I Surrender

I find that I am constantly at battle.  The Bible warns that we will constantly be at battle with the devil.  However, I also find that I am at battle with myself and against the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Whenever I am about to make a bad decision, my stomach starts to hurt.  Do I listen to my stomach or the guidance of the Holy Spirit?  No.  I know better.  I am like a thirteen year old, I know everything about everything.

After I make the bad decision I look around at the consequences, and I wonder what was I thinking?  When am I going to start listening to God, and stop trying to do everything my way.  God’s way is the right way.  I always tell my daughter that with God’s way, the fewest number of people will be hurt.  If I can tell her that, why don’t I listen when I say it?

There are certain areas of my life that I insist on holding onto with both hands and fingers clenched.  It could be anything from money, to career, to education, to relationships.  Things that I believe that I can handle on my own.  As if I could manage anything better than God. So I surrender most of my life to God’s will, and I hold onto certain pieces.  Is it any surprise that the areas I hold onto are the ones that are a complete mess? 

It has to do with control.  I have to do everything myself.  I am the strong, independent, 21st century woman.  I don’t need anybody right?  Wrong.  I need my savior.  I need Him every moment of every day.  I need to turn to Him on every decision.  His way is always the right way.  He can see the big picture, and He is never tempted or confused by the enemy.

So after the nine millionth bad choice, I am surrendering my will to God’s will again.  I repent.  I wave the white flag.  I give it all up to Him.  For God knows the plans that He has for me.  It’s my favorite verse for a reason.  Even when I decide to do things my way.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 37:3-6 NIV
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Past Failures – Fast Failures

The first time I tried a fast it lasted three days out of forty.  I didn’t really understand what a fast was, and I treated it more like a diet.  I considered it to be more than a battle of wills with myself, and didn’t even include God.

The next fast I quit twelve days before I finished.  I had lost focus on what the fast was supposed to be about.  I had started thinking more about myself and less about God.  I wasn’t praying, I was complaining.  All I could focus on was the food that I wasn’t getting to eat.  I wasn’t studying.  I wasn’t focusing on my love for the Lord or learning his will.  I was lost in the sauce.

As posted earlier I am currently on a fast that will end on Easter morning.  It is a forty day fast where I only consume forty carbohydrates per day.  I have to confess that last weekend I lost focus again.  The fast once again became a diet.  I was once again focusing on what I wasn’t getting instead of my relationship with God.

I realized this while lying on the couch after school complaining to my daughter.  I wanted pizza.  I wanted chips.  I wanted junk food.  I didn’t want to fast anymore.  My daughter, the best Bible teacher, informed me that a fast is about showing God I loved him more than food.  She is such a gift.

This came from a little girl that has been saving her candy in a paper cup until Easter so that she can eat it.  Whenever someone has given my child candy for the last 23 days, she has saved it without being told to do so by a parent.  She wants God to know that she loves Him more than candy.  Her devotion to God is the only reminder she needs.

Mark 10:15 NIV
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

I had lost focus again.  I was missing the point in my desire to reach a goal.  It had become about winning a race, and not my devotion to the Lord.  It had become a battle of wills and not about prayer and fellowship with Jesus Christ.  So properly rebuked by my child I returned to what I should have been doing, studying the Word, surrendering my will, and prayer.

Today I am reminded of my many blessings and what my true craving is.

Matthew 4:4 NIV

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Strike Three… You’re Out!

I have heard a lot of criticism about people that have lifestyles contrary to scripture. I have heard stories of people that ministers wouldn’t marry because they were living together. People go on television and state that homosexuals should be killed for violating scriptures. “They’re sinners and their going to Hell!”

Well, so am I. I am a sinner, and I was going to Hell. The Bible had clear rules about what I was and was not supposed to do, and I did them anyway. I am a single mother with a daughter. Leaving out the circumstances of how and why, I am still in violation of scripture. I am supposed to be married to her father, and divorce is not an option. If we do not get to go to heaven because we are sinners, then no one would get to go. How can I be saved if I am a sinner, but my brother or sister cannot be? Isn’t the judgment of others also a sin?

Romans 2:1 NIV
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Matthew 7:3 NIV
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

The Bible states that we are not saved by works, so that none can boast. You can’t be good enough to go to heaven. If that is true, then you cannot be beyond the mercy of Jesus Christ. Actually, the Bible says that all sins and blasphemies are forgiven but one, which is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. As I understand that would be to turn away from Jesus Christ and accept the debt for your sins.

