Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
This is a 3 part series, so it is a little bit long...but be encouraged, you can always come back at your leasure and finish it. Blessings!!
Click on URL - Judging & Spiritual Abuse
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Below in 3 John 1:5-12 John writes Gaius about the abuse that is going on within the church. Can you pick out the things that are abusive or can easily lead to abuse?
5Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7For they are traveling for the Lord,c and they accept nothing from people who are not believers.d 8So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
9I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
11Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.e 12Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.
As you standby watching your children safely play, I would guess that you think about all the things you want most for them. Along with this you probably think about the things you can do to ensure...well, at least to the best of your ability...that their future is bright.
As you think about that, I submit that the one thing they need most is to see and experience integrity in you. I am not talking about perfection. No. As integrity doesn't mean that. It is simply respecting your child's personhood and being honest in your dealings with them and in life. ~ Saying what you mean, and then backing it up...so your kids learn what integrity truly is.
Most of us retain a strong sense of integrity that tells us not to steal or kill or set out to deliberately hurt people. However, the integrity that is being discussed here is perhaps an expanded view, and comes from a little bit different perspective. It is the integrity that your children need to see so as to know where to place their trust...and subsequently their lives!
To be more specific, when many of us were kids, we were emphatically reminded that we could trust people with uniforms, all adults, doctors, nurses, teachers, grandparents and of course one's own parents. Additionally, we were taught never to say no to an adult. No matter how we felt, we were also taught to finish everything on our plates because there were people starving in China!
So, a child was not taught to listen to their inside feelings of fullness, or their discomfort from eating too much. They were instead taught to listen primarily to an outside source - their parents.
Additionally, it was expected that we would hug visiting relatives and to sit on their laps whether we wanted to or not. We were also lead to believe that a smile, or being given candy meant the person was friendly...no matter what we felt about it.
Many children were often potty-trained quickly, as who wanted to put up with those cloth diapers! Therefore, the only control (personal boundaries) a child had over their own bodies was taken away at a very early age. (I was potty trained at the age of one year. My Aunt told my mother that it was silly to have to put up with it, so she put me on the potty chair and would not let me get up till I went)
However, the times we live in today are different in many ways. Whereas children were taught essentially not to listen to their own bodies/tummies and not to have much control over their own lives, children now need to be taught the opposite. They need to be encouraged to be very aware of themselves and how they are feeling in any given situation - and to be given some control and say over their own bodies.
Subsequently, we need to train them to trust only those who have modeled integrity and have earned their trust. This is different then teaching them to be afraid...this is teaching them to trust and not ignore that something is going on inside. It is teaching them to be OK with expressing their discomforts and their God given personal boundaries...which also begins to prepare them for a life of being able to discern between good and evil.
Please contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanting to stop murder and other actions that directly cause harm to others should be dealt with...and any good citizen would want some kind of involvement in trying to make this happen, along with creating a more peaceful society. However, God says that we are all sinners...and likewise. we are all equally free and responsible to make our own decisions between ourselves and God...which should give us perspective and make us humble.
But, many times zeal takes over, mixed with immaturity and lack of understanding -- which can be a dangerous combo because then these zealots often times begin to think their job is to police everyone else's lives. So, if this is not already happening by a Pastor or within a church body, then it usually will create some kind of a following without.
Romans 10:1Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one
who acts hastily sins.
If you think about it every single sin has a ripple effect. However, the majority of sin is deliberately aimed at affecting another person - gossip, rape, murder, hate, abuse, adultery, slander, incest, pedophilia, and etc. But, as it says in the following verse, sexual sin is aimed at oneself. (meaning; within consenting adults).
However, much of Christian society today give little attention to all these sins that are profoundly affecting others, and then in comparison are zealous in going after the sexual sins that mainly affects the persons engaged in them. - namely, homosexuality.
1 Cor. 6:18
Run from sexual immorality! "Every sin a person can commit is outside the body." On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.
