False Teaching!

false-teachersRecently I did a little research on a few different churches in the Calgary and Cochrane region.  It’s not that I want to change churches (far be it!!…no worries, Pastor Dwight!), but there have been several people I know who are attending new churches and I am always interested in hearing about new church plants.

The first thing I do whenever I research a church is look at their website and read their doctrinal statement.  I look for sound, Bible-based doctrine that does not add or take away from the Word.  For example statements like:

THE SCRIPTURES

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

GOD

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

SALVATION

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God. B. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. C. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

LAST THINGS

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will he raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Excerpts taken from: http://www.cnbc.ca/articles/statement-of-faith  Full doctrinal statement on the CNBC website.

Our church website states that we are aligned with the CNBC (Canadian National Baptist Convention) so that statement of faith is OUR statement of faith.

I believe wholeheartedly with that statement of faith, so when I investigate other churches, inside and outside of our convention, I look for similar statements that align with what is taught in the Bible.

I was intrigued when I came across a non-denominational church website with a catchy “come on” line and a website that was modern-looking and definitely meant to draw in people who were looking for a fresh, new approach to “doing” church.  It definitely drew me in, but as is my custom, I immediately went in search of their doctrinal statement of faith.  To say I was shocked when I read this “belief” statement was an understatement.

We do not believe that God will eternally torment anyone in hell as this is not fundamentally taught in scripture but is a misinterpretation seen through eyes of fear and hate, anger and mankind’s desire for vengeance and violence. We believe that according to scripture such teaching of hell is outside the context of the historical teaching of the early church in the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Polycarp, Origeon, and Gregory of Nicee (father of the Nicene Cree). The teaching of infernalism or eternal conscience torment has its roots in paganism and Platonic philosophy of the immortality of the soul which lies in contrast to the Pauline teaching of the mortality of the soul.

In the end our position is to walk humbly in the teaching of final judgement. We hold to the belief that all mankind and/or created things will walk through the fire of Gods’ merciful, gracious presence and all works will be judged but in the end every knee will bow and swear allegiance to the Lamb of God, Jesus.

That is only ONE of many statements in this church’s overall ideology that contradicts with what is written plainly in Scripture.  In this particular statement this “church” has completely negated Revelation 20 and 21, and the many scripture passages that speak of hell.  Here are just a few:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  Revelation 21:8

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Matthew 25:46

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  2 Thessalonians 1: 5-10 

Paul is the writer of Thessalonians by the way.  Paul is quite clear that God will “punish with everlasting destruction” those who “do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”.  Paul may not have used the term “hell” in his writings but he was quite clear that there is an eternal separation from God, an “everlasting destruction” that is the consequence of sin and not accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Along with this “church’s” declaration that they do not believe in hell, the last statement that “all works will be judged but in the end every knee will bow and swear allegiance to the Lamb of God, Jesus.” is just as disturbing.  If I read this right it in essence says that we will be judged on our “good works”, but regardless every person will go to their eternal reward with Jesus.  This is false teaching!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ”  Ephesians 2:8-9

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  Romans 11:5-6

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  Titus 3:4-5

In conclusion, when I read statements of faith of churches that don’t line up with what it says in scripture, I can’t help but wonder what that “church” is teaching to people who are searching for Truth.

Will they feel welcomed?…possibly

Will they feel comfortable?…probably

Will they feel good about themselves?…definitely

Will they be saved?… unlikely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Long and Prosper

star-trek-original-seriesIt may surprise you to find out that I have been a “trekkie” for many, many years.  I have loved the original Star Trek T.V. series since it premiered on September 8, 1966.  My husband, knowing my affinity for the series, bought collector coins for my birthday this year that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the show.  I think I can recite by memory the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode with no “tribble at all”!  My kids patiently indulge my Star Trek guilty pleasure, but have not joined me to “boldly go where no one has gone before”.  If asked, they would probably say they can “take or leave” the new Star Trek movies with Chris Pine in the role of Captain James T. Kirk, mostly because the modern day movies showcase an extravaganza of special effects which capture their millennial interests but nothing more.