Mark 3:28-29 NIV
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

It is true that in the Old Testament God had a list of rules and a list of consequences for the violation of those rules. People were stoned and executed for breaking God’s law. People paid the debt of sin through animal sacrifice to become clean. However, Jesus Christ is part of a new covenant. He is the sacrifice required for the forgiveness of sins. He is the one that offers pardon to the sinner. We do not have that power or authority to grant salvation, so we cannot have the power to condemn.

The Bible gives us the law so that we can see how far from perfect we are, not so that we can measure how far from perfect our neighbor is. For it is only in seeing our own shortcomings that we can accept the grace of God. It is God’s word instructing us on how to be obedient and pleasing in His sight, not as a tool used against your neighbor in condemnation.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible also shares the teachings of Jesus Christ that told us to love and forgive our neighbor, and not to judge. He actually spent a majority of his time with the sinner, the diseased, the forgotten, and the unclean. He brought them love and mercy. He stood between the mob and a condemned woman and challenged them to cast their stones, and these were men and women who thought they were obeying God’s law.

John 8:7 NIV
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

It was never our commission to criticize or judge. That responsibility belongs to the Father alone. There are many people whom we would say were not deserving of salvation. There are many people we would look at and say of them, “They are not a Christian.” That determination is beyond our scope and understanding. We don’t get to make that decision. How many of us would feel that a man being executed on death row deserves heaven? Jesus did.

Luke 23:39-43 NIV
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

This man had lived in sin his whole life. It was only at the moment of his death that he turned to Jesus Christ for salvation. He wasn’t baptized, he didn’t attend church, he didn’t tithe, and he didn’t put in volunteer hours or charity work. He confessed his faith to Jesus Christ, and he was saved.

Our responsibilities are to share the teaching of the Bible, the message of salvation, and the gospels. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves as Christ loved us, which means while we were still sinners. We are to forgive those that persecute us, and pray for our enemies. We are to be a model of Christ’s mercy here on earth to our brothers and sisters.

Worry about your own batting average and let Jesus be the umpire and decide who is out.

Good Cop Bad Cop

Before I was a Christian I would read the Bible, and I would completely miss the point. For example, I couldn’t reconcile what I had heard about Jesus Christ with the Old Testament God. Jesus Christ was loving and merciful and never got angry. God was vengeance, anger and wrath. How did that figure?

Finally I decided to use what little I knew of the Trinity to logic it out for myself. So if Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God are three parts of one being, than what I read in the Old Testament could be one facet of God and New Testament could be another. Jesus was the good cop and God was the bad cop.

Now remember, this is before I was a Christian and I was reading the Bible like a text book. I didn’t get the message, just the words on the paper. For the most part I didn’t spend a whole lot of time trying to figure it out. I would organize, classify and move on. I was too busy being wise in the world, to worry about reading the Bible.

Since being saved, I read the Bible differently. I look for the messages and I have since realized that I was wrong. God is merciful in the Old Testament Jesus demonstrates wrath in the New Testament. The sacrifice on the cross is the epitome of mercy, but that was not the first example of God’s grace. Throughout the Old Testament I am stunned by the degrees of God’s forgiveness for the kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

While reading I notice a pattern. Good king – bad king – good king – bad king. One king makes bad choices, and the country suffers. The next king repents and God is merciful. A king vandalizes the temple, and rather than a quick lightning bolt to get to the next king, God sends a prophet to warn them and teach them. He sends small punishments rather than immediately sending them into exile.

Now we aren’t talking about small violations like when Sarah laughed at the idea of becoming a mother in her old age. We are referring to worshipping pagan gods in the holy place of God’s temple. They not only turned against God’s covenant they turned their nation towards foreign gods.

It really strikes home when you read about the last kings of Judah. The most evil king in the history of Judah was King Manasseh, son of King Hezekiah. He did everything you could think of doing to shun God’s covenant with His people. He set up pagan idols in the holy place, he burned his children in sacrifice, and led the people away from the worship of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 33:6-7 NIV
He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritualists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. He took the carved image he had made and put it in God’s temple…

2 Kings 21:16 NIV
Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Rather than take immediate action, God sent prophets to warn the king of his evil, an act of mercy in the face of deliberate defiance. When the king refused to listen, God allowed the Assyrians to conquer the king and take him away in chains. At that point, Manasseh chose to repent of his evil to the Lord. Now this man had done some terrible things, but God was still merciful to him, and restored him to his throne.

2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV
In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his father. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.

