Glorifying God through All We Think, Say and Do
Being Mindful of Our God the Whole Day Through
Pray that all would be on the same page
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
(Philippians 3:16 KJV)
Did Jesus Make and Drank Fermented Wine?
Unfortunately this is one of those subjects that has been misunderstood by the church at large. For it seems that there are those who try to make scripture
read in such a way as to say that drinking any alcoholic beverage is wrong. They even declare that the wine that Jesus made was only grape juice. And of course, this is not scriptural. I do believe that these same people are sincere in their faith and mean well, for wine and other alcoholic beverages have caused many problems. So, we must not look down on those who choose not to drink and to be careful not stumbling them with our drinking. But to twist scripture in such a way as to fit our own theological view is wrong also. So, whether we choose to drink or not, let us not look down or judge each other on this issue. For it's God who has given us freedom in this area.
First of all, getting drunk is a sin. And if it’s abused to the point of one being a drunkard (one who continually gets intoxicated), it can harm a persons relationship with God and even keep him (or her) from entering the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, that does not mean that you throw the baby out with the bathwater. We should not demonize something just because there are those that abuse it. Anything can be abused. And whatever you do abuse, you can be sure that you're committing a sin. And the reason should be clear. If what you do causes you to be unfruitful and even harmful, then you are being counterproductive. Jesus said if any branch in me does not bear fruit then it is removed. Also, He goes on to say that the will of the Father is that you bear much fruit (John 15).
So, we can see from what was just mentioned that whatever causes you to be unfruitful causes you to sin. This would include excessive drinking, wrongful sexual activity, watching ungodly movies, or anything else that’s counterproductive. You may already know that there are warnings in the bible concerning sexual misconduct. Now does that mean we are to refrain from it all together? I firmly believe that sexual misbehavior has caused much harm upon this earth. It has been used to violate woman, young children, men, as well as animals, and is the cause of many deceases as well. But again, should we throw it out and encourage everyone to become celibate? Of course not. So why would we do that with wine or any other alcoholic drinks?
So in conclusion, enjoying a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is not a sin as long as you refrain from getting drunk. Jesus Himself admits to drinking fermented wine as well as the gospel of John declaring that He made it at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Matthew 11:19, John 2:1-11). Now I have to admit, drinking is not for everyone. There are those who may feel the need to refrain from alcohol for whatever reason. But that’s their choice, and their choice should not be pushed on others who have the liberty to do so. Nor should anyone put the pressure on an individual to make them drink when they feel uncomfortable about it.
Now let’s consider some scripture on this matter:
Are all the gifts of the Spirit available today?
There are those who say that the “gifts of the Spirit” ceased when the Bible (the Canon of Scriptures) was completed. Again, this is not true and amounts to bad scripture twisting. For they say that the passage which says: “when that which is perfect is come” is referring to the completion of the bible. I do believe that those who hold to this view are trying to find an excuse for the church’s lacking to step out in faith and practice these Spiritual gifts. So, having said that, lets examine the scriptures and see what it has to say.
Breaking Bread (Communion)
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
There is an unfortunate teaching in our assemblies concerning Communion. For how many of us have heard the leadership of the church claiming that we must examine ourselves to see if there is any unconfessed sin in our hearts before taking the bread and the wine (or grape juice which is not biblical). This is not what the Bible is saying people. If we keep it all in contexts we would find that the thing we are to be examining is the discernment of the Lord’s body while partaking. For Paul starts off saying: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.” (1 Corinthians 11:20-21) Then Paul says: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:26-27) So, what does Paul say the “unworthily” manner is? Well, if we read on it says: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” (1 Corinthians 11:29) Well there you go, the “unworthily” manner is not unconfessed sin in your life, but partaking communion while “not discerning the Lord’s body.” So, let’s please stop teaching this false doctrine of unconfessed sin.
Now, this should be important for us because it could bring unnecessary guilty and condemnation on a brother or sister in Christ. I say this because there may be some unconfessed sin that comes to mind during or even after we have partaken. For example, let’s say someone got out of hand and yelled at their boss at work and is now feeling bad about it. Even though they may have told God that they are sorry, they still could feel guilty for not apologizing to their boss. Yet, because of this false teaching, they could feel guilty after partaking of communion and thus end up feeling even worse than before. For let's face it, if we really had to examine ourselves to see if there is any unconfessed sin in our lives, we would be there all day and nobody would be able to partake. So please, let's keep thing in context and not to interject unbiblical teachings that can stumble one another. God help us, amen.