I will admit that I am more a fan of the original series, but I reluctantly warmed up to the Next Generation when it debuted in 1987.  I know of the other Star Trek spinoffs (Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise etc.) and have watched a few episodes from all of them, but they never seemed to capture my attention or my imagination as much as the original series did.  And just so you know, I don’t go to Trek conventions or dress up in Starfleet uniforms, nor do I have a collection of Star Trek memorabilia…just those three collector coins I got this year for my birthday.  I have a collection of Star Trek movie DVD’s but mostly I watch the syndicated reruns on T.V.  I may be a fan but I’m not a full-fledged fanatic.

That said, I am celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the series by binge-watching the original episodes and I may give the Vulcan hand-salute to “Live Long and Prosper” to my kids every once in a while just to tick them off.

Star Trek was the brain child of Gene Roddenberry, a man who grew up in a Southern Baptist home according to his biography but eventually grew to reject religion of any kind:

“I handed them a script and they turned it down. It was too controversial. It talked about concepts like, ‘Who is God?’ The Enterprise meets God in space; God is a life form, and I wanted to suggest that there may have been, at one time in the human beginning, an alien entity that early man believed was God, and kept those legends. But I also wanted to suggest that it might have been as much the Devil as it was God. After all, what kind of god would throw humans out of Paradise for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. One of the Vulcans on board, in a very logical way, says, ‘If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He’s got so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.”  Gene Roddenberry

It was because of his rejection of religion that many called him an atheist, but he disagreed with them: “It’s not true that I don’t believe in God. I believe in a kind of god. It’s just not other people’s god. I reject religion. I accept the notion of God.”  It is obvious to all of us of faith who watch the Star Trek series that he was a man who desperately wanted to find answers to the universal philosophical questions: Why am I here and how do I fit into God’s Story? and he created a science-fiction series to “boldly go” in quest of  that knowledge.  Roddenberry admitted that science would always fall short in that quest:

“Reality is incredibly larger, infinitely more exciting, than the flesh and blood vehicle we travel in here. If you read science fiction, the more you read it the more you realize that you and the universe are part of the same thing. Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it. And since you are part of the all that is, part of its purpose, there is more to you than just this brief speck of existence. You are just a visitor here in this time and this place, a traveler through it.”  Gene Roddenberry

In Roddenberry’s imaginative attempt to explore galaxies far, far away while creating the Star Trek enterprise (pun intended), several biographies indicate that while the franchise soared to new heights, he struggled personally with drug and alcohol addiction here on Earth.  He had affairs with women while married to his first wife, Eileen, including Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Uhura in the original series, and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel).  He had numerous health issues that were exacerbated by his drug abuse.  When he passed away following a stroke in September 1989, he was but a shell of a man, who had in his last years been confined to a wheelchair.  Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand in the original series shares in her book, “The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy” that while attending Roddenberry’s funeral,  she was surprised when two kilted pipers played “Amazing Grace” towards the end of the service.

“The theme of that famous hymn is God’s amazing grace to sinners… That hymn is my anthem.  It’s the story of this book, the story of my life.  People sometimes call me “Amazing Grace,” but I’m not amazing – I’m a lost, blind wretch, saved by the amazing grace of God.  The reason the piping of that song at Gene’s funeral seems so odd is that Gene hated that song.  When “Amazing Grace” was bagpiped during Spock’s funeral near the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Gene objected strenuously, and was overruled by Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer.  It really seemed out of place at Gene’s funeral – and I doubt he would have approved.”  Grace Lee Whitney

Unlike Roddenberry, Grace Lee Whitney understood what it meant to be saved by grace.  She had battled addictions, depression and the horror of a sexual assault to find peace only God can give.

