God's Truth In Love

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Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 11 – The Acceptance Factor

In Abuse, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Candy Cane, Christian Living, Church Growth, Exhortation, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Remnant, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Remnant, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on September 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

A church that finds the appropriate balance between lovingly accepting people while at the same time remaining true to God’s Word and Principles will grow.

If there is one thing that false religions have learned it is the art of acceptance. Multitudes of people have been dragged into sin and evil out of a desire to be accepted. It is a form of validation we all need to some degree.

Knowing that we are all in need of acceptance, the question then becomes what form of acceptance should be given and what degree of acceptance should the church give. There is a delicate balance between upholding the Word of God while at the same time loving and accepting people. We do not have to validate someone’s sin in order to accept him or her. We can accept them without accepting their sin. We will make that our jumping off point.

The church is called to love people regardless. Loving them does not mean we keep silent about their sin or that we ascribe to a “don’t ask don’t tell” mentality. It means we treat the individuals with the same kindness and respect we would anyone, and we share God’s truths with them as He allow us and opens the door for us to do so. We never reject them because of their sin or because they do not agree with us, and we also never validate their sin or partake in their sin as a means of showing love.

When pressed to accept something in someone’s life which is in contradiction to God’s Written Word we should express our care and love for the person but also express a refusal to embrace that aspect of the person’s life or that particular belief they ascribe to. We explain, with Scripture, why we believe something different than they believe and reaffirm our desire to accept and love them despite the fact that we do not agree with them.

There are those individuals who are hard to accept not because of their choices in life, lifestyle, beliefs, or sin but because they are wounded, difficult, because of their attitude, or perhaps a physical, mental, or emotional handicap which makes relating to them more challenging. In these cases, we must call more upon our own character and spiritual development to step up to the task of acceptance. The ability for change or modification by the individual may not be an option or at least not an option initially. A person with a handicap cannot change their circumstances. A person with wounds cannot change until emotional, mental, and spiritual healing has begun. A person with a challenging demeanor or attitude will mostly likely never change without a community of people who offer them love and acceptance. Therefore, in all such cases it will be up to you to allow God to stretch you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in order to exhibit His balanced and appropriate form of acceptance.

More individuals would embrace the church if the church would embrace them. If we refuse to accept individuals because we do not agree with them, we are limiting our capacity for love. When we refuse to accept another person, it is because in some way, we have judged that person, or we have judged that person’s actions. Furthermore, our lack of acceptance of them to some degree, despite their sin or issue, is a form of condemnation. Judging that results in condemnation, is not discernment judging [1 Thess. 5:19-21, 1 Corn. 2:14 & 12:3, 1 John 4:1-6, Ps. 119:18, and 1 Kings 3:9-14], it is sinful judging [John 7:24, Rom. 14:1-13 and Matt. 7:1-6]. No one can hear us until they can see us, and no one can see us until they feel a certain level of acceptance from us.

Individuals who have never felt accepted have found a home within the Christian Community and some individuals within the Christian Community have never felt accepted. Fear can hinder a person’s ability to accept another person. If they fear the person’s lifestyle, sin, demeanor, ideas, and/or points of view, they will not be able to accept the person. However, if they can accept the seventy-five percent of the individual that they do like and agree with, they will find themselves to be in a better position to influence the other twenty-five percent of the person or to grow themselves as a person.

Acceptance never makes room for sin, but acceptance makes room for sin to be abandoned. The next time you see the individual whom no one else seems willing to accept and embrace, make room in your heart to do so yourself. You just may find that the Kingdom of God is expanded by one because you did.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:10-13 – Wisdom Sustains

In Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, Godly Counsel, Learning, Peace, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Revival, Spirituality, Trust, Truth, Wisdom on September 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Wisdom Sustains

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

Verse ten states that the person who consistently uses godly wisdom as a guide for how they live and manage their life will see that life extended by “many” years. In the Hebrew language “many” means both to “increase in respective time” and to “bring in abundance” – that covers quantity of life and quality of life.

Verse twelve makes it clear that the person who consistently applies godly wisdom will have little need for their choices and actions to be corrected by God or man, nor will they find themselves stumbling a great deal in life. It is not possible to live a perfect life, but it is possible to live a godly life ruled by godly wisdom that has little encounter with failure or correction.

Verse thirteen speaks to the fact that godly wisdom applied is “thy life” for all truly real purposes. You may ask how could godly wisdom applied be someone’s life, what does it mean? Take a look at the Hebrew definitions for the phrase “thy life” – examine them one by one as see the “thy life” found within.

· "alive; hence, raw (flesh)” – godly wisdom applied will literally keep us alive.

· “fresh (plant, water, year)” – godly wisdom applied will keep us and our life fresh and renewed each year in personal growth and spiritual thirst.

· “strong” – godly wisdom applied will keep us strong mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and physically.

