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Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Christianese 101

What is Christianese?

Simple words like sin, salvation, fellowship, and gospel could be considered Christianese, if the person you’re talking to isn’t familiar with them. A proper definition would be ‘the terms, catchphrases and theological jargon used by some Christians, commonly from Christian theology and influenced by popular translations of the Bible.’ Christianese (which is in itself Christianese) is something that we’re often told to avoid in conversations. We come upon articles like “The Dangers of Christianese,” that encourage us to cease, but should we?

As far as moderate Christianese is concerned, I would disagree that we should stop, as long as our words are applicable to the conversations in which we’re engaged. I am a Christian and I speak the Christian language in an appropriate manner when it is appropriate.  What typically happens next is a conversation develops. If I use a word that a person does not understand, they generally say something like, What does that mean?” and you know what I do? I tell them what it means and the conversation goes deeper. It’s probably what occurs in your conversations too. Oh, and guess what I do if they use a word I don’t understand? That’s right! I ask them what they mean. As a result we’re not only having a conversation, but we’re learning stuff about each other!

Christianese and Discernment

I was being seated in a diner a few years ago and the waitress asked me how I was doing. I responded as I usually do, “I’m blessed more than I deserve.”

DSCN1750The waitress said, “Oh that’s nice, I wish I was.”

She got the gist of what I was saying.  A conversation was blossoming and I couldn’t wait for her to return to the table. As I sat down, my Christian acquaintance rebuked me. “Ya know, David,” he said in his lovely Australian accent, “she didn’t understand a word you said because you’re talking in Christianese.”

I was taken aback. His words made me feel as if I did something horrible.  When the waitress returned I said not a word except to tell her my order.

A lot of water has passed beneath the bridge since that incident and I have learned much. I realize now that my friend was wrong and I was wrong for listening to him; I had forfeited an opportunity to have a wonderful conversation with our waitress. God only knows where it would have gone — I had been given a measure of discernment and direction from the Holy Spirit, and I ignored it. Shame on me for listening to the wrong voice.

The Real Controversy

The real issue has nothing to do with non-Christians not understanding the words that Christians use, in fact it’s quite often the opposite – they do understand, or at the very least they recognize it as Christian jargon and as a result they are offended. They’re offended because they don’t like Jesus and they don’t want to discuss their sin. If they sense that they’re conversing with a Christian, they go on guard immediately. If they cannot suppress our enthusiasm (often with some undelightful language of their own), they will attempt to leave the conversation entirely.

It is here that some well-meaning Christians (at least I’d like to think they’re well-meaning) have determined to come to their aid. Their counsel: stop talking like Christians! In other words, they want us to take that little light of ours and put a basket over it, or better yet, slide it under the bed before we leave the house in the morning. Talk about quenching the Holy Spirit!  (If you don’t know what Quenching the Holy Spirit,” means, click the link).

Why?

I wonder why my brothers and sisters in Christ do this? Are they ashamed of Jesus Christ and/or their Christianity? Are they embarrassed that they lack boldness and confidence in their faith? Are they trying to protect a relationship? Have they witnessed an overly aggressive believer in operation and therefore want to solve that problem by silencing all Christians? Are they adhering to some false doctrines of their own which prejudices their reaction to the truth? Are they nominal (or minimal) believers? If you’re a Christianese-squelcher, please tell me why in the comments below.

Whatever their reason…

Don’t Buy the Lie

Friends, please don’t buy into their nonsense. I’m not talking about those who muddle a conversation with complicated phraseology or weighty theology (they need to know their audience). I’m referring to us simple folk who desire nothing more than to talk and act like the new creations that God has made. No, instead of rebuking you, I want to encourage you to continue expressing yourself as a Christian should and to be ready to answer any questions that arise, being sensitive to the reality that folks might not understand a word or a phrase you’re using. Also be sensitive to the fact that a Christian conversation is not a Gospel presentation until God says it is. It is when we attempt to force the latter upon an unwilling audience that we often bruise or become bruised.

He that saith he abideth in Him (Jesus) ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. 1 John 2:6

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Do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man — Proverbs 3:1-4

There is no sense in rehashing all that’s been said regarding the Duck philDynasty, Phil Robertson, and A&E debate. If by some chance you don’t know what the fuss is all about, just Google the last half of the previous sentence and you’ll be up to date. What I wanted to address is how this event is going to effect your faith walk. In other words, what can we as followers of Jesus Christ glean from our brother Phil? I believe the answer to that question is found in the following sentence, spoken by Phil Robertson in a recent prayer.