“You can’t lead anyone out of the desert unless you’ve been to the desert yourself. You can’t lead anyone out of the gutter unless you’ve spent some time there… I think that’s why God saved me, and why he saves a certain remnant of alcoholics and addicts and doesn’t let them die in their addictions. A lot of his precious children are out wandering in the desert, they’re dying in the gutters, and it’s breaking his heart. So he let Grace Lee Whitney go to hell and back so that she could point the way out of the desert… Apart from God, Grace Lee Whitney is a miserable wretch who hasn’t enough sense to stay out of the gutter. And that’s okay. Because, as it turns out, that’s exactly the kind of person God was looking for. God uses the foolish to confound the wise. He uses miserable wretches like me to tell his good news to all the other miserable wretches—the news that there is hope, there is love, there is a way out of hell, there is a way home.”  Grace Lee Whitney

Grace passed away at the age of 85 in 2015, and as much as I love the series, I will never be able to watch the episodes that feature Janice Rand in them without remembering the powerful testimony of the actress who played her.  I will also not be able to watch the shows and movies without feeling profoundly sad that the creator of Star Trek, ended his life journey without ever discovering what Amazing Grace is all about…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Missing the First Day of School – Sort Of

I have been scrolling through FB this morning as my friends post their kid’s First Day of School pictures.  “Happy 1st Day of Grade One!” First Day of School Prayershows little ones with brand new runners and backpacks on, proudly holding up the colourful signs.  Excited kindergarteners meeting their teachers for the first time, and the more sombre pictures of teens who would rather not have their mother’s take the obligatory first-day pictures every year.  I smile at the toothy grins of the young ones, so excited for their school year to commence as well as the youth who may not have as wide a smile, but are nonetheless looking forward to connecting with their school buddies even if they’re not keen on the school year ahead.

I remember my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.  I snapped the First Day picture of her on our front porch and then watched with tears in my eyes as her tiny legs climbed up into that big school bus for the twenty-minute bus ride to school.  No sooner had the bus turned the corner from our house that I was blasting into the house to grab my purse and car keys so I could beat the bus to the school to snap the next picture of her stepping off the bus!  I followed her into the school with all the other parents who confessed they had done the exact same thing as I, and then waving good-bye to my baby, reluctantly leaving her to face her First Day of School without me.  I remember crying all the way home.

It was the same scenario every year more or less.  First Day of School pictures snapped as the kids waited for the bus and me crying all the way down the driveway when the big school bus picked them up.  Truth be told, it seemed harder and harder each year to see them go.  When we dropped our daughter off at the University of Lethbridge to live away from home for the first time, I wept all the two and a half hour drive home!

I have not snapped “First Day” pictures with my kids for several years and I miss it – sort of.  It’s nice to not have to worry about school supplies and all the stresses that go with First Days in school.  Now I look forward to seeing my grandchildren’s First Day pictures posted, one is starting Grade One this year and the other is starting preschool.  My daughter is homeschooling them both and so she is spared the angst of seeing them climb up on a bus and meeting a new teacher and wandering into an unfamiliar school classroom for the first time and yet she admits she is overwhelmed with emotion still.  She snaps the pictures of them on their First Day even though their “school” is in their basement and she cries like I did.  She is her mother’s daughter.

The last several years I have been on the other side of the desk, so to speak, welcoming new students into my classroom.  My kids threatened last year to take First Day pictures of me because I was the only one going back to school.  Not so this year.  I’m not teaching this year and it’s weird not having to prepare my days around a busy teaching schedule.

I slept in this morning, and it wasn’t until I saw all the pictures posted that I realized it was the First Day of school.  I have mixed emotions.

I scroll through the pictures and I can’t help but feel a little on the outside looking in.  I miss those First Days.  I am feeling a little melancholy – sort of.

My husband is calling to me…

While everyone else is in school today, my husband and I are going for a wonderful drive to the mountains.  It’s the first time we’ve been able to do that on The First Day of School in eons.  We’ve got some trips together planned during this school year.  I’ve got some writing projects in the works, there’s a new grandbaby coming in December…

I’m feeling a little less melancholy all of a sudden.🙂

 

 

 

 

Storing Up Treasures

Matthew 6 21I always thought that Matthew 6:19-21 was more a passage about greed and focusing on the attainment of wealth.  I suppose it does allude to that to some degree, but I was challenged recently to look at that particular passage from a different angle.  When asked what my “treasures” were, I did not think about the possessions I’ve accumulated through my life but the precious PEOPLE  I have invested my energy, time and all my love on: family, close friends, church friends, students and work colleagues.

