Taken Hostage.

In this day and age, I dont think there are a lot of people left clueless about the fact of terrorists and hostages. The past two decades have shown us the kind of horrors that terrorists can do, even to unarmed civilians. But have you ever considered the spiritual parallel of hostage taking in the church?

A hostage is someone unlawfully detained against their own will; putting a stop to their lives and putting them in a life threatening situation. Same with people in the church, held hostage by our laziness, held hostage by our quirks and disobediences, held hostage by our annoyance with brethren.

When we react against God’s sovereign will or His clear moral will, we raise several levels of tantrum. That tantrum now spells into laziness, now spells anger towards church leaders, especially the pastor, now spells “I dont want to do church anymore, because this is too much!” Even when, there is no clear pronounced, actionable sin that they react to. Its just them.

Another group, we can quickly add to this is people who simply have no love for the church. The dialogue goes, “Let them do it; I’m spiritual enough already, I dont need to be discipled, etc.” But all that again, is bundled up in an enigmatic pressure of stopping the life of the church dead in its tracks.

When the hearts of Christians become stale towards God and His work, the church is held hostage.

It is detained unbiblically, when in fact the Shepherd beckons us to go; its life is stunted, the opportunities for growth are lost from week to week or day to day, depending on how active the church is, and its very life is put in danger. With that kind of attitude soon, others will be INFECTED by such sin formed attitudes. Pretty soon, many in the church will feel like the church is going nowhere and also feel that they don’t like to do church anymore.

Where will such attitudes bring the church of the Risen Savior?

How dare we put our sin tainted desires over love for God and His church!

Silly Lawyers and Judges

We should ask ourselves continually, “SHOULD WE NOT BE READY TO COURAGEOUSLY EXPOSE FALSE TEACHERS, IF THEY ARE MISLEADING PEOPLE AWAY FROM GOD AND INTO HELL? WHAT SHOULD WE FEEL TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO DECEIVE OTHERS INTO COMMITTING ETERNAL SUICIDE?” And that is exactly what it is as well, eternal suicide, because hell is an eternal death. The soul of man is always dying but also, always being revived to experience punishment once more, for an eternity.

As fallen human beings, there are times when we act as prosecuting lawyer and judge of people who are tried by media. We see the case unfold on television, we learn of new evidences and new witnesses in the case, and we conclude after a while that the person is truly guilty. Even though, due process has not yet been accomplished. Here in our country, a person is guilty until he is proven innocent—a lot of third world countries and citizens experience this.

We know how to judge people, even with the slightest hint of wrongdoing. And if God had allowed a different society to unfold for us, we would have gladly been executioner as well!

But how come, when it comes to false teachers at times, so many Christians are willing to sit on the fence and play dumb? Even if, God has already pronounced them guilty.

I don’t really think that it involves our view of eternity or a man’s soul that we hold off on our needed actions of courage against such people. Because even if these were not false teachers, we gladly push people into hell for assumed wrongdoing.  Don’t we?

It’s most likely that we simply don’t share the verdict or judgment of God as strongly as we should. Its either:

We don’t believe that such people deserve hell;

Or we don’t believe in God’s holy wrath as much.

Either way, it is great unbelief.

Sitting on the fence was not the action that Jesus did towards such people. He condemned them. And even if we look at Matthew 7, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, His first sermon, he was already condemning them. So, He condemns them in His first sermon, as He starts off His ministry and then He still condemns them in His final sermon, as He prepares to end His physical-earthly ministry.

There is no escaping the thoughts of Jesus regarding the Pharisees and the Sadducees and every other false teacher in the world.

 

 

Indifferent Visionaries?

Here we go again. . . Do you know what blind visionaries are? Precisely. No Such thing should exist, but they do. These are people who are supposed to lead the church and yet, have no desire to go anywhere. Hardly can you hear them, nor see them, speaking of wondrous things they desire for the church. Like shepherds who doesn’t seem to want the sheep to eat green pastures anymore. But they do. They want to eat green grass, drink from cool and quiet waters. But they forget the sheep.

The sheep are left in great want and at times confusion and anger. The sheep knows that they’re supposed to be led and fed, but the shepherds are not doing it. What gives?!

