Truth or Dogma

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 KJV

The Bible is All True!  Even the parts You dont like.  Now dont “Amen” Me too quickly.  Are you thinking of those parts that others dont like?  Are you responding with a “You tell ’em” attitude while not considering passages you have thoughtlessly dismissed because, perhaps they dont support your particular view?
God’s Word doesnt have an “Agenda”, at least not in the way we think of it.  God’s Word doesnt take your view point into consideration and He doesnt require your approval.  God’s Word  isn’t a cafeteria steam table.
There is Truth and there is Dogma.
Sometimes Dogma is based on Truth.  Dogma needs Truth to stand.  Without Truth, Dogma is merely a heavy handed opinion.
Truth doesn’t need dogma, is not supported by dogma, and is most often best proliferated Without dogma.

Do you have Dogma or do you have Truth?
Once you go beyond the scripture, stop short of the scripture, add to the scripture or take away from the scripture, you have LEFT the Truth and you are on your own.

When my foundation is merely dogma or opinion, I find it to be unstable and in need of protection.  I might  become emotional, offensive or even Irate deffending it.  If we create or buy into a dogma we become responsible to defend and support it.

When my Foundation is Truth I find myself at peace, even with those who oppose me because I know that I am standing on Truth.  I dont have to feel challenged or even the satifaction of being right.  Its not that I’m right… its a simple matter of Truth.  We can’t make truth, or change truth.  We cant take any credit or responsibility for Truth.  Its just truth.
There are lot of dogmas floating around.
There are numerous “Winds of Doctrine” out there… some of which are popular, others not so much.  Are you standing on a Dogma, a Doctrine, or TRUTH? Sometimes they can be one and the same.  Many times they Aren’t.
Blessings

Just Shut Up

I have some serious reservations about a lot of things going on in the Church these days.  Worldliness, Watered down teaching, Trendyness and Hype
seem to be everywhere.  If not that,  it’s a lot of dead nothing, or perhaps Pharisaical turned up noses and pointing fingers.  You can find problems of whatever sort you care to look for.  Whichever thing you are against I can assure you there is plenty of it.

BUT

Jesus is still Lord of His Broken flailing Bride.  He doesnt need your, or my criticism of His Church.  His Church that He died to Pay for, is coming back for, and is going to complete and adorn and present to Himself…  without any help from you…or me.
Dont get me wrong… we need to be able to call out problems, stand for Biblical Truth, oppose foolishness and all the rest.  But we can do this with a good attitude, and a right and reconciling spirit.  But oftentimes we wind up in a gripefest of belly aching and bad attitudes.  I have been guilty of these things and I want to mend my ways.
There are people, my brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom I disagree and that is not likely to change.  There will always be some church or leader that isnt saying it like I would say it or doing it like I would do it.
Still, there is one thing we need to fix, and fast.  If anyone needs to be called out, it is this Constant Parade of  Heretic Hunters.  These self appointed arbiters of truth who want to label everybody and divide “the body” are lost on me.  Yes, there is bad teaching, yes there is error, but that alone doesnt make some one a false teacher or false prophet or the spawn of Hell.  We ALL “see through this Glass Darkly” and aint none of us got it all right… not by a long shot.

I just read a lengthy article about how Kari Jobe is a false teacher, and pastor…???   teaching dangerous doctrine???  Pardon me while I take a moment to say, “What an idiot”.
I would like to tell this young smart alek and all those like him…  “Please, Just Shut Up”!  “How did the Church of Jesus Christ survive the Roman Empire, The Dark Ages, The Crusades, The Reformation and countless bouts of Persecution…without YOU.”?

We can all see things with which we disagree or take issue, and we will.  But we can do it in a Spirit of Meekness with a view toward reconciliation.  Whenever we are about to speak, especially in negative terms, we need to ask; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it Christlike? Is it Redemptive?
Is it neccesary?

Let us focus on our own Walk with God and Study to show ourselves Approved.  Let us Encourage those around us and when we feel a need to point out a problem, lets be sure we are doing it in the Right Spirit… or else, “Just Shut Up.”

