December 12 2016

Keep Christ In Christianity

Today as I drove by the little church in my neighborhood, I just had to read their sign and laugh. They change it up often, usually to something humorous and thought provoking. Today the sign read “Keep Christ in Christianity”. I thought it was going to read something like “Keep Christ in Christmas”, so I was surprised by the statement. Why would a church have to tell Christians to keep Christ in them?

I have thought for a very long time about what the definition of Christian is. Many people call themselves Christian, and each one has a different set of standards why which they determine there are Christian. Some people simply call themselves Christian because they believe in God. Some because they go to church regularly. Some people say they are Christian because they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and have accepted His free gift of salvation.

If we look at the definition of Christian here is what see according to dictionary.com:

1. of, relating to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings:
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ :
3. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike:
4. decent; respectable:
5. human; not brutal; humane:

So as we can see, Christian is a term that is quite broad in it’s definition. It can refer to following Jesus Christ, or it can refer to being a decent and respectable human being. In the eyes of the world, this is how it is seen. There are other religions such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Science and so on that claim to base their religion on some of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are also other religions, such as Muslim, that include Jesus Christ as an authority figure in them. So technically by these definitions, we can call these religions Christian as well.

So what exactly does it mean to follow Christ? Does it simply mean you go to church and try to be a good person? That you read the Bible and conform to a certain standard that Christians certainly must adhere too? It seems to mean different things for different people. Even amongst Christians there is a battle over who is a true Christian and really saved. Some would say that if you live a life with certain sins, then you aren’t really a Christian. Others would say that all you need to do is love Jesus and you are Christian.

The problem with being called a Christian is you fall into many religious traps. Being Christian may well mean you believe in Jesus Christ, but it also means that you are putting yourself into a box, one that is there to define you and allow the world to make it’s judgement upon you. As the world sees it, Christians are good people who have good moral standards and help people, but are also very judgmental and condemning to anyone who isn’t Christian or Christian enough in their eyes. It is a double edged sword.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18

I have seen Christians fight with each other on any topic that can possibly be debated upon. However, the Bible makes it clear we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this world; aka Satan. Satan has been using the words of God to turn us against God since the Garden of Eden. He tempted mankind into sin so easily, and even used scripture to try to turn Jesus Christ Himself. Satan absolutely loves religion, and loves to use it against God’s people.

The early church was very simple. It was people who loved Jesus and wanted to spread the Gospel to everyone they could. They gathered together to pray and study God’s word daily. They helped each other and took care of each other. No one was in need or want. They were doing life together in order to create unity and further the Gospel message. Yet as the movement grew, people brought in many ideas and practices from the world around them. The church began to adopt many customs from many religions and as the church grew, Christianity evolved.

Christianity is really a hybrid religion. It’s a mesh of Judiasm, paganism, and the teachings of Christ. People have added many things in because our human rituals and traditions are comforting to us. We have adopted and adapted Christianity to fit our needs as the centuries have gone on. It has become a religion and not a relationship. The root of Christianity is a movement of people who wanted desperately to follow Jesus Christ and experience the Living God. And that is what they did. They lived all their days out with a passionate zeal for Christ.

Somewhere along the line we have gotten religion and Jesus mixed up in one big bag together. We have started to believe that God is Christianity, church and the Bible, and therefore began replacing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus with these beliefs. We began to believe that in order to be good, to know Jesus, to do the right thing, we had to go to church, read the Bible and do all the “Christian things”. We had to do service work and be involved in church and be on committees and in groups. We had to look to Christian leaders and pastors to help us and teach us. We have gotten very lost.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.

1 Corinthians 3:2-3

Jesus Christ is not a religion, nor is He only to be found in the Bible or church. Jesus Christ is everywhere and in everything. We were created through Him and for Him. We have His Holy Spirit living inside of us. We were created in heaven for His purpose. No matter what we do, what religion we affiliate with, or what church we go to, Jesus is with us. Always, even until the end of the age. Jesus does not care if we are Christian or not. He cares if we have a relationship with Him. A deep and intimate relationship. Outside of that, nothing else matters.

