Stop Asking for Forgiveness

Stop Asking for Forgiveness

That’s right! Knock it off. Don’t you know, you’ve already been forgiven?

I started writing an article about Balance in Faith when this thought came to me and I wanted to share it with you. I believe it will help you in accepting Faith, in raising your children, in your marriage and beyond. Forgiveness wasn’t dependent on anything you could do – not once, not twice nor as many times as you could do it. Forgiveness was offered once, for all, and it is available always and without condition. Dozens of flowers never gained forgiveness and neither does begging for it.

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Replacing Jesus with your Pastor

Replacing Jesus with your Pastor

That’s a little bit of a click bait title but it is a solemn thought nonetheless. In the last four months I have done fairly extensive studies on the topics of Spiritual Abuse, Toxic Faith, Legalism, Cults (and what a cult is NOT), and Spiritual Authority – and the inverse of those, such as Abundant Faith, Submission in Liberty, Spiritual Family and Pastoral Guidance. What I have found is both concerning and promising!

Certainly, where humanity is involved, there is a propensity for error, trouble, conflict, strife, envy, pride, etc., yet God chose this vessel of humanity to both commune with and use as a tool for spreading that potential relationship to all peoples. In so doing, he used positions of servitude (Some Apostles, some prophets, some pastors, some teachers and preachers – Eph 4:11) to organize, protect and pursue that goal. As as in times of old, those positions have been misused, misunderstood, misappropriated or simply demeaned. How? Let’s find out.

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Put Your Money Where Their Mouth Is

Put Your Money Where Their Mouth Is

Yesterday I had a very provoking conversation with a man I respect about our Journeys of Faith, and what we believe ‘Being a Christian’ means. Eventually, we talked about money, offerings, the principal of tithing and where that money goes. We also talked about Western Christianity not fully understanding what suffering was as opposed to people living in what we call third world countries and how suffering has always made Christianity thrive.

Recently I’ve struggled internally to decide what to do with my money. This is a controversially topic I realize…mess with peoples money and you’ve opened a can of worms…yet, Jesus hit this topic head on in many examples, and it leaves me wondering, Why didn’t we listen?

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You should know what you Believe

In my very short 39 years on this earth I have discovered a simple truth; That common sense, facts and reasoning have no place in a belief held by emotion. A mentor of mine early in my professional career repeatedly told me, “What you believe with emotion is reality regardless of whether or not it actually is.” If you have been made to, or conditioned yourself to believe something absolutely, no amount of evidence will change your mind, and only because you don’t want it to.

Another example is how you can tell a childhood story so many times that in your mind you can see the scenario play out with perfect remembrance – but at the family reunion your sister tells you that’s not what happened at all! We’ve probably all experienced that but it teaches a valuable lesson – what you believe with emotion becomes reality.

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Pure Religion and undefiled before God

Have you ever asked yourself the question, what is ‘religion’ supposed to be? You know, there is a Church on every corner, commercialized nearly as well as Starbucks. Each flavor has its own ideals of how Church is done, the ceremony, the structure of a service, the ideal way to dress, behave, proper community interaction, why type of music they imitate in worship, even what kind of worship is acceptable.

Yet, having removed myself from organized church and instead focused myself on Christ, Him crucified (I Cor 2:2) and His Word, a new idea has been forming in my prayers, my heart and in my devotion times. I’ve started seeking the what to do comments in the Word instead of the what not to do. I found Pure Religion.

“Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world.” – James 1:27, AMP

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The Marks of Spiritual Leadership

Recently I was introduced (by a follower of this blog) to a list of Scriptures that does a wonderful job of displaying what Jesus’ disciples were meant to look like, how they were to behave and how they modeled Christianity to the flock – the saints of Christ.

It is no surprise that leadership is often perverted, in all areas of life, secular or spiritual, even by those with the best intentions. Leaders are comprised of humans, and we know power corrupts humans, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Yet, the Scripture, if we would but study to show ourselves approved unto God, and follow it, rightly dividing it, we would be able to keep ourselves from those traps.

Do not let yourselves be called leaders or teachers; for One is your Leader (Teacher), the Christ.” – Matthew 23:10, AMP

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The Gospel++

The idea that the Gospel (The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord) is enough to save you and I, as New Testament believers, is something of a foreign concept – to me.

Looking at the Gospel, how it was defined in Scripture, by the Apostles, most notably Paul, shows that it is not some mystery, hidden in Scripture or shrouded behind magical wards that requires certain steps to reveal – anymore. It was plainly revealed in Christ, made known to all men both by the miracles of Christ’s resurrection and the spreading of the Gospel among all nations.

So What Is the Gospel?

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Exposing the Spiritually Abusive Trap System

One of the books I’ve read twice since January of this year is The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen. This incredibly insightful book keeps me nodding and whispering ‘yes…that’s right’ nearly every page. Of course there is no broad brush that can cover every scenario and system, but this book does an excellent job exposing something that I had no idea existed, was so rampant, or widespread, until I left it.

jronaldleeWhat is most staggering about this topic is that we become so conditioned to the environment we are in (if you are in an abusive system), we are nearly incapable of realizing we are in a trap! We know of course know the old analogy of the Frog in the pot of water…the temperature of the water rises so slowly that the frog eventually boils to death, become accustomed over time to the temperature. This of course is an analogy and doesn’t actually work, but the principle does.

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Out of Context: Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Recently my mind hovered on this verse, Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” and a question came to mind…Is Jesus not around if I’m by myself? Is my faith ineffective if I pray to the Lord when no one else is with me? If I worship God in my car while driving, or in my home office, does this mean He isn’t with me? What if there is four, five or more gathered together? Is that too much?

We of course know this isn’t true, Jesus dwells in the heart of each man and women of faith. He promised to hear the prayers of each saint. He promised that if he could clothe the lily of the valley and feed the sparrow, how much more would he care for each of his children. So then why do we use this verse so out of place? Probably because the wording fits a modern narrative.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20, KJV

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Keeping Christ’s Commandments

So far, a lot of my writing has been pretty heavily focused on legalism and my escape from it. I’ve written titles like The Commandments of Men and Are Spiritual Leaders requiring Too Much?, but I also want to recognize and focus on the fact that Christ does indeed have commandments for New Testament believers to follow.

Our Christian walk is filled with questions. Just type into Google search ‘is it ok for christians to…’ and look at all the results or auto suggestions. There is a plethora of do and do not’s, both Biblical, and an unending tide of opinion. But one thing is true, the Word.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. – John  14:15, KJV

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