Category Archives: Kingdom Life

The Delicious Bible – Page 2

child3-worshipDelicious may sound like a strange adjective to describe the Scriptures.  However, I’ve found it to be highly accurate as a description.

Since this is the second installment in the “delicious Bible” series, you may wish to check out the first page here.

Delight Yourself In The Lord

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Especially In a culture of consumerism, a person will often see the last part of the phrase as their primary motivation… “Receiving the desires of one’s heart.”  And to tell you the truth, we all want to experience fulfilled desires.  Perfectly normal.

To better understand the thought of Psalm 37:4, it’s helpful to use an example from a healthy interaction between a parent and child.  Imagine the child in the picture is you child or grandchild.  Feel the tenderness that passes invisibly between you.  How does the warmth of that emotion affect you?

One time I was praying and I saw an inner picture of a small child kissing its father on the cheek.  I asked the Lord what the vision meant.  He said, “That’s how I feel when you come sincerely to me.”

Here’s where this verse of the Bible gets more delicious.  You see, the Hebrew word translated delight is a bit different than the English idea.  When I originally read that verse I thought of delight in terms of a concept.  To me it sounded like the Psalmist was saying, “Be pleasing to the Lord and He’ll give you your desires.”  That isn’t totally wrong except be pleasing is still a concept and sounds a lot like the sermons where you end up feeling guilty about this or that bad behavior and if you try harder you’ll get more prayers answered.

Be Like A Tenderhearted Child

Once I saw that the original Hebrew word for delight meant to be soft, delicate, or tender, I could imagine, ponder, and look deeply at the picture of a child being tenderhearted with their parents.  I imagined my own reactions to my children when they were tenderhearted vs. when they were obstinate.  It was easy to feel the difference in emotion and response toward them on my part.

Tenderness absolutely drew a “giving” response from my heart.   It’s true that I loved them all the time.  But, you and I both know there’s a difference in how one makes you feel over the other.  Imagine arms lifted in tenderness toward you.  Then imagine reaching down to pick up your child and they respond with a cold, “no!”

“Be tenderhearted, soft, and pliable with the Lord, as your Father.  It will delight His heart and bring about a tenderhearted response toward you.”

(Delicious Bible Continued)…

Gary

 

 

 

The Delicious Bible – Page 1

deliciousHow much more enticing and fulfilling would your experience with the Bible be if it were NOT seen as academic brain pinching labor? (Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.)

What if you anticipated your “Bible time” the same way you look forward to something delicious to the taste?

Second Question…

conversationHow much more would you look forward to devoting time to daily prayer if you saw it with the same anticipation as a stimulating conversation with a close friend?

God never intended that the two primary sources of relationship with Him (bible and prayer) would become a lifeless, guilt driven,  tasteless experience it’s become for so many.

Your Bible And Prayer Experience Can Be Transformed

Over the next several posts, I’d like to introduce you to some ideas that will help inject new life into your own experiences with the Bible and Prayer.  I’m not promising easy.  I haven’t completely arrived, myself.  However, I have made some discoveries that have launched me into a whole new arena of life with God.

I Stopped Studying The Bible

Yep.  I stopped studying the bible.  I traded in the idea of “studying the bible” for “searching for treasure.”  Sounds like I’m mincing words.  Maybe I am, but the “mindset” was important to my progress.

I Knew There Was More To Be Found

I became unsatisfied and bored with just scratching the surface of profoundly deep truth that points the way to the abundant life we seek.  I also decided that I couldn’t be satisfied with letting someone else chew all of my spiritual food for me.

So, I decided to use tools easily accessible via computer, smartphone, or an ipad type devise, and “bust open the books” and begin digging for hidden treasure.  You may already know what I will be sharing in the next several articles.  But, if not…hopefully this will help you search and find your own hidden treasures of abundance.

Let’s Take The Word, “Persuaded.”

