Timothy 4:10 “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope
in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who
believe Part Two: Believe in God
believe in anything at all? I began with that line in the last chapter. Yet, to
the unbelieving world I am trying to be honest. Why bother? We have all heard
the stories of terrible religion. Doesn’t all religion tend to murder, sexually
abuse kids, and mishandle money? Don’t they? I do talk to people who would not
be caught dead in a church for those very reasons. Are they unfounded? I will
not defend how Christianity and religion has done business. Moving priests,
asking for forgiveness, and changing church names does not work well in the
public eye. Oh, the religious think it does.
have equally been annoyed with my own faith community. Do they have clicks? Do
they cater to the rich? Is some theology of God wonky? At times it’s a
resounding yes. Yet, I cannot throw the baby Jesus out with the bath water.
Yes, even if the bath water is muddy. Understand that the real Jesus tossed the
religious under the bus several times, just look at these two verses.
Matthew 23:13-14 ““Woe
to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of
the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will
you let those enter who are trying to.”
Matthew 16:23 “Jesus
turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block
to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
that your Jesus? Does your Jesus hold a lamb and say sorry a lot? I read this
tweet on Twitter and it about sums up how I feel towards organized religion.
This comes from theological Christian author Alan Hirsch “If you’re not
hanging out with sinners and pissing off religious people, you’re probably not
being very much like Jesus.” Yep, I get it. I also read him describing his
church this way. He saw God more in the back streets with the drug users and
prostitutes than in an established church. How so? Those people wanted Jesus
and appreciated Jesus far more than the wealthy did. Believing is about living
with God and not using him as a thing to wield.
is not saying your Catholic or Protestant. It’s not saying you go to church
every Sunday. Faith is not found in how many verses you know or how many times
you read the Bible. I sat with a lead Pastor in a wealthy church who said I was
way better off working in a church that being stuck in a low life job as a
Postal worker. Seriously? Are those types of jobs and people low life’s? Believing
is found in the people who need Jesus. Not the ones that say they know Jesus.
Quite frankly, Jesus would not be welcome in many churches. Believing will
always begin in your heart and not your head.
10:8-10 “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth
and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that
God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart
that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess
your faith and are saved.”
read through those verses. The heart must be first. Jesus even mentions that
what goes in the mouth is not half as bad as what comes out. The heart tells no
lies. Our words and actions do speak volumes. Should a pastor think anyone is
lower than him? It does not appear that I’m selling church, does it? What I am
selling is believing first, friends first, and people first. Just look at John
3:16. I know exactly why it’s so famous. “For God so loved the world, that
he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.” It begins with God so loved the world.
Did you know that God cares for the world? Not just the rich, poor, or certain
groups. God loves the world. Could you believe in a God who loves the world?
Could you believe in a God who would let his Son sacrifice himself to save that
world from judgment? I will guarantee that God and his kingdom do put people
arrogance, and entitlement run too deep in the organized church. They think that
just because they believe that they are the chosen ones. Yet, God so loved the
whole world, didn’t he? To have belief is to believe in the character of God.
The church is good, yet, at times, it does not look so good. Don’t throw the
church out with the bath water too. There are many good churches. However, to
the ones that suck, you need my list. What list?
is what makes believing strong. It’s four levels of love: God, family, work,
and church. The number one comes from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The
Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength.” Then take a look at Luke
10:27 “Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and,
'Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
God first then love your family like you love God. Love work like you love God.
Love the church like you love God. Yet, do it in that order. I am positive that
within many churches my list would never be accepted. Believing is not a thing.
It’s a lifestyle. To believe in God is to believe in his ways. To be like
Jesus. So, love God first. Then Love your family second with all your heart.
Thirdly love the sustainer of your family: work. Make work fun and a priority,
but it’s never above your family or God. Then love your church. Remember they
are people and not God. Never put work or the church ahead of God or your
family. So often people think believing is “in God.” Yes, but it’s about being
like God by loving what God loves: the world. Then you will believe that nobody
is a low life. That’s something I can believe in.
A Heart Like His… Good morning beautiful people. I meet so many beautiful people every day. Some folks I meet have become bitter. They have been on the path and they have been hurt. They feel like the black sheep in the body of Christ. It’s time for you to come back to the fold. Whether it was your own doing or that of the church body, it’s time to return. We are all a work in progress. I was…
John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on ME has everlasting life“ Many believers lack peace, because, instead of looking at the object of their faith, Christ, (His doing, dying, rising again and exaltation), they are looking within themselves trying to find something to give them rest. However, nothing within us, or that flows from us, can give peace to the guilty…
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Having a place of permanence in the middle of life’s uncertainties and having the assurance of God’s provision are based on two very clear principles: trusting in the LORD and doing good to others. When we live by those two commitments, we learn to depend upon God in fresh new ways that bring us refreshment, hope, and new joy.
Loving God, my Abba Father, I trust you with my life. I offer it to you as a living sacrifice to bring you glory and honor. As I do this, dear Father, I know you are rushing to meet me with your loving grace and love beyond compare. Thank you! In Jesus’ name I praise. Amen.