“I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions.” 

I’d like to share with you what I took away from this historical event (yes, I said historical) and of course, preface my remarks (as Phil did), with the Word of God.

Boldness

Since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — 2 Corinthians 3:12

Anyone can be bold. Boldness is a unique trait in that it requires fuel to function. What is fueling your boldness? Is it arrogance, anger, or hatred? They can fuel boldness, but when they do they manifest themselves in ugly ways, such as ‘Westboro Baptist‘ rallies that only succeed in spewing the very things that sustain them: arrogance, anger, and hatred.

Not so with Phil’s example. His boldness is fueled by his hope in Christ. Oh not a worldly version of hope; the wishing for and yearning, without certainty or assurance of getting that which you ‘hoped’ for. No, a Christian’s hope is much different. It can be described as a strong and confident expectation. We know, based on the past performance of our Lord and Savior, that He will faithfully provide everything He has promised. Jesus isn’t our insurance policy, He’s our assurance, positively.

Shame-less-ness

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes — Romans 1:16

Phil is quite obviously not ashamed of Jesus Christ or his faith. This is apparent because he openly shares about Jesus on a regular basis. There are no apologies either, because there is this recognition that when Biblical truth is shared, there exists the opportunity for salvation. Phil would likely remind us that saving a man’s soul trumps everything else.

Truth

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth — John 17:17

Bible truth will always be perfect, proper, and pure. Some folks might not agree that the Bible is truth, but that does not negate the fact that it is. Jesus said that He is truth and that obedience to truth is the only way that leads to life everlasting. When Christians share the truth, we don’t do so to win debates, but to win souls. For this reason we must leave our opinions at home and rely solely on the Word of God, lest we muddy the waters.

Humility 

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith — Romans 12:3

Obedient Christianity cannot operate effectively in arrogance. Anyone who took Phil’s comments to be arrogant surely took them out of the context of love and lowliness he presented them.  For this reason, knowing the Gospel message and sharing our testimonies are vital. The Word mirrors God’s love and our witness reflects servility.

Love

Let all that you do be done in love — 1 Corinthians 16:14

If we hated those who hate Jesus, Christians would remain quiet, but it’s because we love that we boldly share the truth. We view communication as an expression of love and silence as the language of hate. Silence is also cowardly; if we hated sinners, we would not subject ourselves to ridicule, insults, and exclusion. We love because Jesus first loved us to salvation; we were hopelessly lost when Jesus reached out His scarred hand to us. We were dead in our sins and Christ’s work on the cross revived us. It’s our desire to share, not shatter.

Revival

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Here’s the sad truth: the Body of Jesus Christ, His church, has by in large fallen asleep. Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of Christians across this great land of ours who are boldly, shamelessly, lovingly, and humbly sharing the Gospel message. But friends, there are literally millions of people in America who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior who sit idly by. In love, I question their allegiance.

Consider that on September 11th, many souls were aroused and we gathered in the public square professing Christ’s name, crying out to Jesus in our anguish, but we soon relapsed. Since then we have witnessed hurricanes, wars, mass-shootings, and bombings that have brought us back to our knees, but again, when there were signs of recovery, we fell back.

We properly rallied around Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, buying many knickknacks and chicken sandwiches in support, but yet again we slumbered. Now today, God has allowed yet another event to occur that has caught our attention. In peculiar fashion, American Christians everywhere have become part of reality TV when we opted to stand with Phil Robertson and his right to speak openly about Jesus Christ and all things Biblical, but where will we be standing next week?

Are we poised to fall away once again or this time will we put a death-grip on our revival? Will we embrace boldness and love or return to complacency and compromise? How soon will we forget that thousands of souls are being lost everyday and that God has positioned each of us to make a difference. I submit to you that this is the biggest thing we can take away from the Duck master episode.

Be ye revived!

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14

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For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

Persuading Others

This clip reminds me of the coming judgment.  Did you know judgment is coming? Did you know there are two separate judgments for two separate groups of people? When you mention biblical judgment, many people think of the Great White Throne judgement (although they may not know that is what it’s called). You should know that if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, this is not the judgment that you will receive.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

Perhaps you have heard it said, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess.” Well I believe this will occur at the White Throne Judgement. Everyone who stands before Jesus on that day will bow and proclaim that Jesus is Lord, but sadly, it will be too late for them.

Not so for you, Christian.

