Aside

You Say Following Christ Is Easy?

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Responses from onlookers can be unrealistic, critical, misinformed and disingenuous, at best. Most people believe that the lives of those who follow Christ are lives of ignorance, conceit, self-absorption and/or delusional, holier-than-thou attitudes. People, often, consider it easy to follow our faith and live as we strive to live; they are misinformed and incorrect.

Folks also consider our faith to be one of giving up everything fun, becoming “boring” and having all things made off-limits or taboo; this too, is no so. Yes, there are certainly, portions of life which we may no longer partake of, but does that mean we have really “given up” anything valuable or of actual worth? I dare say, we have not. Not that such things are beneath us as we’ve become somehow superior or our royalty precludes us from stooping to the lows of mere paltry people, but that they are not blessed of God and are of the World. We are a “peculiar people” according to the Bible; Dr. Dan Hayden also wrote this explanation:

When the King James translators used the word “peculiar” in 1 Peter 2:9, identifying Christians as a “peculiar people”, this is not what they had in mind. According to A. T. Robertson, the word “peculiar” comes from the Latin word, “pecus” which means “flock”. The KJV translators were simply reflecting the idea that believers in Christ are the unique possession of God — they are His flock.

As followers, believers and children of Jesus Christ, as “Christians”, we are called to a life and held to standards which simply cannot be compromised. We are held accountable by God’s word, the commandments of God and of Jesus Christ and the convictions of the Holy Spirit. No person is excluded from these accountabilities, commandments and guidelines; many, simple decide and desire not to adhere to them. Judgment will be carried out, regardless of whether one accepts & believes or not; this is simply a fact and a rather unavoidable one at that.

What you may not understand about “Religion” is that it is not Christianity and the two have very little, if not nothing whatsoever to do with one another. According to James, this is the extent of religion and its practices and beliefs are observed as follows:

James 1:27

King James Version (KJV)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world

One might also be misinformed as to the fact that Christians can be and do have, FUN! Often, in fact! We live a life that knows many smiles, laughs and happiness. But we also know one of constant struggles, battles and discomforts. We live a life of servitude, embellished by the constant need to decrease ourselves, so that God may increase and be glorified. We live a life that requires great humility, lacking the pleasures which others find in self-acknowledgment(s), giving all honor to our Father in Heaven.

There are both, wonderful and terrible examples of Christians all over the globe. Painted in so many lights, with countless opinions, views, concepts, disagreements and misunderstandings, Christians are portrayed as the thorn in everyone’s side. Because religion and religious people have marred, if not ruined, the very name of a great people of God. Without dismissing the additional truths, fellow Christians and those professing to be such, have done their disgrace to us, seriously causing all but irreparable damage.

Lest I continue with the chasing of rabbits, may I please submit, our faith is not an easy one to aspire to. We live difficult lives. Enduring, not only the hardships placed upon everyone else in the world (taxes, education, jobs, family life, marriage, unemployment, etc.) while then having the additional requirements of keeping the commandments given us by God. This life, it is not for the faint of heart and “those who endure to the end, shall be saved” is for sure, factual. We must endure, all things, and can, by the very grace of God.

We survive and manage to live an abundant life, if we strive to honor God, acknowledge Him in all things, keep His commandments, and act with compassion, mercy and love. If you really think it is so simple and easy to do as we do, try this requirement for a while:

King James Bible
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

King James Bible
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

You Say Following Christ Is Easy?

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Enduring Our Loss – Keeping Our Hope

So often, it’s been said of me, that I should’ve been born in another time. People often suggest a time, perhaps, like the early 1900’s; I tend to agree.

Upon reflection, my meager length of life has provided such an awe. Greatly, has our nation and its peoples changed; I do not say progressed. Once, we were a people of good cheer, kindness, morals, ethics. Consideration for others was simply a way of life; there was a natural, instinctual, respect for one another.

Such disdain, dissatisfaction…an utter reproach toward the manner in which our once, great nation, has run itself into the reef. We are taking on water and seemingly, in desperate fear of the possibilities of hopelessness.

Hard times come with realization – priorities change, understanding unfolds – what we must do now, what we have done in order to achieve this situation, etc. Eventually, it will come down to survival, hinged upon absolute necessity.

What hopelessness might await our people? Will there come a time wherein, we fully, insightfully and with humility, measure our failure before the Lord? As a nation, as a people, merely as children of our beloved Creator, we will find ourselves before Him. Either in wrath, pleading for mercy or in awe, thankful for additional grace…we will certainly come to an ends.

Gratitude affords me hope, in that, we have solemn promise from the Lord. If we seek Him with all our heart, we shall find Him. God is not hidden from us, and He has not yet turned His back upon us. God is able to have patience, for a time. Nevertheless, God awaits us to present ourselves before Him, not the other way around.

For the people that will continue to walk in God’s ways, remaining in God’s will, we shall know His grace, mercy and love. People who refuse Him, will assuredly know His wrath. Yes, believers shall see times of severe difficulty, but we shall face it with perfect clarity that God loves us and provides a means, a way and an end.

Prayer is a byproduct of faith, which comes from patience. Without faith, we cannot speak prayers to the Father; it would be completely futile and senseless. We must have the genuine faith He exists, that He is the only, true God, as well as hope that our promises shall be rewarded us for our good, faithfulness.

What I hope to convey and trust to assure, is that we shall never be completely without hope. We, His children, shall never be cut off from Him, cannot be removed from His will or cast out. Salvation is secured, hope is constant, faith is required.

Look always unto the Father, seek Him in all your way. Let there be no questions, debates or confusions about a complete certainty; God answers when we speak to Him. God ALWAYS listens and inclines His ear to us.

Greater Things Than These

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Now, in our time, we find ourselves in wonder. We read from this story, a reassurance of the power of Jesus Christ, but also learn of His promise to us. We know Jesus’ capacity but are promised, through Him, that we may and shall do, all things as He. We cannot become greater than Christ, for He is perfect and also the Father and Spirit, in One. But we can accomplish anything, through faith, asking/commanding, in His name.

Also, I am reminded of the passage directly afterward, beginning with verse 15. Wherein, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit shall be sent and given unto us. Do you recall reading this:

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Continuing to read this book, we see the incredible promises of what is to become each and every believer, all who call upon the name of the Lord and trust in Him. So what does it mean to believe, in faith, as a Christian? Let’s consider that in a clear light.

You and I have been promised and HAVE received:

1) Not just Jesus in and with us, but also the Father. For the Father is in Jesus and Jesus in Him, and They, in us.

2) The gift and bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon and within us. The Spirit does not come and go, it remains with us. It is within us! Is not the Holy Spirit part of the God-Head? Likewise, it is also the Father and the Son and all, reside within us.

3) An Advocate  to help you and be with you forever— “17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

4) Wisdom is afforded us in this way “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

5) Intercession through Christ – “13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

6) Comfort – 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

But what I truly wish to convey to you in this is simple, yet evades us, on so many levels. What does our faith, TRULY assure us of? What can we do with, through, by and asking? Jesus described it perfectly in His words to us.

Read this again “11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Does this leave you with any question that you and I have the ability of the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit because we are assured the contrary. We are guaranteed, by the Son of God, that we have this and are able.