Tag Archives: word religion

Sanctification-Purpose

photoPottersHands_1600x1200.9994505_stdHow mysterious to think that we were made in the image of God. Do you ever feel like  we are such failures that there is no possible way I resemble any part of God. This however was God’s main purpose when He created us(Mankind) in the Garden. In Gen 1:26 it reads, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”” This was God’s purpose then and it is His purpose now.

We were made in His likeness, having the nature of God, the characteristics, personality, emotions and will, so that we could have fellowship and communion with God. Unfortunately this was short lived as sin entered mankind through Adam, and we became separated from God. Adam and Eve decided to have it there way. They became self centered and wanted autonomy as the ate of the fruit promising them that freedom. It was because of this sin original that now all mankind is born into sin, and our image no longer reflects God.

But God

But God does not change, and His purpose for us does not change either. Although through Adam we all were made sinners, “Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men” Rom 5:19a.  Jesus stepped in and makes us righteous, “so one act of righteousness leads to justifications and life for all men” Rom 5:19b. So what does this have to do with sanctification you ask? It is because God is still creating us in His image. We have, as Christians a new birth. We are born again. His original purpose is the same it is just being carried out through Jesus and not through Adam.

Conformed in His Image

It says in Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Also in 1Cor 15: 49  Paul writes  “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”   In Gal 4:19 it reads  “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”

Sanctification.

This is the end result of sanctification. We are being set apart, made holy to be transformed, reborn, recreated, into His image.  Paul promises that all things will work together for His purpose to this chief end. Fortunately or unfortunately this is usually not an easy transformation. One of God’s most effective ways in conforming us is to allow failure, bring trials and hardships, to strip away self so that our image decreases as Christ’s image increases. So let us be reminded oh Christian that on our road to sanctification there will be road blocks, hazards, and obstacles in our way. Know that they are there working for our good to conform us into the image of our God,  because that is His purpose.

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Contentment

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What is contentment?  Do we ever reach the point in life where we don’t need any more things or are satisfied with life just as we are, whether we have a lot or a little? Why is it that we always have a desire for a little bit more?

I am a cyclist and I own a road bike and 2 mountain bikes. When I got my first mountain bike, it was good for about 2-3 years, but it only had front suspension and I wanted to upgrade to a full suspension bike. After a couple of years with this bike, I started to race and  I needed a better, lighter, full suspension bike. So I purchased an expensive trail bike that could take on any terrain. I had this bike for 3 years and it served me well. As I continued to race, I needed to get a racing bike which was even lighter and faster than my previous bike. I also needed to get a road bike so I could train more during the week. This is just the bikes, also during these years my equipment continued to change along with it. I needed new shoes, new helmets, upgraded parts on the bike, and the best nutritional products I could find. I suppose if I continue down this path I will have a new bike in another 3 years and a new trainer of some sort. But when is enough ever enough? When will the desire to have more ever stop?

This is just one example out of my life, but I bet if you were honest with yourself you do the same thing. It may not be biking, but it may be getting a new car every 3 years just because you want a new one. It could be clothes shopping, getting a new pair of shoes, shirts, sneakers, purses, or kitchen appliances. It could be buying new furniture, knick-knacks for the house, or a new T.V every couple of years, even though the one you have works perfectly fine. Why do we feel the need to continue to buy new things even though the things we have is all we need and then some?

I spent the last 9 days in Granada, Nicaragua on a short term mission trip. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere, next to Haiti. The average worker there makes approximately 5 U.S. dollars a day. To this we would assume the people there would want more. More money to have a house  with a floor, a car, a refrigerator, a stove, or maybe a T.V., then there life would be better, or would it? While I was there I learned that you can be content with less, and their needs- or should I say desires- differ than ours. Every morning we would hold a bible study with our group and a couple of local Nicas. We were studying in the book of Proverbs and one of the locals shared what he learned from it. In Proverbs 30:8b,9 … give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,  lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. After reading this verse, he said he hopes never to be poor or rich.  He went on to say that he is content when he has enough beans and rice to feed himself and his family. BEANS and RICE…this floored me and immediately humbled me to what I perceive as meeting my so called ‘needs’. I think many of us in North America suffer from the latter, we are so full ,“rich,” we say, “who is the Lord?” We don’t need anyone to help us in life because we can handle our own problems on our own, so we think anyway. We can just shop away our emptiness, we can drink away our hurts, and we fill voids with things and not the “One” who could fill it. Here is someone who in our perspective is dirt poor, yet he is rich and many of us are rich yet; we are dirt poor. Paul in the bible said it this way in Phil. 4:11-13, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

