Friday, February 5, 2016

Godly Living in an Ungodly Age... Old Landmarks in a New Generation

#DailyProverbs Titus 1

The Founding Fathers of the United States created a governing framework based upon spiritual and moral principles, but that were inherently very giving to free will. That's probably because they were not raised American, and had been under the rule of a King for so long. But they trusted in God and in their conscience to guide them to the founding of an entire country that was wholly something new. President Eisenhower urged Congress in 1954, some 178 years after the nation's founding, to add "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Two years later, President Eisenhower signed a law that added "In God We Trust" progressively to paper money over a two year period through 1958. (Incidentally, "In God We Trust" was on metal currency beginning in 1864, a mere 88 years after the nation was created.) Also in 1956, 180 years after the founding of the United States, President Eisenhower also changed, or made alternative, the nation's motto from "E Pluribus Unum" (out of many, one) to "In Got We Trust." What had been in place since the birth of the nation, and for almost two hundred years was changed specifically to not reflect many, but to point to God.

Slowly, methodically - even tragically - we’ve become, in numerous ways, an ungodly nation. So many are driven by materialism and power; immorality and rebellion are prevalent; empty philosophy and false doctrine are widely acceptable. Underlying it all is a vocal decision to take God out of the nation’s “official business.” I don't give all of this to merely discuss civics. I give it to show that many saints for hundreds of years lived morally, spiritually, and Godly prior to what was on money, or what was read in a school. You misinterpret me if you think that I foolishly believe that a pledge, sayings on money, or mandatory one-faith prayer in a school is what makes you Godly.

Materialism is at the heart of conscienceless capitalism, not the teachings of the church founded in Jerusalem by Peter. Not the sharing between all that came to Christ equally and caring for those that needed to be cared for... Not the denying of self and luxury so that others could come to Christ and live equally free and unencumbered. Power that corrupts should be carefully evaluated and moderated. Immorality has many forms, but aside from what you think of people that fall into sexual sin... immorality is also turning a cold, blind eye to the hungry. Immorality is thinking that someone's suffering isn't your problem because you aren't affected. Immorality is being unfeeling to those that need love, and a friend, even at their lowest point. Immorality is qualifying the reason someone might need help and becoming the judge on a human soul's worthiness. If you are a true Christian, then believing yourself righteous in any other way than through Christ is false doctrine. You are not good enough, you never were, and you never will be. Only through Christ can you be anything more than worthless and deserving of death to pay for sin, and you should never take the stance that someone else is worthless or incapable of being saved, or even feel like your service to Christ has made you "better" than anyone that may be in a gutter somewhere, for whatever reason. Those are the false, loveless, teachings Christ warned against and that will lead you on a path to separation and eventual loss of Christ. That is the society to warn against, those that are cold, that do not love, and that are so resolute in their duty, they forget that all need Jesus.

Even in an unbelieving society, people can and do, as individuals, follow Jesus. But the world will continually disseminate faulty teachings, so believers must be discerning. You will hear them, daily, from so-called Christians, telling you that success and ease is what God wants for His people. The devil will always tell you that more is more. He will never tell you to deny yourself. The doctrine of the superlative is not scriptural. Jesus was clear that we are to follow Him and nothing else. He made it clear that if your family is more important, you can't follow Him. He made it clear that if you follow Him, you will be considered odd and disowned. When you get "too" fanatical about Jesus, people will think you strange, and consider you an "other." He made it clear that His followers don't retaliate, they don't fight, they don't judge others worthiness, only their fruit, they do not hate. He made it clear that His followers are to love, and only love. He wants us to be kind. He wants us to love in the face of hate. Jesus never said we'd be okay. That is false doctrine. He actually said we'd be hated because of our difference, ridiculed, reviled, possibly tortured, possibly killed. Love and the kindness to those that do evil to us is WHY they do not understand who Jesus really is. Those without love, cannot stand to see it in action. Those without love will never understand what you do, or why you do it, based on love. If you are super comfortable in the world, then you are worldly. If you think that your "anger" and your "might" will show someone Christ when you don't "like" something, then you are not pointing the way to Jesus. If you find it easy to adopt and blend, then you are not the "salt and light." Erroneous messages can lead Christians to compromise their convictions. Trust me, if you can grow hair, you can be kind. If you can preach till you are hoarse, but would rather sit in a deer stand and cuss about politics than you would walk downtown and give food to people sitting in doorways that are homeless, then you are not pointing to Christ. If you can worry about whether or not your looks are your witness, then you can use your mouth to show love and kindness. When you see and hear other "christians" that are not showing love and not bearing fruit that love brings, and you identify with that, because you think anyone that isn't like you isn't worthy, then you need to evaluate what you define as "christian." The most simple way to define it correctly is someone who follows the teachings of Christ. You will hear it said that it is someone that simply believes in Christ. But, the devil believes... demons believe... that's not enough. The actions you take based on the teachings and will of Christ are what transform you into A Christian. Luckily, the simplicity of God is confusing to humans... it is the most simple set of rules to follow when you begin to love Jesus:
1. Love God.
2. Love others.

If you do those two things, everything else will fall into place. You won't have to worry about rules and regulations, legislation of morality and the confusion of what you legally want to control in others. When you love God, your speech, dress, attitude and care for others will SHOW that you love God. When you love others, the way you treat them, speak to them and handle them will SHOW that you love them. When you begin to follow Christ, and take up your cross, and deny self, and then show love to those that seemingly cannot be loved... you'll see. Your affections and priorities will change. Don’t let the world’s clamor make the Holy Ghost's voice less audible. Without Jesus' guidance, our minds become vulnerable to lies.

I believe in tradition. I believe in keeping up a standard. But I also know that when something becomes dry, dusty, and is decaying, it must be revived, or removed. You can't live, unless you prune back your confusion, your complacency... You cannot sustain on the blessings and love of previous generations. You must find them anew in your own life. You have to wake up every day, and show love. The Word of God is a compass that keeps us headed in the right direction—even in the midst of confusing messages all around. What is the most direct, simple message of truth from the word?

What is the Word? Jesus.
Who is Jesus? God.
What is God? Love.
See? Easy.

We need to be consistently filled with truth by reading, believing, meditating upon, and applying real Scripture, and not the platitudes of well-meaning "saints." God also tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). If our minds are focused upon Him, unholy beliefs and lies about what it means to be a good person that is a conservative Christian will not be able to take root. You will follow the Christ, not other "christians." The Word (Jesus) is our guidebook. We will still face difficulty as we live in this imperfect world—it is a confusing, dark place that entices us but never fulfills our true longings. Yet God’s truth will bring confidence and boldness, and the Holy Ghost will direct and strengthen, enabling us to live victoriously.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

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