Ephesians 4:29

I Grew Up In Church

“I grew up in church”, is a common statement here in the Bible Belt. Other variants of the phrase are “He/She grew up in church”, “They were raised in church”, and so forth.  It implies that having been carried or sent to church consistently as a child ensures that a person Knows right from wrong and is, or should be, equiped to live a God honoring, Christ pleasing life.  Don’t get me wrong, Taking a Child to Church consistently is of utmost importance,
But…
It is not the “magic bullet”.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t so often throw up our hands in disbelief when we learn that;
“Johnny” has been caught with drugs
and exclaim,
“How could that happen, he was raised in church???”
Not all of us raised in church get caught with drugs.  Some of us do pretty good.
Some of us mess up a little.  Some of us mess up A LOT.
I was reading about Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Ruler.  He came to Jesus asking what He needed to DO.
He Told Jesus He had kept the whole Law since He was a Kid.  APPARENTLY, He was raised in Church.   He didn’t get on drugs. He didnt Go off the rails into immorality or atheism.  Apparently He grew up to be a very respectable PHARISEE.  When Jesus called him to follow, He turned away… Sorrowfully.

Being Raised in Church Is a great benefit and blessing, but let us NOT take it for granted.  I was raised in church and I messed up a LOT… and I also found myself to be a bit of a Pharisee.  When we start telling God all that we have done right… That’s Exactly what we are and we had better Repent or we may find ourselves walking away from Jesus.

A Hornet’s Nest

I remember quite clearly as a boy, one day I was throwing rocks at a wasp nest.
I finally landed one dead center, and much to my suprise, one of the wasps flew directly at me and stung me behind the ear.  I was only 10, but I accepted the responsibility for my actions and determined not to cry, because afterall, I deserved to be stung.
No, it wasnt a Hornet’s nest.  Thankfully I have avoided every Hornet’s nest I ever saw,  until now.
I have resisted stiring up this “Hornet’s Nest” for a long time.  Partly because I dont exactly relish being stung, and partly because I wanted to be sure I was ready to Take the Stand that I was about to call for.  It’s not a new stand or call, but it seems that those “Standing” and “Calling” have either died out, or have been drowned out.
Please understand, I do not desire to sound judgmental, nor do I desire to question anyone’s faith.  I am not your judge, but I ask you to judge yourself.
I am not questioning your faith, but I ask you to question your own faith, depth, and sencerity in light of what I am about to say.  I am not The Holy Spirit, nor do I want to be His surrogate.  I am asking you to Honestly consider this subject and lay it before Him, ready and willing to accept His verdict.  This is not a “cold turkey” type decision.  No, it is a one step at a time, one day, one week, one year at a time, decision.  It took me a while to get where I am, and this is due in no small part to my Godly Wife.   Dont be suprised if takes you some time as well.
So what am I reffering to? What is this Hornet’s Nest, this Stand, this Call?
It is The Call to Take a Stand to Honor God in ALL of your Entertainment Choices.
If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ I will remind you that YOU are bought with a price, you are not your own.  Everything you do, everything you participate in, should only and always represent Christ.
You dont answer to me or any other person in regard to these choices, but you will give account to God for them, so choose wisely.
Have you considered the millions and billions of dollars spent each year on entertainment?

Cable bills, Movie Tickets, Concert tickets, Music downloads, Broadway Shows, and other live performances mount up to many Billions of dollars each year.  As a Christian, how have your choices honored your Savior?
Consider the Time you spend.  Consider the money you spend.  Your time and money belong to Him you know.
How does the subject matter, plot line, and content honor God?  Does it glorify God, or is it the glorification of evil.  Does it draw you toward God, or toward sin?
Is Sin being depicted, or Godly living being portrayed?  What about the singers and actors?  Are they Godly, Christ Honoring, people?  Are they at least decent and reasonable people?