To Paul, it didn’t matter if he had plenty or little, whether he had health or sickness, because he learned the secret. He concludes that he can do all things through the strength of Jesus. This is because he wasn’t looking for answers and solutions that the world gives, because it will always leaves you wanting. You will never be satisfied in what the world can offer. The only contentment or satisfaction can be found in Christ. If you don’t believe me, just keep trying to satisfy yourself with material things, or alcohol or drugs, or even another person and see if you ever find contentment. Or can you ever say, “all I need is some beans and rice to feed me and my family, because I am already content with knowing my Maker?”

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Is Religion a Dirty Word?

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When you hear or see the word religion what comes to your mind?  What feelings, thoughts ideas, visions come to you?  And when these feelings and thoughts come to mind, what religion are you connecting it too?  My emotions and thoughts of religion come from my personal experience. Back in the summer between 7th and 8th grade my parents were notified that my brother and I were not welcomed back to the Christian school we were attending. This was based on the premise that my brother was suspected of smoking marijuana. So going on hearsay they not only kicked him out but me as well. This left a really bad taste in our mouths regarding the church and we separated ourselves from it for years. It wasn’t until  about 10 years later that I returned to it but that’s a whole other story My point is that a lot of us base our prejudices against religion based on our personal experiences and not what the faith teaches. So why am I talking about religion anyway? Well just this past week I got into an argument regarding religion. Although I don’t consider myself to be a “religious” person in the sense most think  religious to be. Nonetheless I was told by this person that all religion does is create war, steal money for it’s own gain and perpetuate lies for power. I thought to myself “wow” the word religion really stirs up a lot of hatred. I think there is premise for this due to what some in the church have done throughout the years. There have been wars in the name of religion, extortion, hypocrisy, molestation, quest for power etc. I think that there is a distinction that gets lost in translation. Most would say that Christianity=Religion. Therefore everyone who is associated with the Christian church is religious hence equating Christians to horrible people. But what I think we really hate is not true religion but false religion.  This same religion Jesus  is against as well, while talking to the religious leaders of the day said this  in Matthew 23:27–28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. This is the religion that most can’t stand and stirs up the hatred for the church. Recently there was a video put up about hatred toward religion and in 1 week has had over 15 million hits. This clearly demonstrates that there is a disdain for this false religion. The video in which I am referring to is below.

Why I hate religion but love Jesus

I think we need a better definition of religion  so we all understand what we mean when we use it. Do we mean a set of man made rules created by the church in which we must follow? Or is it just a set of beliefs agreed on by a group of people?  Maybe I am being a bit nit picky here and maybe it is just understood that people understand religion to be  hypocritical religion, but then again maybe not. Here is a great post on the differences between the Gospel vs. false religion

The Bible has some things to say on the matter of religion. One is found in the book of James, who was the brother of Jesus.  It says in James 1:26 –27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  So our actions should match what we believe. Of course it is impossible to always do this, but this should be what we strive for.  John, one of Jesus’ disciples said it this way in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” One last passage that I want to share with you is this Isa 58:6 –8,10 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?   Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard…  if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”  In these verses it clearly demonstrates our actions should be where our faith (religion) is.

Although there is much animosity toward religion, and in most cases rightly so we need to judge our religion on the creator of the faith and what the faith teaches and not on the people who distort it. Even though there is much harm that has come in the name of Christianity over the years it is also the Christians who give more to charitable causes than their secular counterparts.They run countless shelters, pregnancy centers, rescue missions, and food pantries. Christians operate orphanages, staff clinics, dig wells, raise crops, teach children, and fight AIDS around the globe to name a few. So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. There is also a lot of good that comes from religion, we need to hate the false religion but hold on and embrace true religion.

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