Your name is written in the book of life, therefore, you aren’t going to hell. However there is another judgment spoken of and believers refer to it as the Bema Seat judgement. I’d like to say it’s more akin to an awards ceremony for Christians, but I don’t believe that’s a fair assessment, despite the fact that there will be awards (crowns) presented.

The Apostle Paul speaks of that judgment day:

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Bema Seat

While searching for intelligence on the Bema Seat judgment, I happened upon these two paragraphs from the ‘Got Questions.org‘ website. Frankly, it was easier just to cut and paste their explanation, then to re-absorb the data and put it into my own words.

They say (and I concur):

Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In the context, it is clear that both scriptures are referring to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27;2 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27;2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5,2 Timothy 4:8,James 1:12,1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10.James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

What does any of this have to do with the Schindler’s List clip?

Glad you asked.

Well first it reminds me that I can always do more. And just so we’re clear, I’m not referring to a ‘in-my-own-flesh’ kind of approach (Heaven forbid). No, I’m talking about in an ‘obedience to the Holy Spirit’ way.

Looking back over my [personal] Christian history, I know my stewardship-efficiency-ratio (SER), if there is such a thing, has been substandard. I’m not comparing myself to anyone else; I perceive because the Holy Spirit has revealed it. So at this juncture please do not accuse me of that, or worse, of beating myself up over my past. That is not what I am doing. I am merely reflecting upon my past in order that I might do better; that I might learn from my mistakes. I fully understand that I will fall short in the future, but it is my desire (placed there by God), to improve my performance, knowing full well I’m not earning my salvation, for that is a done deal, all praise be to Jesus.

schThe video clip also reminds me that there will be tears in Heaven. Just like the movie portrayal of Mr. Schindler, when the Heavenly books are opened and I see all that I’ve done in Christ’s name compared to what I could have done, there will be great remorse. Oh, I’m still going to Heaven, but this revelation will be gut wrenching. The only question that remains is,

“How gut wrenching do I want it to be?”

When I watch the movie clip, that’s what goes through my mind.

Heaven’s Gate

I envision it all going down like this:

I stand before the Bema Seat and watch in astonishment as most of my works burn-up before my eyes; praying, hoping that something survives the furnace. Sweat pours down my face, but it’s not due to the torridity of the blaze. Then Jesus turns to me and opens the book and shows me all the opportunities I’ve willingly and knowingly squandered. I want to protest and defend myself, except, “But, but, bu…” is about all I can say. Then it happens: perfect realization.  It will be the first time that the word perfect will be applicable to me, for with perfection I will fully understand how I quenched the Holy Spirit so much more than obeyed Him. With that, the tears will begin to flow and I sense this sobbing will be truly uncontrollable. There is no time in Heaven (so I have heard), but I picture this examination going on for decades, as every second of my Christian life is replayed with not one event being omitted.

Finally, mercifully, this occurs…

God (wipes) away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:4-5

Then I hear these words…

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:23

Hearing this pronouncement, I want to cry again, but I can’t! There is abundant joy and crying is now impossible for me!

I’ve made it home!

So why do I fret over a silly video clip? Well I’m not fretting over it, it merely serves to remind me that Jesus has work for me to do, or more accurately, Jesus has more work that He wants to do through me. The Holy Spirit, working somehow through the clip, prompts me to be tuned-in to His will, submitted and obedient to all this Kingdom stuff that’s going on.

I was thinking that you might want to be tuned in as well.

When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.1 Peter 5:4

If you enjoyed the post please like it, share it, or subscribe to it. I’d also like to keep the conversation going, so please leave a comment. I read and respond to each one. God’s blessings to you!

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Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

For the Believer

Christian, I have a word of encouragement for you today.

Are you familiar with the ‘Hall of Faith‘ in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11; that list of our Biblical heroes who triumphed in faith, by faith?  If you are, did you ever notice that this extraordinary list begins with someone very near and dear to your heart?

Who is this special person?

It’s you!

Check out what God recorded in His word:

“By faith ‘we’ understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

Did you see it? “By faith ‘we’ (that’s you and me) understand this Godly stuff! Isn’t that so cool that God took the time to put us at the top of the list, above such notables as Moses, Noah, Abraham, and Issac? What an honor!

But don’t be too surprised. After all, didn’t Jesus say…

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26

Hold on there, Babalouie!

Is this Hebrew passage really talking about you? In order to find out you must ask yourself these questions:

quickDo you believe that the worlds were created by God through His  word?

Do you believe in the invisible attributes of all creation?

Do you believe in the Biblical ‘Genesis’ account of creation? Or do you embrace unbiblical doctrines or the unprovable theories of evolution and big bangs?