My understanding of faith was injected with fresh life and richer depth when I discovered more elements behind the Bible word (Greek) “Persuaded.”

I discovered that it has more shades of meaning than to be convinced of something.  The Greek word is also used in the idea of making friends with someone.  And, it also contains the meaning, “tranquilize.”

I made the discovery on http://www.blueletterbible.org/

The essence of faith is being persuaded that all your life is bound up in the heart of God.  He is the Source of every solution.   Faith focuses on Him.  That focus of persuasion or conviction is the doorway through which His creative might flows into your circumstances.

Faith Is A Word Of Relationship

So, as I “chewed” on the phrase, ‘I am persuaded,’ I came to a richer understanding of faith.  I let the brushes of my imagination paint inner pictures of what it is like to pursue making friends with God and the Words of His mouth.  As with any good friend, I realized that the presence of a friend introduces a sense of peace (tranquilize).  The more I pondered and searched out practical visual applications, I saw how much the Lord yearns to be a friend that de-stresses my experiences with daily turmoil.

Now, I don’t study for doctrinally correct definitions.  I search for ever clearer descriptions of life with God.

And the sum of that is more stimulating conversations with Him.

(to be continued…)

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Speech Includes Prayer

Prayer 4 FreedomWhen I say, “Free Speech Includes Prayer” some will take me to mean that I’m saying that free speech includes the right to pray when and where a person or group desires.  That it should be within our realm of God given rights in a land of freedom. 

However, that is not the focus that concerns me as I jot down these few thoughts.  Because, you see, the freedom of prayer can never be taken from YOU.

We have a self-contained prayer sanctuary within our very beings.  It’s an invisible tabernacle that no power in heaven nor earth can legislate against.  It’s an inner chamber that only the individual, themselves, can silence.  It’s also the interior room that, by personal neglect, is full of spider webs and dusty drapes for too many.

It is often heard by the sincere activist that freedom will only be achieved by those who do more that “just pray.”  To that I heartily agree!  I also enthusiastically agree with John Bunyan who is quoted as saying,

      “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until after  you have prayed.”

I also agree with the Chronicler who stated, under God’s inspiration…

   “If my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked way, I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Free Speech Includes Prayer – Begins With Effective Earnest Praying

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much [in the dynamics of it's working]” (James 5:16.)

Effectual prayers of fervency must echo from the inner sanctuaries of the men and women who raise their throats in protest.  Otherwise the outcries will come to nothing more than death rattles falling on lost ground.

Once we’ve fervently prayed (not bitched to God and everyone who will listen) about the outrage of our national circumstances, we will find ourselves on ground where God can work with and for us.  Not before.

Last Thought:  God is smart!  When He says that national healing takes place when His people humble themselves and prayer and turn from their own wicked ways, He knows what He’s talking about.  It can’t be improved upon, nor side tracked.  I don’t care how right you may be in your words of outrage and protest.

Gary

 


 

Mental Logic Of Faith vs. Living By Inspiration

breathing-deepWe have the privilege and God-given instruction to “walk by faith and not by sight.” 

I tried that for many years.  I attempted to learn how to apply that to my life.  I would occasionally wonder why my “faith steps” didn’t seem to work very consistently.  I memorized the Scriptures.  I “declared and stood on them” to myself, others, and the devil.  But, then I made a discovery.

Walking By Inspiration

Although 2 Corinthians 5:7 (“We walk by faith and not by sight”) seems pretty clear, I wasn’t really correctly grasping the heart of its meaning.  In actuality I was attempting to engage the mental logic of faith.  I would read or quote scriptures and the various teachings I had learned.  I would then attempt to declare and command myself into a kind of “reasoned out” faith.  We, of course, have intellectual capacity.  In some way it’s always functioning.  At least we hope so :).

