Progressive Christianity is known as movement that seeks to change Christianity. When I say Christianity, I mean biblical Christianity. Attempting to re-write the Word of God or dismiss certain portions of it is dangerous.
For the past several years, I have avoided speaking out on this issue. Why? Honestly, I knew it would open a proverbial can of worms. However, if I refuse to speak truth, I will answer to God. So will you. Keep in mind that I am not suggesting that God’s people suddenly start beating people over the head and becoming combative. I am simply saying that it is time to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Experience Over the Bible
An alarming trend has been on the horizon for many years now. I fear that it is becoming more than a trend. Christians are beginning to trust more in their experiences and emotions than they do in the Word of God.
Once again, I believe we can have spiritual experiences, but they must line up with the Bible. If your experiences are contrary to scripture, they must be dismissed. Our emotions are real and should not be ignored, but they should not take priority over God’s word. For example, I might not feel like walking in love. The feeling is real, but the Bible says I must walk in love, therefore, I need to deal with my emotions and obey God’s Word.
If visions and other spiritual experiences are contrary to the Word, God’s holy word must be valued over my experience. 1 John 4:1 states that we are not to believe every spirit, but we must try the spirits to see if they are of God. We are also told that many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 states that we must test all things and hold to that which is good.
Failing to evaluate experience with the Bible leads to false and heretical teachings. Both Islam and Mormonism were founded upon dreams and visions. 1 Corinthians 4:6 warns us not to exceed what is written.
The Prosperity Gospel
Too many ministers have fallen into the trap of placing their focus on money and material possessions. Certainly, God has no objection to us having possessions, but when people are convinced that they have no faith since they have no wealth and health, the gospel has been seriously misrepresented.
In Matthew 10:8, we are reminded that we should freely give of the things of God because we have received freely from God. While it is fine to give to ministries, it is not appropriate that receiving funds to be the entire focus of a ministry.
The true gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. He came to save sinners. He came to set captives free. Our wealth, or lack thereof, does not determine our righteousness. Accepting Christ and placing our faith in Him does.
The Definition of Marriage
I love all people. More importantly, Jesus does. However, loving people does not mean that I have to approve of what is sin. No, I do not sit in judgement on someone in sin, but it is time people realized that speaking the whole counsel of God’s word is not judging.
When God’s people try to find ways to change the definition of marriage to please people, they are bowing to an idol. Acts 5:29 reminds us that Christians should be pleasing God rather than man. While homosexuality is not the only sin, it has to be addressed because many of God’s people have caved to the pressure of the world. Church by-laws have been changed and attempts to wrongly divide the word of truth have been made.
Please know that if you are involved in homosexual sin, there is deliverance in Jesus Christ. He came to set the captives free. I have been bound to many sins in my lifetime, but He has proven to be my deliverer. He can be yours too.
Which Gospel Will You Accept–Jesus Christ or What is False?
The decision to be offended or accept what I have said is yours. Most of all, Christians need to be searching the Word of God for themselves to see if what I am saying is true. Progressive Christianity has progressed because too many Christians accept the word of others over the Word of God.
It is not a watered down version of the gospel that draws people to Christ. I have yet to see someone leaving Islam, Buddhism, etc. to become a Christian when he or she sees such compromise. Christ said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. Rather than lift up false teaching, lift up Christ, the true Christ of the Bible. He loves you, but He loves you too much to leave you in your sin.
Praising God is not only what we were created to do, but it is also what helps transform our minds into spiritual thinking. As a result, we are able to walk above negative circumstances. It seems scary, and perhaps strange, to praise God in negative situations. Yet, the results can be miraculous.
When you praise God while going through tough times, you are inviting heaven to move on your behalf. Demonic influences can not tolerate praise to God. While they might turn up the heat of battle for a time, they will not last long under praise to God.
Jehoshaphat and Judah
Jehoshaphat ruled Judah, the southern portion of Israel, before the Babylonian captivity. During his reign, many enemies came against him. The number was vast according to 2 Chronicles 20:2.
