And out of the situation comes the kind of wisdom only the trial can reveal to each of us. This is the reason for the “thorn in the side” trial each of us experience. Not because someone “bigger” than us wants to punish for some seen or unseen sin one might have committed. This does not mean one’s sin goes unpunished, it means not all bad situations or trials are because of sinning. Many times trials produce the best spiritual growth.
When one reviews the trials of a life, it most often will reveal the best times of spiritual learning and the Lord’s wisdom come out of the times of greatest struggle. So like the double edged sword, the bad news is there will be cutting away and pain. The good news is like the pruned grapevine, the end product of this is delicious wisdom from spiritual growth.

Recommended reading is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, and the Bible, of course.

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;” Psalm 55: 12-13

It is hard to remember all the qualities of Christ when one is in the situation of being falsely attacked by a family member or close friend. Most of us do not react in a Christian manner. This is not surprising because these situations usually blind-side us, and they escalate into flaming battles fast. The answer to one’s turmoil is in the remaining of the psalm.

First of all, the Christian must turn to the Lord and “call” upon Him “And He will save me.” vs 16. Trusting that the Lord has “allowed” the situation to occur for purposes of His own. This is hard for one to understand because as a parent (as the Lord is to His own), the pain of a child is almost unbearable. So a Christian’s pain of the events becomes an unbelievable trial that for some reason is happening. This is the trial of getting through the pain and how to mend the harm. Understanding the reasons why the Lord allowed the situation is not always revealed, especially at the time.

Verse 17 continues to show that sometimes it takes all day prayer: “Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice.” Notice the words complain and murmur. At times in the Old Testament, those who complained and murmured were “eliminated”. As a Christian, one has the privilege of being able to bring a complaint to the Lord and He will “hear my voice.” The complaint is to be a “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous (Christian) to be shaken.” vs 22.

If a Christian truly does the casting upon the Lord eventually the best thing comes into one’s life. Patience and trust in the Lord will bring the correct closure of the situation. Verse 23: “But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.” Even if one never sees the downfall of the accuser. Trust in Him.

Just as being disciplined for sinning, being pruned so one can produce more fruit doesn’t sound like something to be desired.  As always the process is not the most pleasant path to get the results wanted, but usually the only way to get it is through the process.  “If necessary, He will risk your misunderstanding of His methods and motives, His purpose is for you to cut away immature commitments and lesser priorities to make room for even greater abundance for His glory.”  from Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson.  Much of the problem for us is that in order to grow in this glory one must go against our natural tendency.  The pruning is how we live the life that pleases the Lord and carries our impact for eternity.

Why is it so hard to get where we need to be in our spirit?  Even though the pain we suffer may be confusing, misinterpreted, and deemed unfair by us; in the Lord’s view He wants our ultimate good.  This is true both when we are off-track and sinning and when we are on-track and need to grow spiritually.  The biggest deciphering problem is distinguishing God’s purpose in the process.  Bruce Wilkinson’s premise in the Second Secret of the Vine is the pruning of a person is easy to confuse as the disciplining for a sin consciously or unconsciously being committed.  A human’s viewpoint when something goes wrong or something is removed from one’s life (loved one, possessions, desires unmet, etc.), it has to be because of sin and therefore, the Lord is disciplining the sinner.  This is not always the case.  Thus the distinguishing factor is: what is being “corrected or modified”?  As if it is disciplining, it is about sin; and if pruning, it is about self.  Both are to make room in our lives for greater good.  If pruning is misunderstood, over time anger about the process can lead to bitterness and mistrust toward the Lord and take us from pruning to disciplining for our sin of attitude about the process.  So how to tell when and what is going on in our life becomes a challenge.

According to the Second Secret in Bruce Wilkinson’s book “Secret of the Vine”, there are six steps to follow:  1. Recognize the Lord is trying to show you something and ask Him to guide you during this time of trial.  2. As any good parent would do, He will instruct you by revealing whether the experience is for “disciplining” or for “pruning”.  3. Ask of Him if it is a sin you are committing and He will “tell” you.  4. Request He show you in a short time period, such as a day or a week, the sin otherwise you will assume it is for pruning.  Many times He will “tell” you by a friend, reading the Bible, or a preacher’s sermon.  5. If it is a sin, repent and backtrack to the correct path.  Depending on the sin will determine the backtracking; ie: disobeying a commandment would be to backtrack to obeying the guidelines the Lord gave believers.  6. If it is “pruning” means the Lord is asking you to let go of something or at least trust Him enough to completely release it to Him.  The rewards are the abundance of fruit.

“If your relationship with your Father is injured, I encourage you to apologize today for your attitudes and thoughts.” (Secret of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson)  Ask Him to forgive you for misunderstanding and misjudging His character.