There is a lot of condemnation when it comes to Christianity. Christians are pitted against other Christians over trivial matters and the world hates us because of this hypocrisy. The world doesn’t hate the light, it loves it. The problem is, while we have been so busy filling ourselves up with religious practices and self righteousness, the devil and swooped in and deceived the whole world with his light. Lucifer is beautiful and bright and hides all of his destruction and death underneath it, so that all the world can see looks good and right. And he has crept in with his disguise and made Christianity look like the real evil of the world.

Christianity has become symbols, rituals, ideals and actions. It’s time to let go of all of it if we truly want to chase after Christ with the same desperate passion of our forefathers, the disciples. Jesus wants a relationship with you right now, exactly where you are. God speaks to you and you do not need an interpreter. The Living God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is inside of you right now. God has done everything He can to make our part easier. If you are struggling with feeling condemned or hearing the voice of God, that’s OK. God can help you with that. Just keep seeking Him and trusting Him to lead the way.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13

christianityIf we want to see the message of the Gospel progress in this world, we need to each one do our own individual parts. That means starting first with Christ as we let everything else in our lives fall away. Every person needs to come before the throne of God and seek His glorious presence and know Him personally. We were created for this. It is only through this relationship we are going to find freedom from oppression, healing, who God created us to be, and the call He has placed over our lives. There is no thing that can do that for us.

No matter what happens with the church or religion, God will always stand strong and prevail. If we want to focus on God, then we need to reevaluate our priorities and beliefs and bring them all before the throne room of God. Then we need to be willing to allow Him to come into our hearts and lives and show us where we have succumbed to idolatry and pageantry so that we can find His freedom. Jesus died for our freedom to be with Him all of the time. Let’s not waste our time looking for Him and realize He has been inside of us all along.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Romans 8:9

January 11 2016

Your Sin Does Not Offend God

sinWhen I first came to Christ, I was a big time sinner. Who isn’t right? It seems like I probably have committed most of the sins there are  – drinking, drugs, promiscuous sex, sexual immorality, witchcraft, divorce, adultery, lying, stealing, swearing, taking the Lord’s name as a swear word, blasphemy, hate and violence. Wow! Is there anything else left outside of murder? I’m not really sure. All I know is it was an absolute miracle that I came to God at all. It all started with walking into a Presbyterian church one Sunday morning, after never really have been to a Christian church in my entire life. I am often asked how I came to God, and the only answer that I can come up with is God. It was God Himself who brought my family into that church that morning. No person led us there, and it was completely out of left field that we even considered going to a Christian church. I was steeped in sin and loving it.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

The Holy Spirit did a good work on me once He got me into church. We began going to church every week and started to read the Bible, leading up to a baptism for my husband, one of my sons and myself. I believe this is when the real changes began to occur in my life. I lost all desire to drink or do drugs, to cuss, take the Lord’s name in vain, and much more. It only progressed into changing my dress to be more modest, not watching violence on TV (or sex and drugs, etc.) and more. The Holy Spirit was cleansing my soul in a way that was absolutely refreshing! I felt close to Jesus and was in love with Him. My relationship grew and grew until I came to this great place where I thought I had “made it” so to speak. Wow! Being a Christian was amazing, and the best experience of my life! Being with God was beyond anything I had every known that was supposed to be fun or exciting. He filled my heart and soul and brought me to completion. Could it get any better?

And yet it did! My relationship with Jesus continued to grow as He poured out His spiritual gifts and blessings onto me. It was amazing! Yet there were other problems I had. Problems with anger, and problems with my health. They were plaguing me and causing me suffering. Soon my relationship with Jesus took the back seat as I tried to just function every day. My health problems consumed my entire life. I was miserable and soon began to believe God had abandoned me. Finally I had a deliverance session that cleared up my brain fog and left me able to breathe again, enough to begin to restore my relationship with Jesus (at least on my side, because He really never left me). But my anger was still there. So I decided to try getting help, because I wanted to claim the victorious life that I knew Jesus had for me.

