You Are Forgiven

1 John 1:7 NIV

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

So what does that mean exactly?

Here’s the dilemma; too many people have read the bible, or at least have heard testimony in worship.  They know what the bible says, yet they remain living the life they always led before.

“We are cleansed of our sins by the blood of  Christ.”  FORGIVEN

We can’t profess to be Christians and continue business as usual.  We are called to change and lead the lives we were created to live.  That is a life that far exceeds your wildest dreams! See Ephesians 3:20-21 [NIV]

The blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins; but not if we don’t accept the forgiveness that frees us from our past.  We are called to move forward to live the life we were promised after we’ve been forgiven.

Too many times we carry on and neglect to forgive ourselves.  If God can forgive our sins… why can’t we?  We’ve been given a new lease on life, free from our former selves, free from past regrets and mistakes and free to move forward.

So if you’re being held back because you aren’t able to forgive yourself or you fear others won’t forgive you… Let it go!  The ONE who matters is HE who offered you forgiveness in the first place.  Get over the past – you’ve been awarded a fresh start… all you have to do is accept it!

Do you have a church?  We encourage you to reconnect with your church and surround yourself with those who will embrace you and lift you up.

If you don’t have a church, start asking around and seek out a church you feel comfortable with – it’s’ important to find a church that is a good fit for where you are in your faith journey today.

If you’ve had a bad experience in a former church setting, don’t be afraid to seek out a new church; one that you can feel comfortable with even if that means looking for a new denomination.

Read the bible.  Don’t have a bible?  No problem!  If you have a smart phone [no pun intended – my phone is smarter than me!]. Get an app called BIOY – Bible in one year. It only takes about 30 minutes a day to read and this particular app offers insight and discusses their take on what they perceive the message of the day to mean.  This is a great resource to reconnect with the word of God!  It’s a good way to absorb and understand what was traditionally a rigorous book to get engaged in.

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A Matter of Heart

Have you ever looked someone in the

  eye and thought you could read the contents of their heart?  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s an eerie feeling to think you can read someone’s personal thoughts just by gazing into their eyes or by the look on their face.

Too often though, we learn after the fact that what we perceived in that moment was actually quite different from what the person genuinely thought at the time; looks can be deceiving.

Don’t get me wrong, there are those who are quite transparent when they communicate sincerely, but often times, we are guarded and don’t reveal our inner most thoughts so openly.

The content of our hearts reflects more than just our emotions; it reflects our state of mind and how we truly feel.  Only God truly knows the real content of our hearts; no sugar-coating here.  God holds the key that reveals our actual thoughts and therefore our actions.

1 Kings 8:39 tells us: Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart).

This verse can be a bit daunting when you think about it; after all, not all of us are completely transparent when communicating our true feelings. It’s become human nature to evade putting everything out on the table for all to see, hasn’t it?

Jeremiah 17:9-10 gets even more precise on the topic of honesty and sincerity:  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Did you catch that?  We are rewarded for our sincerity and actions; the Lord rewards good behavior.  And wouldn’t we all be better off if this world were more honest and sincere anyway? 

 So when we really get down to it, it makes sense that we would all benefit from better behavior.  The world we live in can seem rather broken at times.  We live in a world that evokes some seemingly callous and vile behavior patterns – so what would our world look like if we all stepped back and considered other people’s feeling before our own?  Seems like a better world already, wouldn’t you say?

Perhaps we as Christians could lead by example and show ‘em how it’s done…  I believe this world can be a better place; all we have to do is put our best foot forward and take one step at a time.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

Have you heard? Today – June, 26th 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for the Gay Community.

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of controversy over this subject; particularly within the Christian Community and beyond.

Some say it’s wrong or it’s a sin, while others say live and let live.

So as all the hoopla surrounds us, what are we to think?

Do we take sides?

Do we pass judgment?

Where do we go for answers?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I go to the bible for my answers;  even there, there’s controversy.

The bible clearly tells us that homosexuality is a sin. [See 1 Timothy 1:10]

On the other hand… the bible tells us not to judge others or we too will be judged.

Matthew 7:1-5 Tells Us: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

So what exactly does that mean?

Here’s my perception of this passage:

Jesus tells us anyone who judges will also be judged, because the person(s) judging believes they are without sin or at least not as sinful as those they pass judgment on; however the ultimate Judge is God; and God alone.