As you read the Old Testament it becomes frustrating how defiant, disobedient and stubborn the people of Israel and Judah are before God finally sends them into exile. The horrible things they do and commit, and yet God tolerated them for generations before finally punishing them. When you understand the God had for the children of Abraham you can see his grace, love and mercy.

The more I study, the more I can see the good cop in the Old Testament.

Reluctant Witness

When it comes to talking to people I am ridiculously shy.  I don’t like social situations.  I never enjoyed clubbing, parties or dances.  I just am not good talking to strangers or striking up small talk.  So that makes the process of evangelism a little bit complicated and difficult.

On top of my shyness, I also had a stutter in high school that sometimes revisits me in times of stress or anxiety.  I never competed in a debate and was incapable of giving speeches.  When I was the Students Against Drunk Driving president, I wrote the speech, and someone else presented it.  Sharing the gospel with a less than receptive audience can be anxious. 

However, I am not afraid to start sharing the story of Jesus Christ and the message of salvation.  I am not frightened because I am not the first reluctant witness God has ever used for his mission.  Centuries ago, God called on a displaced Hebrew to lead His people out of bondage and into a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses was a very reluctant witness.

Moses tried to convince God that He, the creator of the universe, had made a mistake in selecting a simple shepherd to confront Pharaoh.  God corrected Moses, and still the reluctant witness continued to argue with his Lord, trying to convince Him to select another.  Moses was a murderer, estranged from his own people, and speech impaired.  God cannot be reasoned with.  When God calls, we answer and trust Him.

Exodus 4:10-14 NIV
Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”  The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  Who gives him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”  Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses…

Moses obeyed God. With his brother Aaron at his side. Moses went into Egypt and confronted Pharaoh. He parted the Red Sea. He led the people to Mt Zion and presented them with the ten commandments. He had a face to face, personal relationship with God unlike any prophet to follow Him. He wrote the first five books of the Bible. Moses loved God and obeyed Him. God used Him to perform many miracles. God put the words in his mouth.

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, believers have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.  From that point, the Holy Spirit is there with us.  It guides us and tells us what to say.  We don’t have to know all the answers because God is dwelling inside each and everyone of us.  We can be scared and nervous.  We can have a stutter.  We just have to be willing to allow God to use us for His glory.  When we surrender our fear to His control great and wondrous things can happen. 

Luke 12:11-12 NIV

When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to praise of his glory.

When it comes to God’s commands it is 95% heart, 5% ability, so be reluctant but allow God to use you anyway.

Free to be a Dork

When my daughter is at home among her family she is a complete dork.  She prances around naked, does the Snoopy dance, and draws pictures in her food at dinner.  She isn’t afraid to act ridiculous because she knows that she is with people that love her.

She knows that her mommy will smile and not tease.  She knows that her mommy loves her unconditionally, and nothing she will do can change that.  She is safe and secure in the love her mommy has for her.  If her mommy catches her spraying Febreeze in her underarms, making monkey faces in the mirror, or trying to make her tummy move like the ocean her mommy will still love her.  She is free to be herself.

We have that same luxury with our Father.  God loves us and there nothing that we can do to change that.  In all our wickedness and sin, there is nothing that we can do that will make us beyond his compassion, mercy or love.  He knew every though we would have in our lifetime before we were born.  He knew every sin we would commit before the universe was created.  He knew what flawed and imperfect children we would be… yet He willingly died for us anyway.

God loves us unconditionally and there is nothing that we can do that will cause Him to turn away from us.  For those of us that find ourselves separated from the love of Christ, it was not He that turned away.  Only those that do not seek Him find themselves lost and alone.  He is grace.  He is mercy.  He is love.

Psalm 36:7 NIV
How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuse in the shadow of your wings.

1 John 4:9-10 NIV
This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love:  not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Romans 8:35 NIV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

So make your monkey faces in the mirror.  Spray Febreeze in your underarms.  Wear cowboy boots with your bathing suit.  God loves you for who you are.  Nothing will cause His love to falter.  He will smile and not tease.  You can be safe in the love your Father has for you.

You are free to be a dork.

Single

You never feel quite as single as when you are sick.  There is no one there to bring you a bottle of water, and the crackers never fly out of the kitchen by themselves.  No one presses the back of their hand to your forehead to see if you are running a fever.  As you lie alone in bed feeling lousy, you know with absolute certainty that you are single.

However, even when I was in the bathroom at 1:30 in the morning trying to keep water down, I knew I was not alone.  In the Bible Jesus promises that you will never be alone, not even at your lowest moment.  The same promises are there for you.  No matter how bad you feel you are not alone.