I have said that Christians should always have an eternity focus and I believe wholeheartedly that heaven will be a gathering of all those people who have accepted the gift of salvation through Christ.  My single purpose in life, if I believe that, is to ensure that I am surrounded in heaven by those people I care the most deeply about first and then concentrate on drawing others to God as is our mandate in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).  My heartache as I grow older is knowing that there are loved ones who have rejected God and unless they repent and accept Christ into their hearts they will never join Him in the afterlife.  I know heaven is supposed to be free of pain, heartache etc. but I wonder if I wouldn’t experience an eternal grief if one of my most precious loved ones were to spend an eternity separated from God.

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left“.  Matthew 25:31-33

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life“.  Matthew 25:46

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation“.  John 5:27-28

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath“.  Romans 2:5-8

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord“.  Romans 6:23

So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth“.  Matthew 13:46-47

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire“.  Revelation 20: 12-15  (NKJV)

These are difficult passages of scripture to read, especially if I think about one of my most beloved being judged and then “cast into the lake of fire”.

So, I am devoting my energy to ensuring I am storing up my “treasures” in heaven.  I couldn’t imagine heaven without them!

 

Christian Against Christian

I’ve been called lots of things in my life but “unchristian”, “hateful” and “un-American” are new to me, especially since the one who threwis-your-church-divided-by-disunity those monikers at me was a Pastor’s wife!  She apparently did not take kindly to my posting on FB a couple of articles that presented her presidential candidate in a less than favourable light and was very quick to write a very long explanation why her candidate was worthy of her vote and the other one was not.

I have deleted the article postings because who am I to cause another to stumble?

I am “un-American”… I am Canadian, so she was totally right with that one comment, but to call me hateful and unchristian because we disagreed on opinion just goes to show how terribly divisive this Presidential Campaign has become for Christians here in North America.  And the enemy, (Satan) is having a hay day!!

What better way for the enemy to gain a foothold in the world but to pit Christian against Christian?  The more divided we are amongst ourselves, the less relevant our witness is to those who are unbelievers.  The more we bicker amongst ourselves, the less we have time to do what Christ called us to do: Share the Gospel!

Sitting in pews, in churches all across our two nations, Canada and the U.S.A., there are well-meaning Christians who have polarizing opinions on who should sit in the Oval Office in Washington, D.C.  Christian authors and Pastors who have spoken out in favour of one or the other candidate have instantly been ostracized by congregants and by the Christian community who may disagree with their presidential choice.  I have read comments online from Christians who threaten to “never read” or buy any more of Max Lucado’s books for example, just because he has a differing opinion from them as to who should be in the White House.  Unbelievable!

There are good folks who sit beside me in church who do not share the same opinions as I do about MANY societal issues.  I have a right to my opinion as they do to theirs.  It is not right for me to question whether or not they are more or less “Christian” than I am based on those opinions.  Unless their opinion or mine goes against direct Biblical teaching, we should continue to live in fellowship with one another and try to avoid any divisive words between us.

“But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:24-26 ESV

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”  1 Corinthians 1:10-13

This presidential election is making one thing abundantly clear: we are under a Spiritual attack from the enemy as never before in my lifetime, and the Church needs to recognize it and pray against the attack now!  One of the most effective strategies of Satan is to bring about division in the Body of Christ.  Jesus’ desire is for Church unity:

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  John 17: 15-23  

What is happening when we are name-calling one another, questioning our faith in Christ and refusing to forgive another brother or sister for differing opinions?  We are causing a line of division amongst believers, we are grieving the Holy Spirit, and a waiting, watching world is ultimately rejecting our message of peace and hope.

For shame, America, (and Canada) for shame!

 

 

 

How Many People Can I Offend Today?

Ok, here goes…

After the recent debacle of the Canadian quartet, Tenors at the MLB All Star Game, that saw a rogue, “lone wolf” member change the lyrics of our beloved National Anthem to make what he says is NOT a “political statement”, but the entire country would disagree with that….

…I am moved to post what will likely be my most controversial blog response ever.