If you do believe in those things, then the Hebrews passage is not talking about you, and therefore your are not included in the Hall of Faith. Sorry. The facts would show that you just might be a nominal Christian; that is, a Christian in name only.

But…

It could also mean that you’re merely immature in the faith.

Not to worry!

I remember being right where you are. When I became a new-believer, I carried around the nonsensical teachings of the world for years and it wasn’t until I became a diligent and submitted disciple of Christ that the truth of the Bible was revealed to me. In the light of that truth, I could not help but embrace it!

It can happen to you!

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Are you diligent in seeking Him?

The dictionary defines ‘diligently’ as steady application and care; with industry or assiduity (constant effort); actions not done carelessly or negligently.

Diligence of the Biblical sort is deliberate in its effort towards holy accomplishment, both attentive and persistent, and obedient to follow-through with the results that are discovered. In contrast, the unenthusiastic Christian is not rewarded, for God is not pleased if we are operating outside of faith. Would a parachute instructor be pleased if you refused to don the chute, even after being convinced it will save you? Similarly God is not pleased if you neglect your faith and His truth.

Diligent Christians believe by faith that ‘God is’ and that He rewards our faithful attentiveness.  It is not enough for us to just know God is God (head knowledge), we must seek Him with a persevering faith that says He will provide the things He knows we need.

To know Jesus is to know truth. For the Christian, ‘seeing is believing‘ is an errant and worldly concept, for it is our testimony that believing is the first step to seeing those things that truly matter. It is by this faith we understand God is the Creator and it is by this faith we are inducted into the Hall of Faith.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,3,14

I pray you were somehow blessed today. If you enjoyed the post please like it, share it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment on it. I read and respond to every comment.

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Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,

and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:1

It’s the law!

Imagine if it were the law, that when you met a young man or woman and became ‘serious’ you must write love letters, you must hold hands, or you must buy flowers. It certainly is an inane concept isn’t it? It’s silly because when you fall in love with a person these types of things come naturally — they do not need to be legislated.

Love Does More

This is essentially Paul’s message to the church.

We are free of mandatory rites and rituals of religion; we are free because love does more than legalism. Legalism (just so we’re on the same page) is that doctrine that says, Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ ~and~ something else.”

There is no something else.

It’s just faith in Jesus Christ. If anyone adds the word ‘and’ after the sentence, “Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, ” run away. Jesus proclaimed that He finished the work on the cross.

It stands to reason that if legalism can drain the passion out of an earthly relationship, it will consume a spiritual one as well. All we need do is examine the church to see all the depleted souls who have given up on Christ because of man’s imposition of religious duty. This ought not to be.

Faith in Christ Jesus on its own will result in free display of passion; enthusiasm, zeal, and love. They cannot be legislated.

If that statement is true, why then do we see flocks of faithful people, those who had routinely declared, “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship,” walking away from the church?  It’s no wonder why legalists felt it necessary to impose rules and regulations as an aide to salvation.  In that slim, sliver of light, legalism is an admirable, albeit misguided, gesture.

What’s the Answer?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

Focus.

The reality is that many seemingly faithful people leave the church because they have not been properly discipled. In far too many instances they don’t even know what the word faith means!  Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word in this manner:
Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent (obedience) of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God‘s testimony, accompanied with a cordial (sincere) assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.”
Chances are if a person struggles with a definition that implies belief, submission, and obedience to God, they probably won’t stay in church very long. Then there are others who remain, but choose to redefine the Christian vocabulary to meet their own desires.  As a result we have always had false teachers who impose their liberal and concocted interpretations on the unschooled, which is all the more reason why Christians must be discipled in the Word, the Way, and the truth of God.
The properly discipled believer will gratefully subject himself to the authority of Jesus Christ — simply put: rules and regulations are not necessary.

Bashing Religion

Never!

Although I used the words religion and religious in a negative context, I am not bashing those institutions. I savor the components of religion (prayer, worship, communion, baptism, marriage, etc), for these are the things I get to do. I do not consider them the things I must do.

Nor do I worship the components — I worship Jesus!

For me, religion is the word that defines the elements of my faith that can bring me into a closer relationship with the Lord. In that context, being religious is not the horrible thing that some believers have made it out to be.

I willingly confess, “I am religious!”

I pray religiously, I study the word religiously, I go to church religiously, I partake of Communion religiously, but I only worship, honor, serve, and obey my Lord and Savior.

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5:11

How about you?