However, I needed a shift – a reorienting – in my process of thinking.  I began to realize that the substance of faith is born in the spirit world and not from the logical processing of anyone’s intellect.  In fact that “realization” was actually a revelation of the Holy Spirit.  It was not “my” brilliant thought up idea.  The Holy Spirit “breathed” that into my spirit and my mind picked up on the “sound of His breath” and translated it into words that I could understand with my mind.

Faith Is Spirit Matter.

From that point on, I began to learn how to listen with the ears of my spirit to sounds of the Holy Spirit breathing within me.

The Word of God tells us that the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit is through inspiration.  Inspiration literally means “God breathed.”  That is why I now say that I’m learning to live by inspiration.  

Let me clarify:  When I say that I’m learning to live by inspiration, many will repeat back to me,

“Yes, brother.  We must believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God!  And, I do live by that truth.”

I don’t only believe that the Bible is the inspired (God breathed) Word for me to depend upon. I know it’s “God breathed and profitable…”  But, the profit isn’t in trying to convince myself with powers of mental logic that it’s Truth.   I live by the reality that the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures, is the same Holy Spirit who is still breathing in me today.

Understand me clearly:  The daily sounds of His breathing will have the same sound as the Breath of the Scriptures.  But, let’s get real.  It’s easy to say that the Holy Spirit will never contradict the Bible.  But when we say that to people – although true – most of us don’t have a complete mental grasp of the totality of the Scriptures.  But, our spirits do perceive the sound of His breathing. 

The “tone” of fresh inspiration will not contradict what if “feels like” as you read the Scriptures and let the Scriptures read you.

Another Helpful Illustration

It’s really not a mystery.  You and I already know how to listen with our hearts instead of with our minds.  We automatically do it when we engage in a meaningful heart-felt conversation.  When we are conversing in the attitude of debate or defensiveness, it’s a battle between each other’s intellects.  When we care about the other person and want to know how they are feeling and what they are meaning, we listen with our hearts.  [You know the difference.  At least I hope so.]

So…let me put it this way.  In a heart-felt conversation, you are listening for the sound of the other person “breathing.”  You’re listening for their heart sounds.

It’s the same principle as we listen for Holy Spirit breathing within the center of our being.  It’s the same focus.  Practice that and you will grow in learning how to live by inspiration.

Since, I’ve had this re-orientation of walking by the breath sounds in my heart rather than the logic of my mind as my guide, I’ve had much more peace, and much more wisdom in the journey.

“Continually be transformed (improved from a lower to a higher state) by the renewal (re-orienting) of your mind” (Romans 12:1)  Change the focus of where you believe your power originates and live by that.  Let your spirit infused with the Holy Spirit tell you “what’s up.”

Gary

 

Returning To Our First Love

princeofpeace13What do you crave?  What is it that brings you lasting satisfaction?  Or…have you found many things that are momentarily sweet (like cotton candy); Things that ultimately leave you unsatisfied and allusively hungry…for what you’re not sure.

I’ve been there over and over again.  My vision still occasionally slips.  I get distracted by the most current “truth.”  Or, I momentarily slip back to focus on stuff that I’ve already realized, previously, falls short of true satisfaction.

Andre Lefebvre is a Facebook Friend.  He’s an excellent Psalmist, and we’ve had several enlightening social media conversations.  I saw a post of Andre’s recently that echoed truth in my heart.

     “I betrothed you to one Husband…and His name is not revival, His name is not the end-time move of God, His name is not Baptist, His name is not Methodist, His name is not Catch the Fire, His name is not John, it’s not David, it’s not Steve, it’s not Sally or Rachel – His name is Jesus.  I promised you to Him, and to Him along”  (David Ruis on 2 Corinthians 11)

The first thing I want to state is that I realize that “labels” are simply that.  Labels.  They help us to identify subsets of belief systems and people of like mind.  And, used in this manner, they are not necessarily bad in themselves.  And, my intention is not to be snarky. 