Born of the Water and the Spirit
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6)
What did Jesus mean by saying that that a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God "except a man be corn of water and the Spirit? Well it's very simple. For he explains it in the very next verse when he said: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) You first have to be naturally born into this world in order to be Spiritually born. And only when you're Spiritually born, can you enter into God kingdom. So, being born of the water is simply in reference to the natural birth when our mother's water broke and out we came. And of course we're born of the Spirit when we are converted and receive Jesus as our Savior. Let's not try to read into this and make it something it's not. For you must first come into existence before you can know who God is. And then you must turn you life over to him and be "born again." We must simply Interpret scripture with scripture because it's all there in God's word for us. Amen.
What about Hair Length?
The bible is clear in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 that there should be a distinction between the hair length of a man and that of a woman. This is aseptically true within a church setting. For a woman with short hair is sending out a message to all that she is equal to a man in the area of authority. This is what is meant in scripture where it says she “dishonoureth her head” (head is referring to a the man). In the same token long hair on men is a shame and dishonoring to God as well. For a man is supposed to represent the Glory of God in the form of authority and not in the form of subjection as a woman. Therefore, God wants there to be distinction between the sexes. We can see this also in God’s word where it condemns a man for wearing woman's clothes and a woman wearing men’s clothes. So my concern is, why does most church leadership ignore this important fact that Paul taught on? Why let woman butch their head to look like men and men grow out their hair like some woman?
Video concerning hair length
Are You more Holy if you practice Celibacy?
There are those in the church who view that one must practice celibacy in order to be a spiritual leader in a church. This practice of celibacy was enforced by those in the early church that viewed sex as base and looked down on those who could not refrain from it. We can read this from the writings of such notables as Tertullian, Ambrose, and Jerome, all of whom believed that, even within marriage, intercourse necessarily involved sin. This attitude toward marital intimacy, which dominated the church for more than ten centuries, inevitably led to the glorification of virginity and celibacy. (see: www.ligonier.org/blog/sex-in-marriage) However, as we can see from scripture, this practice of forbidding marriage within the clergy is demonic and destructive. I say this because look at the harm that has occurred in the Catholic Church regarding sexual misconducts. I do believe God allowed this to happen to expose their teaching of heresy concerning marriage within the clergy. The unfortunate thing is however, many innocent lives have been marred through this, and yet do we see any changes in their views today. If celibacy is to be practiced, it has to be by choice and not required or enforced. Let's face it, not all have this gift. (For more info regarding sexual intimacy, see article: Sex Unveiled.
Should You take up the Sward?
We Christians citizens are a unique group of people in which God called use to shine the light of Jesus Christ. In fact, because of our uniqueness, we are persecuted by this worlds system, just as Jesus was in his time. This is our soul mission in life, to present the Gospel, even in the face of death. Jesus said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel." (Mark 16:15) We as Christians are to preach peace, even to the point of losing our own lives, and yes, even at times the lives of our family members as well. I know that this may be a controversial issue for many, because of the desire to defend our own family if one wishes to cause harm to them. But are main goal as Christians is to be a witness even in the face of death. So, if you are one who believe we can use arms for self-defense, I would use caution with how you handle this issue. For we must remember that Jesus message was always of turn the other cheek to those who come against you, even when confronted with death. For are mission is to focus on preaching Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Of course there are those who are serving in our defense system whether it be our local police or in the armed forces. If a person is called to serve in this area, then that’s between him and God. Can these same people be true Christians and yet take up arms? Well, the Bible does say that those who bear the sword are ministers of God, for we read: "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." (Romans 13:4-6) So that being said, God knows the heart of each of us, so if he chooses certain Christians to be involved in handling arms, who am I to judge. Also, when John the Baptist was confronted by soldiers who were asking him what must they do in their situation, he said: “do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14) So as we can notice, John the Baptist did not right out tell them to lay down their arms, so again we must leave some things up to the individual to decide how they should approach this issue.
God could have killed every vile person on this earth (which would have included us all), but instead he sent his Son Jesus Christ to show us the way. He was wounded and tortured for us sinners, and yes, his Heavenly Father saw it all but did not stop it from happening, because Jesus had a mission, just as we do. Even Abraham was willing to slay his own son in obedience to God's word. So, should the average Christian take up arms,” I would have to say no. For it should only be for those who are called to take up the sword. For I would not want to kill anyone who is threatening harm to me, but with my last dying breath I would want to preach Christ to my enemy, in hopes that even after he may slay me, he would be convicted in his heart and repent. But what about my wife or my sons? Well, I hope they would do the same as well and give their live's for the Gospel. Yes I know we should provide for our own family as it is written: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8) However, I don't see this scripture giving us any rights to "take up the sword" against anyone. God help us to always know what to do you in this and all things. Let's make sure to live our lives in a manner that would be honoring to God and to Jesus Christ who suffered for us all (but thanks be to God that he was victorious and rose from the dead).