Then this zeal often goes further and begins to create meddlers. Kind of like a 'Christian Police' of sorts...altho they may use titles that come from the OT and say that they are called by God to take that position. Once I said something in a comment made on a site such as this...a comment that they did not agree with, so their public response was that I was on 'thin ice' with God and that they did their job of telling me the truth so their hands are clean! Then their woeful exclamation at the end was how hard it is to be what they are!
1 Peter 4:15 None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.
Meddler- A busybody in other men's matters (ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος)
Only used once in the New Testament. Literally, the overseer of another's matters. One who usurps authority in matters not within his province - a meddler. It is placed in the same verse with very destructive sins. Compare Luke 12:13, Luke 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11. It may refer to the officious interference of Christians in the affairs of their Gentile neighbors, through excess of zeal to conform them to what they considered to be the Christian standard. They felt like they had the authority to basically go behind the closed doors of certain sinners and point out their behaviors.
The OT law was very much like the police, as it's nose was everywhere, policing every move people made. However, it could only police behaviors...and did so without mercy. Yes, it's job was only punitive and to oversee the sinner, but without ever giving the hope of being able to live up to it! It was just like carrying around a curse!
But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God's Book of the Law."
But now because of Christ's death and resurrection, we have the Holy Spirit that goes where the law could never go...right to the heart and the motives...then convicts, and very differently, and very personally! Why differently? Well, simply, how can we even compare a list of rules that can only be impersonal, with God's Spirit which is more than personal...and offers hope for a solid and lasting redemption no matter the sin! Now, this IS good news!
Yes, the gospel is simply the good news that Jesus came to seek and to save all sinners, and gave His life as solid proof...instead of seeking out reasons to condemn any of us!
Along with meddling, another overlooked sin is manipulation...because it can be the most subtle. This has become such a common practice that it has become socially acceptable, and most people do not even realize it's happening. No one can accept Christ for me, for instance...NO, I must choose.
However, manipulation goes about as though it can override this...as it differs from persuasion in that it tries to override a person’s God given right to choose. Manipulation causes someone to do something that they would not do under normal circumstances...therefore it is rebelling against God because it attempts to usurp not only a person's will, but also God's authority over that person(s).
When guilt, fear, embarrassment, sympathy, and etc. are used to get people to do what they would not otherwise do, it is manipulation. "They made me feel guilty so I did what the other person wanted."
Even when someone deliberately uses another person’s compassionate heart as a means to manipulate them into complying with their will, it is manipulation...which in itself is also rebellious just like the sin of witchcraft, because it attempts to override God just like overt rebellion would.
1 Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and presumption
is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he
has also rejected you from being king.”
Even fear can be used to manipulate. This happens all too often in churches when ministers intentionally instill fear of hell or the tribulation into their congregation in order to manipulate them into reciting the sinners prayer, following church doctrine or attending church more regularly. Of course, hell and the tribulation are terrible things but the truth of these things should never be presented as the means to manipulate people.
The church is probably the best place to successfully hide abuses...not only because many people can't believe that abuse could ever happen there (especially their own church), but because when we do something in the name of God...especially when there is enough truth added...people listen and submit.
It starts slowly, undetected. It could start with almost any doctrine...and then slowly it begins to distort that doctrine and then spreads like leaven in a lump of dough. Then it ultimately tears at the pure message of the Gospel.
The biggest hold SA (spiritual abuse) has is that people have not been grounded in even the basic truths of the gospel. For instance, if someone asked you if you like or have ever seen Foyo Persimmons before...and you answer that you've never had one before and don't even know what they look like. They got ya!! Because it would be pretty easy to fo-yo now, wouldn't it?
They could fool you fairly easily. They could tell you about anything if enough of it sounded like the truth...or is mixed with truth. So, they go on and tell you that they only grow in China during the winter months so it is hard to find them at any stores around you. They could make jams and pies out of something else and tell you they were Foyo jams and pies...and you would probably believe anything about them UNLESS you decided to get to know Foyo Persimmons for yourself.
