A Verse For Today, Christian

A Verse for Today, 3/8/20

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:15-17 NIV

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

Discerning Believers Beware

What started out as pleasant conversation ended in hurt feelings, tears, misunderstanding, and a chill between myself and someone I dearly love. Oh, how I wished I could take back my words!

I apologized, but the damage was already done. A heated theological discussion got out of hand and it was my fault. It wasn’t as much what I said, but how I presented it.

My harsh comments about a popular preacher with whom I disagree did more harm than good. My friend was hurt by what I said about someone she liked and learned from. I realized I had approached it all wrong. And now I couldn’t get out of my mess.

The next day, quite by “accident”, I stumbled across something written by Hannah Anderson. Her words stung. I want to share them with you.

Discerning people use their insight to serve those around them . . . They use knowledge to build up and unify – not tear down or create division . . . Sometimes this means having the patience to wait while others think through what you already know . . . Sometimes it means foregoing your preferences for the good of others. Sometimes it might even mean being misunderstood precisely because others can’t yet see what you do . . . They resist the temptation to flaunt knowledge or prove themselves right.”

Hannah Anderson, All That’s Good

All I can say is, “Ouch!”

(Side note: It always amazes me how God will put something I need to know right before my eyes even though I wasn’t looking for it!)

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2 NIV

Yes, God pruned the branches that needed pruning so that I would bear more fruit. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

We must learn what it means to love one another in every form it might take. Even in speaking Truth, we must think of others above ourselves. We must always ask ourselves, “Am I walking in love?”

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 ESV

I think of the Apostle Paul who said,

“Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Corinthians 8:1 NIV

Am I saying we shouldn’t speak the Truth? Not at all! The Bible teaches us to correct and rebuke.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  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.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 NIV

What I Learned

  1. People who are hungry for God often read lots of books by Bible Teachers and listen to a variety of popular preachers. Be careful in your zeal for Truth not to crush their spirit.
  2. Give careful thought to how you approach a controversial topic.
  3. You don’t have to share everything you know. Sometimes it’s best to stay silent. Build on the Truth you share.
  4. Discussions go best when your opinion is asked for.

May the Lord speak to our hearts and teach us how to interact with one another in love. May we become more like Him everyday, overflowing with humility, gentleness, respect, patience and kindness.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

Christian

Abundant Life is Relationship With God

I have a very specific reason for writing this post. A friend wrote to me and said she didn’t understand why God had not answered her desperate prayer. This post is for her.

Teach me about your love
the gift that's from above.
When sorrow fills my heart,
your comfort alone can part
the sea of pain.
You lead me on dry ground
to the Promise Land.
In this life, you will provide
the manna and the quail.
That nourishes my soul
until I see
the Promise Land.

” . . . as for me, I trust in the Lord.
 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 31:6-7

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.“Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV

“Every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” refers to spiritual food. It is your relationship with God through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Abundant life is relationship with God. It is knowing the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the King of King and Lord of Lords. It is being able to talk to Him at any time and in any place. It is the privilege of saying, “My Father” and knowing He is listening intently. It is for now and forever.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

A relationship with God should never be trivialized. Nothing can compare to such a glorious blessing, certainly not things (cars, houses, etc.). Our God is not Amazon.com. He isn’t here to be our Cosmic Santa Claus. Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life in order for us to prosper materially here on Earth. He didn’t have to die to accomplish that. He died to give us eternal life through a right relationship with the Living God which will last forever. May we know the true gift of God.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 NIV

“You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
  Psalm 73:24-25 NIV

Sometimes, God does not do things the way we want. Why? We may never know while here on Earth. But many times, we understand later, even years later. God is more interested in our character development than in giving us a cushy life here on Earth. We must trust Him.

I had a friend once who was desperate to save his marriage. He was convinced that by going to church and “believing” God, by having enough faith, God would save his marriage. He gave it his all.

But God did not save his marriage. No matter how hard he tried to “just have faith”, it didn’t happen.

Guess what happened to him? He left the church and was never seen again. From his perspective, God and faith didn’t work. That’s because he saw God and faith as a way to get what he wanted. He didn’t understand the true gift of God.

Do you see the disillusionment this can bring and why it causes people to abandon their faith in God? And this is the point! Truth is vital. That’s why we must be like the Bereans, who . . .