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

1 John 1:4

I began a journey of inner healing which would completely change my life. For the worse (OK it just seemed that way). Many of the bad behaviors, the sin that I had thought I left behind, came creeping back in to my life. Swearing, hate, anger, revenge, lying, and more popped up on a daily basis. I was in shock – shouldn’t inner healing cause healing?! I was absolutely regressing! How could this be? I was also moving farther away in my relationship with God, as I lived in almost constant pain and anger. I was unable to see outside of it for very long and my favorite thing in the world – worship, was something that was lost to me.

I know this sounds bad, but it is actually very good. How can regressing into so much sin possibly be good? Well, it is a part of the healing process. You see I thought God had healed those things in me and cleansed me of my sin. The problem is, that long list of sins I wrote out, were not simply because I was a sinner. Yes, we are all born sinners, and the Bible makes that clear, but we behave this way for more reasons than just being sinners. Many of these sins, these behaviors so offensive to God, are done out of pain and trauma. As a young child I had experienced extreme abuse and it caused me so much pain and anger that as a young adult I blamed God for all of it, and tried to cover it up with drugs, alcohol and sex. I also had severe demonic oppression that led me into witchcraft, the occult and new age. Demons are able to gain access into our bodies through the false beliefs that come with pain and trauma. Sin is not always as black and white as it seems.

It is so easy to judge those around us who we see sinning. Maybe they are alcoholics, drug addicts, addicted to porn, promiscuous, dress provocatively, gamble and so on. We see this and we get angry and want to judge them. How could they call themselves Christian and behave this way? Don’t they know how wrong this sin is, how offensive to God this is? Or maybe they are not a Christian and are just lost in the world. We look at them and feel sorry for them, because we know they just need Jesus. And it’s true! We all need Jesus. But guess what? God is not offended by their behavior. Shocking isn’t it? Isn’t that what we are taught, God hates sin? You’re right, He absolutely does. But you are forgetting one very important thing – Jesus died to cleanse us all from sin before the eyes of God the Father. Therefore no one is seen before the eyes of our Holy God as sinners, but as His beautiful children. Jesus did not die and suffer so only some of us sinners could be saved, but to clear the name of every person on this earth, and free them from their sentence of capital punishment. Every body. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus died for all. Does this mean every person will be saved? No it does not. But every person’s name has been cleared until the time of their judgement. If God saw us all as sinners, He would have to turn His back on each of us until we repented and accepted Jesus. That is not the God of the Bible, that is a God of condemnation and judgement, who forsakes us. We are the most broken and in need before we come to Christ. God does not turn His back on sinners, looking down on them as they continue to sin, He loves them. That is why Jesus came into the world – because of the intense love of our God, our Father. God can’t help but love us.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:15

We are born into a world full of evil. It is the devil’s domain, and he is proud of it. He strives daily to take every single person away from God; to cause them to hate Jesus, turn on Him, and believe God hates them as well. With the help of our natural tendencies to sin, the devil is very successful at his job many times. At least for a season. God is willing that none should perish, and moves heaven and earth to reconcile with each one of His children. Yet because of the prevalent evil and sin in the world, many people suffer and experience, abuse, trauma, pain, disease, death, violence and more. It tears them apart, breaks them down, and causes them to become unable to function the way God designed us to. Many of us are walking around so broken that we can’t help but rely on drugs or sex or lying or other sins to get through our lives. We are so full of pain and despair we don’t even have any idea how deep it runs; like a river that threatens to rise above the shore. That pain is always just below the surface, and because of it, more often than not, we choose to sin in many ways. Does this pain make our sin excusable? No, but it makes it understandable. God knows our hearts and minds, and what we have been through. He has been through it all, with each one of us. He knows how hard it has been, and to what extent we can cope with the things that go wrong in our lives. He sees the sin we commit, but He does not see us as the sin we commit. Instead He sees the pain and brokenness in each of us, and knows why we make the choices we do.