The what-was-he-thinking-Tenor, not only offended all Canadians by changing the lyrics of our National Anthem, he also offended an entire “Black Lives Matter” movement in the U.S. that has grown in recent weeks after police officers were filmed manhandling and then shooting black men they were trying to subdue.  I am not here to comment on the actions of police officers in these shootings.  The subsequent gunning down of five upstanding, white officers in Dallas, assassinated for all intents and purposes, as retribution for the two shootings by police days before, is an act of terrorism – plain and simple.

The fact is ALL LIVES MATTER whether they are unborn, born, red, yellow, black or white, male or female.  We’re all precious in God’s sight, but desecrating our Canadian National Anthem to state the obvious is not the way to get the point across.

The heartache lies in the fact that we, as people, made in the image of God, do not see each other as God sees us: His greatest masterpiece of Creation!  We define our worth by how others see us.  We demand respect and admiration for things deserved and undeserved.  We want equality at the expense of others.  We label those with differing views as bigoted or intolerant.  We only see the colour of a man’s skin, the accent in a man’s dialect, and the difference in a man’s culture that will either draw us towards that man or away from that man.  (And I’ve already offended many here by not being “gender neutral” in that statement.)

Our “O’Canada” anthem has taken quite a beating over the past few months with the lyrics being changed from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command” (a grammatically disastrous change I might add).  Our anthem changed by well-meaning, but perhaps a little misguided members of parliament so that the words would no longer be offensive to women, but also to those who do not acknowledge a gender.  It shows just how ridiculous our political correctness has taken us.

Being politically correct does not necessarily make you CORRECT!  In fact, political correctness is an outright contradiction to the teachings in scripture.  Have I offended anyone yet?

Yes, all lives matter, but to me God matters more!

As Christians we are not children of this world, but Children of God.  We are to live by His rules, follow His teachings and conform to His standards, not the world’s.  “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  Ephesians 4:1-6

As Christians we are called to cast off our former way of life, which was focused entirely on self, and embrace a life that is centred on God.  “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:17-24

As Christians we are to speak the Truth in love, remembering that we are saved by Grace, a grace that must also be extended to all.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:29-32

Lastly, as Christians we are not to “grieve the Holy Spirit”.  It is more important for us to live according to the Bible than to compromise our beliefs by being politically correct.

We are united with Christ and must acknowledge His Kingship in our lives.  We are to model our lives after Him!  “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.   And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:1-11

Live in such a way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Encouraging Scripture Verses that Prove God IS IN CONTROL

I have been appalled by the violence that has rocked the country this past week.  Then there has been news of building tensions in the Faith is seeing...Middle East and along the Russian border.  Canadian servicemen being assembled on the frontlines.  An Amber Alert for a missing child, the drowning of another child in a swimming pool, road rage, murders and a devastating flood and typhoon overseas.  It is heart wrenching and makes me heart-weary watching the news.  Still, in the midst of all this turmoil, I KNOW God is in control.  It is sometimes hard to fathom the height and depth and width of God’s Love when surrounded by such an out-of-control world, but HE IS SOVEREIGN!  How do I know?  These scriptures assure me:

Psalm 115  “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.  Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?”  Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.  But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.  They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.  They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.  They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats.  Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

All you Israelites, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.  House of Aaron, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.  You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.  The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike.

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children.  May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind.  It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.  Praise the Lord.”

Genesis 50:20  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

2 Chronicles 20:5,6,9  “Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you…‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Psalm 94:19  “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:25-34  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

1 Peter 5:6-7  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Isaiah 35:4  “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Psalm 99:1-3  “The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.  Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations.  Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy.”

Luke 12:22-26  “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Psalm 27:1-5, 13,14  “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?  When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord  all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 55:4-8, 16-18, 22   “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.  He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.  Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Psalm 118:6-7  “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?   The Lord is with me; he is my helper.  I look in triumph on my enemies.”

Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Psalm 91:1-16  “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.   A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

1 Chronicles 29:11  “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

Proverbs 19:21  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Isaiah 45:5-7, 22-24  “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.  I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other.  I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.  “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.  They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”

Proverbs 16:4-9  “The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster.  The Lord detests all the proud of heart.  Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.  Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.  When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.  Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Hebrews 2:5-13  ““What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?  You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.  But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.  Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.  He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”  And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

2 Timothy 1:7 -12  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.   And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.  That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.