Psalm 46:1 NIV
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

In the Bible you will find the story of Job.  This man had given his heart to God, and he was blessed with wealth, health and family.  In a test of faith, he lost all of these things until he was sitting alone, diseased in the desert.  Even in the face of illness, loss and despair his heart still belonged to God.  He wondered why God had turned from him, but that had never happened.  By the end of the book, Job has been blessed by God for his faithfulness with more wealth, health and family.

Matthew 28:20b
…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

No matter where you are, or what you are doing God is with you.  No matter how low or terrible you feel God is still with you.  You might be in a difficult situation that you don’t understand, but God is with you.  You might feel as if the world is crashing down on you, but God is still with you.  Even when you are sitting in sack cloth, sick with ashes on your head God is with you.  

This is His promise to you printed throughout the Bible.  God doesn’t change His mind.   When God makes a promise He keeps it.  You may have a struggle or a tough time, but you are never in it alone.  All we are asked to do is put our faith and trust in the promise to be comforted by it.

Numbers 23:19 NIV
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 

1 Samuel 15:29 NIV
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

 So last night as I knelt on the tile floor of my bathroom I felt God with me.  I felt his hand on my back.  As I lay in bed feeling the world spin, I felt solid for the Lord was with me.  I was never alone, even if I am single.

Sheep or Wolf?

I am a great downloader and listener of on-line podcast and audio sermons. If someone mentions a good church or pastor, I look them up on-line and I listen to the message they have to share. Sometimes the message is wonderful and I end up downloading them all to listen to throughout the week, and sometimes the Holy Spirit forces me to take a step back and verify their teaching against the Bible.

From time to time I run into people who tell me they are Christians but then speak against the scriptures. Some very well-known celebrities claim to be Christians and then deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. They will proclaim their devotion and faith with one hand and then endorse beliefs that go against the Bible with the other. Jesus once told his disciples that he was sending them out as sheep among the wolves, and then He tells us that these teachers like these are wolves pretending to be sheep.

Matthew 10:16 NIV
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

I am not saying that they are malicious or intentionally leading new or non-believers away from the teachings of Jesus Christ, but their actions result in the same outcome. Any message that is not in accordance with scripture should be questioned, analyzed, and potentially discarded. No matter how famous or righteous the deliverer of the message may seem, the Word of the Bible is the standard by which all preaching should be measured.

It doesn’t matter if the person delivering the message is the most renowned Bible scholar in the world. It doesn’t matter if the person has donated millions of dollars to charity organizations, founded schools and hospitals, or volunteered on mission trips. One must remember that all men and women are sinners. We as teachers, disciples, followers, and evangelists are fallible. Even Peter, the rock on which Christ built His church, in a moment of crisis denied Jesus three times.

Then there are those that have read the Word but did not understand it. They lacked the eyes to see. They see Jesus as a moral leader and philosophical teacher, but not the son of God. They believe that all people are divine in spirit and combined make up God. They do not believe in the resurrection or the cleansing of sins through the sacrifice made on the cross. Yet, they will come up to you and tell you that they are a Christian, just not one of the narrow-minded ones.

There are Christian churches that tell you what you should do, but not what you have to do. There are Christian churches that present the Bible like a buffet menu and you can pick and choose which of God’s teachings are real or recommended. You can deny the virgin birth, the resurrection, the divinity of Christ, and the miracles of the Bible and still call yourself a Christian if you think that Jesus was just a nice guy.

These teachers will go around and undermine the teachings of Christ. They will teach the love of Christ without the law of God. They will try and share the mercy of Jesus without the consequence of denying Him. They talk about a great moral leader without discussing sin, hell, or God’s judgment. Without God’s judgment why would we need the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ?

I am not saying to judge the person, for that is also against scripture, just to question the teaching.  These teachers may think they are doing the right thing. They may think they are providing instruction on morality so that you can reach heaven. What they are doing is really providing obstacles that separate you from God. They are false teachers and they are doing more harm than good. They are the wolves.

This does not mean they are consciously working on behalf of the devil. Sometimes compassion denies truth. Peter acted in this way when out of love he asked if Jesus could be spared the crucifixion. Jesus recognized this as the work of the devil to tempt him away from the act that would save mankind.

Mark 8:33 NIV
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

As Christians it is not enough to just know a person’s pedigree for teaching. It’s not enough to look at the size of the church, its attendance or the recommendations of its members. You have to listen to the teaching, use the discernment of the Holy Spirit, and compare it to the scriptures. Trust in the Holy Spirit to tell you that someone’s message, interpretation, or teachings are wrong.