  1. Are you a victim of legalism and/or religion?
  2. Are you faithful in the truest sense of the word?
  3. Are you allowing yourself to be discipled in God’s word?

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But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:6-7

I voted today.

I rode my bike to the polls so at the end of the day I would not feel like the effort was a total waste of my energy. You could possibly conclude from that remark that I am not entirely thrilled with the election process and/or the candidates vying for my precious vote.

Be that as it may, riding home I found myself musing over some portions of scripture, not remembering exactly where in the Bible they were found.

I looked it up when I arrived home. 1 Samuel 8:6-7.

The passage is convicting and as it relates to my experiences today, I found myself compelled to mull over, “What in God’s name is civic duty and how does it line up with the ‘truth’ revealed in the Romans 13:1-4 verse?”

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4

Civic Duty

I looked it up.

Free Dictionary told me that civic duty is, “The social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force.”

Frankly, that definition frightened me a little.

In another location, civic duty was equated to citizenship and this definition was provided, “Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities. ‘Active citizenship’ is the philosophy that citizens should work towards the betterment of their community through economic participation, public, volunteer work, and other such efforts to improve life for all citizens.”

Okay.

I can live with a philosophy as long as it maintains that the truths found therein are derived from the God of the Bible. Plainly said, a philosophy without God is a lie and a sure path to destruction. Our true citizenship is in Heaven; therefore, the force that propels and binds the Christian is not social, but Spiritual.

Consequently can we say that God desires to use us towards the betterment of our temporary homes through our active participation? Yes, I believe we can draw that conclusion, as long as we are seeking God’s will and direction in the choices we make.

Hence, prayer is a critical component.

Confession Time

I’m ashamed to tell you that this man of prayer forgot to pray before I voted today. I merely voted along party lines; the ones most closely associated with the same godly, moral standards I embrace. I fear if I had prayed beforehand, I might not have cast a vote at all.

In that light, is not voting a viable option?

I think it is, but I’m not entirely convinced.

Perspective 

My son is retiring from the United States Navy in less than a month and I surely do appreciate that he and thousands before him, risked their lives in order to preserve my right to freely choose.

 

Thanks Dan!

And thanks dad, my World War II veteran!

And thanks Pop Pop, my World War I and World War II veteran!

And thanks to all the unknowns!

In honor of your service I promise, if Christ Jesus should tarry, to cast or not cast my future votes as wisely as I can.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men – 1 Peter 2:9-15

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There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:41-42

Have you ever wondered what awaits us in Heaven and how rewards from the Father will be made manifest. One thing we know for certain — we will all be pleased.  We will all be pleased because the vessel we ultimately show up with will be filled. But what of this vessel?  Cannot both a thimble and a boxcar be filled; a teaspoon and a tanker?

The Apostle Paul points out that while each star in the Heavens is indeed glorious, they are not the same size.  Some are mere specks, others are enormous. The issue then becomes not if we will shine for Jesus, but how brightly will we do so. For eternity, and for His glory, we have the choice of becoming celestial midgets or celestial giants.

Does it matter?

Some might say it doesn’t matter—as long as they get to heaven they will be ecstatic. This is true! All who make it to Heaven will be overjoyed, regardless of their capacity to be filled or how intense their glow. However, I suggest to you that an attitude such as this is short-sighted and yes, rather selfish.

No Tears in Heaven

Who told you that?

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

2 Timothy 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 4:5 speak of a judgement that is coming for the believer; not one of condemnation, but of recognition.  In Heaven and before the Throne, there will be for us a time of remembrance; a review of what we did with the giftings and time we were allotted.  Inevitability, there will much sorrow.  Why?  Because we will see just how much time and energy we wasted on stuff that has no eternal value.   Make no mistake about it, every believer will fall short and some will fall shorter than others.

Now You Know

The reality is [that] God’s truth changes people and if His truth isn’t changing you, the likelihood is that don’t believe it. If that’s the case, you probably believe in something else.  Could it be self-centeredness, self-indulgence, or self-worship? Quite possibly.

Remember 

What a Christian does during his earthly walk determines the kind of vessel he or she presents to the Lord for filling.  Selfishness shrinks us and faithfulness enlarges us.

In other words, it is our privilege  to shine on earth for Jesus.  We don’t have to, we get to.   The brighter we shine on earth, for His glory, the brighter we will shine in Heaven.

Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3

Shine Brighter!

Who is getting the glory for what you have done today? 

Teaspoon or tanker: it’s a choice we make. Choose wisely because the decision you make will last forever.

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