Leaders of the church are supposed to be the greatest visionaries of all, and yet they stand and behave as blind men and women. They can see alright, but only two feet out. That is as good as blind. They seem to look, but not really. They pretend with the small twitching of their muscles, straining of their necks, looking into the telescope, their faces seemed puzzled as to whether or not they truly see something–when there is actually nothing!

Indifference is the reason for such a malady. They love themselves. They don’t really love the church. A leader who does not love the church and does not long to lead the sheep into greener pastures, does not long to see them grow into Christ-likeness can hardly be called a leader. What are they? Only God knows what they are.

May the Lord always supply His church with leaders who will love the people and desire to lead the sheep into Christ-likeness, green pastures and still waters.

Spiritual Alzheimer’s. . .

From what I know of Alzheimer’s disease, people forget things. . . many things. They might remember for a few moments and then snap right back into oblivion. But for the most part they just continue to forget and forget; until even the mind forgets to inform the body on how it should function.

There is something like that in the church. There are people who have been once used mightily of God; people who saw things for the Lord; people with vision; people who were hungry for God; people who are merciful, compassionate and not angry. But at some point, for so many reasons, they start to forget. They slowly lose the memories , the thoughts they once had for God and His church. The passion that they used to have has waned, if not all completely left them. Trials for sure has something to do with this. The trials, though regulated by God’s grace were simply too much to handle for them–from their end. They lost hope; they lost zeal. And all the wonderful things they used to long for and even see in Christ for His church, is a long and dark forgotten dream.

How do such people behave today? Like Alzheimer’s patients they have forgotten many of the things that God has shown them. Like elementary children, they have been reduced to trying to go up against flash cards on addition and subtraction–not even multiplication. The “divine physics” subject that they used to revel in, looks like the Mount Everest of impossible to them. They no longer run complex scenes and truths of amazing grace in their minds and hearts–they have simply lost it. They have become suspicious of any motion to advance the cause of the Gospel and the church in whatever way. And even if they do say “yes” it is with the biggest stamp of caution one can find.

The sadder thing in all of this is that these are not old people. we are talking about young people, middle aged people who have simply lost the fond memories of God’s grace in their lives.

Perhaps, it is the Lord’s discipline upon them. Perhaps not. Maybe, they became bitter. Bitterness has a very real way of simply sapping the life out of us.

For such brethren, it shall only be the Lord to take them out of their spiritual slumber.

Let us pray that the church remembers the greatness of God and His grace.

Aye Chihuahuas in The House!

 In the house of God that is! Chihuahuas in the Church. When i was growing up my cousin had a pet chihuahua. . . cant even remember the name of the dog. I really did not like it. I like dogs; in fact I cant remember a time wherein we didnt have one–only now. That tiny dog, held me and my brother almost hostage upon entering the house of my aunt. Yup! Hard to believe, all 6 feet of me. We couldnt move from where we were.

What does that dog have to do with the church? Well, that particular chihuahua was a very annoying one. It kept barking and barking, even if it was already barking at someone who was entirely capable of sending that dog into flight mode by kicking. It had a shrilly tone in its bark; like a battery-operated toy dog that came to life.  It doesn’t seem to know when to simply bow down to a bigger figure of authority.

Sadly, there are also people like that in the church. There are people who, instead of working together with others, following leadership, has found it more convenient for them to yap away like annoying chihuahuas. Does it make th church grow any? I don’t think so. Does it make the church seem more Christ-like? Absolutely not!

The usual people who do this are usually insecure people; people who need to be heard or recognized as significant or intelligent. Such people actually think by all that rhetorical hot air, that they are behaving as mature believers. When the opposite is quite clear.

Such people do not love the church. Such people love only what they think is right and do not love God at all by what they do.

Perhaps someday, these chihuahuas will become sheepdogs (whatever breed that might be); sheepdogs that will help leadership shepherd the church. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful sight to behold? Many if not all members of the local church, helping one another, loving one another, just as Christ loved His church? Wow! That would be great! Although, I don’t think I will live long enough to see that happen in the church i belong to. My faith is shattered and flailing at best with this regard.

O Dear Lord, help me believe that You can still do this!

For those of you reading this, don’t be a chihuahua! Pursue God with all your strength; help the church; pray for it; pray for your leaders; help them; love them and forgive them.