Watch this must see move which is based on a true story of the early church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sD9fjgc3b4
Who Owns Christian Music?
Why my fellow Christian musicians, do we collect royalties and claim ownership for music and songs for which we're not the true authors of? What I am saying is we are not the originators of Christian songs, but it is God Himself who is the true Author and Owner of them all. For it is He who put the new songs on our hearts as David says: He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn to our God; many will see and be afraid, and shall hope in the Lord. (Psalm 39:4 Sept.). God has freely given us these songs to share with others for the sake of praising and worshipping Him as well as to declare how good and awesome He is. So, tell me what right do we have to demand a price (royalty) for them when it is God who gave them to us free of charge? Yes, it is true that Jesus said “the workman is worthy of his meat,” but He also said “freely ye have received, freely give” (see notes). Though this may seem like a contradiction, in reality it's not because within God's word there's no such thing.
So, let's go ahead and consider what this means. The disciples that Jesus sent out to do the work of preaching, healing, raising the dead and casting out devils did not receive wages for the power that was bestowed upon them or for the message in itself, but for the work that was associated with delivering it. In the same way, a pastor of a congregation does not receive wages for the sermon in itself that he preaches, but for his faithfulness in being a good steward of the gift that God has bestowed on him. Yes, he may have spent a lot of time preparing it and putting it all together, in which He should be rewarded for, but we must remember that it is God who inspired it and put it on his heart in the first place. So, the same is true with Christian music. God bestows it upon our hearts freely and we as faithful vessels deliver it to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, we should be getting wages for the work involved in the performance and delivery of the song and not for the song in itself. For as said before, we are not the true owners of it, but God is. Once that song reaches another church body, now it’s them who is doing the work in preparing and delivering it to church. So, now they should be receiving their wages, not for the song itself, but for being faithful stewards in their work delivering it.
Could you imagine the negative impact it would have on the Apostle Paul's ministry if he demanded royalties for every time someone would read his letters in a church or made copies of it? I don’t see, “© Copyright by: Apostle Paul's Apostolic Ministries. Any Duplication or Use without Prior Permission from the Copyright Owner is prohibited by Law,” at the end of any of his letters. And let’s thank our God that Paul never ended his letters this way because if he did, there may have been a big portion of the New Testament missing. This is the same and true with the psalms or, for that matter, anywhere in the scriptures. We don't see any reference to a copyright notice or any royalties demanded at the end of any of the songs or anywhere else in the scriptures (except for that which is of the bible publishers themselves which is an evil as well). So why should we demanding money from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and place such a burden on the church? Let us remember that “covetousness” is a sin. Therefore, pertaining to religious things, we as Christians should not following after the pattern of this world with all its burdensome and greedy copyrights and patents laws, but rather obey God in His Word and be a people that gives.
The "Den of thieves"
As I said before. God is the author and owner of all Christian music and we are only His recipients and mouthpieces to bring praise and worship to His church. Let us remember what Jesus Himself said to those who were selling things in the temple: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13) He said this to those who were making money off of the people by selling things that were to be used for religious service, thus making His church a house of merchandise. This can be applied to music as will. For if you're making money off the songs itself in which God is the originator, you're taking money for something that does not belong to you, and that’s stealing. For He also said: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:16) We should be demonstrating that our time of gathering should be for worship and praise and not a means for financial gain.
In closing I would like to say that I do love all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are penning and singing these songs for the sake of the church and the world. I myself love to sing, worship God, as well as listen to the music of my fellow Christian. But please let us not mirror how the world operates or does things but let us live our lives as true children of the Light. For Jesus is calling us to come out of the world and be separate. And my prayer is for that.
Who is Lazarus?
Jesus said: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36) Saying things that have no real value or meaning behind them would be unfruitful and unproductive indeed. So that being said, when Jesus spake of the rich man and Lazarus, would he be just throwing out some man’s name without any intent for the listener to eventually discover who that man is? Hmm? Oh, and let's remember that Jesus is actually mentioning someone by name, this never happens in His parables. So, below are a few key scriptures that I've found in God's Word that mentions the name Lazarus. Notice that Lazarus both died and was raised from the dead.
Is it all about being Entertained?
After our church quire sang a song in church I was approached by a friend of mine after the service who told me the song we sang did not do anything for her. Though she was a Christian (and involved in music herself) she still missed a very important point, and that is, the song we sang was not for her entertainment but for the glory of God. You see, so many time we come to church with a worldly mentality expecting a church to be a place of entertainment instead of a place to worship the living God. In fact, if you find yourself in a church that's geared toward entertainment, chances are you will come out of there no closer to God than when you first went in. God help us to come to church only with an attitude to worship Him and to hear from Him and not to have our ears tickled or to be entertained. For a church that is based on entertainment is a church that is in practice with the world.