“received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

Jesus said, We must “worship God in Spirit and in truth”. As you read the familiar passage below about the Samaritan woman, I want you to notice four things.

  1. Jesus reveals to her the “gift of God”. (v. 10)
  2. She thinks Jesus is talking about natural things, but he is talking about spiritual things. (v.11)
  3. Jesus shows her the superiority of a spiritual gift compared to a natural gift. (v.13-14)
  4. Jesus reveals to her the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (v.23-24)

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4 NIV

Lord, Help us to study your Word daily and love the Truth. Help us to appreciate our relationship with you and to understand your love.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Daily Scripture

DAILY SCRIPTURE, 7/19/19

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

Why What You Believe Matters

What you believe will dramatically affect your life forever and those around you, too. As human beings, we like to go along with the crowd and just get along with everyone. We tend to believe what the people around us believe and that can be good, or bad.

Take, for example, a student who is surrounded by highly intelligent professors who are atheists. He might become an atheist, too. Why? Because intelligence is impressive and subconsciously he thinks that to believe in God would make him look less intelligent, so he doesn’t even search out the truth. Instead, he believes what is most comfortable.

In the same way, Christians might believe what those around them believe, even when it isn’t Biblically correct.

Why? Because religious beliefs that conform to cultural norms make life easier. In the Apostle Paul’s day, Judaism pressured Christians to conform to the law. Today, political correctness pressures us to conform to secular thought.

For example, some say, “I believe people of all faiths worship the same God.”

That sounds nice, and is very ecumenical, but it isn’t true. And truth is important because people’s eternity depends on it.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Another example is abortion. Being pro-life is unpopular in many circles. (Just ask a politician.) To say, “I think it’s a woman’s choice” may get you off the hook. It’s the easy way out. But is it true? If we don’t do it, but we condone it, are we still innocent?

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psalm 139:13&15 NLT

There are preachers today who teach false doctrines and many people follow them. The Bible warns us over and over about it.( If you don’t believe me, search the Scriptures for yourself.) My intention is not to tell you what is false and what is true, but to highlight the need to carefully and prayerfully examine what we hear to see if it’s true.

The Apostle Paul chided the Church at Corinth:

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.  I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”   I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-6

Paul insinuates that these false teachers were trained speakers. (Probably very entertaining and popular!) Are we drawn to a preacher by his charisma and personality?

Loving the truth is vital to living a life that brings glory to God. Therefore the importance of studying God’s Word and knowing it well cannot be overstated. If we serve a “Jesus” that we have designed to fit our wants and needs, one who serves our purposes and selfish ambitions, that is idolatry. That is another “Jesus”, not the one who said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to human greed, would I blindly accept it?

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to my pride and self-interests, would I blindly accept it?

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to my fleshly desires, would I blindly accept it?

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15

The more I study God’s Word, the more I understand that this life is but a whisper. It’s not about me, it’s about the Savior. My purpose is to bring glory to God. The message is simple. It’s not about new revelations and hidden symbolic meanings to make our life here on Earth free of trials and hardships. Jesus sumed up the message of God’s Word like this:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (and) Love your neighbor as yourself.Mark 12:28-31

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by madeleine ragsdale on Unsplash

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

realchristianwomen.blog 



Christian

What I Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Me, Or Can it?

In spite of what people think, ignorance is not bliss!

People like to think it is – when the truth is too hard to face. Selah* (Pause and calmly think of that.)

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Romans 16:17-18

This topic is heavy on my heart because many devout Christians are being led astray because they are naive. When I listen to various popular Bible teachers on YouTube, I’m shocked at how ignorant the audience is of Biblical Truth. I’m shocked at how blind they are to a spirit of pride from the pulpit.

Well, I guess I’m not really shocked since I was taken in by it myself once. Yes, in fact, I had to “unlearn” a lot of teaching, and that is not easy to do.

You’re probably thinking, “What did you have to unlearn? What false teaching did you buy into?

Well, I’m not going to tell you.

Why? Because you must identify false teaching yourself through studying the Word of God. If I told you that a Bible teacher you liked taught false doctrine, I know what you would think because it’s what I used to think: “They don’t understand because they’re in a dead church.” OR “They don’t have revelation.” OR, my favorite: “They’re religious.”