Day Break on The Beach by F.B Meyer

“When the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”– Joh_21:4.
THE PREVIOUS evening had been full of interest and hope. Those seven fishermen had long been separated from their craft, and thinking probably that they were not to see their Master again, they betook themselves, with considerable zest, to the shore of the Lake. They entered the old familiar boat, and that night they caught nothing! It was the last fishing expedition they were to have. They were to navigate other waters, use other nets, and sail under other skies. The greatness of their disappointment was to block the door in that direction and open it in another. No longer fishermen on the shores of Galilee, but shepherds, pasturing their flocks on the celestial mountains, whence views are to be obtained, in fair weather, of the Eternal City. Has your life been a disappointment? Did you start out, years ago, with good heart and hope? Perhaps the winds were soft, the starlight brilliant, and there was a chance of the moon breaking through. But the sky soon clouded over, and the years have gone wearily! It isn’t that you have been idle, but for some reason everything has miscarried; and now there seems nothing for it but to land on the shore of Eternity, as Paul did on the shore at Malta. But do not be too sure of this! When the morning breaks on that coastline, it is more than likely that you will see Jesus standing on the beach. He will know the time of your arrival, and will come down to meet you, as He did for the first martyr, Stephen, and has done for a multitude beside. It is very pleasant, as in the big ship, you emerge from the night, to see familiar faces greeting you, or even one dear face with a smile of welcome awaiting your coming! It may happen to be the landing-stage at New York, Bombay, Melbourne, or Liverpool, but what a difference it makes! And when the Day of days shall break, and the shadows flee away, and the little boat of our life grates on the shore, it will be good indeed to see Christ standing there, with His outstretched hand to welcome, to help us disembark, to lead us to the prepared place on which He has expended thought and care. “I go to prepare a place for you I will come again to receive you unto Myself.”

 

Voltes 5 and The Body of Christ.

I wonder if any of you reading this would know or even     remember the 1970’s anime series of Voltes V. Long before the word “anime” was ever in vogue and the people who created DRagonball were born, there was Voltes 5. You might be wondering what does Voltes 5 have to do with the church. Well, first, Voltes 5 had 5 different parts (as you can see with the picture), which “Volt-in” every time they want to form the gigantic robot. SO WITH THE CHURCH.  By that I mean, the church is also composed of different parts. that is why Paul refers to it as the Body of Christ. We might not “volt in” as they do, but the church IS composed of different parts.

if anyone of them volts out without asking permission or without proper authorization, it puts the whole situation, of fighting with the enemy robot in grave danger. Their staying “volted in” was integral to winning against the ever progressive and creative Bozanian robots. Our being connected to the local church and doing our part is also as crucial. WE CANNOT JUST VOLT OUT OR POP OUT OF FORMATION, ANYTIME WE WANT.

I am sure that common courtesy applies to the Voltes team, and if anyone saw the series you would agree with me. That common courtesy also applies in volting out or popping out of formation. WHAT MORE THE CHURCH.

People who profess to follow Christ might do well in taking some lessons from such animated entertainment. It is entirely unbecoming of a believer to simply leave the church, the Body of Christ, just like that and leave people wondering what happened. It is entirely unbecoming of someone who claims to be a new creation and behave as if nothing of the world’s influence inside them changed. if we can take proper leave from our offices when we resign or inform our landlord when and why we are transferring, can we not properly and with much sobriety and dignity tell church leaders as to why we are leaving?

EVEN MANY ADULTEROUS HUSBANDS AND WIVES INFORM ON THEIR SPOUSES BEFORE THEY LEAVE. What more the church?! The crew of Voltes V has more manners!

People who leave without as much, telling people why they left and when they intend to leave really, AS IN REALLY, don’t think much of the church. Their offices and places of rented residence get better treatment. People who leave just like that does not give the grace of God an opportunity to work in their lives and even the people with whom they have issues with.

The church is filled with imperfect people. If such people are looking for a church to go to, wherein they wont get hurt, then they will surely be disappointed. If they ever find a place like that, its either the church does not care about them at all or they don’t care enough about the church to have the opinions and words of other believers enter their hearts and lives.

LEAVING THE CHURCH JUST LIKE THAT, SHOWS THE WORLD JUST EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF VALUE SOME BELIEVERS GIVE THE CHURCH–SECOND RATE.

 

Not A Split Personality Messiah.

