Showing posts with label Insight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insight. Show all posts

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Where Is That Church's Cross?

I enjoy contemporary churches and modern-day worship. What I don't like is that so many church building designs have removed the symbol of the Cross of Christ. It's just a religious icon to many and we are also told in the Word to not embrace anything as an idol. A cross on a church building is special to me though.

Whether at the top of a steeple or on the façade of the church structure, a cross is regal and dignified. It lends an air of holiness to the property. Approaching a church and looking up at a pristine cross always leads me to think of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and all that he did for me at Calvary. Whether white, silver or colored, a cross is a lovely symbol of the righteousness that I now have through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I have seen new-construction churches without a cross included in the outside design.




Many churches today are also housed in unusual structures like shopping centers and storefronts. Some church organizations acquire buildings that were not previously churches. Sometimes these churches erect a cross somewhere on the non-traditional structure or they include it in a renovation. They too value the comfort of the symbol of Christ's obedience to his Father. They want to see it whenever they enter their house of worship.

Some church designs have the cross included but in an inconspicuous way. You have to look closely to see it. What is the purpose of it if it is not obvious? The symbol of our Lord's sacrifice should not be hidden.


I can have a wonderful time of worship and be just as blessed in a church building without a cross on it but I would miss it. Think about the classic brick or wooden church building with the very tall, slender, white steeple piercing the blue sky. What is at the pinnacle of that steeple? A small, white, perfect cross, symbolizing the pure perfection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. So beautiful to behold! 




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All images in this post are from Google.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

To Be Right Or To Be A Light?

The problem is that we want to be right instead of letting our lights shine. Being right means to be drawn into debates and arguments with people who wrongly criticize us. It can lead us to discouragement and neglect on the path that God has us on. When we argue and retaliate with those who subtly and covertly attack us we are basically agreeing with them. 

Letting our lights shine means to overlook the negative criticism and oppression of others and to respond kindly. It means to keep doing what we're doing and to stay in the center of the path that God has us on. We are to keep pressing on and to not look to the right hand or the left. This means to not get involved with defending ourselves and repaying evil for evil by cutting others down in like kind. 

You know what that statement says, The greatest revenge is massive success!"  We shouldn't be focused on revenge at all because that belongs to God. That quote is simply a soothing balm and positive motivation to not waste time and energy debating and retaliating. We need to keep to the mission or business that God has given each of us. Being the light means to respond to attempts to stop us with Godly grace, prompted by the Holy Spirit and to keep moving forward and looking ahead. Who cares about being right when there are so many benefits to being a light?





Sunday, November 27, 2022

God's Way Of Doing Things

God's way of doing things is the very best way. We can only learn what his way is by seeking his face everyday. We have to spend time with him in the ways that are available to us. We need to be consistent and persistent. How do we seek his face and learn his ways? We read his Word, The Holy Bible, everyday and we talk to him everyday.

Before we read the scriptures, we ask Our Father to illuminate his scriptures for us. To give us revelation knowledge through his Word. We ask for the ability to rightly divide the Word of Truth. We thank him for breaking up the stony ground of our hearts so that his Word can enter in, take root and bear much fruit. We thank him for transforming us through his Word and helping us to rightly divide it. We ask him to give us discernment of his Word so that we can apply it to our lives in a practical way. We confess that we want to see circumstances and people in the way that he sees them. Most of all, we thank him for helping us to see our lives and ourselves in the way that he sees us. We make sure that we open the Bible every day and read something, no matter how much or how little.

The second way to seek God's face is to meet with him and talk with him everyday. There are 3 types of prayer that will help us to understand God's way of doing things, formal prayer to God, conversation with God and listening to God in quiet time. Formal prayer is when we have a format in which we pray. It is a rotating combination of words, phrases, scriptures and favorite statements that we give to God at a specific time of day. This is the prayer that we pray each day, such as in the morning when we commit our way to him before we face the world. 

 

Though it consists of our favorite format, it shouldn't be repetitive, traditional or ritualistic. The word tells us that our traditions and rituals make his word of no effect. (Mark 7:13)  The most important use of the formatted prayer is in committing our path to God at the beginning of each day. Our formatted prayers are not enough to learn God's way of doing things because they consist mostly of us talking. While commitment and statements of confession are very important to our growth, there is a more important way of seeking God's face.