God wants nothing more than to abolish our pain and heal our broken lives. He wants nothing more than to bring us closer to Him, to live in a restored and loving relationship with Him. I have heard many people who view God as a God who is always judging us and make us follow a set of rules to act right and be a certain way. You have to follow all the rules of the Old Testament, you can’t do this and you can’t do that or you are offending God and making Him mad. You need to believe this and not believe that are you are going to hell. I completely understand that, because when I first started reading the Bible, I felt the same way. I was offended by sin, I was offended by sinners and I was convinced that God couldn’t favor those who kept on sinning. That is because I had still yet to come into a deeper understanding of how God loves. God’s love has no conditions on it, ever. You do not need to act a certain way or do a certain thing to receive His love. That is what religion tells us, not Jesus.

Condemnation is not of God but of the devil. He is the Father of Lies and wants only to destroy our souls. So when we are looking down on other sinners of the world and thinking how bad they are, we are not in line with the mind of Christ. Underneath that sinner is a lost soul and a broken heart, crying out for love and desperate for healing. Just like you. They may seem like they have it all together, or they may just seem mean and nasty, but inside their hearts are fractured and crushed into a million pieces. Only Jesus can save us and heal that broken mess inside of us. It is our job to love all those around us, sinners or not. To stop looking at them as a bunch of lowly sinners, and start looking at them as fragile jars of clay that need a little TLC. While it may not be our job to fix the mess, it is certainly our job to love them right in the middle of their mess. Even when we are in the middle of our own mess. We need to take a good look around and realize that the person standing right next to you is crying out for help and hurting just as much as we are. Let each of us reach out and share our burdens’ with the next person, so we can comfort each other and help each other find the heart of Jesus.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

handcuffsI know many Christians who are living in shame because they are struggling with a particular sin. If you are struggling with a sin that you can’t get rid of, that does not mean God is mad at you, or looks down on you. You have the grace and mercy of Christ! The mercy of Jesus triumphs over judgement. If you are struggling it is seriously time to take a deeper look at the root of where this sin is coming from. You have moved past just being a sinner in need of Jesus to having a deep root of pain or trauma that has led to this sin. And the devil is using this pain to push you further into sin, so you will believe you are not good enough for God. You are enough for God! You are worthy! He wants you, all of you and your sinful self! Jesus is the only way to freedom from this world, and all it’s pain and evil. He is the only way to life in abundance. But you must come unhindered by the weight of sin and shame. There is no place for shame at the foot of Christ.

I also know many non-Christians who won’t even look twice at the cross of Christ because they don’t want to be condemned by being told they are full of sin. They have already been condemned by Christians, telling them they are going to hell. That is not the message of the cross! Jesus came to give us freedom from sin, to give us eternal life, and His amazing love. No one can receive this wonderful gifts when they are being condemned to hell without having a chance to experience the love of God. Not once did Jesus meet people and tell them they were sinners going to hell. He saw right through the pain and brokenness and reached out to them right where they were. How can we hope to heal ourselves or reach the lost if we continue to view sin as a one way ticket to hell. We are not going to hell because we keep sinning, we are going to hell if we don’t accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. His love and atonement covers our sins, every single one of them!

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

Romans 6:15

November 9 2015

Is The Bible A Book Of Rules?

BibleWhen I first became Christian about 2.5 years ago I started reading the Bible right away. I have to admit my husband and I didn’t go about it quite the right way. Once we started going to church  it took time for God to start helping us make positive changes in our lives. One of those changes that was yet to be made was our addiction to smoking pot. So the first time we actually sat down to read the Bible we were high on pot and tried reading the KJV. As you can imagine it made very little sense to us at that moment. Yet we did not give up! We sat there for about an hour trying to read and make sense of the first chapter of Genesis. We deeply wanted to know what God had to say! We were just still bound to sin and death and had yet to experience freedom from drug addiction. God is much bigger than even that, and He can touch anyone, no matter where they are or what they are doing!

While we did smoke pot, it was not a daily thing for us anymore. So it was not a normal hindrance between us and the Word of God. A friend recommended to me to read a different version of the Bible, such as the NLT or the Message, and to start with the Gospel of Matthew instead. So we went out and bought 2 new Message Bibles (I would very loosely call these a Bible since they are paraphrased versions of the Bible). Yes God can truly speak to anyone through any version of the Bible, or in any way He chooses to for that matter. I opened up that Message Bible and started reading Matthew, and I could not put it down. I had never really known much about Jesus – He was just that guy in the white robe with long hair. But now I began to see the beauty and love in Jesus and I fell madly in love with Him. I was amazed and in awe at Jesus – where had He been all my life!!