Depiction of split personality

Many Christian teachers preach that one can be saved from the fires of hell, by simply believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. The heresy they create with this is that they willfully set aside the truth, of Jesus Christ as Lord. No one can believe in Christ, simply as Savior, but they also must believe in Him as Lord. I don’t recall a portion of the Gospels that Jesus Christ excluded one title from the other. Neither is Jesus Christ schizophrenic–split personality, to preach exclusively as Savior one day and the next simply as Lord.

Such teaching has gained so much mileage because they say that people don’t have to follow Christ and obey Him. They can continue in their hell destined ways, for as long as they already have fire insurance in the Savior. People can choose to follow Him at a later date. Sounds like Jesus Christ postponed HIs authority.

Such preachers don’t like to tell the people that Christ Himself preached to the people to count the cost in following Him.

Once you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior you also say that he is Lord. And that calls for a full surrender of your life to Him. IT CALLS FOR A TRUE, ABIDING AND DEEPENING COMMITMENT TO THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES!

CHRISTIANITY TODAY IS SUCH AN ENIGMA AND MANY TIMES A JOKE, BECAUSE MANY OF A CONVINCING NUMBER REMAINS SHALLOW AND STAGNANT IN THEIR COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST.

SUCH A COMMITMENT IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY A FAILURE TO COUNT THE COST.

John Stott (Basic Christianity):

“The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers. The ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. . . thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost . . .

The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity.

GRACE ABOUNDING by F.B. Meyer

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”– 2Co_9:8.

ABUNDANCE IS characteristic of God! Go forth on a spring morning, and look on the flowers with which He has carpeted the woodlands.Daisies and buttercups, primroses and cowslips in myriads, bear witness to the prodigality of His thought and power–His thought to fashion, His power to produce. But this profuse carpeting of the earth’s nakedness is equalled in the heavens! There, depth opens beyond depth, lighted and inlaid with constellations, and the wonders of the sky answer to those of the earth. How multitudinous is God’s creation!But what shall we say of His Grace? His Joy is unspeakable, His Peace passeth understanding, His Love is beyond knowledge! Get great thoughts of God, who holds the ocean depths as a drop in the hollow of his hand, and weighs the mountains as grains of dust in His scales. Lie upon that bank of flowers, and consider their multitude; sweep the skies with a telescope and see if you can tell the stars; number the sand-grains upon the shore, and count the shells strewn along the strand; and when you have considered the gifts of His hand, ascend to the wealth of His heart. Study the infinite map of God’s nature; compare it with the need of your little life, and then remember that the Father loves you infinitely, so much so that for your salvation and mine He gave His Only-Begotten Son. He has set His love upon you, and will certainly deliver you! He will set you on high because you have known His Name. All the resources of eternity and infinity are at His disposal, and He can make all grace abound toward you, that always having all sufficiency in all things, you may abound to every good work.

This is a very wonderful text! Count the number of universals in it. All Grace Always! All Sufficiency! All things! God abounding to us that we may abound. The word translated abound might be rendered literally “to flow or pour over.” “My cup runneth over.” Our Lord said: “I am come that they might have life, and have it overflowingly”; “Where sin overflows, grace much more overflows” (Joh_10:10; Rom_5:20).Let us remember that God does not pour in unless we pour out. If we are filled with the Presence and Grace of Christ in our hearts, we must give ourselves out to others.

PRAYER

Give me grace, O Lord, to see the beauty lying at my feet in the commonplaces of life; and to feel that Thou art as near, and that life is as wonderful today, as when men beheld Thee in the days of Thy flesh. AMEN.

My Cousin and The King James Problem

hi  Carlos,
what else can i say?  you have interpolated the matter very well with all humility and simplicity. what struck me most was when you said ” in heaven there will be no sections labelled for those who use KJV or the NIV etc. it still sums up to a repentant sinner accepting Jesus as his Saviour and Lord .

i got alarmed of this issue last sunday when i told my pastor that i went to pcbs last month to buy a thompson chain refrence bible. tapos when i got home i saw it was king james version. i wanted a new king james version so i called the store. manager, he informed me to wait for my order.  a month past still no version i like and i cant open it cuz it has to be exchanged. manager said no refunds so he suggested there would be an upcoming thompson seminar where they will give new thompson chain reference bible, there would be 3 day seminar on how to use the bible and teach /guide leaders and pastors how to make a sermon.  the seminar costs 1,300 pesos. so i attended. the bible they gave was an NIV. i told my pastor what i did last week and adviced me to get rid of the NIV and get back to the store to have my KJV instead. i was surprised. he just told me some negative points on the NIV but he has a library  of books to show me next time. what i did was to search on the internet myself. truthfully, i was convinced of what the article says but i missed the points that you wrote down. salamat na lang i have a cousin pastor like you who can defend on what matters most. thank you. i am proud of you.

