Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seeking God – But Are You Listening?

   Often times we find ourselves seeking God's revelation, His direction, His Truth, ect. Some times it's just because a Pastor or someone else tells us we should and we don't want them to think that we wouldn't seek God so we say a prayer with idol words or put a half baked effort into it. Some times we are use to hearing from God in one way and we choose to stick to that. For some hearing from God can be threw reading Scripture, hearing directly from the Spirit, observing creation, or any number of other ways. The trouble is that we become accustomed to relating with God in one way, when God says He wants to bless us with every Spiritual gift, although He also says no man will have every spiritual gift. To hear from God the Holy Spirit must be involved; that is to say that you have to have received the Holy Spirit into your heart (I believe after you have went threw baptism, or if receiving the Holy Spirit prior to baptism you should be baptised shortly after as they did in the Bible.)

    I've found in my life that God likes to use me as a mouth peace one on one with other people who need a word, or who are having trouble understanding God or His scripture. I also have found that some times God tells me to stand out of the way and let someone else do it that He has picked instead of me. In that case I'm just the person who introduces them to someone else.

    Now here is what is really strange. I want you to ask yourself this question. If God were to come down from Heaven today in physical form would you listen to Him? Even if you couldn't tell if it was God but knew the words were from God would you listen to Him? Well the Bible says we are Jesus to the world and to each other. As brothers and sisters of Jesus and sons and daughters of the Father God (Matthew 23) we are part of the body of Christ. We are all used differently by God but we all work together threw the direction and unity of the Holy Spirit. Some are primarily prophets, some are primarily wise men, some are teachers, etc. Keep in mind Jesus said that God is the only teacher, wise man, counsellor, etc. Because He is the source of all truth and we are only the vessels He uses to speak and or act threw. So you may have answered yes to saying you would in fact listen to God if He was speaking to you or if you knew that you were listening to His words. Here is where the rubber meets the road.

    So God decides that to be more effective at speaking to you, He is going to send a brother or sister in Christ to speak to you on His behalf to reveal to you threw the Spirit what He has already revealed to the person He has sent you or is revealing to the person He has sent you. What a blessing? Well I've often had people tell me that they know I've been sent to them by God to give them advice, speak to them, etc. When asked what changed about me and why people should listen to me now one man said: “Justin hasn't changed, what changed is the fact that I learned that I should listen to him.” and right before saying this he refused to pray for someone that the Lord lead to me asking for prayer. Another individual told me that when they met me they knew that God had sent me to them so they could listen to me and so I could guide them, yet they told me not to give them any advice or quote scriptures to them or give them scriptures. This might not seem strange to some of you, but is seems very strange to me. I've always been open to any word anyone has given me no matter how crazy they are or how crazy they sound, because I know God can speak threw anyone to me. I usually can tell if it's from God or not by listening to the Spirit, seeing if it clashes with the scriptures, if it does the Spirit will bring the scripture to my attention, or speak to me threw someone or something else about it. If the Spirit really wants me to hear it and take it seriously then the Spirit will repeat itself threw many different people, just as God repeated Himself in the Bible to give extra emphasis to certain parts. Some times the word someone gives me is subject to human error threw interpretation and I can usually see that too (threw the Spirit). Meaning that if the Spirit tells someone something and they don't understand it right and they tell me, I can usually understand what the Spirit was trying to tell them to tell me. Now of course I always tell people to ask God about what I tell them when I tell them something, but not listening or rejecting the one who comes in the name of the Lord is a bad thing. Jesus said that it would be easier for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to enter Heaven then for the people who rejected the message from those He sent with His word.

    Jesus told the people He sent out that if the people rejected the word He sent them with that they were to shake the dust from their sandals, and take the peace back with them that they had blessed the people with. Now if God sends you to someone and tells you to be patient with them, and not to give up, but to wait it out, then what do you do? In this situation I've tried shaking the dust from my sandals and taking my peace back and leaving, but God won't let me and tells me it's wrong. 19 out of 20 times God tells me to shake my feet of and run, but in a recent case He has told me not to run, but just stand back and wait for them to come back and talk to me again. This is very frustrating.

    This was a problem for the followers of Jesus in Jesus' time and shortly after, and in Matthew 23 Jesus says that we are only to have God as our leader, teacher, Rabbi, etc. however He said He would send prophets, wise men, and teachers to the religious people who reject His word, the stiff necked. So maybe that's something to think about. If God has put someone in your life who He is using to speak to you, then maybe you are stiff necked, and you have a problem accepting His direction and guidance without Him sending you a prophet, wise man, or leader.