We need to have conversations with God throughout the day. This is when we talk to him candidly and openly. We revere him as Our Heavenly Father but we talk to him as a friend. If you want to pray and talk to Jesus, that is ok because Jesus is God also. For me, I find that praying and talking to God works better. I also talk to Jesus and thank him for many things. Because God is the one who sent Jesus to shed his blood and have his body broken for us and who raised Jesus from the dead, who cares for me and has numbered the hairs of my head, and is my only Heavenly Father, spending time with him and committing all to him works best for me. 

Jesus is Heir To The Throne and I am joint heirs with him. I will rule and reign with him and without him I can do nothing, so my relationship with The Lamb of God is just as important, but different. It is God's Holy Spirit that bore upon me so that I could accept Jesus as my Savior and it is God The Father who holds the time of Jesus' return. The most important things about my existence and origin I can attribute to God but not to Jesus. It is through Jesus' obedient sacrifice that I am able to seek God's face but God sent Jesus so that I could be restored to fellowship with him, God The Father. (I Peter 1:21)

When we have conversations with God throughout the day we should simply tell him our feelings, our hopes, our confusions our angers. Yes, he knows our thoughts, our hearts, but building a relationship means that we need to tell him about our lives. Our father wants to commune with us, laugh with us, cry with us, share with us. Many of us don't know how it is to have a real father, so we have to learn, to practice having a true, pure, holy relationship with God. 

We've seen TV programs and movies where fathers were loving and kind. We can take cues from them on how to cultivate a loving, sharing relationship with Our Father. It's just a matter of pretending that he's there, imagining him listening, seeing in our minds' eye him nodding his head, choosing to believe that he's answering and conversing. As we reach out he will help us and make it real to us. Before long, we'll look forward to sharing with him day and night. 

The third type of prayer is to be quiet and just listen for the still, small voice of God's Spirit to talk to us. For me, this is the hardest. It's difficult to quiet the mind talk. To not be distracted. I try to sit somewhere quiet, where I can look at the sky if I can. I have chosen to sit 15 minutes each day and just listen for God's voice. Very few people would hear him in the beginning of the process. It takes time, patience and commitment. It takes time to be able to truly quiet our minds. Don't worry if you don't hear anything for a long time. The most important thing is to have this quiet time before God as often as you can and to stick with it. The reward will come. Our Father is faithful!

Seeking God's face to learn his ways makes all the difference in appropriating and manifesting his promises that we find in The Bible. It's one thing to be saved. It's another to live in the fullness of God. Getting closer to him and sharing with him is a peaceful place, not only to learn his personality, but for restoration. We begin to recognize his ways of doing things in our lives and can work with him, not against him. We enjoy going to a place where we can bare all, be exactly who we are and know that we are loved deeply, no matter what. 



Sunday, October 16, 2022

From Emotional To Equipped

Sincere Christians learn not to build their faith on passion, enthusiasm, excitement, dancing and shouting. Why? Because these emotions are not lasting. They are of the flesh, which does not become converted when we are born again. These emotions will let us down every time and cannot stand against the onslaught of demonic assault. 

Emotional displays have no lasting value, neither do they store up riches in heaven. So, once we shout, once we feel some passion, once we experience a touch of euphoria, we have our reward. It's in the flesh and it's fleeting. It's based on how we feel and emotional excitement. While an intense, outward display of worship, praise and appreciation is sometimes needed, there is no foundation in it.

There can be necessary healing and deliverance in emotional outbursts and praises. I needed them very much after a lifetime of oppression and depression. Often, new Christians and Christians who have not grown need to have those initial releases to move forward. There is a point, however, that as we grow in God we move past the need to be so outwardly explosive in worship. We can still relate to and appreciate others who are at that point of Christian growth, but the majority of our power begins to be built up inside.

This emotional power that turns inward becomes concentrated in the heart, the mind and the spirit. Inwardly is where the true battlegrounds against the devil exist. When we begin to understand this truth, we are no longer compelled to expend precious energy in outward displays. We realize that outward expenditure is based in the flesh and leaves us nothing to rely on when we are in the trenches of spiritual battle. A built up mind, heart and spirit can work with God's mighty weapons of warfare as we become less emotional and more equipped. 

