Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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Our Christianity

I am a Born Again Christian, but I don’t consider myself religious. I espouse those things in religion that conform to the Word of God. This is essentially the same thing that Thomas Jefferson said: “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.” I interpret this to mean that he believed what the Bible says. When it comes to religion, you eat the meat and spit out the bones. All things that pertain to religion should be compared to the Bible for verification.

Hebrews 9:12 says: Where in the olden days, the blood of animals was sacrificed before God, the blood of Jesus was offered once and for all; obtaining eternal redemption for us all. This established the New Testament. Hebrews 10:19-20 says; Jesus’ flesh is the veil that was split in two , from the top to the bottom, to give us direct access to God. In the past, the high priest was the only one who entered through the veil into the Holy of Holies to intercede for the people.

How long must we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, before we realize that the Lord Jesus has established the better way of justification? Outrageous fortune is the way of the world, but God’s way is better and more satisfying. Accept the slings and arrows of this life by yourself, or accept the help that is available through God.

Some examples of God’s grace through faith are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon. We know these people are in Heaven because the Bible talks about some of them being there. They got there through faith and a personal relationship with God. Jesus simply made it easier to obtain this relationship; by grace through faith. The laws of the Old Testament were given by God in order for people to know the difference between good and evil so that a right relationship could be established. The grace of the New Testament is given because it is impossible to live up to God’s perfection. It was credited to Abraham, and others, because they were right with God due to their great faith in Him. Through Jesus, we are credited with that same faith by our acceptance of what He did for us; accepting Him as our Lord and Savior and making Him Lord of our lives.

Hebrews 6:14 says: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are full of age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The longer you walk with God, and study His word, the better able you are to make the transition from milk to meat. Salvation is the first step in your growth in the Christian life. “A testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength while the testator lives.” Only after the death of Jesus could the New Testament have been ordained. Where under the law a priest would go into the temple to intercede for us, now Jesus is interceding for us, with the Father in Heaven. No longer do we need a man to be our go between. Hebrews 10:16 says; “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” That is why the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us.

As we walk in the light as Jesus did , we will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus: we will be continually being filled. We need to constantly pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit, because we leak. The cares of this world often overwhelm us. We need the power of God in our lives at all times. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to keep being filled with the Spirit.

In 1 Corinthians 14:10-13 we see that none of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can pass away until Jesus returns. The Holy Spirit had already been given when Paul wrote this passage. Only when that which is perfect is come, meant the second coming of Christ. If we deny any of what the Bible says are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we diminish the power and will of God in our lives. Some say the Bible qualifies as that which is perfect but to which version (translation) do they refer? I have personally seen the manifestation of some of the gifts of the Spirit that supposedly petered out when Peter petered out. The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It is my contention that the “heart” spoken of in the Bible is actually the soul; or synonymous with it. “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks” , “guard your heart, because it’s the wellspring of life” The word heart appears in the Bible 1223 times, hearts appears 20 times. In the Bible, fear, love, courage, anger, joy, sorrow, and hatred are always attributed to the heart. The heart was considered to be the seat of the emotions and passions as well as appetites and embraced likewise the intellectual and moral faculties, although these are necessarily ascribed to the "soul" as well. This distinction is not always observed . My wife and I used to minister under the ‘Spirits Nest Ministries’, which meant the heart was the home (nest) of the Holy Spirit.

When your heart is right with the Lord, there are those in the world that will recognize it is. As a salesman, I used to drive my managers crazy. When asked to set sales goals, I would always say that I would sell as much as possible and not a penny more. Then they would set goals for me, and I would ask if I should stop when I reached the goal; they usually got the point. There is only so much you can do in this life, and no more. One hundred percent is all there is. I know that we can “do all things through Christ”, but it is God who extends our capacity, not ourselves. All we can do is what we know is right, according to the Word, and stand upon the Word. I present the following examples:

1. While working with a research laboratory equipment company, I was always frugal with my expenses, and everyone in the company knew it. I was attending the national sales meeting in Portland, Oregon . The vice president and international sales manager announced that we were going to have to cut our travel expenses by twenty percent. I raised my hand and he called on me. I asked which day I should stay home, since the twenty percent cut was needed. An immediate and sustained hush fell over the auditorium. I had not known that the president of the company was sitting behind me. I couldn’t understand the silence or the length of it, because I was friends with the VP. I then heard laughter behind me and the president said, “Rick, you don’t count” (Well done, good and faithful servant ). Everyone started breathing again.

2. Another time, while working for a pharmaceutical company , I was at the home office in East Hanover, New Jersey for advanced training. A movie was shown of a mountain climber that was obviously presented to show us how persistence pays off. The climber struggled, bloodied his hands and legs, bruised himself and eventually got to the top of the mountain. A helicopter then took him back down. When it was over, the national sales manager entered canter stage in an auditorium filled with salesmen and management. He asked.” what have you learned from the movie”. I raised my hand and he called on me. We knew each other pretty well. I said that the movie showed that through diligence, determination, persistence and making the extra effort we would eventually reach our goal and find that the competition got there first in a helicopter. His stunned expression indicated that I might be in trouble. In a few seconds, however, he smiled and said “perhaps we should invest in a few helicopters”. He thanked me for what we now call “thinking out of the box”. ”I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and
as innocent as doves.”

Hebrews 11:13 says: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses all died in faith having not seen the promise fulfilled. In the same way, since Jesus told of His return, we are waiting, and seeing afar off waiting in faith. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” While we are waiting, we should not be stagnant. We should be looking (with the help of God) to bring others into the kingdom of God. Are you living in a way that others will see the Lord in your life? We should always keep John 3:16 and Romans 10:9 at the ready. That is the great commission. “It doesn’t matter if you get on board; He’s going to do it.” Jesus said that if we fail to tell the world about Him, the stones would cry out. Will you be used of the Lord? The Spirit of the Lord will never force Himself on you. He will never make you do anything that you don’t want to do. He is a gentleman and a quiet, gentle Spirit.

Rick Rahn


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