I have been forced to accept the fact that the vast majority of Musicians and Actors that fill our stages and screens,  are morally bankrupt, and many have shown themselves to be Hostile toward Christianity.  The Word of God, Faith, and Holy living are Scoffed at if not derided and blasphemed.  The Owners, Producers, Directors and Parent Companies that own the rights to these endeavors are most often found on the wrong side of every moral issue with both their voices and their money.  The Songs, Storylines, and depictions oftentimes portray and glorify the very sin that Jesus died to Pay for.  As believers, can we honestly continue to be entertained and find enjoyment in the demonstration of sin by people who are hostile toward God?
What are you watching?  What are you listening to?  What are you In To?
When you make an entertainment purchase how will that money be used?
Will it be spent to further the Gospel, or to finance ever increasing Lavish lifestyles, and the Liberal Agenda that is attacking the moral fiber of our nation.
I’m not telling you what you should attend, view or hear.  I am asking you, Why would you spend 1 minute or 1 dime, to be entertained by people who hate Jesus, His ways, His word and His people?
Why would you willfully  subject yourself to things that Jesus died to deliver you from?
I’m not calling for a boycot.  Im asking You as believer to prayerfully consider WHO is getting your Time and Money, WHAT they are doing with it, and HOW it is affecting you, your family, and your overall spiritual health.
For me, it is this…  WHY would I lend my time, energy and resources to the people and machinery that are working so diligently to tear down my Country, My Family, my Faith and the way of life I so dearly love?  Why would I?  Why would you?

The Stone

Therefore, to you who believe, He  is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,”
I Peter 2:7

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This stone was placed at the end of a long rock wall that was dry stacked in the 1800’s.  Portions of it still stand but most of it is rubble now.  Yet This stone is still standing…immovable.  I could push and push on it, but I could never move it without a machine.  It is bigger than me, and much heavier.

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How much more is Jesus Immovable, Solid, Unshaken and steadfast.  Our lives like all these smaller stones in this old wall are fallen down and broken.  It hardly looks like a wall anymore.  We can get broken down and scattered, yet Our Cheif Cornerstone is still there, waiting for us to lay our lives against Him.  No matter what your situation looks like, no matter how badly you have failed… Jesus hasn’t moved.  If you feel like this old wall and it looks like you’re falling…  Just fall on Him,
He Is Still There.

Blessings

Excuses

Matthew 17:19-20
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

In this well known passage, a man had brought his son to Jesus’ disciples to have a demon cast out of him.  The Disciples were unable to do so, and when Jesus arrived on the scene He quickly took care of the problem.
This led to the disciples question; Why couldnt they do it?  Jesus does not hesitate to tell them it was due to Unbelief.  In many places Jesus rebuked His disciples for Not having Faith or for being in Unbelief.  This in fact, seemed to be Jesus standard response to such things.  Conversely, He often told those who recieved their miracle that it was due to their faith.
You never find him rebuking the sick or misfortunate souls He met during His Earthly ministry, but He rebuked His disciples and the religious leaders continually.
Where is the power and compassion to touch the lives of broken, sick, needy people today?  I would say it is in the same place as All The Rebukes that are due Jesus Disciples and the Religious Leaders.
We must Embrace the Rebukes of Jesus, Be filled with Faith, and rid ourselves of Unbelief so that we may DO the Works of Jesus and stop making excuses and patting ourselves on the back.

The Insidious Subtlety of Self Righteousness

Before now no one could have convinced me that I had a problem with self righteousness. I think we fail to realize just how sly and sinister that spirit really is.
It is not only for those with their noses in the air who have plenty of outward success to their credit.
It is also for those of us with our noses in the dirt who are filled with self loathing. Both are manifestation of pride and perhaps the latter would be most difficult to detect and eradicate.
Both feel that they know better, both feel that they deserve better, both feel that they should DO better.  When the one has grest success it just confirms to them what they already believed… that they, “are better”.  When the other faces failure it turns inward with the condemnation and cursing of themselves, because afterall they “know better” and should do better, because they “are better”.   The depression and disappointment that flows out of it Looks like Humility, but it is in fact the exact opposite.  After all, how can I be so arrogant and full of pride while I am so DOWN on myself?  This is the insidious subtlety of self righteousness.

While God continues to care for us, He can not allow any significant success to come to a person He Loves So Much while their heart is in such a condition.  God Truly Loves us and He Desires the Very Best for us.  We see it in 3rd John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that though mayest prosper and be in health Even As Thy Soul prospers”.  God wants what is good for us, but we can not carry any more blessing than the condition of our soul can bear.