From there I grew a great passion to learn more about God’s Word. I wanted very much to know what God had to say to me and I saw the Bible as a great guidebook for life. I felt that it held the keys to every question I had every asked during my life, like what am I here for and why do I exist? Some of the Bible was very complicated and confusing for me, but some of it spoke to me in wonderful ways. Soon I was moving up to reading the NLT version and my Message Bible was gathering dust on it. I would recommend the Message for anyone who is very new to the Bible and has a hard time understanding it, because truly God can teach you His truth through it. It’s like training wheels, but that does not mean everyone needs to use training wheels before learning to ride!

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

The more I read of the Bible the more I began to be confused in some ways. It seemed that in the Old Testament God was mean and harsh but in the New Testament Jesus was loving and wonderful for the most part. I also read many of the letters from the Apostle Paul and felt that there were many rules to live by as a Christian. Rules on how to act and not act and how to dress, rules about sex, alcohol, money, and so much more. At that point the Holy Spirit had done a mighty work in me and I had done a complete 180 on how I was living my life – no more drugs, drinking, swearing, or watching horror on TV and that was just the start. So I felt pretty good about myself as I read the Bible as a list of rules to follow. If reading the Bible were like taking a test I would be getting a really good grade!

That just led me to start dissecting the lives and behaviors of everyone around me. If the Holy Spirit was convicting me to make changes, then surely He would be doing the same for all other Christians. As I looked around I just saw Christians living a life that seemed very contrary to the Bible though. It confused me and pained me at the same time. Why was I so convicted to make changes while the other Christians at my church were watching TV shows with horror, violence and sexual immorality? Didn’t they understand  they were going against God’s Word? So it became very easy for me to be judgmental towards my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It was not that I wanted to judge people – I truly wanted to love them and be like Christ. I just couldn’t get past the rule bending going on everywhere around me.

I grew up in a very strict household. If I broke a rule I got a very harsh punishment, no matter how small the rule was. So I learned quickly to assimilate and follow the rules. It became quite important for survival you could even say. So when I began to see the Bible as a rule book for life it was very important for me to be sure to keep straight and follow them as best I could, lest God punish me for breaking them. I wanted very much to please God and do what was right in His eyes. What I didn’t understand was that unconditional love God gives to all of His children, no matter how far they stray from Him. He is the most amazing father that way.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

It went on this way for about two years, that is until I had my deliverance from demonic oppression this past summer. During my deliverance session I found out the many ways the devil had gotten rights and access to me during my life, and even before I was even born through previous generations. Through ancestral and generational curses the devil had been able to cause me many problems and pain during my life with demonic oppression. There are many types of demons and each has its own job. One of the demons that was oppressing me was a religious spirit. A religious spirit’s job is to keep people from having a close relationship with God, but instead seeing Christianity as a set of rules to follow. Here are some signs that you might have a religious spirit:

You judge others by their appearance, you try to earn God’s love and salvation, you always criticize other people’s walks with God, you desire position and honor in church over honor with God, you have an outward lifestyle of Christianity but inwardly have not changed, and you are involved in ministry but have no passion for God.

If you struggle with any of these problems, you most likely are suffering from demonic oppression at the hands of a religious spirit. Since I had my deliverance and am free from demonic oppression my walk with God and my understanding of the Bible has changed greatly. I no longer see the Bible as a set of rules, but am gaining a new freedom in my relationship with God. My deliverance partnered with inner healing to help with my past pain and trauma has allowed me to see God not as a task master and ruler setter, but as a loving Father who adores me and wants me to just be close to Him. God has not written the Bible to tell us how to act or how to be, but He has written the Bible as a testimony of His love for us.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:14