I assure you, I am not dead or religious! (Isn’t that judging someone’s heart?)

All this stems from pride – the false assumption that I have revelation of the Scripture others don’t have. Selah

I would venture to say that all those “old, religious people at the church down the street” have more experience walking through trials with the Lord at their side than some of us ever will.

How I wish I could talk to my grandmother about God, again. She would be about 130 years old now. If only I would have known to seek her wisdom when I was a youth and she was still around.

But, alas, when we’re young we think we know it all. I know this because I teach in a middle school! Students will argue about anything, even how to do a math problem! (Are you kidding me?)

Why just today, a student tried to prove to me that you didn’t have to start a 2-digit plus 2-digit addition problem in the ones column. He thought he proved it to me by getting the right answer even when he started in the tens column. You guessed it! There was no regrouping involved. (No carrying.) He hadn’t thought of that!

You can think you’re right “til the cows come home”, but that doesn’t make you right.

My point is, if you are learning about God from a Bible teacher, instead of from the Bible, be careful. Check the Scriptures given to see if they have been taken out of context. (That happens a lot and is the basis of much of the false teaching accepted today!)

Respect those “old Christians” you think are dead or religious. It’s wise to listen to the elderly with respect.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”? Selah

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Job 12:12

Did my journey with false teachers and prophets affect my life?

Yes! It almost shipwrecked my faith. It took many years for me to recover. (That’s a story for another time.)

 “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT

Lord, Guide us and teach us to walk with you in truth and humility. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

 *The Amplified Bible translates selah as “pause, and calmly think of that.”

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Spiritual Warfare: Are You Alert or Asleep?

During the Viet Nam War, the Viet Cong guerrilla fighters would sneak up on unaware U.S. troops, attack them, and quickly dissapear.  The Vietcong would also pose as citizens or farmers. Then, when least expected, they would launch a surprise attack on U.S. troops.

When you’re in a war, you must be alert. The enemy does not announce his arrival. And he often pretends to be someone he’s not.

Are you prepared to stand against your enemy, Satan? Do you know how to stand?

It is critical that you know God’s Word. Ephesians 6 says,“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (vs. 11) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist …” (vs. 14)

What is the “belt of truth”?

Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 The Belt of Truth is clearly God’s Word, the Bible. It is an essential part of the “Armor of God”.

Do you think it’s possible that Satan could be attacking someone, when they don’t even know it? The Bible says,

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

That verse tells me a lot. In a battle, it is important for soldiers to be alert. If not, they may walk right into a trap. Can you imagine walking through a jungle during war and not being alert? Of course not!

There is only one place to find truth and that is in the Bible, in God’s Holy Word. We need to know what it says. If you don’t know God’s Word you will be an easy target. Why? The Bible tells us,

“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

This can be more subtle than you might think. False teaching may not be that obvious, unless of course, you know God’s Word.

Does it really matter what you believe, as long as you love Jesus?

Yes! False teachers can take Scripture verses out of context and convince people of almost anything. This is how good people are deceived. But verses are not meant to be taken out of context. Instead, we should always study the context to correctly understand every verse.

For example, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Let’s say I told you, “ All things means all things! You can perform healings and miracles. You can be a great athlete, make a lot of money, whatever you want can be yours – if you believe. If you have faith in God’s Word!”

Well that may sound good, but that’s not what that verse is saying.

Paul wrote these words while in prison, and the full context says, ” I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul is saying, whatever your circumstances, no matter how bad they are, Christ will give you strength.

In verse 11, he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul is talking about being in prison. Roman prisons were known to be cold and cruel, prisoners were not provided adequate food or blankets, and they were kept in chains.

But in all this, Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

That’s a lot different than the first interpretation!

You say, “Oh, I would recognize false teaching right away.”

Really? Because it won’t be obvious. It will be hidden in truth and love. The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets,

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15

To masquerade means to pretend to be something else, to disguise oneself, to impersonate. Please understand, people will be easily fooled. But there is one way to stand firm.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. … With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6: 10-18 

As you read and study this passage, understand the important role God’s Word plays in your life. Take this passage at face value. Know God’s Word. Read your Bible so that you can stand.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Unsplash

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