While I am certain that Jehoshaphat had feelings of fear, he did not allow these emotions to rule him. He gathered the people and fasted. Jehoshaphat prayed sincerely acknowledging that he had no clue how to act. He stated that his eyes were on God.
Praise Comes with Victory
The Lord assured Jehoshaphat that victory was his because the Lord was in control. After talking to the people, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to walk in the front lines of battle. Putting singers on the front lines is not a normal strategic tactic. However, when God is fighting your battles, He does not use orthodox methods.
The singers marched into the battle along with the others singing praise to God. When they began singing, the Lord Himself sent an ambush against the enemies of His people. Most of these enemies were annihilated. The ones who survived the ambush became confused and slaughtered each other. The people of Judah looked out to see all of their enemies dead. They gathered the plunder from their enemies.
Praise in My Personal Life
When my sister passed away in 2002, a gaping wound was left in my soul. I did not think I could ever deal with the loss. Depression and despair entered my mind and took over my life. The Lord dealt with me to begin praising Him even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. When I began singing praise to God on a regular basis, the heaviness began to lift. After a while, it was totally gone.
Last summer, my husband went before a judge in a final attempt to get social security disability that he had been denied several times before. The battle was long and hard. Due to insurance struggles, much needed doctor’s appointments were challenging to obtain. Without needed medical evidence, it was impossible to get the help we needed.
The Lord reminded us to simply praise Him that the work had been done because He was in control. By faith, and I mean not knowing the results, we began praising God. After doing this for a period of time, we both began feeling a strong presence of the Holy Spirit. God began moving. My husband’s hearing before the judge went favorably giving us a good outcome.
Praise Brings Change
I did not tell you these two stories to make my husband or myself look super spiritual. Believe me, we are very human, and we experienced and yielded to very human emotions at various times. I am telling you that praising God causes your mind to think differently which is vital. Praise changes your outlook on life and increases your faith. Why? When you praise, your focus is on God instead of all that is wrong. Praise magnifies God while giving in to despair magnifies the problem.
What about you? Are you facing an intense battle? Lift up your hands, and by faith, praise God for His mighty work in your situation. Continue doing this even when your emotions are not in agreement. Heaven will move on your behalf.
The subject of forgiveness is a touchy one for most people. I freely admit that I am most people. The idea of forgiving someone when they have wronged me, or repeatedly wronged me, is displeasing. Or, should I say it is displeasing to my fleshly nature?
Why does God require us to extend forgiveness to those who have offended us? Is He simply wanting us to let wrongdoing go and let the offender off the hook? Through study and my own experience, I can confidently assure you that is not case. God requires us to extend forgiveness for our own benefit.
Forgiveness from God
Quite simply, God has forgiven us a great sin debt. This was accomplished when Jesus was crucified and died. Our new life came through His resurrection. By nature, we are sinners. No matter how hard we try or how good we are, we are unable to atone for our sins. Jesus paid a great price to free us from our sinful nature.
God freely gave us His forgiveness. Once we accept what Jesus did as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, we become born again. When we sin, we go to the Father, through Jesus Christ, to receive forgiveness. We did not deserve this grace and mercy, but He freely gave it.
Because of the forgiveness we have received, we must forgive others when they sin against us. Refusing to forgive puts a barrier between us and God. It also opens us up to being ruled by other sins such as malice, unbridled anger, gossip, and many others. We become obsessed with getting revenge which can be dangerous to us and others.
Forgiving others does not mean that the offense was not wrong. It does not mean that is is okay that you were hurt. It simply means that you release the offense to God giving Him the right to take care of it. Trust me, God knows how to deal with other people. Once you have released the offense (an act you might have to repeat several times), you will find that you have joy and peace. You will realize that the offense was weighing you down.