Example situation: a spouse of a loved family member is verbally abusive to everyone around them, they are 80 years old and have always had tyrant behavior; when confronted, they deny any wrong and lie about behavior.  What should be done?

Issue: How do you know it’s happening?    Disciplining: pain    Pruning: pain

Situation’s answer:  emotional pain

Issue: Why is it happening?         Discipline: you’re doing something wrong    Pruning: you’re doing something right.     Situation’s answer: not sure yet, trying to do the right thing.

Issue: What is the level of fruitfulness?     Discipline: none    Pruning: some fruit     Situation’s answer:  is getting something rectified fruit?

Issue:  What is the Vinedresser’s desire?      Discipline: fruit    Pruning: more fruit      Situation’s answer: (What is the fruit suppose to look like?)

Issue:  What needs to go?      Disciplining: sin             Pruning: self     Situation’s answer: (are we talking about me or the tyrant??)

Issue:  How should you feel?        Disciplining:  guilty, sad         Pruning:  relief, trust    Situation’s answer: guilty only because I feel I’m being sneaky by helping the injured party get their property.  So should I be trusting the Lord will open a door?

Issue:  What is the right response?     Disciplining: Repentance–stop sinning    Pruning: Release –give your permission     Situation’s answer:  Letting go and letting God handle how to do this.

Issue: When does it stop?         Disciplining: When we stop sinning.      Pruning: When God is finished.      Situation’s answer:  removal of property without getting killed over it.

There will be a follow-up answer on this.

The comment one Christian said “I try to do things for others without keeping track of the deeds and expecting the same value in return.”  This is one quality that makes others admire a Christian rather than someone who gives expecting admiration, gratitude or some recognition/reward from the recipent and/or high praises from other humans.  Most Christians have a hard time with how best to witness to others.  The best way is to do as Jesus did. (I John 2:6)

One area that easily comes off wrong is confronting sinful behavior.  Many ask when and how to tell someone their actions are wrong.  There is a big difference between someone “sinning” who is a professing Christian and someone committing the same activity and does not have any interest in Christianity’s “upright” living.  Each of these falls into two separate handling methods.

If the person “breaking rules of the Lord” is a professing Christian, it is the duty of other believers to call it on them. (1)  Christ’s name is being “drug through the mud” when a person who claims he/she is a believer in Christ and acts against the guidelines the Lord set down.  That is where “witnessing” is really tricky.  When one proclaims they are a believer, those who have knowledge of what kind of person a believer is suppose to be have every right to scrutinize the lifestyle of the other believer.  So for those who proclaim this by slapping bumper stickers like: ” The Lord is my co-pilot” = be sure you drive as though He really is your co-pilot.  Do you really think He would flip-off and curse the driver next to you?  Maybe you don’t go that far; however, would we really do some of the things we do if we were in His presence?  Putting the offending activity (sinning) and the confrontation of the sinning believer in the view of what would Christ do needs to be implemented.  First of all, there ARE certain activities and words that Christians should not partake.  The Lord has told us so throughout the Gospels.  So the question “What would Jesus do?” becomes “If Christ was with me, would I still do it?”  This really applies to everything —- including trying to “split-hairs” on what constitutes okay-sex, ie: Adultery is okay if you aren’t married because the definition of adultery is “sexual intercourse between a married person and another who is not that person’s spouse.”  Alright. . . one who “splits-hairs” about that clearly understands the married person part of the definition;  but what about “not that person’s spouse”.  That by definition includes a single person (sodomy which also one assumes does not involve the spouse but not always is another issue) .  If that doesn’t cover the problem for single Christians asking or thinking sex before marriage isn’t okay — what about fornication (n. sexual intercourse between unmarried persons)?  Hence the rule of thumb for all activities involving a believer should be —- if Christ was standing next to me seeing what I am doing, would I do it?  Because truthfully— He is watching you.  Think about that, you believers in Christ.  He IS watching every . . . little . . . thing.

The confrontation of a Christian who is sinning is in the New Testement also.  Many Christians feel they have the license to uncaringly be blunt when pointing out fellow believer’s sins.  It is mind-boogling how some Christian counselors practice psychology on those struggling or in denial of their sin.  The question for these counselors is: “Where in the Bible did Jesus demonstrate handling sinners in your manner?”  When this poor lost soul comes to you for counciling,  what gives you the right to totally ignore the present problem and focus on what you deem as the biggest problem they need to address and that is ALL you are going to discuss with them?  Jesus almost always started the encounter with a form of “What can I do for you?” question.  He always addressed the “sinners” present problem before telling about not sinning.  IE: the story of the adulterous woman (John 8:1-11 with the key verse of 10-11.  “Woman, where are (those who accused you)?  Did no one condemn you?” ) also the woman at the well who had five “husbands” and committing adultery (Note: was not spouse to any of them = married man + single woman)  Christ told her about a “living water” way of living. (2)  Counselors should note that He conversed in a manner or “witnessed” to these women in a way that both wanted not to sin any more.   This is the quality about the Lord and His believers that makes others want to be the same;  not the judging way that too many Christians express in their lives and words.