These thoughts came to me after listening to this message by Dr. Dale C. Bronner, pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral. He is such a good speaker, knowledgeable, quietly powerful, succinct and anointed. I'm sure you'll be blessed by this message.

Dr. Dale C. Bronner is a bishop, church planter, author, conference speaker and leadership trainer. He is the founder and senior pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral. He was consecrated as Bishop by the International Communion of Charismatic Churches. Bishop Bronner resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife, Nina, Pastor of Worship and Arts at WOF. He is the father of five and grandfather of eight.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Wisdom For Life's Trials: Dr. Charles Stanley On What It Means To Count It All Joy

In this 30 minute message, Dr. Charles Stanley helps us to understand what God means when he tells us to count it all joy when we struggle and suffer in difficult times.

It really blessed me, especially when he said that God knows that we don't like him at all at certain times. When he said that we may as well tell God exactly how we feel because he knows anyway, that is a practice that I've developed.

When I pray and throughout the day as I talk to Our Heavenly Father, I share with him exactly how I feel about everything. It takes such a burden off of me. I'm still working on doing better.

We, in this world, have been so used to shouldering feelings and attitudes that it's automatic. Just like when we attempt to solve our issues ourselves, we just don't think about telling God. When we have bad feelings, we don't think about telling him.

I don't lift up any preacher, teacher, pastor, minister or anyone with a Christian title as being a model of perfection. I don't promote anyone who shares Christian knowledge as someone whom everyone should listen to and follow. I do enjoy sharing messages, and occasionally music, when I am blessed.  

Dr. Stanley has always had such a calm and comforting voice. He is a teacher who will help you ascend to the next level of your walk with Christ. I like to learn from his son also, Andy Stanley. This is an interesting story that defined his impression of his father.


His dad was the Associate Pastor of First Baptist in Atlanta when the senior pastor was asked to resign. Charles Stanley was asked to preach on Sundays until a suitable replacement could be found. As he preached, the pews began to fill, young couples started to return, the youth ministry started to grow and volunteerism grew to an all-time high. There was a new excitement in the church.

Yet some of the longtime members of the church resented Charles Stanley's growing influence and popularity. It didn't help that there was a grass roots movement started to elect him as pastor. The old guard thought he was too young, too evangelistic and too spiritual, emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus.

The powerbrokers started to politic to have Charles Stanley removed. People started to take sides. Two weeks before the vote to hire or fire Charles Stanley, Deacon Myers walked up to the pulpit as the Wednesday night service began. He started to talk about the growing controversy and as he did, horror upon horror, he used the word damn.

Charles Stanley calmly walked to the pulpit and said, Now you need to watch your language. With clinched fists the man responded, You need to watch yourself or you might get punched. Charles Stanley didn't back down or step away and then all of sudden Deacon Myers reared back and punched his dad.

His dad didn't retaliate. It was his dad's response to all this that marked Andy for life. He stepped right back up and stood by Deacon Myers. Andy Stanley said, In that moment I wanted to be that kind of man. From that moment on, it didn't matter what anybody said. Because actions speak louder than words.

That event revealed his dad's character. When we open the pages of scripture, we discover that character is defined by the very nature of Jesus Christ- a stumbling block for some but a rock solid foundation for others. Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost. Andy Stanle
SermonCentral 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Evaluating Our Relationships

It is critical to our growth in the Lord that we associate ourselves with people who uplift us. At the end of a conversation with someone, if we exit feeling down, disturbed and not quite right, we should be wary and watch closely. If this happens consistently, something is wrong.

It doesn't matter if we are praying for that person, always lifting them up and trying to be a Godly example and inspiration to him or her. If we don't feel elevated and at peace at the end of any encounter with them, our growth in God will be hindered. We hear the following statement often and we should take it more to heart. Some people we will need to love and pray for from afar.

How often do we ignore this truth in the name of being good Christians? We are good Christians when we attend to our own advancement in the Lord first, at all costs. We are good Christians when we guard our hearts with all diligence. Our Father does want us to come to him with broken spirits and broken and contrite hearts but not through being ignorant about our detrimental relationships with others.

There is no doubt about it; we need to discuss with God if we should be closely associated with these types of persons. The ones whom we need to love and pray for from afar are the very persons who drain our spirits, depress us and prey upon us, whether purposely or unintentionally. It is difficult to deny these people access to our lives when they continually burden us with the same conversations, the same complaints and the same attitudes.