Often, the person I have needed to forgive is myself. You might find the same is true in your case. When I keep falling into the same sin over and over, I begin to become self-condemning. Unfortunately, this is not productive. What is productive is bringing myself to the throne of grace, pouring my heart out in repentance to the Father. His Word promises that He will cleanse us of our sins when we go to Him.
Once you have repented, leave condemnation alone. If you try to carry it, you will be of no use to the kingdom of God. It is not humility. It is a selfish focus on yourself and an insult to the blood of Jesus. Whether you realize it or not, you are saying the blood of Jesus is not enough when you walk in condemnation. We do not need to do penance. We simply need to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.
So, How about Forgiving?
Are you struggling to forgive someone who has done a great wrong to you? Are you struggling to forgive yourself? Bring that hurt to the Lord. He is able to take it and make you new again.
Refusing forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die. It is dangerous, and it is heavy. You will feel much lighter when you let go of the offense and allow God to take vengeance. Forgiveness, whether being given or received, brings transformation.
Perhaps I should explain why I have not yet published the book I was promoting. The title of the book is Are You Ready for Transformation (It’s All in Your Mind). As a practical guide to renewing the mind, I want the Holy Spirit to guide me through the process. In my rush to complete the book, I found myself running off without Him. That will never do.
At this time in my life, I am experiencing some great transformation spiritually, personally, and in my career. I am excited about these changes although I can get a bit apprehensive. Why? I am stepping out of my comfort zone.
Areas of Struggle
One of the areas of my life in which I struggle is with my weight. Since my late teens, I have been on one diet or another. When I was not dieting, I was going on complete binges. This type of yo-yo method is not healthy and can mess with the metabolism.
The Lord began speaking to me about my weight. I am following His leading, and I would love your prayers. He is teaching me how to keep the pursuit of weight loss in balance, allowing Him to heal areas that led me to overeating in the first place. However, the pursuit of weight loss must not become an idol in my life. If I am not careful, I tend to pursue the blessing rather than the God giving the blessing. Can you relate?
Giving Up Control
By nature, I have a type A personality. I feel the need to be in control. Part of that control is feeling that I have to do everything asked of me to show my capability. When I surrendered my control to God’s control, I found that I can say “no” when I need to. I do not have to do everything someone asks of me. If I need to, I can politely refuse. Jesus did not travel to every town. He did not give in to the wishes of everyone around Him when those wishes contradicted the will of the Father. (Balance alert: While I do not need to do everything asked of me, I do need to consider the needs of others which, at times, can bring inconvenience.)
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Due to loving control, I have a certain zone I prefer to stay in. If that zone were God’s will, then it would be fine. However, it is my own desire. It had to be surrendered to God because wanting to remain comfortable was keeping me from the transformation I needed. Understanding that God’s ways were higher than mine liberated me to allow Him to lead and guide my steps.
Are You Ready for Transformation will be out when I know God’s timing is right, not mine. The transformations that I have been undergoing will be discussed along with scriptures that the Lord led me to. I am willing to wait because I know it will be better and the annointing of the Holy Spirit will be more evident when I rely on God and give Him the glory.
What about you?
Are you undergoing transformation by the leading of the Lord? Remember our transformation comes by renewing our minds. If you belong to Christ, you have the mind of Christ. Using the mind He has given us will cause us to tap into realms of glory that we have never before experienced.
Trust the process that the Lord is taking you through. The end result is worth the means. God loves you, and His plan is to give you more abundant life.
It has been a long time since I last posted. So much has happened in my personal life since my last post. Major breakthroughs have happened in my own life as well as my family and church family. Of course, when a breakthrough comes, other battles come with it.
Wait a minute! Am I telling you that when you get a breakthrough, you still have battles? Yes! It comes as a shock, but count it all joy. When the children of Israel crossed over into the promised land in the book of Joshua, they battled giants. Although battles can be scary, what is even scarier is having no battles. If you have no battles, you are not progressing to higher spiritual ground.
Battles and Transformation
Of course, every single second of your life does not have to be a battle, but life does happen. I mentioned transformation in my title. Our battles are meant to bring transformation to us.