Matthew 6:14-15 Affirms: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

As for me?  I think I’ll just let God the Father decide who is worthy of judgment and I’ll keep my two cents to myself.

Luke 12:1-3 Advises Us: “Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

In other words, if you have ever been guilty of sin [and let’s face it; we all have – no getting around it], you can’t hide your guilt in a closet because it will be revealed for the whole world to see.

Personally, I don’t feel it’s my place to judge others; God knows, I’m anything but perfect and far be it for me to imply I may be better than anyone else… let’s just say I don’t want to go there.

I could go on and on discussing my views on this topic; but I think it’s best that I don’t.  Therefore, in conclusion, I think it’s in our best interest to leave any criticism to HE who is worthy to criticize.

On that note, I’m going to pray for peace and acceptance between my brothers and sisters in Christ and hope for understanding between those with different opinions of what is right or wrong. 

Lord, may you fill us with your grace and peace and allow us to interact in unity rather than condemnation. In Christ Jesus name I pray. Amen


Is Christianity for Me?

I’ve encountered my share of skeptics; in fact I was the leader of the pack back in the day.

So what exactly is it that makes us skeptical?

At one time, my son would suggest the Bible is a farce that contradicts itself repeatedly… and at one time I would have agreed wholeheartedly!  So why the change now?  Well I guess that doesn’t really matter since I am now a self proclaimed believer.  Why?  Because I took the time to seriously read and study the Bible; and when I did, I learned a few things.  The more I read and searched for documented proof to prove my case, the more I found there was some merit behind what “believers” were saying.  I went so far as to search beyond the pages of the bible just to prove them wrong.  The first book (other than the Bible) I read was “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.  See for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Are you up for the challenge?

Are you willing to read the Bible to prove me wrong?

I accepted that challenge many years ago and the strangest thing happened… It literally changed my life!

Don’t have the time, you say?  That’s what I said too.

Do you have time to read five pages a day?  Because that’s all it would take to read the entire NIV Bible in just one year.

If you’re up for the challenge, do yourself a favor… do not; I repeat… do not start at the beginning in the Old Testament; anyone who has will almost never finish it.  Start with the New Testament and see if you can recognize how the Bible is still relevant today.

The Modern Day Disciple

I’m frequently asked What a Modern Day Disciple is; as if I’m speaking a foreign language. Well, just like the biblical meaning of discipleship, a Modern Day Disciple can be characterized as one who follows Christ and spreads God’s word. 

No… You don’t need to be a Clergy to be a Disciple; lots of Christians share 

Modern Day Disciple

 their faith and spread the good news liberally. Over the years, I have encountered infinite people that hadn’t attended church and I invited them to come to church with me; some accepted the invitation – some didn’t. If you’ve ever met someone who hasn’t experience a Christian lifestyle and you invited them to attend church with you; or go to a church event, you too are a Modern Day Disciple. There are countless people who were not brought up in a Christian household, but most likely they have been, or will be invited to church by a friend or social contact. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 emphasizes the importance of Christian Fellowship and making it a priority to meet and support others who share our faith; and isn’t that exactly what any friendship is all about. We stumble upon acquaintances and learn that we share common interests and beliefs; thus a bonded friendship is formed and our place of worship grows. Hebrews 13:15-16 goes on to say that through Jesus, we must always praise God and openly profess His name and share His good news. Romans 12:4-5 as well as 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 and 1 Corinthians 12:27 supports this theology by saying that the many members of one church belong to one another when they are transformed into one body. 

In Ephesians 4:11-15, the bible clearly conveys that Christ himself equipped his people to bring to light the body of Christ in unity and faith until we as a Christian community fully mature. 

John 15:5 reminds us of Jesus words saying that He is the vine and we are the branches; and goes on to say that apart from Him we can do nothing. As Jesus said, he built his church – Matthew 16:18 – and as 1 Peter 3:15 would suggest, it’s up to us as Modern Day Disciples to preserve it and keep it going.      

Jesus told his Disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation – Mark 16:15. The bottom line is, to the best of my knowledge, there are no reclusive Disciples in the Bible. We feed off the connections of others in our worship communities and we share our spiritual gifts with everyone we meet; just as Jesus’ Disciples did back in the day. 

So for those of you who did not consider yourself a Disciple before now, I would invite you to embrace your newfound Discipleship and go out into the world and invite someone to church; then continue to spread the good news as a Modern Day Disciple for Christ.