The thing that tugs at and resonates in my heart is that it is so easy.  So, so, easy to replace the person of Jesus with labeled identities.  I think the reason is because most of the labeled groups promote life giving truths about Him.  The Apostle Paul had the same issue with the Corinthian church.

“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?”  (I Corinthians 3:4)

“Am I not a mere human being?  Umm…yes, aren’t I?”  Apparently not.  Apparently one whose been born from above and given an eternal spirit and claims to follow Christ as his or her Leader is no longer “wired” to be a mere human being.  Therefore, we need to take care not to act like one.  Mere human beings get their identity from the groups they identify with.

Us…the “other class” of human beings are designed to get our identity from Christ, Himself.  We are also now “wired” to function as He would function.

Here’s the deal:

Jesus doesn’t associate Himself exclusively with the group with which you or I identify.  The scriptures display an example of Christ Jesus as one who embraces truth where ever and with whom ever it is located.  Jesus can often be found on the other side of the line that “mere humans” have drawn in the “us vs. them” distortion. 

I don’t believe that Jesus can best be found in any one sub group, denomination or ministry of the Church.  The entire Church is His body.  Each has it’s function according to Scripture.  No one part is better or more true than the other.  Therefore, in the same way as we should – and do – respect each part of our physical bodies, we must respect (I didn’t say tolerate) each other and worship the Head.

Okay, okay.  So you have personal body parts you don’t like so much.  :)  But, let’s get real…you respect it if it’s under the threat of pain or injury.  You may not appreciate some parts as much, but in very real ways you respect ALL of yourself.

We are promised to Christ, our Bridegroom.  May our chief belonging be to increasing personal knowledge of Him.  Not just stuff about Him.  May our primary pursuit and passion be to respect and find truth where ever it may be found.  May we also venture outside or “belief boxes.”  By the help of Holy Spirit, may we “belong ourselves” to Him. 

There are no substitutes that will bring abundant life!  Only direct identification with Him, personally…Our Primary Love!

Maybe…just maybe it’s time to grow up in Him rather than in our own group or ministry.  For real.  Not just because it’s the right thing to say.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  We’re in this together.   Please reply in comments.

Gary

 

 

 

Why Evangelism Often Fails And How To Change That

OK-Namaste-1 When I use the word, evangelism, I am defining it in broader terms than you probably expect.  Instead of narrowing the definition to the spreading of Christian doctrine, I’m including the energy behind promotion of anything you or I consider truth.  Besides the classical Christian idea, it would allow for ideas of healthy nutrition, proper child rearing, to political agendas.

Spoiler Alert:  We are visual people and you might assume that the picture in this article means that I’m going to be proposing that a lack of prayer is the cause for failure and more prayer is the solution.  “Praying Hands,” right?  Nope.

Everyone believes that their emphasis in any of their proposed areas are right, or “the most right.”  You and I may actually be right or “the most right” on any specific topic of importance.  But may I first suggest that a by-product of what the Bible calls “the flesh” is abundant in life.  It crisscrosses topics and cultures.  The flesh bows at the throne of “Being Right.”

It’s not anybody’s ambition to “be wrong.”  There’s no virtue in that.  Truth is truth and right is right.  And, I have been right too many times when I’ve actually been wrong because of the attitude behind my arguments.

Although we wouldn’t like to admit it (because a good debate can certainly feel good and on rare occasions actually influence changes in a few people’s thoughts, it more often creates a “winner/loser” divide.  It enforces an “us/them” mentality.  One that may not have even been intended.

With me, it’s not because my positions of truth have been wrong (in my imagination, anyway).  And, I certainly didn’t want to cause yet another “me/them” divide.  But, something inside of me would raise it’s ugly head with a self-deceiving righteous mask.

I just had to prove that I was right.  It rankled me (my flesh) to be opposed.  And let me tell you, once the “I’m on the right side” battle starts, there remains very little room for each party (or observing parties) to even be understood.  People begin interpreting each others words based on their own biases.  Major Fail!