Thus the attitude in the opening statement — “without keeping track of the deeds.”   Although the statement was dealing with giving of things to others who appreciate or need objects,  it is the same quality of giving that is a  “witness”  to non-believers.  Thus when handling the sinner who is not a believer, a Christian is to “witness” by example and should always remember the definition of a Christian = 3. having the qualities taught by Jesus Christ, as love, kindness, humility, etc.  Webster’s.  It helps a Christian to be this kind of example if they are filled with the Holy Spirit and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, :23 gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law.”)  The Book of Galatians ends with 5:25 ” If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1. I Corinthians 5:11(-13), James 5:19-20,etc. Read Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible: Answers to Life’s Questions— ” How can I confront a believer who has fallen spiritually?”

2. I John 8:1-11; John 4:5-30 Key verses= 14-18.

The story of Jonah and the Whale keeps popping into mind.  Jonah as we all know was told by the Lord to go to Nineveh because “their wickedness has come up before Me.”  Instead, Jonah goes in the opposite direction to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  He ran from the Lord so he couldn’t “hear” what he was directed to do.  Of course, this gets Jonah in a lot of “hot water”; well, a lot of water anyway.  The story leads to Jonah’s three day and night stay in the belly of the whale or “great fish”.  Thus the Christ reference each book in the Bible has in it.  For the complete story read the Book of Jonah in the Bible, it is located in the prophets near the end of the Old Testament.  Jonah knew the Lord was a forgiving God: Jonah 3:(9)10 “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them (Nineveh).  And He did not do it.”  When God didn’t destroy them, Jonah was displeased and angry:  4:26 “for I know that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”  After demonstrating to Jonah through a plant shading him, He responds to Jonah’s reasoning: “Should I not have compassion on Ninevah, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference betweeen their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

Has God ever told you to forgive someone or told you to pray for someone to repent their ways and you don’t want to do that?  After all that person has done some real sinning; and they deserve to be punished for their actions and words.  He keeps reminding you that we are all brothers and sisters.  His greatest commandment involves not only completely loving the Lord, our God; but to love each other as we love ourselves , possibly more so.  In order to love someone we have to care about them, their welfare, their hopes and dreams, their struggles.  We each have burdens and lessons to learn.  After we learn a lesson the Lord could put someone in your life to reinforce the lesson or teach to others.  What jeopardy do we place our soul in when we refuse to do as He asks of us?  Most know He is a loving and tolerant God and we are forgiven of much.  Shouldn’t those who have been “given” much forgiveness, give others forgiveness?  The lesson may be not just to show others love that covers all transgressions on us but to share the Lord’s love in forgiving.  This is not easy.  When someone misbehaves and acts selfishly it is hard to ask the Lord to show how to act in a loving manner towards that person.  And to ask the Lord to show them repentance so He will forgive them?  It is as though we ask the Lord to bless our enemies!  That’s not fair.  One must realize when we ask God to forgive, that in some way, He blesses us when we do as He tell us.  One most likely could gain a lot more than expected by yielding to Him.

In the story of Adam and Eve is the question of whether any of us would have passed the test of obedience and not eat of the tree forbidden by God.  When one considers the test is about obeying God, do we obey God in today’s world?  The consequence of Adam and Eve’s choice was separation from God by being removed from the Garden of Eden.  Man focuses on being removed from the perfect place on earth, perhaps the focus should be on being separated from God.  If it is about the separation, then how many of us are just as disobedient as Adam and Eve were in the garden?  We are all born with a purpose and the yearning to find that purpose.  In our quest to find this, we search in many different directions; most are fruitless and leave us empty.  Stephen Leston in his book, “The Bible in World History” states:

“As we look at the world, it becomes clear that people have sought meaning and purpose through war, materialism, power, prestige, and dominance over others; yet none of these things ultimately satisfies.  Therefore, the quest continues without any resolution.  Mankind has also created all kinds of religions and religious experiences.  It is only by looking at the world through the lens of the fall that we can understand why these quests exist and are doomed to fail — and where to look for a solution that will actually work.”