I am thankful to God that by His Grace He has allowed me to see the rotten truth about myself.  I am no longer depressed about it, or down on myself for being so bad, because now I can be free from it and I am free from it.  Didnt He say that the Truth would Make us free?

When we start thinking about our performance whether good or bad we must Remember that “No Good Thing dwells in me, that is my flesh”.   Jesus said plainly in John 15 that “Without Me You can do NOTHING, but Phillians 4 says we can Do All Things through Christ who Strengthens Us.  It is not about “our self image”.  It is about being formed in HIS image.  Our total worth Must Be found in CHRIST.

It’s a new day in my heart and it feels so good to be out of that prison cell.  The funny thing is, I had the key all along.

Speak No Evil

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
James 4:11

Here is another verse in the Bible that points out how we should not be Judgemental.  I find it funny how many people, many of whom never read the Bible or  go to church regularly, seem to carry this idea around like a switchblade knife.  There are a number of passages that declare that we are not to set ourselves in the place of being a judge, but that isnt even what I want to talk about today.
Look at the first line of this passage.
“DO NOT SPEAK EVIL of one another”

Saying “dont judge me” is epedemic yet people plow right past this verse that plainly says, “Dont Speak Evil”.  I think its because in the end, people know no more about what God’s Word says about our speech than what is actually said about Judging.  But then this passage equates speaking evil of one another with being judgmental.
If we start.examing our speech closely we will find ourselves talking more trash than we realize.  James chapter three, verse ten says:
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be.”
God puts a high premium on our speech, and He will Judge us by it.   Remember this passage from the Matthew 12:
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
What are we saying?  Are we tearing down the lives of people for whom Christ died?  Sadly, all too.often we are doing exactly that.  If a fresh water stream becomes poluted with bitter or salt water it will soon become brakish and altogether unfit to drink.  If you allow yourself to speak evil things, curses, about other people, by and by you will find yourself tearing down everything, everyone, and even your own life with your speech.  Let’s not try to reign it in or do better, Lets Just Stop It.
Let us allow God by His Holy Spirit to change us, so that out of the good treasure of our heart we can bring forth good things instead of evil.

Shut Up and Listen

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
James 1:19

I have lived long enough to prove this scripture both ways, many times.  As with all of God’s Word we would be better off to take it, believe it, and put it into practice  thereby gaining the benefit and avoiding the pitfalls of disobedience.

As I meditated on it this morning I was able to develope this paraphrase…
– The Quicker You Hear,  the Slower you Speak.  The slower you speak the slower you get Angry. –

Getting Gods word into us is the key to following it and obeying it.  Not merely hearing or reading it once, but absorbing it and allowing it to take over our lives. We must allow God’s Word to become Implanted ( James 1:21) within us.  When we do this we will find ourselves Obeying God more and more with less and less effort.
None of us have trouble with anything more than the trash that COMES OUT of our mouth.  (Matthew 15:11, Mark 7:20)  As someone once said, God placed your tonge behind the “Bars” of your teeth and the “doors” of your lips for a reason. And as it has often been said, God gave you two ears and one tonge, so we should at least listen twice as much as we talk.

We need to talk, We Must talk, but NOT before we Hear.  What we are saying needs to be more of what God has already said and less of what pops into our mind when we want to set people straight.
So I leave you with this little quote that I was able to distill from God’s Wisdom today to help you remember, along with me, to Shut up and Listen.

“There is a direct correlation between How well you hear, how quickly you speak and how badly you “fly off the handle”.

Blessings

Comfort

Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
II Corinthians 7:6

We see here that the God of All Comfort, (2nd Corinthians 1:3-4) comforts us not only by His own working in the Spiritual sense, but He also comforts us through His people who He sends to us.  I have been the recipient of this comfort on many occasions, such that I desire to be a comfort to others as well.
While we seek to be comforted of our weariness, need , or trial, let us in the meantime be Used of God to be an agent of Comfort just as Titus was.

Blessings