    Jesus said He would not return until the Pharisees said “Blessed is the man who comes in the name of the Lord”.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unconditional Love and Acceptance

If you can't see the video Go here:

Why is it so hard for people to understand the meaning of Unconditional Love? God loves everyone regardless of their beliefs, actions, thoughts, ect. God may be displeased with the beliefs, actions, or thoughts of a person, but He still loves them. I think more than anything God is sad for those living in ignorance, or bondage to sin. We are all sinners and Jesus loves us all. We have a God in Heaven who is personal with us. He wants us to get to know him Personally. He already knows us. The thing about God is that He's perfect, holy, and true to His word. He must hold us accountable to our beliefs, thoughts, feelings towards God and others, and our actions. He will only hold us accountable for doing what we know is right or wrong and our willingness to seek Him out and His Truth. Jesus said in John 14:15-21 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see Me any more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” and that means we need to seek His Truth and read His Word and receive His Spirit (the Holy Spirit).

Many people get upset with me and try to pin this on me, when I'm not even judging them. They come to me expecting the typical brand name Christian who calls them-self a Christian (A representative of Christ or one who follows Jesus and has received His salvation and Truth) and then proceeds to either ignore God's law and demonstrate only grace, mercy, and acceptance including compromise for everything, or they only seem to talk about God's wrath and judgement and not about His Love, Grace, and Mercy. Usually it's either a Turn or burn statement they hear or a statement about how none of us are wrong and we are all going to heaven no matter what and how we can never choose to reject God and loose our salvation. So where is the truth? Where are the ones Jesus has instructed and sent? Where are the humble ones, those who have been called and chosen by God, but are not putting themselves into a place God has not called them to be? Where are the ones who are guided by the Spirit, who don't claim to be any better than the rest of us, who only claim to be a brother or sister in the body of Christ? Where are they?

Jesus said freely we receive so freely we give. I think that when someone does something, tells you they do something, or encourages you to do it with them it's fine to say that you won't participate because it goes against your beliefs, but don't tell them they are wrong. I find that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God do a good enough job of that on their own. I often talk to people that realise that what they are doing is wrong, and without me talking about what they are doing, they will bring it up to me, get defensive, and accuse me of judging them. I already know I can't change a person's heart or mind or break them of bondage or addictions. Only Jesus can do that; that's why we pray in Jesus' name. I find my physical purity often intimidates people. I haven't drank, smoked, gambled, and I'm saving myself as well. I wish people truly realised that this wasn't because of my own will, power, ect. but because of my complete dependence on God, and my prayers that He would prevent these things as I'm sure my parents prayed for me as well. Even when I have found myself wanting to participate in such things God has not allowed me to carry out my self destructive will. That's why I don't judge others. I know it's pointless and will only upset people. The only time I judge someone is when someone needs to be stopped because they are harming others or influencing Children.

Once an 18 year old was teaching a small child who was just learning his first words to cuss and swear and the child picked up very quickly, this was right after several racist jokes and other comments, and after he took advantage of me and my reputation to boost his own. He had to be stopped. I couldn't allow him to influence this child. In the same way I can't allow myself to be put into a situation that is causing me to be seduced into wanting to do something wrong, and I can't allow Children to be influenced this way either. It's not right.

So when people bring up controversial subjects like homosexuality, bi, and lesbians I try not to talk about it, but if someone attempts to advance towards me I will back away, then if needed ask them to stop, and then after that tell them why I don't believe it's right. I don't want to enforce my beliefs on them, but I do want the right to not be subjected to their influence. The same could be said of being with a drug dealer, an alcoholic, a child molester, rapist, someone who tries to brainwash people, ect. I don't wish to subject myself to those kinds of situations, unless the Lord leads me into them and wants me to reach out to those people. Even then I try to limit my exposure.

Would you want your kids to be around a drug dealer? Would you want your kids to be around a child molester? If they have the right not to be around them, then why don't straight people with convictions have the right to try to stay away from temptation without judging others for their beliefs? No the Bible calls Satan the accuser of the brother-en (brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ) and so when you feel that your being judged by someone Jesus has sent to show you grace, mercy, and unconditional love when in fact they have said nothing to judge you, it is Satan that is trying to judge you and make you feel unforgivable, not worthy, ect.

So I ask you, I beg you, when you talk to me and tell me about your problems please stop accusing me of judging you, and if you are one of these self proclaimed Christians who are judging others, or telling everyone that you agree with whatever they do as long as it doesn't hurt you then please do me a favour and stop calling yourself a Christian.

What I know is God is Love, Truth, and God is fair and Just. We don't always understand why, how, when, what, ect. but He is Faithful, True, Loving, and Just. If you reject Him then you will probably reject me as well and anyone else who follows Him.

For those of you who feel guilty, condemned, and or judged please see this:

Ephesians 5:8-13
New International Version (NIV)
 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.