So, now to the image (above) of what was thought by many to be “Praying Hands.”   It’s actually the image of a practice called Namiste.  You’ll often see it in oriental cultures.  In fact Namiste is a part of Hindu influenced practices.  (Now, if you are a Follower of Christ, your antennae just shot up.)

Chill.  I’m not suggesting that anyone adopt a Hinduism belief system.  I do not agree with Hindu spiritual propositions.  However, Namiste, in it’s most basic definition means, “I bow to you”  Hinduism has extended the idea to “we bow to the god in each other.”  That is not what I am proposing…(read on)

However, at it’s essence, there is a humility and respect for the individual that is being promoted and I firmly believe that is Christ-like and much of the solution to extensive failure and relational injury in evangelism (both Christian and other life truths.)

If the person you’re talking to actually feels like you respect them and that you sincerely want to hear the heart of why they believe what they do, then they will be far more open to hearing your position.  Sowing and reaping.

Do you want to win arguments/debates or do you want to win souls?  Because you see, even when you are “winning your point” you’re touching the sensitivities of a human soul.

Whether your “evangelism” involves Christianity, life and emotional/physical values, or politics, the larger picture will only be successfully won a “soul bite” at a time.  Trampling with truth will never result in genuine wins.  As I said in a Facebook status update at Easter, “Resurrection life follows the most right person’s choice to die to the demand of being right.”

And that’s my thought for today.  AND I’M RIGHT D*%M IT! :)   Okay, that’s……umm…well if I have to explain the tongue in cheek, I’ve probably already lost, eh?

I’d love for you to chime in.  Reply or comment!  

Gary

 

 

What Is “Believing Into” Jesus?

princeofpeace13I’ve asked the question, “What is believing into Jesus.”  A followup question might be, “And, why is that important?”

I believe the God Kind of Cultural Revival depends on it.

At whatever age we were, we began learning things “about” Jesus, and God, and sometimes the Holy Spirit.”  To believe “about” someone or something is the important first step.

For some folks, much later and for others pretty quickly there became a distinction between believing “about” and believing “in/on” Jesus.   I don’t want to split hairs because I realize that there are people that combined “about” and “in/on” more instinctively.  I think I did that.  But, as I began to ponder on the differences, my faith in Jesus was enriched.

A person can believe “about” someone or something and have no real personal connection at all.  About makes no personal demands.  However, believing in/on Jesus becomes personally applied truth.

However, I discovered there’s another way to believe.  This way has begun the real “revival journey” with the Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  It is the forever penetrating revelation of “Believing Into Jesus.”

As I’ve already indicated, “about” is, by nature, more impersonal.  Believing in or on Jesus means that we now believe that Jesus is true to His word and will make His promises personal for me and my life.  I can count “on” Him as my personal Lord and Savior.

Believing “into Jesus” is something like the phrase from the movie Avatar, “into you I see.”  Believing into Jesus takes me to a place in my relationship with Him that I begin seeing through His eyes, hearing through His ears, feeling and knowing with His heart. 

As this begins to happen (by my desire combined with the  revelation of the Holy Spirit) the world begins to take on a different appearance.  It begins to have a different sound.  We begin to have a different kind of heart stirring. 

Believing “into Jesus” causes our hearts to begin shifting  priorities.  We begin to discover that the issues we thought were of utmost importance are in a different order than they had been.

Believing “into Jesus” ushers into us the deepest realms of revival that ultimately transforms a culture.   

Gary

 

The Holy Spirit Twiddles His Thumbs

Twiddle ThumbsYesterday, during our worship service, I had an inner image settle on my heart.  I “felt it” more than I saw it as a clear picture.

It was of the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs.

The next thing that flashed in my minds was, “Okay, that’s pretty strange!”