· “life (or living thing), whether literal or figurative:— + age, alive, appetite, company, congregation, life (-time), live (-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop. to live” – godly wisdom applied will rightly order every area of our life and relationships.

· “whether literal or figuratively; causatively to revive” – godly wisdom applied will restore us and sustain us through the challenges of life.

· “keep (leave, make) alive, × certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (× God) save (alive, life, lives), × surely, be whole.” – godly wisdom applied will restore our life to God’s Purpose and repair the life damage we have caused and suffered, it will “give promise” to our life.

There is no doubt that the use of godly wisdom on a consistent bases in our life will sustain our life to God’s glory.

What does it mean to “sustain” something or someone? Sustain according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is defined as follows.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Merriam-Webster’s definition.

The author’s thoughts follow each definition in [brackets].

1 : “to give support or relief to” – [godly wisdom applied will support the quality and quantity of your life and bring relief in times of distress.]
2 : “to supply with sustenance : NOURISH” – [godly wisdom applied will bring nourishment to your body, mind, spirit, and soul.]
3 : “KEEP UP, PROLONG” – [godly wisdom applied will extend the length of your life and improve the quality of your life.]
4 : “to support the weight of : PROP; also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)” – [godly wisdom applied will makes facing the challenges of life so much easier, and your response to them is less likely to be filled with anxiety.]
5 : “to buoy up £ sustained by hope” – [godly wisdom applied will keep you afloat in life’s rough waters and give you hope.]
6a : to bear up under b : SUFFER, UNDERGO £ sustained heavy losses” – [godly wisdom applied will keep you from despair during your darkest days in life.]
7a : to support as true, legal, or just b : to allow or admit as valid £ the court sustained the motion” – [godly wisdom applied will anchors your life in something much greater than yourself, it anchors your life in God, in God’s Principles and Truths.]
8 : “to support by adequate proof : CONFIRM £ testimony that sustains our contention” – [godly wisdom applied will end up being self-proving, as you will see the proof of godly wisdom’s worth through its results over time.]

Godly wisdom will be a tool by which God sustains you and your life. Will you let it sustain you? Will you let Him sustain you?

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 10 – Abuse and The Church (Spiritual and Psychological Abuse)

In Abuse, Advice, Apostasy, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Evil, Exhortation, Holy Spirit, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Suffering, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized on September 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

One of the worst forms of abuse, in my belief, is spiritual abuse. This is when someone uses the things of God to control, manipulate, abuse, use, degrade, etc. other people. This has been done in extreme forms such as, ‘If I do not get X amount of money from my people God will take my life, close our church, etc.’ ‘If you do not read your Bible daily, God will not have fellowship with you.’ ‘If you are not in church each time the doors are open you are not a committed Christian.’ On and one we could go. I am sure each of you has your own example. The examples provided are damaging forms of spiritual and psychological abuse pure and simple.

A desire for a leader to obtain unquestionable dedication, which is free from accountability to the ones asked to give said dedication, is spiritual abuse. Does the Word of God call us to submit to the authorities He has placed in our lives? Yes. Who are those authorities however, and do we submit regardless? We do not submit regardless. We are accountable to God first, then to other people. We submit to our spiritual leaders when they are following the Will of God as found in God’s Word. We do not submit to sin or follow a leader into sin. How many cults, which started out with religious undertones, ended in disaster? Too many to recall. Why? Because people followed, even in the face of sin, because they believed they were to submit to authority without questioning authority.

A more hideous form of spiritual abuse is to distort and misuse the Word of God in order to get what one wants or justify one’s actions. So many people sit in church with their Bibles closed looking at an overhead screen trusting that the text on that screen matches what is actually in God’s Written Word. It only takes subtle and slight changes to God’s Word to distort its entire meaning and purpose. No matter how long you have known someone and no matter how much you trust them, you should have your Bibles out and open when they are speaking or teaching so that you can confirm that they are rightly dividing the Word of God. Especially grievous to the heart of God is this form of spiritual abuse that uses the Word of God, and God will deal with this abuse quite harshly.

When a person uses another person’s love for God to advance their own cause, regardless of what that cause might be, to get their way, to attempt to mislead or deceive the heart that trust in God both people are in danger. The abuser’s target is in danger of being spiritually and psychologically abused resulting in spiritual and perhaps psychological damage, and the perpetrator is in danger of the wrath of God that does come upon those individuals who use spiritual things to hurt God’s children.

Abuse in the Body of Christ, in all its forms, can stop when we become willing to both speak up and be spoken to when necessary. Accountability is a responsibly not an option. It is the basic fabric that holds the cloth of Christ’s Body together. Without the courage to question our leaders, we will find ourselves impotent and frustrated. Without the willingness to be questioned, we will find ourselves isolated and insolent.

This concludes the addressing of this difficult subject of abuse found within the church and how that abuse effects the growth of individual congregations as well as the universal church, which is the Body of Christ. We will continue to reflect on reasons why churches are not growing from various angles aside from the abuse angle.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.