According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, we are changed from glory to glory. This glory to glory change involves being changed from battle to battle. The word transformation refers to a complete change that is often miraculous.
Look at the Eagle
The eagle is used as an illustration in the Bible and many sermons. There is a good reason for the analogy of eagles and our walks with God. Eagles are magnificent birds. They do not stay on the ground and scratch around. They soar, and when they do, they soar above most things.
During a storm an eagle will fly higher so he is above it. One transformation that must take place in our lives as Christians is that we must learn to fly above the storms in our lives. Yes, we are human. Yes, we will feel pain, but we do not have to allow the pain and suffering to cause us to drop to a level in which we do not belong. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can fly higher until we are above the storm. The storm, or the circumstance, is still occurring, but we are above it. We can avoid being negatively affected by adverse circumstances.
Is Such Change Possible?
In ourselves, it is impossible to soar above a storm, spiritually speaking. However, with God, all things are possible. When we tap into the power that Christ gave us through the cross and His resurrection, we can do great things. Of course, these accomplishments are not for our glory but to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have been listening to a Christian neuroscientist as well as studying in God’s word about transforming thoughts. According to what I have gleaned, God’s people have not even begun to tap into the power that God has made available to us by renewing our minds day by day. Until our thinking changes, great transformation will not take place. Romans 12:2 reminds us that we are not transformed by our own goodness or simply trying extra hard. We are transformed by renewing the mind.
In future posts, I will have more to write about this. Until then, pray about your own transformation. Through Jesus Christ, we have been given all we need for life and godliness. We simply need to learn to utilize what we have been given.
Have you ever been around a stubborn person? Perhaps you have obstinate tendencies yourself. I have experienced both. I have been around people who refuse instruction of any type, and I have been that stubborn person. The irony has been that I get so exasperated when dealing with an extremely stubborn person yet I conveniently forget that I can be obstinate in my own right.
Neither scenario is pleasant. Sadly, many people who are stubborn simply cannot see that flaw in themselves yet they can detect it in another person. Human nature can be hypocritical.
Determination and Stubbornness: The Difference
Everyone needs determination to stand steadfast and avoid deceit from the enemy. Determination and stubbornness are different although the line can be fine. Determination is the God-given will to grow spiritually with the drive needed to press through challenges and difficult situations. Stubbornness is being unteachable and never willing to learn anything new because you are set in your ways.
When I was a child, I was very head-strong and willful. I was determined to have my own way and was convinced that no one could tell me what to do. How wrong I was! I am sure I helped contribute to gray hair for my mother’s head, but the Lord gave her the determination she needed to guide me to the correct my path. My grandmother told my mother that some of my willfulness was good because it would keep me from allowing people to take advantage of me. I believe this gave my mother some peace about my strong personality.
Even if you have stubborn tendencies, you can remain teachable and flexible to the degree that God can mold you. That is where the deliverance lies for the stubborn person. Fortunately, when I gave my life to the Lord, my zeal to live to give Him glory helped me to see where obstinance could hinder my relationship with Him. I began to realize that I would have to crucify the flesh in that area of my life. If you struggle in this same area, you will begin to experience freedom when you realize that you must be pliable and moldable to God. We are not winning by remaining stubborn when we need to yield.
Do You Have Anything to Learn?
When we yield to stubbornness, we have a strong tendency to believe we know everything and have nothing to learn from other people. That is a dangerous place to be in our lives! We block God’s hand from moving on our behalf as well as hinder our relationships with others.
Certainly, I am not saying that we should become doormats for other people and allow them to dictate our lives. We just need to remain flexible, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us as to when we need to stand firm on an issue or be humble. It is a great challenge for the strong personality type, but we can do all things through Christ.
There are some minor issues in which it is better to yield ourselves rather than appear to be right. Some things are simply not worth the arguing and hindering of a relationship. People are more important than getting our way. This particular lesson took years for me to learn. Unfortunately, I hurt many people along the way believing that I had to get the last word in an argument, and that I had to be right. I could never be wrong. Does any of this sound familiar?