freedomI believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but I know that when man reads the Bible, it is his own interpretation that he is getting, unless he is led by the Holy Spirit when reading it. That is not to say that I did not have the Holy Spirit before my deliverance, but the demonic oppression was keeping me from full revelation of the Word of God as I read it. The devil would love nothing more than to keep God’s people down by having them believe the Bible is a set of rules that are impossible to follow and we are doomed to fail and displease God. That way we would not want to read the Bible and would not want to follow God. It is seeing the Bible as a set of rules that has caused many people to condemn non-believers and tell them they are going to hell, which only turns them away from God and straight into the arms of some other “religion” such as New Age and Witch Craft. It is seeing the Bible as a rule book that has caused many people to see it as outdated and not practical for this day and age, causing them to fall prey to the deceptions of the world that led us to sin and death.

It is recently as I was reading Galatians again that I came to a wonderful revelation of a life lived by the Spirit. When we live by the Spirit we produce the fruits of a spirit filled life, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Believe it or not I thought the fruits of the Spirit were more rules to be lived by! Now I see that I was constrained by trying to live life by the law, which left me to be enslaved to it! I was trying to be justified by works and by pleasing God, but it was impossible to do. I believe this is a common trap that many fall prey to, and I hope that if you see yourself in these words, that you would seek to get help to be free from this oppression.

 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

Galatians 5:17

 

 

December 15 2014

Faith in the Fire

Coming into Christianity, there is so much to learn! You have to learn about salvation and Jesus, of course. That is number one! But there is so much that goes along with all of that. Even if you took a crash course in Christianity I am pretty sure you would still have a long way to go to understanding the depth of the religion. Take the Holy Trinity for example. Is there really any Christian that truly understands that? Well maybe, but I have yet to understand the concept enough that I could explain it to someone else.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3

It is important to understand why you are Christian though, and be able to explain what it means and answer hard questions about your faith. There are going to be times when you will be questioned or when you will be faced with deceptive information and you will need to be able to weed the truth from lies. This happened to me a few times as I had a string of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness come to my house. storm

My grandmother on my mom’s side of the family is Mormon. Often I could go with her to church when I was a child, and so I do know some about Mormonism. I can’t say I learned a lot about Mormon’s or what they believe though. I knew a few things such as: they can’t drink caffeine and they believe in the prophet Joseph Smith. I even went to Utah with my grandma and saw the Mormon Temple. I was interested in it enough that I had seriously thought about getting baptized into the faith when I was 13. For some reason I changed my mind though, and left Mormonism far behind after that.

When I started going to a Christian church, I had a lot of questions about other religions. Mormonism in particular because of its ties to my family. When one of the pastors at my church called it a cult, I was kind of shocked. OK, more than kind of; I was reeling in my seat. I had never thought Mormon was anything more than another religion, like Christianity. I may have even associated it as being Christian at one time in my life. My pastor made sure to let me know that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses were not Christian at all.

That set me on a quest to learn more about these cult-religions. I always thought the only cult like that was Scientology. Although I didn’t know very much about that one either. A quick internet search led me to a lot of information about Mormons that I really didn’t know what to do with. It was just so far out there. And it led me to feel judgmental against them – the word crazy just kept popping up in my mind. But I knew that was wrong and not how god wants me to think. So I had to abandon the search on Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses for a time and leave that to God.

That is until they started coming to my door. Over a period of several months I had at least a half a dozen visits from different Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was like we had a target on our house or something, because they just kept coming. In the past I would have not so politely told them to get lost because I wasn’t interested. Now I was concerned about being rude, because I wanted to learn to love everyone, as Jesus commands us to. I even invited some of them back, in hopes that maybe I could help them. Not that I knew what I was doing talking to people who could potentially turn a new Christian upside down in their faith.

These visits have tested my faith though. After one visit from a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses I did another internet search on what they believed. They would always come to the door with a book that looked very much like a Bible. It was even called a Bible and they would read out of it. Passages that were from the same Bible I read myself. They came with a message that the church has been turned away from some of its original teachings and they wanted to restore that.