I said to myself, “What’s that all about?  It certainly doesn’t seem very scriptural.  The Holy Spirit wouldn’t be twiddling His thumbs”

Obviously it wasn’t a doctrinal statement about a characteristic of the Holy Spirit.  Instead He was using symbolic imagery to communicate a practical truth. 

Through this strange image, He was saying, “I’ve been given to the Father’s sons and daughters so that they may experience the promise Jesus made of an abundant life.  But, I’m not being given anything to do.”

We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that God expects us to live the Christian life out of our natural abilities.  The fact is that our part is not to initiate, but to respond.  Jesus said that He watched and listened to the input of the Holy Spirit for His marching orders.  We have the same calling with the same backing as Jesus had when He walked this earth.

We believe in “the doctrine” of the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit.  But, we don’t often have a “working knowledge” of how to respond to Him.  On one hand it’s rather mysterious in how “we and He” work it all together.  Yet, on the other hand, it’s pretty straight forward.

I’ve come to the practical understanding that the Holy Spirit is my best friend here on earth.  Most of my prayers now days are directly to Him.  I’ve come to understand that He is my eyes and ears to connect to the invisible world of Spirit.  The eyes of my spirit and His are fused into one.  That truly is a mystery.  I can’t explain how.  But they are.  The same is spiritually true about the ears of my spirit and His ears to hear Spirit world sounds.

My natural eyes are connected to my brain, as are my natural ears.  The eyes and ears that are of a great deal more importance are the Spirit/spirit connection.

Here’s one example that I’ll end this post with.  It was during worship that I received this spiritually generated impression.  So, let’s talk about the “worship connection.”

We think we are supposed to summon all of our natural abilities and do the best we can to offer worship unto the Lord.  There’s a part of that that has truth to it.  However, what we employ naturally is to be a response to what we “see/sense” is happening in our “gut.”  Then we cooperate with that.  We do that.  We respond to that.

It starts with a prayer something like this, “Holy Spirit, please show me my part in heavenly spirit led worship today.  I’m letting you take the lead.  I will respond to what you show me.”  

This is where any number of things my happen…occur…become felt by you.  However it won’t happen in your brain.  It’ll happen in the center of your being…in your gut.  Respond to that.  You’ll have the best worship experiences when you approach it with the Holy Spirit leading the way.   This description is basically a pattern that can be applied to most anything in your day.

Is the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs with you?  Are you giving Him anything to do?  Or are you living more or less a “mere man” life?

Gary

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Rock and Hard PlaceBetween a rock and a hard place.  Yep.  Been there.  Done that.  Better said, “Sometimes still doing that.”  Any you know what?  I’ve gotten the t-shirt.  Not just any old “T” mind you.  I have one of the special designer models.

Now, those pressure points always work out for my good.  Although there have been times I thought I would die of old age first :)

So, what am I learning that is propelling my journey in an upward spiritual momentum? 

1.  Tight places are common to life.  Accept it.  Deal with it.  And keep moving forward rather than getting stuck in the “I’m a victim” quick sand.

2.  Tight places accompany a God-sized vision.  Dreaming a dream that’s actually going to amount to anything – and acting on that dream – is seldom (if ever) going to be a walk in the park.  So, keeping your eyes on Jesus and the goal He set before you is vital when the “kitchen heats up.”

3.  Tight places taunt you with discouragement.  Shake it off.  Lift your eyes.  Otherwise, the nasty critters that discouragement opens the door to make things worse.  There is no temptation that isn’t common to man.  Step over it and take the next most practical step.  You can’t control the other people that are affecting your story.  Keep your eyes fixed only on controlling your own thoughts and actions.  God is always BIGGER.

4.  Tight places are sometimes the result of our own lack of applying ourselves to wisdom.  There is definitely a time for action on our part, but my weakness has tended to being too quick on the draw.  I get a bright, glorious God idea, and forget that God, Himself laid the foundations of the earth (His own vision).  Proverbs 3:19   The process of wisdom comes, itself, from God.  But, there is always a process.