Stubbornness Harms Relationships
During my stubborn bouts, I hurt my husband, my parents, children, and other family as well as co-workers. Admitting I could possibly be in the wrong was painful as I am certain it is for some of you. While it hurts to be wrong, the momentary pain of crushed pride is feasible when we look at the damage we are doing to our relationships with others, and most of all, to the Lord.
The scriptures have much to say on this issue. Psalm 81:11-12 says, “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” The people of Israel could be very stubborn throughout the Old Testament. They grumbled and complained when they did not get their way then refused to listen to Moses when he tried to guide them. We need to be willing to accept guidance from other people, particularly if they are displaying wisdom in their own lives. Here is a strong scripture concerning accepting guidance: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid,” Proverbs 12:1. That hurts, doesn’t it? People who will never listen to others, particularly the Lord, make themselves look unwise, and they are truly unwise!
Proverbs 29:1 states, “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” Our stubbornness and refusing to yield will eventually bring about our downfall.
There are numerous scriptures that rebuke stubbornness, but since some very strong ones have been mentioned, I will give you what the Bible says is the solution to the problem. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6.
There is Hope and Deliverance
Stubborn people are like the rest of those with issues. They are not beyond hope. It is a matter of taking on humility which is a choice and willing our selves to submit to God. The world will not come crashing down around you if you admit that you are wrong about something. Trust me, I have had to humble myself many times, and I have found that it brings such sweet relief. Be willing to take advice from someone who has been there. Humble yourself. If not, the Lord has ways of humbling you that are much more painful than crucifying the flesh.
Refusing to allow God to mold your stubborn heart will result in the wrath of God in your life (Romans 2:5).
Refusing correction is not wise (Proverbs 12:1).
Pray for a steadfast heart to overcome a stubborn nature (Psalm 78:8).
Yielding to your stubborn nature will cause you to move backward instead of forward in your life (Jeremiah 7:24).
There is wisdom in meekness rather than stubbornness (James 3:13).
The Bottom Line
Is your obstinance worth losing a marriage, a friendship, a job, or the respect of co-workers? If you search your heart, I believe you know the answer. Go before the Lord and ask Him to conform your will to His. He does beautiful work, and you will have more peace and joy than you have ever known.
People have been falsely accused since human beings began multiplying on the Earth. Not everyone loves the truth. Unfortunately, an outright lie, half-truth, or deceitful tale all come across as having more interest and spark than the plain truth. (Incidentally, half-truths and deceit are still lies, but they have enough twisted truth in them to make them believable.) In most situations, the truth is nothing like the thousands of rumors that fly around it.
Jesus dealt with false accusations during His time in this world. People accused the sinless Messiah of being a glutton and drunk (see Matthew 11:19). If God in the flesh could not avoid lying tongues, then neither will you nor I.
When someone spreads an untruth about us, it is hurtful. Truthfully, it is one of the things I hate most. Untold and irreversible damage has been done to people’s lives and reputations as a result of a false accusation.
In my own life, I have dealt with this problem. My type-A personality immediately wants to confront the accuser with the facts. In some cases, this is the best way to handle the problem. In other cases, it is best to be more tactful. Although I have learned much of this the hard way, I have often asked myself how I am to know which method is best–bold confrontation or more polite ways. The answer is simple: let the Holy Spirit direct you. He knows all, and He knows the best way to handle a situation.
My Side of the Story
When a dispute has taken place or one person’s version of a story has been heard, you can rest assured that there is another side to the story. Unfortunately, we do not always find out the other side. That is why the Bible commands us to withhold judgment. Certainly, we do not condone wrongdoing, but we leave judgment up to God in people’s personal situations.
Recently, I had some very blatant lies told about me. Some of the stories told about me were outright lies. Others were quotes attributed to me that were either twisted or taken completely out of context. It is always best to verify the facts before blurting out what we think we know.
