Obedience

Submission or Rebellion?

Evil people seek only rebellion,
but a cruel messenger will be sent against them.
Proverbs 17:11 NRSV

Rebellion: opposition to one in authority or (one in) dominance

In other words, rebellion is the antonym to submission.

As Christians, we need to stop claiming who we are and start looking at what we do.

Submission is a huge thing. But I think that submission may be more (or different) than we think it is. And I'm beginning to think that submission is tied to judgment in a way we often don't consider.

The apostle Paul wrote:

Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace

When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Resolutions from a Recovery Perspective

It is the beginning of another year and people are making resolutions, reminiscing, and planning to make a commitment that the coming year will be a better year than this past. In some way, the stress to make and keep a resolution can make the difference between feeling as if you are a failure or you are on top of the world in every area of your life, especially your recovery.

The twelve step program teaches many excellent life skills and offers great support to those who “came to believe”. Simple messages like Keep it Simple, First Things First, and Think Think, Think, can help you make it through the day. So with all of the tools of the program and all of the support that is there for you, how is it that the good ole' New Year’s resolution can derail your confidence as far as making progress reaching goals in your recovery?

What is Your Motivation when You are "Tolerant?"

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 RSV
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

If the apostle Paul, instead of writing this in one of the sacred epistles, had wrote this on an Internet message board or in a blog, I can hear the responses: “Judged? How can you judge him?” “The Bible tells us specifically not to judge one another.” “We need to love this man, not judge him.”

And yet, not only the sinful man, but the entire congregation . . . Paul judged! And pronounced sentence. He condemned what was happening among them.

Be Imitators

1 Corinthians 11:1 RSV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Could you say this to another, younger Christian? Could you have a Christian live with you, observe you, watch you, and then trust, if they imitated you, that they would be imitating Christ?

I think that, initially, all of us want to say “yes,” but if we think about this much, if we really meditate on this, wouldn’t we more likely back off? Do we really live our lives in such a way that others can imitate us and know that, in doing so, they would be pursuing the narrow path?

When We Willfully Sin

Hebrews 10:26-27 NKJV
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

Matthew Henry writes:

    From the description he gives of the sin of apostasy. It is sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, sinning willfully against that truth of which we have had convincing evidence. This text has been the occasion of great distress to some gracious souls; they have been ready to conclude that every willful sin, after conviction and against knowledge, is the unpardonable sin: but this has been their infirmity and error. The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men with a full and fixed will and resolution despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour,—despise and resist the Spirit, the only sanctifier,—and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life; and all this after they have known, owned, and professed, the Christian religion, and continue to do so obstinately and maliciously. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.Heb.xi.html)

Apostasy isn’t something that is talked about much these days. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I heard a preacher talk about the problems with apostasy and yet it is a circumstance

Accepting God’s Discipline Takes Great Faith

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:6-7

The saying, "you can't have your cake and eat it too is an old saying but very true."

On the same token, spiritually we can say, "You cannot live in the kingdom of heaven and continue to be a slave to your desires or "serve sin" as apostle Paul puts it.

We have to run the race marked out for us and it is not ALWAYS going to be easy. Apostle Paul even says we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ at all times.

Is there anything wrong with "social drinking?"

Abstinence: Still the Best Choice

As a person who has struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs, I would be foolish to drink. But what about the Christian who has never had such problems? Is there anything wrong with what is considered social drinking? I believe there are at least five compelling reasons why abstinence should be the norm for all followers of Christ:

The cost to society.
Nationwide one in four families is experiencing alcohol related problems. It is estimated that 20-25 percent of all hospital costs result directly from alcohol misuse and abuse. People without Christ drink mainly to fill a spiritual void that only Christ's presence can fill. Therefore, Christians who do know Him ought to stand out in this fallen world by not being identified with this destructive spiritual counterfeit.

God's Will for Us

God's Will is for us to:

    1) read His Word,
    2) Consume His Word,
    3) Participate In Communion,
    4) Worship Him,
    5) Pray Daily,
    6) Share the Gospel With Those Who Have Not Yet Heard,
    7) Care for the sick and elderly,
    8) Exemplify Jesus in our life,
    9) Do everything we do as if we were doing for God alone,
    10) Obey the laws of our land,
    11) Meet with other believers on a regular basis,
    12) Prepare for the return of the Lord Jesus,
    13) Love our friends AND
    14) our enemies,
    15) Love God with your heart, soul, mind and spirit,
    16) Follow the golden rule and likely many more things I cannot alone think of.

Are You Willing to do What is Right?

Isaiah 5:20 (NRSV).
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Over the years, I have learned to try to analyze my thoughts and actions, to discover why I think the way I do or act the way I choose. I say "try" because I’m not always successful at doing it. I am greatly influenced by the society around me, a society which isn’t trustworthy and which, if I were wise, I would ignore when it comes to making choices.

I look back over my life and see many places where I should have made different decisions, where I could have made better choices. I see so many times when I have been (and still am) self-indulgent rather than obedient to God's will. Just this morning, I read a snippet written by a dear Christian sister. It said, "Will I cooperate [with God’s plan] despite emotional pain?" Will I take the hard road?

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