Naturally I was curious about what they had to say so when I searched the internet and found out that Jehovah’s Witness do not believe that Jesus is God I was completely thrown off. I had been praying to and worshiping Jesus on a regular basis. As a matter of fact my time in the presence of Jesus was some of the most life changing moments I had experienced. I knew I was in the very presence of God. But this new information made me question that. Was I wrong? Was Jesus not even really God??

I searched the internet for scripture that would show me that the Bible does in fact reveal that Jesus is God. And thankfully that was a very easy search! Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28. That was my favorite verse that I found. Good old Doubting Thomas who couldn’t believe Jesus had been resurrected until he saw the wounds in His hands and side for himself. He touched them and proclaimed what all the other disciples already knew – that Jesus is God.

Jesus did not come out and proclaim “I am God.” He did come very close when He said I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 The Pharisees were ready to stone him for that statement because they considered it blasphemy. “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” John 10:33 Jesus’ statement was huge, because to claim to be one with The Father was to claim to be God Himself. So if Jesus is not God, it would indeed be a blasphemous statement for Him to proclaim.

But when you tango with the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you can get caught in a web of their deception. They take this same verse and twist it just so. It can leave you confused and doubting if you are not careful.

“This strong bond of unity, however, does not make God and his Son, Jesus, indistinguishable from each other. They are two individuals. Each one has his own distinct personality. Jesus has his own feelings, thoughts, experiences, and free will.” JW.org

housestormOur faith can be shaken, tested and tossed about in a sea of uncertainty. Does that mean what we believe isn’t true? No. We need to test our faith and answer the big questions that come up about it. We need to be able to face these questions and take them to the Bible and answer them with the Word of God. We need to be careful at the words of man and being led astray by their teachings. It is and important and necessary part of our growth in our walk of Christianity. How many Christians have been tested and fell short, letting themselves be shaken to the core and then completely lost their way? It can be easier to fall than you think.

The Mormons also do not believe that Jesus is God. They believe He is the son of God, but like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they believe He is a separate person than God Himself. He had powers of a God while on earth, but was not God.

“We believe Jesus is the Son of God the Father and as such inherited powers of godhood and divinity from His Father, including immortality, the capacity to live forever. While He walked the dusty road of Palestine as a man, He possessed the powers of a God and ministered as one having authority, including power over the elements and even power over life and death.” mormonnewsroom.org

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

There were so many Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons coming by that we started to wonder if it was a spiritual attack against us. Finally my husband answered the door and refused them and turned them away. We didn’t see any for months and I quite enjoyed the break from it. I felt weakened by all the questioning I had to do for my own faith. Faith that was still so new. I began to study the Bible more often and memorize scripture. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 I became increasingly familiar with His word and grew more in my understanding of who God is and what His truths are.

I did this because I had a desire to do so. The more I studied and memorized, the more I grew a hunger and thirst for it. I longed for the truth and was able to bring to mind Bible verses easily for many circumstances in my life and for others. It was wonderful. Then just a week ago the doorbell rang. I thought it was another door to door salesman wanting to sign us up for a new roof or paint our house. When I opened the door I was surprised to see two nicely dressed women holding black books. Mormons. Oh Lord, I prayed, please help me! I did not want to go through the doubt and uncertainty as I did before. I did not know what to say to these people and their unyielding attempts to bring me into their faith.

God was faithful to me, and my study of His word gave me just the strength I needed. I was able to test God’s will and back it up with the scripture I had been learning. I have no idea if I said anything to these young women that made a difference to them in any way. I have no idea if God used me in this circumstance to touch them. All I do know is I am glad that I did have my faith tested, and that I challenged me to grow and learn.

faithI do not want to judge others, or say I know better than anyone else. I do know a few simple truths though. Jesus is god, the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and if you can’t back something up with scripture, then it is not the Truth. I am thankful for these small bits of wisdom and I pray to gain more as I continue to study and learn. In this society truth is not absolute – that it changes for every person – I thank God that He is my rock that I can stand on in a sea of discord. I have built my house on sand and watched it sink time and time again. And I sat in misery as my world crumbled before my eyes each time. Now I can stand firm with faith and hope to know that God’s word never returns void and that I can rest safely in the shelter of the Most High.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 

 

 

 

 

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