Truthfully, I am reminded of times that I wanted to believe the worst I heard about others rather than consider that there might be another side to the story. When the gossip hits home, I am reminded that rumors are not fair to any person. We should not start them, and we should not entertain them.
What Does the Bible Say?
God’s word has much to say about rumors, both spreading them and dealing with them. When you are the one falsely accused, God has a remedy for you that brings peace. 1 Peter 3:16 reminds us that we should continue living right before God. The accusers will eventually be put to shame. In other words, keep doing right. Eventually, others will see the truth.
Isaiah 54:17 reminds us that weapons formed against His people do not prosper. It also states that every tongue that rises against you in judgment will be proven wrong. When we give these hurtful and frustrating situations to God, He will reveal the truth and bring good out of the situation.
A Look at Me
Whenever someone has brought a false accusation against me, I take time to prayerfully consider if there are ways I could have handled the situation better. Perhaps my tone of voice in saying something was a bit hurtful. Although God does not expect you to condemn yourself or take responsibility for something you have no fault in, it never hurts to ask the Lord if we could have spoken or acted differently in these situations.
After you have prayed about a false accusation, and given it to God, move on. Let it go. Dwelling on it only builds resentment which will spill over into your other relationships. When this happens, we often take our anger out on people who have done nothing wrong.
If you or someone you know has been to prison, lost a job, or divorced over a false accusation, I encourage you to seek godly counsel to deal with this hurtful circumstance. God can bring healing, and if restoration is needed, He can bring that as well.
Having confidence in your identity in Christ can be challenging in our culture. Society often discourages people from seeking to live a life that is godly. Society loves to encourage us to be moral, but morality is set by the standards of people who do not know Christ. It can make a difference. Knowing who you are in Christ and maintaining your confidence of who Jesus is to you will be a key to living a victorious Christian life.
DO NOT THROW IT AWAY
Depending on the Bible translation you are reading, Hebrews 10:35 states that we are not to cast away, or throw away, our confidence. The same verse goes on to say that our confidence has great reward. Knowing who we are in Christ and knowing that He is for us will keep us from falling when trying times come.
If you continue reading, you will find that the writer of Hebrews encourages the readers to keep the faith and encourages the development of patience. The believers to whom the book of Hebrews is addressed had faced a great deal of persecution. Their homes, property, and personal belongings had been confiscated by the government because they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them had been imprisoned. Others had been martyred for the cause of Christ. The writer of Hebrews commended these people because they had been through a great deal of persecution and remained strong and steadfast, but another trial of sorts had come upon them when the letter of Hebrews was written.
The Scriptures are not specific as to the trial these people were facing at that time, but the writer was encouraging them to keep their confidence. They were encouraged to remember that God would reward them for their faithfulness. They were reminded that the just must live by faith.
THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
Knowing who we are in Christ and keeping our confidence will require walking by faith. God is pleased with our faith in Him. He can and will do powerful works through us to bring glory to Himself if we will remain yielded to Him.
As you are reading this post, you might be discouraged. You might be ready to throw in the towel, so to speak. I am not necessarily talking about backsliding. I am talking about giving up on your work for the Lord.
I am encouraging you to remain confident. Be confident in Jesus! Be confident in what He is doing in you. He will continue the work he began in you when you first believed in Him. Be confident in who you are in Him but aware of who you are without Him. Living by faith requires more boldness than living a normal life, but you were not called to be normal. You were called to stand out. You were not called to throw away your confidence. You were called to walk by faith and be confident in Christ.
Whatever you are facing, know that your faith pleases God. Even when your faith is weak, keep pressing on, confessing it to the Lord. He has ways of strengthening your faith. He will not forsake you. Do not give up because the Lord will bring you out victorious! “The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is His name (Exodus 15:3).”
Do not throw away your confidence. There is much that would be thrown away with it if you did. Keep going on this way because there is no other way that brings light and victory.