5.  Tight places are the laboratory of growth.  I have never been through a pressure point without it producing positive growth in my relationship with God and those around me.  Well…that is…the tight places where I’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to be my guide.  The “exits” produced by my own cunning?  No so much.

6.  Tight places have the potential of keeping us focused on our purpose.  As we walk through our earthly journey, we often need reminded that God has given us an assignment.  And that assignment is to bear good fruit.  When we get our eyes off of our assignment and onto our displeasure with the struggle and attempting to find the first exit (that God doesn’t make)…then the space between the rock and the hard place becomes a torture chamber for our souls.

Are you in a tight place today?  Does it seem like there’s no way of escape?  Does God seem to have abandoned you to tough it out?  

Is it possible that you are in a similar situation that the Apostle Paul encountered when he prayed three times for escape and God said…Nope.   Remember…

Paul wrote his great thorn message after he had discovered the answer.  His story is a living testimony that God’s counsel hit the nail right on the head.  He discovered the glory of Christ’s power within him to produce eternal fruit in all circumstances.  He didn’t need the circumstances (thorns) removed to overcome them.

“Lord, I want to do what’s important to you, today.  I want to bear the fruit you intend instead of insisting on an escape route.  I want to learn to be content, in You, in whatever circumstance I’m in until the day Your hand delivers me….to another place of fruit bearing.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

How You Believe May Be Your Problem

Fist on tableWe all believe things.  It comes as natural as breathing.  We were created by God with that “DNA.” 

I gave a message several years back entitled, “Faith Is Easy.”  The key thought was similar…but different…to today’s post.  The message was that the believing part is the easy part.  The problem arises with the “what” part.

The first cousin to the “what” part of believing is the “how” we believe what we believe.  In my experience, most people fall into one of two categories…or a little of both.

  1. “I believe it this way and you believe it the wrong way”
  2. “You believe  it that way, but the way I believe is better?”

The deadly problem with both of those scenarios is that each thought or statement is too often born from a sense of superiority.  The result:  Deafened ears to the beat of each others hearts.  And…God made us to need each others heartbeats to find abundance for ourselves (and each other.)

“But…but…but…I’m not going to be pushed around by every wind of doctrine!”

Me neither.  I believe a firm foundation of healthy God centered beliefs is very important.  But, this is what I’ve learned…and am still learning:

“The gentle breeze of a peaceable attitude is far more effective in communicating truth than the scorching winds of a blowhard.”

I’ve also discovered…and am still discovering that some of the “biblical positions” I defensively held were not necessarily inaccurate.  But, they were waaaaay incomplete.

Paul tells the Ephesian church that Jesus came with a wrecking ball.   (You’ll find that in your favorite Ellis Amplified Translation).   He came to destroy the wall between Jew (the right people) and the Gentile Pagans (the wrong people.)

Too many years have been spent in Christianity (the people that supposedly know the heart of God) reconstructing what the cross demolished.  And the thing that has made that a doubly deadly pursuit is that it feeds the haughty spirit that drives the whole endeavor.

Being tossed back and forth without a stability in one’s foundations is not healthy.  Do those things that will continually nurture your love for God…AND…for your neighbor. 

Because guess what?

The Bible is a sword to defeat your true enemy…the devil.  It was never intended to be a weapon to wield against flesh and blood. 

Here’s one closing thought:

I know some self-proclaimed atheists who act more like Jesus demonstrated in the Scriptures than those who claim to be His “right ones.”  Do I believe Atheism is a good choice, or even the right one.  Nope.  Not at all.  But, do I believe in respecting a self-proclaimed atheist and earn the right to express the virtues and values of Christ-life to him or her.  Yep.  Absolutely.

Be careful lest you find Jesus on the other side of the line you’ve drawn between you and someone else.  It may not be truth that is dividing your relationships with others.  How you blieve may be your problem.

Please feel free to add to the conversation below:

Gary