When we realize, however, that they never take our Godly advice and that they never do what we suggest to resolve their own issues, it becomes clear that our relationships with God are being eroded through our relationships with them. They are toxic relationships, a form of being unequally yoked. If we persist in the belief that we are slowly influencing them and that we are long-suffering for good, then we need to think long and hard and often about the wisdom of that train of thought. 

Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits. (I Corinthians 15:33)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (I Corinthians 5:6)

We have to also be sure that WE are uplifting to others. If we are critical of them, unfairly judgemental, always oppressive, non-receptive to learning from them, bearers of bad reports, complainers, holier-than-thou, etc., then maybe we should be removed from their lives through their own recognition of the truth. It works both ways. 

If we ask, God will give us seeing eyes and hearing ears to honestly evaluate our relationships so that we can walk in the light. The purity of our close associations is paramount to maintaining and strengthening our connection to God. Healthy relationships inspire and motivate us to higher heights in Christ Jesus.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)





Thursday, August 26, 2021

Is It All REALLY Working Together For My Good?

Sometimes, the trials that God turns into good for us we may never discern.

Often, this converting of these tribulations on our behalf moves into the realm of the unseen.

They can be the good that God does for us of which we are unaware.

We have faith that he does these things because the Word tells us so.

We may not always see the outcome of God working all things together for our good but we have testimonies of the times when we experienced proof that he did.

We also know that we live among bountiful blessings from our Heavenly Father every day.

 Any one of those unrecognizable daily blessings could be a conversion of bad to good, just for us.

Romans 8:28


 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Walking With Christ: Esther From Germany Shares A Few Thoughts

We draw closer to God through the reading of his word for ourselves and in having faith in him alone.

Growing spiritually requires dying to our flesh daily. It isn't easy but our willingness to please God gives room for the Grace of God to help us grow spiritually and to overcome our weaknesses.
Regarding age difference and marriage, the Lord knows our needs. His will concerning this area in our lives, regarding a Christian partner, will be done.
 
As Christians, we are supposed to be dating with a purpose. Sadly in today's society, not a lot of Christians see it that way. They have fully embraced the way of the world when it comes to dating.
There are many new, born again Christians out there but unfortunately many are being continuously fed milk instead of hard meat. They totally depend on the pastor, not reading the Bible for themselves.
 
Many of these new Believers still believe that fornication is okay in the eyes of God. 
One of the problems with new generation Christianity is that they are not rooted in God's Word. They are sensitive and easily offended at the same time. They think it's okay to keep having a little bit of the world and a little bit of Jesus.
 
They think the Grace of God is there to continue to endure willful sin. When someone tries to show them light in those areas, they scream don't judge me.
 
See Esther's mini-bio below.
 
 
 
Esther is 43, single/never married and she has no children. She lives in Fürth, Bayern (Bavaria) Germany and is a Christian who fervently loves the Lord. She works with elderly nursing home residents who are living in their final stages of earthly life and are in need of full support and assistance, including palliative care, on a daily basis. Esther shares about her personal life and relationship with God:
 
My last romantic relationship was 7 years ago and I was unequally-yoked. I remember while taking a shower that I told God I was going to totally commit my life to Him. I vowed that the next relationship I became involved in was going to be courting to get married. I promised my Heavenly Father that I was going to honor His word and not defile myself again with sexual sin, which the Bible calls fornication. By God's grace, I will not have an intimate relationship again until after I am married. 
 
I came to a point in my life where I decided that if I am going to fully dedicate my life to Christ, I would have to let go of one very obvious sin. I was a slave to the sin of fornication. That turning point was 7 years ago and I have never looked back. My relationship with Jesus has grown ever since, through His grace.
 
My relationship with Christ is my top priority and means everything to me. The more I see how the devil has perverted marriage in our world today, the more I am becoming focused on living for Christ. The shocking part is that I have actually met single men who professed to be Christians but confessed that they can't wait for marriage in order to have sex. They have accused me of being too "religious and extreme" because I have quoted scriptures which clearly state that fornication is a sin. Because of this, they deserted me.
 
I am very active in my local Church but since I started working full-time and studying, I have become less active. That has not, however, negatively impacted my relationship with Jesus.