The real sin of Adam and Eve was the sin of submission — they didn’t want to live within God’s established boundaries.  This marks man’s quest for the divine outside of the one true God.  And this is still the quest in today’s world.  Many of us make the sin of submission choice thus throwing ourselves into God’s second or third option for our lives.  This can make one feel thrown out of the “garden of Eden”.  * There are certain life experiences and/or lessions each of us “agreed” to have while on earth for our spiritual growth.  If we don’t learn it one way, there always is another option usually with tougher requirements.

* This statement is formed from many years of life and reading all kinds of books written by many different philosophical thinkers, and a life time of studying people and concepts of various Bible and other religion’s scholars.   There might be a need to share some of these sources and how they blend into a personal belief today.  Will try to write a blog about this.  And it will be more practical when the personal library is back in order!

We are not on this earth for our pleasure.  Think of this time as testing our endurance and worthiness.  Our mission is to reflect the Lord and His creation.  When times are hard, lean on His strength, because He knows it is not easy to put up with our trials.  He knows the burdens in our lives are heavy.  He knows there is someone who is crushing your last nerve by standing on it with heavy boots on their feet.  The times we need to read and study His Word are the times we don’t have the time and we don’t want to find the time.  It’s not exactly because we want the pain of our troubles, afterall who enjoys suffering?  But sometimes the hope that anyone cares much less the Lord is impossible to experience.  Hope comes when we spend the time developing a relationship with Him.  As it is in any relationship, we have to spend time getting to know Him.  When each of us does this, we develop a friendship with someone who does have our best interest in mind.  We must remember this: the most valuable items on this world are purified and formed under intense pressure or other form of energy.  Just as gold and other precious metals under go extreme heat to draw out impurities, our being grows spiritually by turning to the Lord in extreme pain.  Just when we want to blame the Lord for all our suffering, it is when we should ask what He wants us to learn and how can we grow closer to Him through it?  This goes against every thing in us.  Who wants to learn anything through their pain— just remove the source of the pain, Lord!  Anyone who believes in the Lord can ask of Him.

Matthew 21:22 All things you ask in prayer, believing you will receive.

From “Jesus Calling” August 18 “The main problem with an easy life is that it masks your need for Me.”

From “One Year With the King” August 17  “His mercies undo the trouble we got ourselves into.”

I will try my best, Lord.  Then You’ll have to do the rest.

When I was a child, someone told me rain was God crying over us.  Last night’s rain was needed by the land, so was the Lord crying over us or was He blessing us with the rain?  Perhaps it was both.  Being blessed is like having the rain refresh the land.  When rain falls in a drought, it almost never is enough.  The same is true when one feels their life is in a drought span.  No matter how short the time one feels lack, it is too long for comfort.  It’s hard to see beyond our present problem(s) and they always seem more than we can handle.  More than one has asked “Why me?”  Many times we feel burdens beyond our ability to carry them.  Of course, the thing to do would be lay them down before the Lord, but doesn’t He want us to haul them somewhere?  There is a  saying “The Lord has more confidience in my ability to suffer the heavy burdens He has given me than my confidience in handling them.”  Well, maybe that’s the point: our interpretation of handling the problems of life is to get in there and struggle with their answers.  What if we turn to Him and ask Him what to do about them?  Let Him handle them.   Sounds like a cop-out but the woes of our lives would be solved differently.  Just think of this: if our purpose in being here is to learn to get along with each other in relationships, to learn to walk closely to the Lord, to grow our spirit to be more like the Lord, then why wouldn’t our trials and problems exist to teach us this?

From “The Shack” : conversation between Jesus and Mack (page 183)

” I have been told so many lies,” (Mack)  Jesus looked at him and hugged him.  “I know, Mack, so have I.  I just didn’t believe them.”

This can be applied to just about anything: to Christianity, to personal character, to relationships, to situations, to perceptions, to others, and especially to Christ himself.   Ever hear gossip about yourself so untrue it hurt?  How does one react to lies?  How can one be like Christ and just not believe them (lies)?  Christ didn’t believe them because He knew who He was, and more importantly He knew who He was to God, the father.  Time spent with the Lord not only teaches but strengthens feelings and bonds us to the Lord where each of us knows who we are and who were not.  When one has this knowledge one does not believe everything we hear about us or Christ.  Each relationship is different but the core is the same.  When you know who you really are you know lies are just that, lies.  Who believes them about us is not important, because the important people know the truth about you and understand.  Like a child who does the wrong thing, the loving parent still cares about the child, and counsels to do better.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that no matter how bad the lie, there is a powerful ally beside you.  He comforts, accepts, strengthens, sticks with us through it all.   The Bible proves that He does what “Footprints in the Sand” poem states.