God bless you and your family and your ministry.  till next time. crying na ako. take care.

kathy


From: Carlos Figueras <caloyfigueras@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tue, 9 March, 2010 3:42:05
Subject: NKJV over KJV is not the issue.

Hello Cathy,
Here’s an email reply I sent to mama on something you sent her. Hope it helps you as well.
Dear mama,
while the article does bear some merit, the New King James Version is not entirely derailing to the cause of the Gospel.
For every Hebrew and Greek word used in the original manuscripts, there can be more than one interpretation per word. meaning a word can have two to three uses in their original language. I find the Greek language one of the richest languages in the entire history of mankind, that is why the Lord used it in writing the Bible and the Septuagint. The symbol on the Bible is an isolated case. not every NKJV Bible has it, especially if its a local reprint. That particular notation is zealous but narrow-minded. And my question is why not bring other translations to question which are far more misleading than the NKJV. The NKJV is almost a direct equivalent translation. Next to the New American Standard, it is one of the best translations along with the ESV. The translations that does the real damage is the Living Bible, Amplified, the Message–all paraphrased versions. Versions that many hyper faith and erring Bible teachers and preachers uses.
Clearly this is an agenda of those people who are bias and many times blinded to the KJV. as if God cannot move if its not according to the Bible written during the time of King James. We must remember that these are all at best TRANSLATIONS, Paul did not even envision the kind of narrow minded arguments that the KJV conundrum has created.
IT IS ENTIRELY UNGRACIOUS AND AGAIN NARROW MINDED TO SCORE SUCH EFFORTS TO EDUCATE PEOPLE TO BIBLICAL LITERACY. A LITERACY NEEDED FOR PEOPLE TO BE AIDED IN THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL. THE GOSPEL, WHICH I MIGHT ADD HAS NO ‘KING JAMES VERSION ONLY” STAMP OF APPROVAL.
We must also remember that in heaven, there will be no sections that will be labeled for those who have used the King James Bible only and then find another section that is reserved for NIV translations only. The Lord promised mansions in heaven, for those who have followed Him and have desired so much to see Him face to face. The thief on the cross did not even have a Bible with Him, and NOT EVEN THE APOSTLES had a Bible in tow when they preached the Gospel. Not even King James or the people who translated the KJV was alive when they preached the Gospel.
Would we deny brethren from heaven just because they used a different Bible translation? What if that was the only Bible they had in their midst? Would we shove them gamely into hell just because they used the NIV or the NASB and not the King James? is king James in all of his glory and wisdom and HIS IMPERFECTIONS now over Jesus Christ who was sinless and entirely unintending that such a narrow minded conflict be a mark of His eternal Kingdom?!
I think not.
IF PEOPLE WILL NOT COME TO CHRIST, THEN IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE TRANSLATION, IT IS THE SINNER’S HEART. PEOPLE HAVE REJECTED JESUS CHRIST EVEN WITHOUT LAYING THEIR HANDS ON A NEW KING JAMES VERSION OR ANY OTHER VERSION. We must remember Pharaoh in all of his wisdom andpower and glory, rejected the name of God, even after seeing the very power that allowed him to be Pharaoh. The Ten Commandments were not even written yet. There was no written form of God’s Law and yet people have already turned their backs on God. And even when the LAw was written in stone, people still rejected Him. The Ten Commandments was not written in NKJV only. Nor was that symbol even present then.
I say to the people who nit pick and split hairs over such things, STICK TO THE ISSUES OF ETERNITY. WE LIVE IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD.
Preach the truth in season and out of season, from whatever Bible there is that you have, for as long as it brings out the very truth. The King James Version is just a translation. It does not have a monopoly on God’s power or any other translation for that matter.
Hope this helps all of us sort these things through. 
Caloy

Blog at WordPress.com.