So you go out and find some, eat them, learn about them and make some desserts from them...and learn that almost everything they said was false. But you would have never known it unless you found out the complete truth for yourself. (I hope you do, they are yummy when still crunchy!)
Eph. 5: 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Circumspectly: taking into consideration all possible circumstances and consequences before acting. Looking at all possible angles and perspectives. (Not just believing because it sounds good.)
So, what are the very basics of the gospel?? The word 'gospel' means Good News. Many people are preaching vehemently against sin...especially certain sins...with those sinners and their sins spread across a marque - while loudly lamenting how our country is going to hell for allowing these sins to go on...and call it the gospel. But I dare say that it is not.
Why is it not? Because Jesus was and is not fragmented. Meaning He is not going to say that He did not come to condemn the world, then turn around in another instance and act towards sinners as tho that is exactly why He came! His intents and His congruent actions were always directed at seeking people out for the purpose of showing God's profound love and salvation. Period. This IS why it was called the 'Good News'...because it WAS and is good news!
Indeed, the Son of Man has come to seek and to save people
who are lost."
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is also why His ministry included confronting the spiritual abusers of the day - the Pharisees, to name one group. They worked hard at promoting themselves and making God appear to be a burdensome God that is very hard to please.
Then Jesus also dealt with anyone else that sought to distort and get in the way of the pure and simple truth of the Gospel.
1 John 5:3
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
This post is for those who genuinely appreciate study, and love truth, whatever it turns out to be...I say this because if there is no other study I ever do after this one, I would say that this is among the top 5 of the most important...then you pick the other ones or none of them at all.
Anyway...you will see that God is very specific about judging and like anything else, leaves nothing out.
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
From the original Greek this above verse starts out with, "That means..." which is the same thing as what most translations use - therefore. 'Therefore' means, for those of us that are not grammer students...therefore is saying that what you just read is there for what you are now about to read. SO, the 1st chapter was written FOR the following chapter -- the message is not complete without both chapters!
But I notice that people who make it their job to judge don't see this...which I guess is par for the course. But when the 1st and 2nd chapters of Romans were written, chapter and verse was not a part of the writing, so they were written to create one thought...HOWEVER, if our heart desires truth above self-satisfaction, then we will find it...because you better believe God will grant it! The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. Therefore, if you are listening closely to the Holy Spirit, He'll give you what you need to know...and even more!
John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Mark 4: 24 Then he added, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given--and you will receive even more.
Something else you'll notice, as you read through Romans 1, homosexuality is not the only sin it speaks of...in fact there are many more. Then immediately in Romans 2:1 it says at the end of that verse, "...because you, the judge, practice the very same things."
However, in my vast ;^) experience, because many people only see one particular sin in Romans 1, they also don't consider the end of this verse either. As this is saying that even though you and I, the readers, are pointing at certain sins and sinners - that we still practice the same things!
But, then most people in their minds think, "But, I'm NOT a homosexual!"...then they read on without seeing the sins they ARE committing!
Then as we read on in Romans 2 (below), God says that our assessment of those we are judging is not based on truth. As we cannot see the heart of the person(s) and do NOT know the real truth about their lives that have made them who they are...yet we still have set ourselves up as their accusers!
Then God goes on to say that our judging must mean we think that God should be showing wrath 'towards those sinners!' so we are despising the kindness and tolerance He is showing them, which also must mean we despise the kindness and tolerance He is showing us too!
Following this He goes on and says that our stubbornness and unrepentant heart towards judging others, is storing up wrath for ourselves...and we are actually self-seeking and rejecting truth!
Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather
judge according to righteous judgment."
Righteous does not mean wrathful - it means correct! It means getting down to the real truth underneath it all...whatever that truth is! Why is this important? Because...it is never God's first thought to condemn. His first thought is always to save!
For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.