Matthew 7:15 NIV
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Intolerant

One of the most common responses I receive when I share the Message of Salvation is that it isn’t possible or realistic. I am asked, are you saying that there is only one way to heaven and that all the millions of others who are not Christians are wrong? My response is, “No, I am not saying there is only one way to heaven, I am relating what is written in the Bible as preached by Jesus Christ.”

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

Jesus says, “No one.” This doesn’t sound optional or suggestive. It doesn’t sound like there is a lot of grey area here. Jesus didn’t say, “I am one of the ways, some of the truth, and most of your life.” These weren’t the words of some preacher, philosopher or historian. These are words directly from the mouth of God.

After sharing that scripture with a non-believer I hear more about the other world religions. I hear about how much alike they are to Christianity. How they require a person to follow guidelines, be good to their neighbor, and the lessons on morality. I hear about Allah, a goddess, Buddha, and sometimes a flying spaghetti monster. I then remind them that a religion without Jesus Christ is a deception and cannot be of God. That is when I am informed of how intolerant and judgmental I am.

One cannot accept the Bible as the God-breathed word of truth, and be accepting of alternative paths to Heaven. That is an oxymoron. God’s words in the Bible indicate that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. I can love people of different religions but I cannot approve of a path that leads them to eternal harm. I fear for those that will suffer the consequences of missing the message and the Messiah that delivered it.

Romans 6:23 NIV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When you sit and truly consider the outcome of a life without Jesus Christ, and the outcome of other belief systems, can you really be tolerant? Isn’t it more important to be politically incorrect when you know the truth of God and the consequences for denying Christ? Is it worth it to be abiding and generous to someone else’s religion when you know that they will eventually suffer for eternity away from Heaven and the love of God?

Now I am not condoning hate crimes or slander. Nor am I on the verge of starting my own crusade to force the Word of God onto other people. That is not the message of Jesus Christ, or His commission to His believers. The Bible says that only the Holy Spirit can put a desire for salvation in a person’s heart, and only Jesus Christ can give the grace and mercy of his sacrifice.

It is beyond the power of any Christian to give salvation. Our only command is to spread the word of God to the four corners of the earth so that everyone hears the message of Jesus Christ. We are to be carriers of the Holy Spirit and deliverers of the message found in the Gospel. The miracle of salvation happens between the individual and Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:15-16 NIV
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

I find that I must be intolerant of other religions. I personally would rather have that awkward moment when I share the message of Jesus Christ with a Pagan, Atheist, Muslim, or Buddhist, than to sit comfortable in my own salvation. I will rest under my label of intolerant judge if it means I get the chance to share the gospel with one person who needed it. I will be politically incorrect if Jesus needs to use me to share His word with someone.

If you find that you are accepting of everything, eventually you will also find that you stand for nothing.

My Daddy Said So

I find that the most interesting lessons I learn from come not from some wise biblical scholar or renowned preachers. Most of my lessons on faith come from a six-year-old little girl. She teaches me something new about how to love and obey God nearly every day. Through her I learn what it means to truly trust and believe.

Mark 10:15 NIV
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

My daughter has absolute faith and trust in her parents. If one of us tells her something it is true, and she will stand her ground on that point. She does not question the teachings we give her as truth.  Once we say it, that is how it is.

For example, I have told her that “can’t” is a bad word. I don’t want her to quit before she has tried her best. At school another child said the word “can’t” and my daughter quickly informed him that it was a bad word and he wasn’t allowed to say it. He disagreed, and an argument ensued.

From there the conversation moved to a parent volunteer where both children presented their cases for her judgment. The parent informed my daughter that “can’t” may be a bad word at home, but it is not at school. My daughter then proceeded to argue with that parent. The teacher sent my child back to her spot, where she waited only a few moments, and then returned to that parent to further argue for what she knew in her heart to be right. It was right and true because her mother said so. End of argument.

Even after she was sent back to her spot with a serious warning, my daughter sat there knowing that she was right. She felt injustice because her mommy has said it and it was true. Nothing anyone else said could dissuade her from this point. Weeks later after the parent conference, she still felt the outrage of her cause. I informed her that she could know something is true without having to fight with a parent volunteer, other students, or her teacher.

Now imagine if Christians took that same attitude with the words of God. Consider if we read something in the Bible and trusted our Father. What if we were willing to stand our ground when strangers, family, or society as a whole were challenging what our Father told us? What if we sat back in our spot after being told we were wrong and still believed our Father and did what He had told us to do?

I don’t care what anyone else says… my Daddy said so!